Hurricane Ian Strengthens Back Into A Category 1 Hurricane Heading For The Carolinas, Florida Left Reeling In Its Wake

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2022 AS OF 9:30 AM EST

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Ian has again intensified into a Category (Cat) 1 hurricane after moving into the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern coast of Florida. As of 8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Hurricane Ian has a maximum sustained wind speed of 85 miles per hour (mph). The storm is currently located 105 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, and 185 miles south-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving north at 9 mph. A hurricane warning is in effect for Savannah River, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina and a hurricane watch is in effect for east of Cape Fear to Surf City, North Carolina. Hurricane-force winds currently extend up to 70 miles from the center of Hurricane Ian. Major river flooding is predicted to continue across Central Florida through next week, and storm surge warnings are in effect for parts of Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Governor DeSantis said Hurricane Ian caused “historic” damage in Florida, “We’ve never seen a storm surge of this magnitude,” he continued.

Hurricane Ian- GeoColor: NOAA

As of Thursday evening, September 29, emergency response teams have conducted more than 700 rescues in Florida, with the majority of efforts concentrated in the Fort Myers and Sanibel Island areas. The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) announced that more than 1,200 patients are being evacuated from a large health system in Fort Myers on September 29 due to the facility’s lack of water supply. State officials say these evacuations and rescues include efforts via air, sea, and high water vehicles, as some roads and bridges remain impassable. In Southwest Florida, at least five sections of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed as a result of the storm, leaving the island’s population of 6,400 without access to the mainland. Officials have confirmed at least 17 fatalities so far due to Hurricane Ian.

Twitter: NWS Tampa Bay

In a briefing released on September 29, Governor DeSantis reported that eight United States Army Reserve (USAR) staffed with 800 team members had been activated to perform search and rescue initiatives across impacted areas. DeSantis also announced that 42,000 linemen are actively responding to the more than two million power outage reports throughout Florida. 

In addition, President Biden approved South Carolina’s emergency declaration on Thursday, September 29, activating the state’s emergency operations plan and enabling preparations for Hurricane Ian’s landfall. As the NHC predicts “life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions” in the state by Friday afternoon, September 30, officials have agreed to dispatch federal assistance to supplement local emergency response efforts across impacted areas.

Twitter: Readygov

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides guidance to individuals preparing for, experiencing, or being affected by hurricanes. Hurricane Ian brings the potential for life-threatening storm surges to many coastal and urban communities. Individuals should heed the warnings of local authorities, including evacuating in advance if advised and if possible, and prepare for hurricanes and severe weather conditions. It is imperative that individuals seek higher ground and avoid walking or driving in flood waters. Additionally, FEMA encourages individuals to take the necessary precautions and prepare for flash flooding. FEMA suggests several precautionary steps people can take to protect their homes and personal properties from damage by high winds and floods, including reviewing flood insurance coverage.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates.

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Torrential Rainfall Leads to Catastrophic Flooding across Mississippi

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2022 AS OF 2:00 PM EST

Heavy, torrential rainfall and severe storm weather has led to catastrophic flooding across central Mississippi this week. The flooding began on Wednesday, August 24, after a slow-moving weather system produced record-breaking rainfall in multiple counties. The heavy rain prompted the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a flash flood emergency for nearly 300,000 people in Jackson, Mississippi, and surrounding communities. As the flooding progressed, high-water rescue vehicles were used to evacuate over 100 children and staff from a daycare facility in Florence, Mississippi, and dozens of nursing home residents in Brandon, Mississippi. As a result of the escalating flood waters, portions of a Newton County highway collapsed, creating a sinkhole into which a truck fell, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP). In addition, two pressurized train cars carrying carbon dioxide derailed in Brandon, Mississippi, after heavy rain washed out sections of the underlying track bed. While the location of the derailment is in close proximity to numerous neighborhoods, local authorities have indicated the situation poses no hazards to the community, as officers will be stationed at both ends of the track until the tanks are offloaded.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba declared a flash-flooding local emergency Wednesday afternoon, August 24, as this week’s heavy rain fosters risks of severe flooding from Pearl River. According to the NWS, discharge from the river’s reservoir has increased to 55,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs), leaving forecasters to expect a crest of 36 feet, eight feet above flood stage, by Tuesday morning, August 30. In a press conference on August 25, the mayor called for voluntary evacuations of numerous neighborhoods in Northeast Jackson in preparation for a Pearl River flood.

