Entries in South (9)


After Texas Tornadoes, South Expecting Fresh Round of Storms

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Parts of the southern Plains, western Ozarks and lower Mississippi Valley are at risk of severe weather this week while regions across Texas begin to clean up after 18 reported tornadoes raked a path of destruction across the state, tossing trucks into the air and tearing the roofs off homes and businesses.

The National Weather Service has predicted chances of severe thunderstorms across parts of the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys on Wednesday, which might include large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.  Parts of the southeastern United States might also experience severe weather, according to the weather service.

A severe-storm warning was given for New Orleans overnight as more rain moved in and flooding began on some city streets, with reports of two to three feet of water on roads.  A possible tornado touched down in Gentilly, La., early Wednesday, while a roof was blown off a house.

About 650 homes were damaged in Tuesday's tornado outbreak across Texas, according to the American Red Cross.  Although there were no fatalities during Tuesday's dangerous weather, 15 people sought treatment at area hospitals and two were involved in auto accidents, according to ABC News' Dallas affiliate WFAA.

Eight Texas counties faced severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service.  The counties included Bosque, Dallas, Delta, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, McLennan and Rockwall counties.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tornado-Ravaged States Face Exploitation of Destruction

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As if digging out of the rubble of deadly tornadoes were not enough of a challenge, Midwest residents and cleanup crews now have to work around people trying to exploit the destruction.

Such opportunists come in many forms, including looters, tornado tourists, fraudulent charities and contractors looking to capitalize.

"Unfortunately, it's that way and it's been that way," Albert Hale, emergency manager for Laurel County, Ky., said.  "It's a part of society."

Officials stopped a vehicle that had a large amount of copper in it, Hale said, adding that authorities have prevented wide-scale looting with heightened police presence.  But not all places have been exempt from stealing.

Sherman Sykes, 70, was grilling a hamburger at Budroe's Family Restaurant, which he owns with his partner of 32 years, Maureen Williams, when he heard the warning for all residents of Henryville, Ind., to take cover.

Before Sykes went to take cover in the basement, he saw a yellow school bus from the high school across the street get sucked into the air and pulled toward the restaurant.  It slammed into the restaurant's parking lot and flipped over before Sykes rushed to the basement.

All nine customers as well as Sykes and his family were uninjured, but he is missing the restaurant's money bag they were preparing to deposit and several shipments of food products that had been delivered that morning.

Sykes said he did not want to accuse anyone of stealing and that the items could have been swept away in the tornado, but it is likely that they were stolen.

Hale said a more prevalent problem has been tornado tourists and others looking to get a glimpse of the destruction.

"Everyone wants to go see the devastation.  'If I'm not affected, I want to go see what happened to you.'  They're being nosy," Hale said.  "We've taken issue with that."

Local law enforcement, Kentucky State Police and the National Guard, in addition to other agencies, have created checkpoints to prevent curious photographers and out-of-towners from interfering with cleanup or even risking injury.

"Another large problem is contractors kind of freelancing and wanting to get in the neighborhood to go door-to-door to see if they could get any work," Grant County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Maines said, speaking about Crittenden, Ky.

Officials don't want these potential hustlers "knocking on doors as people are trying to pick up their belongings and figure out what happened," he added.

Amid all the loss, many people near and far are looking for ways to give back, but being cautioned that disasters often give way for fraudulent charities to attempt to take advantage of people.

"Givers should take steps to assure themselves that their donations will go to legitimate and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help victims," the Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance said in a statement.

Officials advise potential donors to verify the charity's accountability, as well as to learn how and when they will be using the donations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tornado Devastation: How to Help

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A deadly string of tornados that ripped through the South and Midwest turned tightly knit rural communities into apocalyptic war zones, left dozens of people dead in five states and thousands homeless.

Schools were reduced to rubble, businesses were destroyed and families were left homeless by the disaster.

If you want to help, here is a list of organizations that are conducting relief efforts:


Make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


Donations can be made online, or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by texting the word "STORM" to 80888 to make a $10 donation by phone. Or by mail: The Salvation Army Disaster Relief P.O. Box 100339 Atlanta, Ga. 30384-0339


When you donate to Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, every dollar helps provide eight meals to families struggling with hunger. Feeding America can be reached at (800) 771-2303 (National Office) or online.


