A Week of Wild Weather Across the U.S.

Extreme weather battered much of the United States this past week.  From heavy snow and tornadoes in the plains to a tropical storm in the Gulf and blustery Santa Ana winds in California, this country saw it all in just six days.

Starting on Tuesday, a pre-season winter storm dumped massive amounts of snow across Wyoming and South Dakota. Some places, like Deadwood, SD received as much as 48 inches.

On Wednesday, the NWS named Tropical Storm Karen. Moving north across the Gulf of Mexico, it threatened coastal communities from Louisiana to Florida with heavy rain and storm surge flooding.  Luckily, however, the storm was downgraded to a rainstorm by the time it came ashore.

By Friday, the cold air that produced the blizzard in the northern plains collided with warm moist air to the east and unleashed severe thunderstorms across the region.  They, in turn, spawned numerous tornadoes.  One of the hardest hit areas was Wayne, NE where an EF-4 twister with winds measured up to 170-mph tore through the town.  While widespread property damage and numerous injuries were reported, there were no fatalities.

Over the weekend, powerful Santa Ana winds blasted southern California with gusts reaching 90-mph in some areas.  These warm, dry winds helped fuel a large wildfire in San Diego County.

While extreme weather events are not unusual in this country, having such a large number and wide variety happen more-or-less at once is very rare.