Twitter: MHP Meridian

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), weather events producing extreme rainfall have increased across the United States (US) and are projected to continue increasing, bringing community health risks. The volume of extreme precipitation and total rainfall accumulation has contributed to severe flooding, which is the second most fatal weather-related hazard accounting for approximately 98 deaths each year. These intense swings in weather conditions – from severe drought to extreme rainfall and flooding – has been coined “weather whiplash” and is a growing concern impacting communities across the country. At least half of the country has been plagued with drought conditions this summer and many regions are continuing to experience severe, extreme and exceptional drought, according to the US Drought Monitor’s map released on August 25. These extreme dry conditions have been followed by significant and record-breaking rainfall, including in the St. Louis metropolitan area from July 25-26, eastern Kentucky and central Appalachia from July 26-July 30, eastern Illinois on August 2, Death Valley National Park on August 5, and in the Dallas area on August 21.

Twitter: University of Reading

A team of scientists at the World Weather Attribution (WWA) are investigating the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events that are record-breaking, impact at least one million individuals, and cause a significant loss of life. According to WWA official Julie Arrighi, their team has already identified 41 qualifying weather events globally this calendar year – eight floods, three storms, eight droughts, 18 heat waves and four cold waves. Historically the US has experienced extreme rain events in connection with hurricanes or tropical storms, but as recently as this summer the country has seen “an overabundance of non-tropical related extreme rainfall,” according to the NWS Weather Prediction Center (WPC) forecast branch chief Greg Carbin.

FEMA Flood Safety: Source

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages individuals to take the necessary precautions and prepare for flash flooding. Flash floods can develop with little to no warning, quickly changing the surrounding area. FEMA suggested individuals seek higher ground, avoid walking or driving in flood waters, and heed the warnings of local authorities. The most important step is to seek shelter away from the water, which may necessitate getting to the highest ground possible, or evacuating the area if directed to do so. Individuals should pay close attention to national emergency alerts or local alerting systems for the most up-to-date instructions. It is imperative that individuals seek higher ground, and to avoid walking or driving in flood waters. 

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

Extreme Flooding Leads to Dozens of Rescues and Infrastructure Damage

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2022 AS OF 1:00 PM EST

Torrential rains caused historic flash flooding across the City of Moab, Utah and surrounding areas on the evening of Saturday, August 20. This was due to almost one inch of rain falling in a 20-minute time span, causing hazard situations throughout the city. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS), a total of 1.66 inches of rain fell between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm MDT. According to Chuck Williams, a City of Moab engineer, this extreme weather event qualifies as a 100-year flood, as reported by KUTV. In response, the City of Moab and Grand County officials issued emergency declarations, closed several unsafe roads and trails. Cities have made free sheltering and clean drinking water available for impacted homes and businesses in the downtown area.

Twitter: City of Moab, Utah

Elsewhere in Utah, rescuers continue to search for a woman who went missing while hiking at Zion National Park on Friday, August 19. According to reports, the woman did not return to her lodging that evening after visiting The Narrows, one of the most popular areas of the park and also the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. At approximately 2:15 pm MDT on Friday, park officials received a report that several hikers were impacted by a flash flood in the area, although at that time there were no visitors reported missing. Rescuers did transport one other person to an area hospital after finding them injured near the Temple of Sinawava. The National Park Service (NPS) has issued a news release providing updates on park closures and search and rescue efforts.

Twitter: NWS Fort Worth

In addition, severe storms in North Texas have prompted numerous water rescues as rainfall totals in some areas would qualify as a one-in-one-thousand-year flood. According to the NWS, flood warnings began Sunday evening, August 21, as a storm system intensified heavy rains across the Dallas-metropolitan and Fort Worth areas. In the eastern Dallas area, nearly 14 inches of rain was recorded in just 12 hours according to Harris County meteorologist Jeff Lindor. The Fort Worth Fire Department reported over 130 high water calls by midday Monday, August 22, with crews actively responding to 38 different scenes. As rain continued to fall in and around the area, the NWS in Fort Worth  issued warnings for continued risk of dangerous and life-threatening flooding until Monday afternoon, August 22. 

East of Dallas, Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana, and Nachez, Mississippi, are also bracing for extreme weather conditions as heavy rainfalls move across the Mississippi Valley. A flood watch has been issued until 7pm on Tuesday, August 23, with rainfall totals anticipated to reach between four and six inches in Northern Louisiana. The Southwestern Electric Power Company, which supplies a majority of homes in the region spanning from Dallas, Texas to Nachez, Mississippi, reported at noon on August 22 that over 4,800 customers remained without power due to heavy rain and down trees. The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) maintains a list of resources for updating residents on changing conditions, including the RAVE Mobile Safety alerts and notifications system to keep the public up-to-date on extreme weather events.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) : Ready Flooded Roads

FEMA encourages individuals to take the necessary precautions and prepare for flash flooding. Flash floods can develop with little to no warning, quickly changing the surrounding area. FEMA suggests individuals seek higher ground, avoid walking or driving in flood waters, and heed the warnings of local authorities. To stay informed about severe weather events, NOAA NWS provides the latest alerts in your area. Another way to stay updated is through real-time alerts available via the FEMA Mobile App and other local and national communication systems. FEMA encourages individuals to adhere to the guidance of local authorities in order to stay safe during wildfire events impacting their community.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

Multiple Types of Severe Weather Impact Over Half of the United States Last Week

TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2020 AS OF 5:00 PM EST

During the week of May 9, 2022, large portions of the United States (US) experienced severe weather. 

