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Joplin storm contained a rare multivortex tornado

May 25, 2011 Comments off

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Shawn and Joella Zaccarello of Joplin pitched in Tuesday to help sort through the damage of their uncle’s home, which was destroyed by Sunday evening’s tornado that swept through the city’s central section. DAVID EULITT
Shawn and Joella Zaccarello of Joplin pitched in Tuesday to help sort through the damage of their uncle’s home, which was destroyed by Sunday evening’s tornado that swept through the city’s central section.

JOPLIN, Mo. | The death toll from Sunday’s tornado has risen to 122, making it the eighth-deadliest tornado in U.S. history, the National Weather Service said.

The Joplin twister was upgraded to EF-5, the strongest category on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with winds exceeding 200 mph. The storm was apparently a “multivortex” tornado, with two or more small and intense centers of rotation orbiting the larger funnel, a rare occurrence.

It’s the country’s deadliest storm since 1950.

The number of those still missing isn’t known because many have left Joplin to stay with relatives and friends. Rescue Read more…

Snowstorm Breaks Records from Oklahoma to Mississippi

February 11, 2011 Comments off

Before creating travel hazards across the Southeast, a winter storm dumped feet of snow over parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas and set several snowfall records across the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.

The brunt of Wednesday’s winter storm was endured by far northeastern Oklahoma and neighboring northwestern Arkansas, where snow amounted to around 2 feet.

More specifically, an area near the town of Jay, Okla., measured 25.0 inches. Springdale, Ark., recorded 2 feet exactly.

Between 16 to 18 inches buried Fayetteville, Ark. The city only averages 6.1 inches for an entire winter.

A car became stranded in the snow on Interstate 540 in Fayetteville, Ark., on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)

A couple of factors went into play for the winter storm to Read more…

Winter storm brings much of America’s heartland to a standstill

February 2, 2011 Comments off
Lorries struggle through whiteout conditions on the I-70 highway in Missouri
Lorries struggle in whiteout conditions on the I-70 highway in Missouri. Photograph: LG Patterson/AP

A huge winter storm, described as the worst in decades, has brought much of America’s heartland to standstill, closing airports, main roads, schools, colleges and government officies.

The streets of Dallas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa were deserted, and more snow and freezing temperatures are forecast. Chicago is expecting 60cm (2ft) of snow, Indianapolis 2.5cm of ice.

The weather system, which stretches 2,000 miles across a third of the country from Texas to Maine, brought with it a cold front that has seen temperatures dropping to -12C (9F) and lower in its wake. Winds topped 60mph in Texas, while in Chicago public schools called a snow day for the first time in 12 years. Both the city’s major airports are closed. Chicago officials also the city’s iconic Lake Shore Drive after numerous accidents left motorists stranded for several hours. Officials said the move was temporary, but Read more…

Oklahoma budgets could be cut up to 10 percent

January 16, 2011 1 comment

OKLAHOMA CITY — The head of the Senate committee overseeing the state budget is warning agency heads to prepare for funding cuts of up to 10 percent and directed them to produce plans on how to make the reductions.

Sen. David Myers, the new head of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, said Thursday he has begun giving agency heads the bad news as legislative leaders consider ways of filling a deficit estimated at nearly $600 million, or 10 percent of the overall state budget.

Some agency officials were shaken by the magnitude of the potential cuts, he said. “They’re giving us those responses, which in some cases are pretty painful,” Myers, R-Ponca City, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re going to have to look at those and evaluate how much pain do we want to put here or there. We’re going to be looking at that very steadily over the next few months.”

Although lawmakers have known the size of the estimated deficit for months, Myers’ comments are the first to specify the potential cutbacks envisioned in state programs.

Alex Weintz, spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, said the extent of the reductions needed won’t be known Read more…