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Freak weather is engulfing the USA from West to East with floods and mudslides prompting rescues in California, strong thunderstorms engulfing the Plains and spawning at least three tornadoes that caused extensive damage in Oklahoma and killed one person in a southwestern Missouri as well as black ice in Indianapolis.
California in floods and mud
Just weeks after California’s Camp Fire wiped the town of Paradise off the map, heavy rainfall triggered debris flows, causing road closures and yet another round of evacuations in burn areas.
As many as 100 vehicles were stuck on Honey Run Road in Butte County and were unable to flee Butte Creek Canyon, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record. Those vehicles were later freed, and no injuries were reported.
A pair of debris flows overtook Honey Run Road, trapping about 50 people in their homes above one of the flows.
“It is serious. The water is coming up so we want to make sure we get everybody out that we can,” Butte County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Meyer told KHSL/KNVN in Chico, as reported by the Associated Press. Thursday afternoon, Orange County authorities ordered the evacuation of Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, where a wildfire burned earlier this year, according to the AP.
As the heavy rain moved into Southern California, it triggered travel woes and several car crashes. A mudslide trapped vehicles and prompted the California Highway Patrol to close Highway 38 between Valley of the Falls Drive and Sugar Pine Circle in San Bernardino County.
— michele gile (@CBSmichelegile) November 29, 2018
Health officials warned residents in Southern California Thursday to avoid beach water, which may contain bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash and other public health hazards due to runoff, the AP reported.
On Wednesday, residents were ordered to evacuate from several areas near the Holy Fire burn area in Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles. The county released an interactive map to show which areas were under mandatory evacuation orders, and which were at risk for mudslides and debris flows during the storms.
“People in these zones MUST GO NOW,” said the county in the announcement. “Debris flows can happen with little to no warning. As always, residents are urged to remain vigilant and take personal responsibility for their safety.” The area was left vulnerable by the Holy Fire, which burned more than 36 square miles in August. It destroyed several structures and left many hillsides with no vegetation to hold back possible mudslides.
Plains engulfed by severe thunderstorms
Strong thunderstorms tore across the Plains Friday into Saturday morning, spawning at least three tornadoes that caused extensive damage in Oklahoma and killed one person in a southwestern Missouri.
Fire Chief Robert Ward told KYTV that one person inside an Aurora, Missouri, motel was killed as a storm passed through. The National Weather Service confirmed an EF1 tornado in the area. Authorities have not released the person’s name or details of how the death occurred.
A tornado was reported near Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, around 9:30 p.m. CST. Widespread damage was reported around the Lake Tenkiller area as the storm tracked on towards Arkansas. The storm was accompanied by a strong tornado debris signature, indicating that significant damage may have occurred for some time.
As daylight arrived Saturday, extensive damage could be seen from social media posts, including damage to the Snake Creek Marina at Lake Tenkiller. “There’s nothing left. No marina. Nothing. My boat’s gone and everything is gone,” Michael Martin told KOTV. “This is devastating right here. I mean few of the docks have been torn up, but these are destroyed. There ain’t nothing left down there.”
Law enforcement reported several homes damaged in the town of Tenkiller, according to ABC 4029 News. Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane told the news station a family trapped in a storm cellar by a downed tree was rescued. In Gore, Oklahoma, three homes were damaged, one severely, and in Aurora, a car dealership sustained heavy damage. Several homes were damaged in Van Buren, Arkansas.
In Missouri, a wind gust to 83 mph was recorded near Republic, and in Ridgedale, the top two Floors of D’Monaco Resort sustained significant damage, the National Weather Service reported. No injuries have been reported.
— Jeff Piotrowski (@Jeff_Piotrowski) December 1, 2018
An area of low pressure moved into the southern Plains Friday night and intensified, said weather.com meteorologist Linda Lam. This system combined with mild and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to produce strong to severe thunderstorms Friday night from northern Texas into southern Missouri.
This system will continue tracking eastward and will bring the risk of severe storms, with damaging winds, hail and isolated tornadoes, to parts of the South and Midwest, possibly as far north as central Illinois and central Indiana on Saturday, Lam said.
Black ice pile-up in Indianapolis
Authorities say black ice is responsible for a 30-car pileup Thursday in suburban Indianapolis. Fishers Fire Department Capt. John Mehling says the pileup occurred shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday on the 96th Street bridge over the White River in Carmel.
Avoid 96th st and hazel dell. Massive pileup. Bridge is sheet of ice pic.twitter.com/XusjzerqEZ
— Gavin (@metcalfgavin) November 29, 2018
Mehling says four patients were transported to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
From floods and mudslides in California to tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in the Plains and ice pile-up in Indianapolis, weather chaos is engulfing the US.
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Weather – California Floods, Mudslides Prompt Rescues, Evacuations from Burn Areas
Weather – Tornadoes Spawned From Strong Thunderstorms in Plains Leave 1 Dead in Missouri, Extensive Damage in Oklahoma
Weather – Black Ice Causes 30-Car Rush Hour Pileup in Suburban Indianapolis