WILDFIRES OUT WEST

As of Tuesday May 17, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reports that there are 11 uncontained large fires that have burned nearly 400,000 acres across the US, with over 4,600 firefighters and other personnel supporting the response efforts. While the US remains at National Wildland Fire Preparedness Level 2, which signifies high to extreme fire danger in several parts of the country, the Southwestern US was elevated to Preparedness Level 4 in late April, the earliest the region has ever entered that level, according to Jake Nuttall of the US Forest Service.

The Southwestern US is currently in Level 4 risk: NIFC

The two most significant fire incidents in the Southwest are located in New Mexico: the Cerro Pelado Fire in Sandoval and the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire in San Miguel. The Cerro Pelado Fire began on Friday, April 22, by an unknown cause and, as of Tuesday, May 17, spans over 45,000 acres. The Incident Information System (InciWeb) reports that the fire is 71 percent contained and is estimated to be fully contained by Saturday, May 21. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Watch Center’s Daily Operations Briefing on Tuesday, May 17, the fire has led to 733 mandatory evacuations, has destroyed 10 structures, and has caused one injury to-date. Officials continue to closely monitor the fire’s path due to its proximity to the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). However, the laboratory’s website announced on Monday, May 16 that its status will return to the “Ready” stage of Ready, Set, Go in accordance with the Wildland Fire Action Guide published by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).

The Calf Canyon Fire and Hermits Peak Fire, which combined to form one complex incident on Saturday, April 23, is now New Mexico’s largest recorded wildfire in modern history and has burned more acres (nearly 300,000 according to InciWeb) across New Mexico than all of last year. Since the fires began (Hermits Peak on Wednesday, April 6 and Calf Canyon on Tuesday, April 19), the FEMA National Watch Center reports over 298,000 acres burned, more than 600 destroyed structures, and 40 injuries as a result of the fires. A Red Flag Warning is in effect today, Tuesday, May 17 from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) for the eastern plains due to low humidity, strong winds, and high temperatures. According to InciWeb on Tuesday, May 17, containment is currently at 26 percent and a trend of warm and dry conditions is expected to lead to increased fire activity over the coming days.

Twitter: NWS Albuquerque

EXTREME WEATHER ACROSS THE MIDWEST

As fires raged across the Western US, the Great Plains were hit with heavy winds and extreme dust that culminated in tornadoes and widespread damages, according to the Des Moines Register. The National Weather Service (NWS) of Omaha confirmed that events on May 12 qualified as derecho storms — widespread, long-lived wind storms that are associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. According to the NWS office in Sioux Falls, multiple lines of thunderstorms were observed traveling northeast from Nebraska up through the Dakotas and Minnesota at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. 

Severe weather reports caused by heavy wind and thunderstorms: NWS Sioux Falls

In addition to thunderstorms, the region experienced a rare weather phenomenon called a haboob, which occurs when wind collects dust ahead of a thunderstorm and creates large clouds of dust across a region. Iowa residents shared photos with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NWS depicting the Thursday, May 12 dust storms and showing clouds rolling through farmland and over homes. 

Haboob settling over homes in Rock Rapids, IA: NWS Sioux Falls

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Prevent accidental wildfires

WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND SAFETY

As the frequency and magnitude of wildfire activity continues to rise nationwide, FEMA encourages individuals to heed the guidance of local authorities to remain safe during wildfire events impacting their community. Developing weather situations and conditions are constantly being updated on NIFC’s website. The NIFC’s website also includes current wildfire counts, jurisdictions and states affected, and weather reports. To get a breakdown of public advisories by state and county, NOAA’s NWS provides a list of red flag warnings and air quality alerts in decreasing order of severity.

