Extreme Weather Batters Large Portions of America's Heartland
From flooding to tornadoes, you might have noticed that large parts of the U.S. have been experiencing an unusual amount of extreme weather. In fact, according to a tweet from National Weather Center meteorologist Patrick Marsh, there were 500 eyewitness reports of tornadoes made in the 30 days between April 27 and May 27. Only four other 30-day periods in the National Weather Service database ever saw more than 500 tornadoes: 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2011.
And then there are the rivers. Record-breaking rainfall is bringing historic floods to parts of the states along the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers, turning highways into lakes and submerging countless homes. Multiple news outlets are reporting that flooding has turned the town of Braggs into an island, completely cut off from civilization.
"This is a flood of historic magnitude," Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told a news conference on Wednesday. Meanwhile, flooding along the Mississippi River is officially the longest-lasting in over 90 years, since the "Great Flood" of 1927.
The National Weather Service told USA Today that more than 370 river gauges were experiencing levels above flood stage in the central U.S., as of Tuesday. And of those, 71 gauges reported major flooding, 105 moderate flooding and 206 minor flooding. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Mississippi has been above flood stage since early January, and the rain is showing no sign of slowing.
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For many Americans, deadly weather seems inescapable. And in some places, it's been a double whammy. The Williams family, for example, were forced to flee their home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma due to flooding, only to have the house they were sheltering in nearby Sapulpa struck by a tornado, CNN reports.
A number of organizations or working to provide relief to those hit hardest by the spate of violent weather. You can help by donating to The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, the Oklahoma Food Bank, and more.
Our thoughts are with all those impacted.