US weekend forecast: Triple threat of heavy rains, wildfires and blizzard

Harsh weather systems are unleashing three sets of menacing conditions Saturday: thunderstorms and tornado risks in t...

Posted: Apr 15, 2018 4:34 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2018 4:34 PM

Harsh weather systems are unleashing three sets of menacing conditions Saturday: thunderstorms and tornado risks in the South, more wildfire danger in Oklahoma and the southern Plains, and a blizzard in the upper Plains and Upper Midwest.

Severe storms already made their mark in western Arkansas, where a tornado flattened several homes Friday in Mountainburg, the town's mayor told CNN. A National Weather Service survey Friday in Mountain Home, Arkansas, showed that straight-line winds got up to 85 miles per hour in the area, according to CNN affiliate KFSM-TV.

Tornadoes also could be in play Saturday in parts of the South, where severe storms are poised to dump heavy rain. Parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are at an enhanced risk of severe weather conditions such as damaging winds and hail, the Storm Prediction Center said.

Track the severe storms here

Flooding also could occur in those states, as well as Arkansas and Tennessee, with more than 4 inches of rain possible in some spots over the weekend.

Mountainburg Mayor Neal Moon told CNN several homes and mobile homes were "completely gone" after Friday's tornado in his town, and many others sustained extensive damage. The tornado hit the elementary school, Moon said, but no children were there at the time.

Details about injuries, if any, weren't immediately available.

There's a storm chaser traffic jam in Tornado Alley

Joshua Brown posted a video of the storm on Twitter, saying, "I think we just drove through rotation in Mountainburg. Saw the wall cloud, saw the rotation. This video does not do it justice cause it formed really quickly."

Oklahoma wildfires kill 1, force evacuations

Meanwhile, the risk of wildfires in Oklahoma -- where blazes already have consumed more than 350,000 acres and forced some towns to evacuate -- and parts of the Southwest and southern Plains remains high.

Strong winds -- including gusts of 40 to 50 mph -- and dry conditions mean parts of Texas and Oklahoma are at extreme risk for wildfires Saturday.

Wildfires have been burning for a few days in parts of Oklahoma, leaving at least one man dead.

The largest blaze was in Oklahoma's Dewey County, which by Saturday morning had burned more than 240,000 acres and was only 3% contained, according to Oklahoma Forestry Services.

Evacuations had been ordered in the Dewey County towns of Vici, Seiling, Taloga and Putnam -- communities with combined populations of nearly 2,000 people -- officials said.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced a state of emergency for 52 of the state's 77 counties because of wildfire and drought conditions.

"I'm asking all Oklahomans to be vigilant and careful, and to do their part to prevent fires," Fallin said in a statement Friday. "Anything that can be done to minimize fires will help to keep both our firefighters and the public safe."

Blizzard underway

Yes, this weekend marks the middle of April. And yes, heavy snow is still in the forecast for the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Frigid air is filtering south from Canada, and where that air meets moisture, we are seeing blasts of April snow.

Some parts of the northern Plains already have picked up 1 to 2 feet of snow since Thursday. And blizzard warnings -- forecasting heavy snow and strong winds combining for whiteout conditions -- were in place Saturday morning in parts of Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Parts of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest could receive 8 inches to 2 feet of snow through the weekend.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said via Twitter it was temporarily suspending flights Saturday to include those taking off and landing because of a "lack of visibility and fast rate of snowfall."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68433

Reported Deaths: 2980
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14863719
Lake7101271
Elkhart459777
Allen3635158
St. Joseph315479
Hamilton2513104
Cass17519
Hendricks1750105
Vanderburgh172612
Johnson1652118
Porter119539
Tippecanoe110311
Clark108145
Madison84765
LaPorte83829
Kosciusko81912
Howard81065
Bartholomew74347
Marshall74222
Floyd69444
Monroe68630
Delaware63852
Noble63728
Boone63546
Dubois62612
Hancock62337
Jackson5524
LaGrange54210
Warrick51630
Shelby51126
Grant49629
Vigo47410
Dearborn46528
Morgan42532
Henry36118
Clinton3573
White34710
Montgomery34321
Lawrence32827
Wayne3179
Decatur31432
Harrison29422
Miami2582
Scott25010
Daviess24619
Greene23934
Franklin22410
DeKalb2224
Putnam2228
Jennings21012
Jasper2082
Gibson2004
Steuben2003
Ripley1887
Perry17212
Starke1657
Orange16424
Wabash1613
Posey1580
Fayette1557
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1462
Carroll1452
Wells1342
Knox1310
Huntington1183
Washington1161
Spencer1143
Newton11010
Tipton1075
Randolph1034
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan761
Pulaski721
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio514
Pike460
Parke451
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93963

Reported Deaths: 3539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17254514
Cuyahoga12753477
Hamilton9160248
Lucas4944318
Montgomery405778
Summit3294217
Marion288444
Butler271459
Mahoning2411253
Pickaway235742
Stark1690132
Lorain163476
Warren163435
Columbiana158260
Trumbull1433103
Fairfield125425
Delaware120618
Licking112543
Clark108613
Lake104336
Wood92458
Clermont85511
Medina83533
Miami76937
Tuscarawas74713
Portage71760
Allen65442
Greene62611
Belmont58926
Richland54012
Ashtabula53945
Mercer53513
Geauga53143
Erie52427
Wayne49958
Ross4014
Huron3764
Ottawa35925
Athens3451
Madison33310
Sandusky33217
Holmes3226
Darke32127
Hancock3202
Auglaize2225
Lawrence2200
Union2161
Jefferson2063
Washington19722
Putnam19217
Scioto1881
Coshocton1866
Muskingum1811
Knox1692
Crawford1685
Preble1662
Seneca1613
Shelby1604
Morrow1582
Hardin15012
Clinton1486
Fulton1401
Champaign1381
Ashland1333
Highland1321
Defiance1294
Williams1243
Logan1231
Wyandot1207
Brown1121
Guernsey1117
Hocking1119
Carroll1085
Henry1061
Perry1062
Fayette970
Monroe9118
Van Wert691
Jackson670
Pike660
Paulding610
Gallia581
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs250
Harrison201
Morgan200
Noble170
Unassigned00
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