Often, wildfires spread rapidly and without warning, so it is important to know your risk and be prepared. May is National Wildfire Awareness Month, a good time to plan in case one of these dangerous blazes affects your community. Below are several important tips to consider.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM PREPAREDNESS AND SAFETY

As evidenced by the recent series of severe storms across parts of the Midwest, FEMA warns the public that thunderstorms are highly dangerous and can cause powerful winds, lightning, hail, flash flooding, and tornadoes. FEMA urges individuals to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against these violent storms. An essential preparedness measure is to sign up in advance for your community’s emergency alerts and warnings and to pay close attention to local weather reports for real-time conditions. Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for, survive during, and be safe after a thunderstorm.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

Western States on Alert as Fires and Droughts Continue

TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2022 AS OF 1:00 PM EST 

Communities across the western United States (US) are battling heat-related disasters and major fire events. In New Mexico, the Cerro Pelado Fire and Cooks Peak Fire continue to threaten areas west and east of Santa Fe, respectively. The Cerro Pelado Fire, first identified on April 22, has only 11 percent containment, according to New Mexico Fire Information. To date, this fire has engaged nearly 900 personnel and damaged 40,958 acres in New Mexico. Conversely, the Cook Fire, which began on April 17, 2022, has roughly 97 percent containment. With high containment for the Cooks Fire, firefighters are working to contain the Cerro Pelado fire, but expect that the fire will slowly progress south along Highway 4.  The US Forest Service (USFS) has issued Stage II Fire Restrictions for the impacted areas, meaning visitors and residents cannot participate in any igniting or burning of materials, including smoking. The order first went into effect on Monday, May 2, and applies to regions buffering the Santa Fe National Forest and Bandelier National Monument.

New Mexico Fire Information: Fire Map of the Cerro Pelado Fire

In addition to ongoing fire efforts to slow the spread of the Cerro Pelado Fire, firefighters in the Zuni Mountains have identified another wildfire, named the Quartz Fire. The fire was first identified on May 9th, but crews feel confident that it will not pose ongoing threats to communities; the fire is already 75 percent contained and there are no plans to evacuate. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) reported California was facing its driest year on record, with January through April precipitation the lowest on record since 1895. The Weather Channel noted the data is concerning, particularly as California is poised to enter its dry season and the state’s snowpack averaged 21 percent as of May 9. The state’s two largest reservoirs have reached critically low levels as California moves into the dry season; with Shasta Lake at 40 percent total capacity as of May 3, while Lake 

Oroville was at 55 percent capacity, according to the US Drought Monitor. The drought additionally affects much of the American West, with the US Drought Monitor also noting Lake Powell and Lake Mead in the Colorado River Basin are only at 24 percent and 31 percent capacity, respectively. New Mexico’s Elephant Butte Reservoir in the Rio Grande Basin is currently 13 percent full. Mary Lee Knecht, public affairs officer for the US Bureau of Reclamation’s California-Great Basin Region, told CNN that the agency anticipates “that in the Sacramento Valley alone, over 350,000 acres of farmland will be fallowed,” in an area that is larger than the City of Los Angeles.

Statewide Precipitation Ranks: NCEI

The Six P’s: CAL FIRE

As the threat of new and more frequent wildfires continues to rise, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages individuals to heed the guidance of local authorities to remain safe during wildfire events impacting their community. Developing weather situations and conditions are constantly being updated on the National Interagency Fire Center’s (NIFC’s) website. Current wildfire counts, jurisdictions and states affected, and weather reports are all available for the most up-to-date information. 

Individuals play a large role in community preparedness. NIFC recommends that members of communities impacted by wildfires can do their part by ensuring roadways are clear for emergency vehicles and flammable vegetation is kept away from structures. FEMA also recommends downloading their mobile application and text messaging system for instant notifications. To get a breakdown by State and County of public advisories, NOAA’s NWS has provided a list of red flag warnings and air quality alerts in decreasing order of severity.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

 

Multiple Wildfires Spread Across Western States, Resulting in Evacuation Orders and Destruction of Property

MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 AS OF 1:30 PM EST

Over the past week, the western half of the United States (US) has experienced severe weather. 

Wind-driven wildfires were reported in 14 counties across western and central Nebraska beginning on Friday, April 22nd. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated in order to coordinate a statewide response. Fires have reportedly destroyed 130,000 acres, although state officials have yet to disclose the official total burned area amounts or number of structures destroyed. The wildfires have claimed the life of one retired fire chief who was working as a spotter in Red Willow County when smoke and dust led to poor visibility, forcing his vehicle off the road; at least 15 firefighters have sustained injuries. On April 23rd the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII approved the state’s request for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) to provide emergency financial support for costs incurred by the State, according to NEMA. While as of April 24th all evacuation orders had been lifted and most fires had been extinguished or contained as of that afternoon, a Fire Weather Watch remains in effect for several areas across the state with an expected expiration of Tuesday, April 26 at 8:00pm CST.

