Tornadoes reported as record winds blow through central US
Historically-fierce winds hit portions of the midwest Wednesday, damaging buildings, closing highways, overturning trucks and leaving more than 500,000 people without power, according to multiple reports.
Wednesday broke the record for the most gusts over 75 miles per hour in over fifteen years, according to NBC News.
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan were still dealing with the blustering winds Thursday, and the severe weather killed at least one person in Iowa, according to USA Today.
The severe weather downed trees and power lines, carried smoke and dust over state lines, blew over semi-trucks, damaged buildings and closed highways, news outlets reported.
“Very unusual for December,” Bryon Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told NBC News, adding, “Going back at least 50 years there hasn’t been an event in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa like this in the month of December.”
Staff at Kansas City International Airport had to evacuate air traffic control tower personnel on Wednesday and Des Moines International Airport also suffered disruptions, notes NBC.
5:50pm @KCIAirport is at “Air Traffic Control (ATC) Zero”. For their safety FAA staff in the tower cab evacuated. This means there is no Air Traffic Control for flights at the airport. There will likely be diversions and delays. Anticipate 1 hour. Check https://t.co/sshKJZCarq
— Kansas City International Airport (@KCIAirport) December 16, 2021
Major highways in Kansas shut down as some areas saw in the Sunflower State had nearly zero visibility, according to NBC.
“If you don’t have to travel, don’t. Stay home,” the Kansas Department of Transportation said in a tweet.
Areas in Jefferson, Colo. also saw wind gusts up to 95 mph, and Denver International Airport experienced flight delays and cancellations.
Tornados struck central Nebraska, as well, and thunderstorms remained in the area even after the tornados quieted, NBC reports. A video tweeted by Nebraska State Patrol shows vehicles being toppled; however, no one was harmed in the incident.
Troopers have responded to a number of high profile vehicles tipping over during today’s high winds and severe storms.
This one happened right in front of a trooper on I-80 in Lincoln at about 3:30 pm.
Thankfully the driver was wearing a seat belt and was not injured. pic.twitter.com/liJTqp8pCX
— Nebraska State Patrol (@NEStatePatrol) December 16, 2021
High winds rolled through South Dakota and Missouri all the way through Michigan, and thunderstorm warnings were issued in Wisconsin and Illinois, the outlet reports.
Many unusually high temperatures were recorded in the midwestern regions where the high winds struck, according to USA Today, and meteorologists noted that this level and number of storms in the region is abnormal for this time of year.
The reports of high winds throughout the midwest come amid the aftermath of the deadly tornado that struck western Kentucky over the weekend.
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