Wild weather across U.S.


Wet, mild locally, but storms throughout nation

By The Associated Press and News Journal staff



Even with this week’s cold, windy and rainy weather, Gerry Krisa still manages to take his dog Duke out for their daily walk in Wilmington. Duke, a German Shepherd-Boxer mix that Gerry adopted from the Clinton County Humane Society, normally doesn’t like going outside in the rain. However, since Duke now has a poncho, he actually enjoys the outing in bad weather — as long as he doesn’t have to wear the attached hood. The water-repellent, reflective garments are worn for safety and ease of visibility while walking at night. Though ironically, they cause several friendly passersby to ask if the dog/man team is performing undercover police work, while other strangers scurry off in the opposite direction.

Even with this week’s cold, windy and rainy weather, Gerry Krisa still manages to take his dog Duke out for their daily walk in Wilmington. Duke, a German Shepherd-Boxer mix that Gerry adopted from the Clinton County Humane Society, normally doesn’t like going outside in the rain. However, since Duke now has a poncho, he actually enjoys the outing in bad weather — as long as he doesn’t have to wear the attached hood. The water-repellent, reflective garments are worn for safety and ease of visibility while walking at night. Though ironically, they cause several friendly passersby to ask if the dog/man team is performing undercover police work, while other strangers scurry off in the opposite direction.


Christine Krisa photo

Lytle Creek in Wilmington swelled in response to heavy rains Monday.


Nathan Kraatz | News Journal

Jesse Nelson, left, 32, of Barnhart, Mo., and Ryan Morris, 20, of Imperial, join other volunteers in making sandbags as the Mississippi River rises after several days of rain in Kimmswick, south of St. Louis on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT


Nathan Kraatz | News Journal

People assess the damage to a storage facility destroyed by Saturday's tornado in Garland, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. Tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area caused substantial damage and at least 11 people died either from the storm or related traffic accidents and dozens of people were injured. (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News via AP) MANDATORY


Nathan Kraatz | News Journal

Odessa Police block access to the railroad underpass on Grant Avenue near Second Street, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Odessa, Texas. Nearly all of Interstate 40 in Texas, the main east-west highway through the Texas Panhandle, has been shut because of the snowstorm pummeling the area. The Texas Department of Public Safety says only a small section of the highway within Amarillo is not closed. (Mark Sterkel/Odessa American via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT


Nathan Kraatz | News Journal

More than 1,400 flights were canceled across the U.S. and 2,600 delayed Monday due to the large storm system moving through the middle part of the country.

Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that nearly half of the cancellations were at Chicago’s two main airports. Another large chunk came from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; several tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Dallas suburbs.

Other cities with an unusually large number of cancellations included Houston, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Lubbock, Texas.

A typical day sees about 150 cancellations and 4,000 delays.

Heavy rain and strong winds, like forecast for parts of Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas on Monday, are often more troubling for airlines than snowfall.

In Clinton County, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch from 11 a.m. Monday morning to 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. In announcing the watch, the NWS said a cold front will push across the region tonight. With its moist air mass, the front is expected to create periods of widespread rain through the night.

The NWS predicted between 0.5 inch and 1.5 inches of rain and warned people of potential flooding in low-lying areas, creeks and streams.

Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action if flooding develops, the NWS said.

Tornado aftermath

Officials have identified seven of the eight people who died when a tornado hit the Dallas suburb of Garland, including a 1-year-old.

The Dallas County medical examiner’s office says those killed were 1-year-old Kamryn Crain, 27-year-old Petra Ruiz, 30-year-old Kimberly Tippett, 32-year-old Lashondra Whitaker, 42-year-old Sharva Sanders, 58-year-old Timothy Harris and 77-year-old Cecil Lowrie.

The National Weather Service has said an EF-4 tornado, which is the second-most powerful with winds up to more than 200 mph, hit the community at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

At least 11 died when tornadoes swept through the Dallas area. Three people died in Collin County.

Flooding deaths

Authorities in Georgia have confirmed two more deaths due to floodwaters.

Gordon County Chief Deputy Robert Paris said they’ve recovered the body of a man whose car was swept away when water overtook his car. Paris said the car was located late Sunday, but it wasn’t safe for divers to reach it in the swift-moving waters until Monday.

The man’s name wasn’t released. Paris said he was from Chattooga County.

Paris said the second body was recovered Monday at Self Lake, and authorities were investigating how that person died.

Forecasters say more rain was expected Monday in the county about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Texas road reopens

Texas officials say Interstate 40, the main east-west highway across the Panhandle, has reopened.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Cindy Barkley says the interstate reopened Monday morning. She said Texas Department of Transportation crews have been out to clear the roads.

The Texas Department of Transportation says, though, that many roads across West Texas and the Panhandle remain closed with snow-packed and icy conditions.

Texas officials say traffic on part of Interstate 10 in the western part of the state was slowly moving again Monday after coming to a standstill due to icy conditions and multiple accidents.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Gene Powell said Monday morning that traffic was moving now, “very slowly” in the area where Interstate 10 splits into Interstate 20. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Elizabeth Carter said traffic had been backed up for about 13 miles.

Powell said traffic became snarled Sunday night and there were people who were “virtually stationary” in their vehicles overnight. He said Monday a fuel truck was patrolling the area.

Vito Randazzo, of Alpine, California, was driving across the country and was among those who got stuck, beginning at about 8 p.m. Sunday. Around 9 a.m. Monday he was able to see where he could drive across a median and get onto a service road.

Winter storm in Oklahoma

Oklahoma emergency officials say more than 50 people have been injured and about 175,000 are without power after a powerful winter storm blanketed much of the state with ice and brought flooding to eastern parts of the state.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain says there were no immediate reports of weather-related deaths, but the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is searching for two hunters missing in Kay County.