Twitter: Nebraska Forest Service

Warm weather, high winds, and low humidity are also continuing to fuel a half-dozen wildfires across Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. The Tunnel Fire located approximately 14 miles northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona along US Highway 89 was reported on Sunday, April 17 and is currently 15 percent contained. The original cause of the fire is not currently known, and strong winds, including gusts of up to 50 miles per hour (mph), led to rapid expansion of the blaze forcing nearby residents to scramble to evacuate. An estimated 700 homes fell under evacuation orders, and according to Coconino County officials 766 homes and 1,000 animals were evacuated. What began as a small blaze, quickly grew to reach across nearly 21,100 acres. Erratic winds are also now creating additional difficulties with containing the fire as air resources were grounded. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) this year has already had above average fire activity. 

Due to the growing Tunnel Fire, following the Sheriff’s Office announcement of the evacuation of several neighborhoods on Tuesday, April 19, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency in Coconino County to assist first responders in their efforts to bring residents to safety on Thursday, April 21. This directed $200,000 in emergency funds to the response effort and ensures the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (DEMA) can coordinate across the state. The Coconino County Board of Supervisors held a community meeting on Saturday, April 23, to provide updates to residents and ensure a whole community response to this event. Despite high winds on Saturday evening, the fire was weakened by humidity in the region, allowing firefighters to assess fire containment efforts. As of Sunday morning, evacuation orders changed from “go” to “set” (Ready, Set, Go), indicating that the community should be ready to mobilize when needed but are not being asked to evacuate presently.

Twitter: Northwest Interagency Coordination Center

North of the Tunnel Fire, Denver and Boulder, Colorado were put under a Red Flag warning on Friday, April 22, to alert residents of extreme fire weather conditions. These include “very warm, dry, and windy weather (that) will make any new wildfire extremely difficult, if not impossible, to control,” according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) in Boulder. Despite snow in the forecast for parts of northwestern Colorado, the north and northeastern parts of the state will remain under warning until an upper level system brings rain on Sunday. In the meantime, residents of Denver, Boulder, and Larimer County are encouraged to sign up for the Larimer Emergency Telephone Authority’s Emergency Alerts to learn more about potential evacuations or fire conditions.

Twitter: Ready.gov

FEMA urges individuals to plan ahead for wildfire events that can strike a community on short notice and spread quickly. FEMA encourages individuals to stay on top of the latest alerts in their area, including monitoring of the NOAA NWS “Red Flag Warnings,” which indicate when critical fire weather conditions are occurring or will occur shortly; and taking advantage of real-time alerts available via the FEMA Mobile App and other local and national communication systems. It is also critical that households dedicate time together well in advance of a wildfire to create a wildfire action plan; inclusive of emergency meeting locations and evacuation routes, a communication plan, and an emergency supply kit. FEMA implores individuals to heed the warnings of local authorities and immediately adhere to evacuation orders in order to stay safe during a wildfire.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

RELATED STORIES

  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • FEMA’s America’s PrepareAthon: How to Prepare for a Wildfire
  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for wildfires: link

Extreme Weather Brings Tornadoes and Storms to Southern States

TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2022 AS OF 3:00 PM EDT

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) has predicted heavy to excessive rainfall, combined with severe thunderstorms throughout the Deep South on Tuesday before moving into the Southeast United States (US) on Wednesday. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) noted an enhanced to moderate risk for severe weather throughout approximately the same area, with storms capable of creating strong tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail. Rainfall from the same system is expected to move into the Midwest and middle/upper Mississippi Valley on Tuesday, with wintry precipitation a potential risk across northern regions of the country. The NWS Storm Prediction Center additionally tweeted that a tornado watch (with the likelihood of large hail) is in effect for southeastern Louisiana and southern and central Mississippi until 7pm Central Daylight Time (CDT) Tuesday. A tornado watch is also in effect for New Orleans until 7pm CDT, according to NOLA Ready

Twitter: Jesus Jimenez, KXAN in Austin

On Monday March 21, The AP News reported numerous tornadoes spread across portions of Texas and Oklahoma. The storms caused widespread damage and injuries along the Interstate 35 corridor in Texas.The worst damage was seen in the Austin suburbs of Round Rock and Elgin and the west-northwest portion of Dallas-Fort Worth. Officials reported at least four individuals were injured on Monday as a result of the storms. Jacksboro, Texas officials stated that high winds from a storm had ripped the wall and roof from portions of Jacksboro High School, according to AP News. The NOAA NWS issued a tornado watch that lasted in Central Texas counties until 1 am CDT on Monday, with Fox-affiliated 7 Austin recording that Gillespie County, Hays County, Bastrop County, Caldwell County, Lee County, Blanco County, Travis County, Llano County, Burnet County, Williamson County, Fayette County, Bell County, Milam County and Lampasas County all fell under the tornado watch.

