Associated Press reported that at least 19 people have died in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama between Wednesday and Saturday. Also, tornadoes left 11 dead in Texas, and floods caused 13 fatalities in Missouri and Illinois, which is a total of 43 deaths due to meteorological conditions in the country in just 5 days. That being said, the National Weather Service declared that an abundance of weather impacts are expected to occur in the Midwest and Plains.
The site FlightAware.com reported that at least 900 flights had been canceled in the country by 10:30 a.m., and around 1,000 were delayed, mostly because of a freezing storm and heavy winds that have affected the two principal airports of Chicago. Other flights from Dallas-Fort International Airport were affected because of the tornadoes that occurred in the Dallas Suburbs.
It was calculated by local authorities that at least 1,450 homes in North Texas were damaged or destroyed by nine tornados. Garland Police Lt. Pedro Barineau said that what happened had a huge impact in their community and they were all suffering. According to Missouri Storm Aware, tornado winds can reach 300 miles per hour. The site reported the natural phenomenon cause an average of 70 fatalities and 1,500 injuries in the country each year.
Oklahoma is also being affected by weather conditions. It seems that “disastrous” flooding will take place in Eastern Oklahoma, The National Weather Service reported. The state already declared state of emergency as a consequence of blizzards that are affecting the western and central parts of the region. According to official reports, more than 50 people have been injured.
Yesterday it was announced that Missouri was in state of emergency as a consequence of the huge flooding and river levels that are expected to rise in the next days. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has already done several water rescues and has assisted people in the evacuations of affected areas. The government recommended Missourians must avoid flood-affected areas, since a foot of water will float many vehicles and two feet can carry away most vehicles such as pick-ups.
The governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, also declared state of emergency on Sunday, when the National Guard started the rescue of stranded drivers. At least 10,000 people in eastern New Mexico were without power on Sunday.
“Someone may look out the winter in Albuquerque or Santa Fe and say, ‘It doesn’t seem that bad,’ but it is extremely bad. I cannot express how serious the situation is. The southeastern part of the state has 16 to 20 inches of snow with snow drifts of 8 to 10 feet,” said Martinez.
Declaring state of emergency is a measure that can help states when they can be most affected by extreme conditions.
“Practically speaking, it means we have the ability to activate the National Guard, we have the ability to access federal funding and we have the ability to have a better coordination throughout state government,” Rhode Island Governor Gia Raimondo said in a 2014 interview with WPRI.
Source: CBS News