National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is the primary point of contact for voluntary organization in the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters. They also provide assistance to disaster victims as well as those looking to help.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tornado Threat Looms Large in Storm-Rattled Midwest and South

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Stronger twisters and extreme weather are expected Friday to again hit the Midwest and South. Earlier this week, 33 confirmed tornadoes left 13 people dead.

A large area of the country, stretching from the Ohio Valley into the deep South, is under threat of severe weather Friday morning.  Though it was relatively quiet overnight, the first storms could pop up around daybreak in the St. Louis area, according to Rich Thompson, lead forecaster with the National Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

The National Weather Service has indicated a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms for the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.  These storms are capable of producing winds of 75 miles per hour, large hail and long-lived significant tornadoes, according to the NWS.

"That area centered on Tennessee and especially Kentucky looks like it has the potential for some rather long track, what we call super cell storms or tornadoes along and ahead of a cold front," Thompson said.

"And if that actually occurs this would be the type of scenario where we could have some fairly strong longtrack tornadoes," he added.  "Today actually has the potential to cause even more problems than just two days ago."

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Meanwhile, authorities in a wide swath of the Midwest continued on Thursday to look for more tornado victims.  Over 300 reports of severe weather in the last 36 hours included golf ball-size hail and damaging thunderstorm winds gusting over 80 mph.

Residents across the seven states where tornadoes touched down over this week -- Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee -- are also digging out and sharing their stories of surviving the storms that included an EF4 -- the second-highest rating given to twisters, which can see peak winds of 170 mph.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Best States for Avoiding Expensive Weather Disasters

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene is expected to reach $7.2 billion across eight states and Washington, D.C., with $1 billion estimates for New York State alone, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

If this grim news has left you wondering which states are least likely to have expensive weather-related disasters, recent data suggests your best chance of avoiding them requires leaving the mainland for either Alaska or Hawaii.

According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), between 1980 and 2010, Hawaii and Alaska had the fewest costly weather-related catastrophes.

The NCDC only tallied disasters producing damage estimates totaling more than $1 billion, including insured and uninsured losses.

Adam Smith, a physical scientist who played a key role in integrating the different data sets used in the NCDC report, put out a new map on the website Thursday afternoon, reflecting 2011 data.

“The new map that incorporates the 10 events from this year still shows the South and Southeast have the highest number of billion-dollar weather disasters,” Smith said.

He cautioned one ‘event’ can affect several different states, so a weather disaster tallied in one state might be the same as the weather disaster tallied in another state.

In Alaska, wildfires spurred by drought during 2006, 2007 and 2008 took their toll, and in Hawaii, during September 1992, a category 4 hurricane hit the Hawaiian island of Kauai resulting in seven deaths.

Of course, in both states you may still have to contend with earthquakes.  Alaska has had more earthquakes than any other state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and Hawaii ranks third.

On the continental United States, Michigan, Maine and Vermont have had the fewest expensive weather-related disasters.  But as Hurricane Irene demonstrated, recent severe flooding in Vermont suggests nothing can be taken for granted, especially as new, extreme weather patterns continue to develop.

Regardless, Smith said, the coasts -- particularly in the South -- will continue to experience some of the biggest weather-related losses.

The states with the most weather-related disasters topping more than $1 billion are Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, which each had at least 31 expensive events in the past 30 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Single-Day Tornado Record Established in US Last Week

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It was a 24-hour period that no one in the Southeastern United States will ever forget.

From 8 a.m. last Wednesday until eight the next morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the region was struck by 226 tornadoes.  That makes it the largest outbreak of twisters ever recorded in history, far eclipsing the previous biggest single-day total of 148, set in 1974.

Additionally, NOAA said there were more than 600 tornadoes in the U.S. in April, breaking the previous monthly record in May 2003 that saw 542 twisters in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the death toll continues to climb, with at least 350 lives claimed from the storms that ravaged six states, in particular Alabama, where hundreds of people are still missing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Midwest, South Cleans Up After Series of Twisters

Comstock/Thinkstock (file photo)(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Residents in the Midwest and the South are cleaning up Monday after a series of tornadoes ripped through 14 states and left at least 45 people dead over the weekend.

