Spring storms out with twister, fires, even snow
Mother Nature had no intentions of giving the U.S. a break after a spring of dangerous weather conditions, and Monday took a turn for the unusual: A storm that prompted a tornado watch across Nebraska and Kansas also left 2-4 inches of snow in the Rocky Mountains.
On the last day of spring, a winter storm advisory was posted Monday in the mountains of Colorado for areas above 10,000 feet until 6 p.m. local time, and at least three tornadoes were reported in Kansas, according to the National Weather Service.
Officials said four people were injured, none seriously, when a twister destroyed three homes in Norton County, Kan. The storms knocked over freight train cars and halted play at the College World Series in Nebraska.
Fires and floods
Meanwhile, firefighters gained ground against wildfires in the Southwest. Much lighter winds Monday allowed aircraft to again attack several fires in Arizona and New Mexico. Air crews had been grounded for most of Sunday. Firefighting efforts have been dogged for days by hot, windy weather.
Authorities in southern Arizona went through neighborhoods Monday to tally the damage from a wildfire that was pushed by fierce winds into a heavily populated area.
Officials said the fire came off a mountain Sunday afternoon into the outskirts of Sierra Vista and forced about 3,000 residents of 1,700 homes to flee. The evacuations brought the total number to about 10,000 people from 4,300 homes forced out by the Monument fire.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Monday she was sending 90 National Guardsmen to areas threatened by the Monument fire.
Meanwhile, the massive Wallow fire that has been burning in eastern Arizona for three weeks kept about 200 residents of Luna, N.M., under an evacuation order for a third day.
One town burned by the Wallow fire in Arizona reopened Monday. Residents of the picturesque resort town of Greer were being issued passes to return home.
In southeast Nebraska, the bloated Missouri River rose to within 18 inches of forcing the shutdown of a nuclear power plant, stopped and ebbed slightly Monday, after several levees in northern Missouri failed to hold back the surging waterway.
The river has to hit 902 feet above sea level at Brownville before officials will shut down the Cooper Nuclear Plant, which sits at 903 feet, Nebraska Public Power District spokesman Mark Becker said.
Flooding is a concern all along the river because of the massive amount of water that the Army Corps of Engineers has released from six dams. Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are downstream of the dams.
Wild world weather, too
Chinese officials said Monday that more rains are predicted for parts of the country in the next several days after flooding killed dozens and forced thousands to flee their homes.
The downpours brought floods to central regions. But they also helped end the worst drought in decades.
The floods killed 175 people and left at least 86 missing.
On Monday night, Tropical Storm Beatriz reached hurricane strength and began pounding Mexico’s Pacific coast. Authorities closed the popular tourist ports of Acapulco and Manzanillo ahead of the hurricane’s arrival.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Beatriz had sustained winds of about 75 m.p.h. and was expected to brush over Mexico’s coast before heading back out to sea.
Daniel 2:21 He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.