Twitter: Ready.gov

Tornado preparedness

While tornadoes are most likely to occur in the US Midwest and Southeast regions, it is important that everyone be prepared for severe storms and weather. Knowing your risk and making a plan are the first steps in preparing for severe weather. 

Regardless of the hazards you may face, one essential preparedness measure it to sign up for emergency alerts and warnings and pay attention to local weather forecasts. Making a plan for severe weather and tornadoes includes identifying the safest place for you and your family, including any pets you might have. Safe rooms and storm shelters built to the International Code Council (ICC) 500 Standards, which define the “minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare relative to the design, construction, and installation of storm shelters”, are the safest option. However, if those are not available, the next best option is to shelter in a small, interior, windowless room or basement on the lowest level of a sturdily built building. Have an emergency kit ready that includes enough supplies like food and medicine.

During

If your area is under a severe weather or tornado warning, plan to take shelter immediately. However, you should never try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle. If you are in a car or outside and cannot get to shelter, the best thing to do is to lay flat on the ground, preferably in a ditch or ravine, and cover yourself as best you can, especially your neck and head. Pay close attention to local alert systems for current emergency information and updates, and don’t leave your shelter until it is safe to do so.

After

While the immediate danger may have passed, there are still safety considerations to remember once the storms are over. Continue to pay attention to local alerts and seek medical attention if you are sick or injured. Once you are able to leave shelter, stay clear of fallen power lines or other broken utilities and be very careful when navigating debris. Wear long pants and sleeves, work gloves, and heavy-soled shoes when clearing debris and follow the appropriate guidelines for staging debris and cleaning your home.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

Winter Weather Sweeps Across the Country, with a Multi-Day Storm Creating Widespread Travel Hazards

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 2, 2022 AS OF 2:00 PM EST

Almost 80 million Americans are currently facing winter storm watches or warnings ahead of heavy snow and ice, according to The Washington Post. These warnings reach from the Mexican border up until Canada, with major cities that include Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Dallas in the storm’s path. The National Weather Service (NWS) Prediction Center tweeted a ‘large and significant’ winter storm is anticipated to start on the evening of Tuesday, February 1 and last until February 4, ushering in winter weather hazards that include heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain. The winter weather is anticipated to reach most of the United States; with a range of severe weather and anticipated challenges stretching from the Mid-to-Southwest and the East Coast.

EAST COAST WINTER STORMS 

The northeastern United States (US), including New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, experienced a significant winter storm that started on Friday, January 28 and continued through the weekend. In early reports from the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center (WPC), the storm was predicted to bring heavy snow and strong winds from Maine to as far south as Wilmington, Delaware. The key messages of the WPC warned travelers and predicted scattered power outages caused by strong or damaging winds, whiteout conditions, and coastal flooding or erosion. The Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) identified primary marine hazards as gale, storm, and hurricane force winds during the formation of the bomb cyclone, or bombogenisis, on Friday. The NWS also predicted significant impacts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, noting higher-than-average levels of snow and gusty winds. Following initial snowfall, the NWS issued an update predicting especially cold temperatures through Saturday and into Sunday morning. Upstate New York recorded minimum temperatures in the -30s on Sunday as a result of the strong winds and cold system. 

According to the NWS, some regions of the eastern US had as much as 30 inches of snow, with the greatest accumulations surrounding the Boston Metropolitan area and Long Island, New York. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued travel advisories throughout the storm and assured residents that the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) was addressing community needs in sheltering, food supplies, and rescue with power outages in mind. MEMA identified roughly 55,000 customers without power across the state. New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency ahead of incoming snow and wind, calling for the activation of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ (NYSDHSES) Emergency Operations Center (EOC). She echoed Governor Baker’s message to avoid unnecessary travel and stay alert for changes caused by high winds. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and Delaware Governor John Carney were among the state leaders to join Governor Hochul in calling for a statewide emergency in response to the winter storm. 

Twitter: NWS Eastern Region, Corrected Snowfall Reports

COLD FRONTS IN THE SOUTH

CNN is reporting that this week’s winter storm is expected to stretch over 2,000 miles and across 21 states, impacting more than 85 billion people, including areas across the Southern US starting Wednesday, February 2 through Sunday, February 6, when temperatures are expected to return to normal. In the southern US, the NWS WPC is warning of “frigid air” extending from the Great Lakes to the South High Plains due to the “emergence of arctic high pressure in the front’s wake” between Wednesday and Friday, causing impacted areas to experience temperatures 10 to 25 degrees below average. The New York Times reports that a combination of cold temperatures and wind chills could cause part of eastern New Mexico to feel like 20 to 25 degrees below zero, according to NWS Albuquerque meteorologist, Brian Guyer; likewise, Fort Worth, TX may see temperatures drop to 10 degrees below zero, according to NWS Fort Worth/Dallas meteorologist, Monique Sellers. 