More than 243 twisters have caused extensive damage from Oklahoma to Virginia since Thursday.  Parts of the Midwest and the South were hit by flash floods and hail.

Roofs were torn off and power was knocked out throughout the region as the string of twisters tore through Oklahoma, Arkansas and into the south. 

North Carolina was the hardest hit, with Gov. Beverly Perdue announcing that 22 residents have been killed.  Perdue toured devastated areas Sunday and said it was the most significant damage by tornadoes since the early 1980s.  She declared a state of emergency in more than a dozen North Carolina counties.

North Carolina officials say a series of tornadoes ripped through the heart of the state and the Raleigh area.  In addition to the deaths, the North Carolina storms injured 130 other people, ripped trees out of the ground, damaged or leveled hundreds of homes and left more than 84,000 people without power.

Authorities say the most devastated part of North Carolina is Bertie County, where at least 10 people were killed and 50 others injured, many critically.

Among the dead in North Carolina were three children who died when a tornado swept through a Raleigh mobile home park.

Patty McQuillan, a public information officer for North Carolina’s Division of Emergency Management, says a Lowe's home improvement store in the town of Sanford was destroyed by a tornado, but luckily no one was seriously injured because the manager had the foresight to hustle more than 100 customers and workers into a more fortified area of the building before the storm collapsed the front of the store and partially flattened the structure.

The tornadoes were part of a storm that swept through Oklahoma Thursday night before barreling through the South.  The severe weather is also responsible for deaths in Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Record Snow, Cold Hits the South

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ATLANTA) -- It was so cold in parts of the south Thursday that farmers in Arkansas woke up early to check that their newborn calves weren't sticking to the ground. Some cows actually had icicles growing down their backs. In Fayetteville, Arkansas temperatures dropped to a record-low -11 degrees.

It was  a rough commute all over the south as two feet of snow fell on parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  As snow fell in Little Rock, Arkansas, cars started sliding and couldn't stop. One after another, after another slipped down hills with drivers losing control, crashing into each other.

Across the region, the accidents are piling up.  North of Dallas, a collision involving six 18-wheelers and five cars on U.S. 75 shut down lanes in both directors for more than four hours.
In Fayetteville, a tractor trailer jackknifed soon after another truck slammed into it.  White out conditions in far eastern Oklahoma left many motorists stranded. Tulsa broke the record for the snowiest winter ever with 26.1 inches, making road conditions treacherous.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Southeast Thaws Out as Winter Storm Heads North

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The winter storm that grounded travelers and created icy roads across the southeast Monday is heading toward the northeast on Tuesday.

As it moves up the coast, weather forecasters said it will combine with snow from the midwest, bringing eight to 16 inches of snow in some areas, particularly in New England and New York's Long Island.

"It will be intensifying rapidly later today and tonight as it moves north," National Weather Service Meteorologist Christopher Hedge told ABC News Radio.  "And some heavy snow will be moving into the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, especially along the I-95 corridor from New Jersey all the way up through Boston."

Snow is expected to arrive Tuesday night and into the overnight with the heaviest snow to fall east of New York City.  It's the third time since Christmas a snowstorm has headed to the northeast.

Connecticut resident Denise Creacy says it's too much.  "I need a break but everybody's getting it.  My brother's from Atlanta and he texted me.  He goes, 'It shut down the city we have six inches,'" Creacy told ABC News Radio.  "'I'm like, six inches, what's that.'  Get your broom, you'll be fine."

From the Carolinas to Georgia to Tennessee, Southeast residents face lingering problems as authorities work to restore power and commuters drive on ice-covered roads.

The storm dropped about 15 inches of snow in parts of Jackson County, North Carolina, Monday.

Atlanta drivers are facing chaotic conditions after four-to-seven inches of snow and sleet turned many of the interstates into sheets of ice.  But the icy roads aren't their only concern.  About 1,000 people in the Atlanta area are still without power.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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