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Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Winter Storm Sparks Tornadoes in Florida and Heavy Snowfall Hits Pacific Northwest: Latest Updates

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A massive storm wreaked havoc across the United States, unleashing tornadoes, blizzard conditions, and heavy rainfall, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

Southern Impact

The South bore the brunt of the storm, with powerful winds and suspected tornadoes causing fatalities, injuries, and significant damage. Florida witnessed wind gusts of up to 106 mph, leading to a state of emergency declared by Governor Ron DeSantis in 49 out of 67 counties.

Central U.S. Disruption

The storm disrupted central U.S., shutting down major highways and causing numerous accidents. Over 100 vehicle crashes were reported in Kansas, resulting in 19 injuries. In Oklahoma’s Boise City, all roads were closed due to stranded motorists.

Northeast Preparing for More Trouble

While the Northeast was still recovering from a recent snowstorm, heavy rainfall was predicted, raising concerns about widespread flooding. Flood warnings were issued for Washington D.C., central Maryland, and northern Virginia. Airports experienced delays and cancellations.

Power Outages and Flight Disruptions

More than 810,000 utility customers were without power, with significant outages in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York. The Federal Aviation Administration imposed ground stops at major airports, contributing to over 21,000 delayed and 2,000 canceled flights.

Tornadoes Hit Florida Panhandle

The National Weather Service confirmed at least three tornadoes in the Florida Panhandle, causing extensive damage. Tornado survey teams were deployed to assess the impact on various counties, including Walton, Bay, and Jackson.

Midwest and Arctic Blast Ahead

The storm’s aftermath sets the stage for further chaos, with a potential “bomb cyclone” blizzard predicted for the Midwest. An arctic blast from the Polar Vortex and a potential East Coast snowstorm add to the looming weather challenges.

Local Tragedies

Several fatalities were reported, including deaths in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. Tornadoes, fallen trees, and structural damage caused havoc in multiple communities. Cities like Marianna, Florida, witnessed extensive destruction, with RVs and campers flattened.

National Response and State of Emergency

Governor DeSantis declared a state of emergency, emphasizing the state’s resilience. The National Weather Service actively monitored the situation, issuing warnings and advisories to affected regions.

Blizzard Warnings in the Northwest

Blizzard warnings were issued in the Pacific Northwest and Idaho, anticipating heavy snowfall and dangerous conditions. The storm’s inland trajectory was expected to impact cities like Seattle, Portland, and Eugene.

Unusual Severe Weather in Hawaii

Even Hawaii experienced unusual weather, with a tornado warning issued on Maui. Ongoing thunderstorms and flooding threats added to the challenges, showcasing the storm’s far-reaching impact.

Conclusion

As the nation grapples with the aftermath of this destructive storm, the coming week promises additional weather challenges, underscoring the need for continued vigilance and preparedness.

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