Along with the frigid temperatures, experts are anticipating freezing rain and ice accumulation from Texas through the Ohio River Valley, including the potential for up to a quarter inch of ice accumulation in areas surrounding Dallas and Fort Worth, TX, according to the latest forecast by NWS Fort Worth/Dallas. In other areas of the South, like outside of Little Rock, AR, ice accumulation may reach as high as three quarters of an inch. The impacts of freezing rain and ice are significant, making travel dangerous and causing an increased risk of downed power lines and power outages. 

Twitter: NWS Fort Worth

Twitter: NWS Weather Prediction Center

MIDWEST WINTER STORMS

The NWS issued a winter storm warning across east central and northeast Kansas to Missouri, to remain in effect until noon CST Thursday, February 3. Winter Storm Landon is predicted to bring snow, sleet, and freezing rain over more than 1,8000 miles; from the Colorado Rockies to the Midwest Plains, according to The Weather Channel. CNN also reported the winter storm could stretch across 21 states, reaching over 85 million people under weather alerts. CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller forecast that Toledo, Ohio could experience the city’s greatest snowfall in 100 years, with a forecast of 16 inches, “which would rank behind 20.2 inches in 1900.”.

Twitter: Alex Lamers

The Midwest is anticipated to face two rounds of winter weather; NWS Chicago tweeted the first round of snow will continue through Wednesday afternoon, while the second round will continue through Thursday morning, with additional snow accumulations south of a line from Paxton, Illinois to Rennsselaer, Indiana. The same source also tweeted widespread snow totals could range between eight to 12 inches.

In anticipation of the impending severe weather, NWS has issued Hazardous Weather Outlooks, Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories, and Wind Chill Advisories for the areas expected to be impacted. The Dallas Morning News reports that preparations for the freeze are well underway in Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott and state leaders held a press conference on Tuesday to assure Texans that the state has spent the past year getting ready for another severe winter weather event in the wake of the 2021 winter storm. Notably, Texas’ power grid, which failed and caused severe power outages across the state last winter, has been inspected and prepared to withstand future storms, according to Brad Jones, interim Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) president and CEO.

Twitter: Ready.gov

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging residents and businesses in the path of this week’s severe weather to make preparations now, per a January 31st press release issued by FEMA Region 5. Acting regional administrator for FEMA Region 5, Moises Dugan, offers several key reminders when faced with severe winter weather, including avoiding all unnecessary travel, ensuring your vehicle’s gas tank is full and has emergency supplies, and checking on neighbors and friends in need of assistance. According to FEMA, winter storms can last from several hours up to several days; disrupt access to heat, power, and communications; pose additional risks for vulnerable populations like older adults, children, those who are ill, and pets; and can “create higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion.” In order to stay safe, it is important to pay close attention to local weather reports, The Emergency Alert System, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for the latest warnings, watches, advisories, and to seek shelter immediately when instructed to do so.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

Tsunamis Advisories and Snow Storms: Severe Weather Events Impact Most of the United States Throughout Month of January

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2022 AS OF 12:00 PM EST

Over the past month, the United States (US) has experienced severe weather such as wildfires, tornadoes, Tsunami waves from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga- Ha’apai Underwater Volcano eruption, and severe winter storms.

WINTER STORM IZZY

According to the Weather Channel, earlier this week, Winter Storm Izzy impacted 19 states and produced strong winds, ice, and significant snowfall across large portions of the US Midwest, East Coast, Southeast and mid-Atlantic. Some northern states recorded snowfall of over 16 inches and snow impacted southern states like Georgia and South Carolina causing dangerous road conditions and power outages. The storm caused significant delays and cancellations to air travel with thousands of flights being canceled beginning Sunday, January 16 to early into the week on January 17.

CNN reported that Winter Storm Izzy’s Storm System was the cause of multiple tornadoes across Florida including an EF-2 Tornado in Lee County Florida in the early morning of Sunday, January 16. Tornadoes caused thousands to lose power and caused damage to many homes and structures.

According to The Weather Channel, the Governors of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia issued emergency declarations ahead of the storms on Friday, January 14. In preparation for the extreme winter weather, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia’s Governors activated their National Guards to assist with stranded motorists, storm damage, and other needs that would be brought on by the storm. Earlier this month, a winter storm caused several accidents on a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 south of Washington, DC. As a result, The New York Times noted numerous motorists were stranded on the interstate overnight, some for over 20 hours. 