Patrol spokesman Lt. John Vincent says the men were reportedly in a boat on Kaw Lake. Vincent says rescuers found the capsized boat, but there were no signs of the men. The search resumed at daybreak Monday.

Car accidents from icy roads were reported across mostly central and western Oklahoma.

Storm pummels New Mexico

Eastbound Interstate 40 is being reopened in eastern New Mexico after an extended closure due to the major storm that pummeled parts of the state.

The Department of Transportation says the freeway initially reopened Monday morning in Santa Rosa and Tucumcari. The next stages being reopened by late Monday morning are in Moriarity and Albuquerque.

The department also says its crews worked throughout the night to clear the highway, which was closed in eastern New Mexico over the weekend.

Elsewhere, some highways remain icy and snow-packed and the department is advising drivers to use caution.

Mississippi River up

Residents in and around the small St. Louis-area town of West Alton are evacuating as the Mississippi River nears a potential record crest.

An unusual amount of late-fall rain had the river already high before torrential downpours that began Saturday. Some parts of eastern Missouri have received 6 inches of rain or more over the past three days. Heavy rain was falling again Monday.

West Alton officials on Sunday ordered evacuations, saying the expected crest of 38.9 feet on Thursday will top the levee by nearly 5 feet.

West Alton, about 20 miles north of St. Louis, has about 520 residents.

Authorities say more than 180 Missouri roads are closed because of flooding.

The Missouri State Department of Transportation says the closures include eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in St. Charles County. Though both lanes closed Sunday because of rising flood waters, the westbound lanes reopened Monday morning.

Several bridges in southeastern Missouri counties also are closed because of flooding.

The National Weather Service said three to six inches of rain fell during the weekend, and up to four inches more is expected through Monday.

Alabama tornado

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama, say a tornado has been reported in northwest Florida.

Gene Jacobi says there have been no reports of injuries or property damage in Molino.

Forecasters say the line of severe weather is expected to make its way across the Panhandle on Monday. Some areas have reported local flooding from heavy rains overnight and the previous week.

On Pensacola Beach, the National Park Service closed some flood-prone roads in Gulf Islands National Seashore because of potential flooding.

Even with this week’s cold, windy and rainy weather, Gerry Krisa still manages to take his dog Duke out for their daily walk in Wilmington. Duke, a German Shepherd-Boxer mix that Gerry adopted from the Clinton County Humane Society, normally doesn’t like going outside in the rain. However, since Duke now has a poncho, he actually enjoys the outing in bad weather — as long as he doesn’t have to wear the attached hood. The water-repellent, reflective garments are worn for safety and ease of visibility while walking at night. Though ironically, they cause several friendly passersby to ask if the dog/man team is performing undercover police work, while other strangers scurry off in the opposite direction.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_duke.jpgEven with this week’s cold, windy and rainy weather, Gerry Krisa still manages to take his dog Duke out for their daily walk in Wilmington. Duke, a German Shepherd-Boxer mix that Gerry adopted from the Clinton County Humane Society, normally doesn’t like going outside in the rain. However, since Duke now has a poncho, he actually enjoys the outing in bad weather — as long as he doesn’t have to wear the attached hood. The water-repellent, reflective garments are worn for safety and ease of visibility while walking at night. Though ironically, they cause several friendly passersby to ask if the dog/man team is performing undercover police work, while other strangers scurry off in the opposite direction. Christine Krisa photo

Lytle Creek in Wilmington swelled in response to heavy rains Monday.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_creek.jpgLytle Creek in Wilmington swelled in response to heavy rains Monday. Nathan Kraatz | News Journal

Jesse Nelson, left, 32, of Barnhart, Mo., and Ryan Morris, 20, of Imperial, join other volunteers in making sandbags as the Mississippi River rises after several days of rain in Kimmswick, south of St. Louis on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_miss.jpgJesse Nelson, left, 32, of Barnhart, Mo., and Ryan Morris, 20, of Imperial, join other volunteers in making sandbags as the Mississippi River rises after several days of rain in Kimmswick, south of St. Louis on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP) MANDATORY CREDITNathan Kraatz | News Journal

People assess the damage to a storage facility destroyed by Saturday’s tornado in Garland, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. Tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area caused substantial damage and at least 11 people died either from the storm or related traffic accidents and dozens of people were injured. (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News via AP) MANDATORY
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_tornado-Texas.jpgPeople assess the damage to a storage facility destroyed by Saturday’s tornado in Garland, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. Tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area caused substantial damage and at least 11 people died either from the storm or related traffic accidents and dozens of people were injured. (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News via AP) MANDATORYNathan Kraatz | News Journal

Odessa Police block access to the railroad underpass on Grant Avenue near Second Street, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Odessa, Texas. Nearly all of Interstate 40 in Texas, the main east-west highway through the Texas Panhandle, has been shut because of the snowstorm pummeling the area. The Texas Department of Public Safety says only a small section of the highway within Amarillo is not closed. (Mark Sterkel/Odessa American via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2015/12/web1_ice.jpgOdessa Police block access to the railroad underpass on Grant Avenue near Second Street, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Odessa, Texas. Nearly all of Interstate 40 in Texas, the main east-west highway through the Texas Panhandle, has been shut because of the snowstorm pummeling the area. The Texas Department of Public Safety says only a small section of the highway within Amarillo is not closed. (Mark Sterkel/Odessa American via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT Nathan Kraatz | News Journal
Wet, mild locally, but storms throughout nation

By The Associated Press and News Journal staff