US weekend forecast: Triple threat of heavy rains, wildfires and blizzard

Harsh weather systems are unleashing three sets of menacing conditions Saturday: thunderstorms and tornado risks in t...

Posted: Apr 15, 2018 3:34 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2018 3:34 PM

Harsh weather systems are unleashing three sets of menacing conditions Saturday: thunderstorms and tornado risks in the South, more wildfire danger in Oklahoma and the southern Plains, and a blizzard in the upper Plains and Upper Midwest.

Severe storms already made their mark in western Arkansas, where a tornado flattened several homes Friday in Mountainburg, the town's mayor told CNN. A National Weather Service survey Friday in Mountain Home, Arkansas, showed that straight-line winds got up to 85 miles per hour in the area, according to CNN affiliate KFSM-TV.

Tornadoes also could be in play Saturday in parts of the South, where severe storms are poised to dump heavy rain. Parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are at an enhanced risk of severe weather conditions such as damaging winds and hail, the Storm Prediction Center said.

Track the severe storms here

Flooding also could occur in those states, as well as Arkansas and Tennessee, with more than 4 inches of rain possible in some spots over the weekend.

Mountainburg Mayor Neal Moon told CNN several homes and mobile homes were "completely gone" after Friday's tornado in his town, and many others sustained extensive damage. The tornado hit the elementary school, Moon said, but no children were there at the time.

Details about injuries, if any, weren't immediately available.

There's a storm chaser traffic jam in Tornado Alley

Joshua Brown posted a video of the storm on Twitter, saying, "I think we just drove through rotation in Mountainburg. Saw the wall cloud, saw the rotation. This video does not do it justice cause it formed really quickly."

Oklahoma wildfires kill 1, force evacuations

Meanwhile, the risk of wildfires in Oklahoma -- where blazes already have consumed more than 350,000 acres and forced some towns to evacuate -- and parts of the Southwest and southern Plains remains high.

Strong winds -- including gusts of 40 to 50 mph -- and dry conditions mean parts of Texas and Oklahoma are at extreme risk for wildfires Saturday.

Wildfires have been burning for a few days in parts of Oklahoma, leaving at least one man dead.

The largest blaze was in Oklahoma's Dewey County, which by Saturday morning had burned more than 240,000 acres and was only 3% contained, according to Oklahoma Forestry Services.

Evacuations had been ordered in the Dewey County towns of Vici, Seiling, Taloga and Putnam -- communities with combined populations of nearly 2,000 people -- officials said.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced a state of emergency for 52 of the state's 77 counties because of wildfire and drought conditions.

"I'm asking all Oklahomans to be vigilant and careful, and to do their part to prevent fires," Fallin said in a statement Friday. "Anything that can be done to minimize fires will help to keep both our firefighters and the public safe."

Blizzard underway

Yes, this weekend marks the middle of April. And yes, heavy snow is still in the forecast for the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Frigid air is filtering south from Canada, and where that air meets moisture, we are seeing blasts of April snow.

Some parts of the northern Plains already have picked up 1 to 2 feet of snow since Thursday. And blizzard warnings -- forecasting heavy snow and strong winds combining for whiteout conditions -- were in place Saturday morning in parts of Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Parts of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest could receive 8 inches to 2 feet of snow through the weekend.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said via Twitter it was temporarily suspending flights Saturday to include those taking off and landing because of a "lack of visibility and fast rate of snowfall."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 486434

Reported Deaths: 6575
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1009131586
Ramsey43165803
Dakota36375392
Anoka33335388
Washington22121258
Stearns18752201
St. Louis14822263
Scott13308107
Wright12538116
Olmsted1181788
Sherburne874172
Carver775640
Clay692387
Rice670791
Blue Earth596635
Kandiyohi579674
Crow Wing521282
Chisago499545
Otter Tail483270
Benton447790
Winona418549
Mower405731
Douglas393368
Nobles387247
Goodhue386269
Polk343763
McLeod340049
Beltrami338651
Morrison324747
Itasca313646
Lyon313644
Becker312542
Isanti306756
Steele301511
Carlton300149
Freeborn282623
Pine282016
Nicollet259241
Todd248330
Brown245537
Le Sueur235720
Mille Lacs227947
Cass220424
Waseca209317
Meeker207434
Martin189928
Wabasha18673
Roseau180317
Hubbard160740
Houston157414
Dodge15294
Renville150340
Redwood147027
Fillmore13768
Chippewa136735
Pennington136316
Cottonwood135020
Wadena131020
Faribault123417
Aitkin119033
Watonwan11758
Sibley117310
Rock115914
Kanabec107519
Pipestone101624
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9488
Jackson93610
Swift87918
Pope8075
Marshall78015
Lake74218
Stevens7418
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68516
Wilkin67411
Koochiching61911
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5092
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3075
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 335218

Reported Deaths: 5443
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51785551
Linn19463313
Scott17080210
Black Hawk14924292
Woodbury13778212
Johnson1312174
Dubuque12416194
Dallas1019092
Pottawattamie9828143
Story959345
Warren511674
Clinton500784
Cerro Gordo498882
Webster494487
Sioux479169
Marshall463072
Des Moines427161
Muscatine424191
Buena Vista412237
Wapello4025108
Jasper386266
Plymouth367478
Lee354252
Marion339869
Jones284654
Henry279637
Bremer268754
Carroll266349
Crawford252235
Boone242830
Benton240354
Washington239047
Mahaska215246
Jackson209738
Dickinson202440
Tama202365
Kossuth198055
Delaware185540
Clay183825
Winneshiek182827
Fayette178635
Page177819
Buchanan176929
Wright173831
Hamilton173742
Cedar171523
Hardin169439
Harrison167169
Clayton159854
Butler158831
Mills147920
Floyd147741
Poweshiek147730
Lyon145541
Cherokee145336
Allamakee142347
Madison141918
Iowa139423
Hancock137630
Grundy132030
Winnebago130231
Calhoun129311
Cass128751
Jefferson128334
Appanoose123147
Louisa122341
Mitchell120440
Chickasaw119615
Union118731
Sac118318
Shelby116433
Emmet115040
Humboldt113525
Franklin109019
Guthrie108928
Palo Alto100921
Howard99021
Montgomery96736
Clarke94720
Keokuk92029
Monroe89428
Adair81028
Ida81032
Pocahontas80919
Davis76323
Monona76327
Greene72910
Lucas71421
Osceola68215
Worth6667
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50520
Audubon4739
Wayne45821
Adams3184
Unassigned00
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 35°
Mason City
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 28°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 31°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 34°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 29°
Several days of mild weather expected
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