Twitter: NWS Raleigh

As the weekend approaches, winter weather continues to pose dangers to southeastern states as the weekend approaches. AccuWeather meteorologists have reported that portions of the coastal southeast, from southeastern Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula, could receive up to a foot of snow from late Thursday night to Saturday morning. A state of emergency has been declared in South Carolina and North Carolina due to the impacts expected from the wintry weather.

IMPACTS FROM THE TONGA TSUNAMI

Twitter: NWS Los Angeles

On the afternoon of January 14, the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga- Ha’apai Underwater Volcano erupted about 20 miles southeast of the coast of one of Tonga’s Islands. According to the BBC, the volcanic eruption caused a tsunami on Tonga’s largest island and caused Tsunami warnings and affects that impacted places as far as the US, Canada, and Peru. The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that Tsunami waves were felt in California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Street flooding and pier flooding was also reported in these areas with little damage to property. The NWS also reported that the volcanic eruption caused pressure fluctuations from shockwaves that were recorded around the world, including in Chicago.

Ready.gov

 The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages individuals to prepare and plan for disasters. It’s never too soon to prepare for an event. Individuals should follow the guidance of local authorities and remain safe. Another way to stay updated is taking advantage of real-time alerts available via the FEMA Mobile App and other local and national communication systems. FEMA encourages individuals to adhere to the guidance of local authorities in order to stay safe during wildfire events impacting their community.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.

Severe Weather Brings Winter Storms, Strong Winds, and Wildfires to Various Parts of the United States

TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2022 AS OF 2:30 PM EST

Over the past week, the United States (US) has experienced severe weather from coast to coast.

EAST COAST WINTER STORMS 

On Monday, January 3, a winter storm produced strong winds and significant snowfall across large portions of the US Southeast and mid-Atlantic. The National Weather Service (NWS) reported Virginia experienced over 14 inches of snow, while Maryland saw 13 inches. Washington, DC additionally experienced 8.5 inches of snow, while North Carolina saw 11 inches. Alabama and Florida also experienced snowfall. The storm has created critical conditions across the East Coast, resulting in casualties for at least five people. Power outages have spread across the coast, with PowerOutage.US reporting Virginia is currently experiencing 260,372 outages as of Tuesday morning.

Reuters also noted that the severe weather forced federal government offices to close in Washington, D.C., with President Joe Biden and his staff forced to remain on Air Force One for 30 minutes as plows cleared the runway. Schools throughout the area were also closed or delayed, and public transportation around the nation’s capital was required to operate on a reduced schedule. 

On Monday evening, several accidents occurred on a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 south of Washington, DC. As a result, The New York Times noted numerous motorists were stranded on the interstate overnight. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a statement, declaring the state was connecting the stranded drivers with support and working with localities to open warming shelters. 

National Weather Service: Twitter

COLORADO WILDFIRES

In the western part of the country, the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, Colorado erupted on the morning of Thursday, December 30, where dry conditions and winds in excess of 100 miles per hour (mph) facilitated the fire’s spread. According to The Weather Channel, over 30,000 residents in southern Boulder and Broomfield counties were forced to evacuate and more than 1,000 homes were destroyed in the fire. The Marshall Fire spread over 9 square miles in a densely developed, primarily suburban area, including the Colorado City of Louisville and town of Superior. Colorado Governor Jared Polis gave a news briefing on Friday, December 31, stating that President Biden approved a major disaster declaration for the areas destroyed by the fire and paving the way for federal disaster aid. The Weather Channel noted that while the fire is still burning, officials said it is not expected to grow any larger due to calmer winds and snow moving into the region.

Officials with the Boulder County Office of Emergency Management held a briefing on Monday, January 3, to update citizens on the response to the Marshall fire. Two individuals are currently missing as a result of the wildfire. However, officials were able to announce a third missing person from Louisville was located and is “alive and well.” The origin of the fire is still unknown, and Governor Polis added that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is actively investigating the cause of the fire. Officials have set up a Disaster Assistance Center for community members who have been impacted in various ways by the Marshal Fire.

Planning an evacuation route in case of wildfire: Ready.gov

Currently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center forecasts Critical Fire Weather for East-Central New Mexico, parts of the South Plains as well as portions of the Texas Panhandle. Wildfires often strike communities with little notice, which is why the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges individuals to plan ahead. This includes learning and practicing your household’s evacuation routes, as well as preparing an emergency supply kit. To stay informed about wildfire events, the (NOAA) National Weather Services (NWS) provides the latest alerts in your area in the form of “Red Flag Warnings,” which indicate when critical fire weather conditions are occurring or will occur shortly. Another way to stay updated is taking advantage of real-time alerts available via the FEMA Mobile App and other local and national communication systems. FEMA encourages individuals to adhere to the guidance of local authorities in order to stay safe during wildfire events impacting their community.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.