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In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Several West Virginia Cities Set Marks for Warmest April

The National Weather Service says last month was the warmest April on record in several West Virginia cities.

The weather service says Beckley, Clarksburg, Elkins and Parkersburg all set records for the average temperature during the month, while Charleston and Huntington each had their second-warmest Aprils on record.

Clarksburg’s average temperature of 58.2 degrees surpassed the previous mark of 56.7 set in 1954.

Beckley broke a record set in 2011, Elkins broke the mark set in 1954, and Parkersburg surpassed the record set both in 1896 and 1954.

In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Frost, freeze advisories issued in several states

Forecasters say Mother Nature is putting a chill on the outdoor growing season in West Virginia and several other states.

The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for most of West Virginia early Monday. The weather service says temperatures are expected to dip into the lower 30s in much of the state.

Homeowners are being advised to cover sensitive plants or bring them indoors to avoid being killed if left uncovered.

Freeze warnings have been posted for Michigan and parts of Wisconsin, while frost advisories also have been issued in parts of Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.

In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Falling Goal Post Kills Girl in Storm

At least 14 people have been killed by tornadoes or flooding in the South and Midwest by a storm that also dumped a rare late-season blizzard in western Kansas on Sunday. Tornadoes hit several small towns in East Texas, killing four people. Five people were killed by flooding and winds in Arkansas, including Cove Creek/Pearson Fire Chief Doug Decker, who was struck by a vehicle while checking water levels, the AP reports. Two deaths were reported in Missouri, including a woman who drowned after rushing water swept away a car. One of two deaths in Mississippi was a 7-year-old who died from electric shock in floodwaters, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

A 2-year-old girl in Tennessee died after being struck by a heavy, metal soccer goal post that was blown over by high winds, the Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted Sunday evening. Melanie Espinoza Rodriguez was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, the department says. Rescuers in northwest Arkansas continued Sunday to look for an 18-month-old girl and a 4-year-old boy who were in a vehicle swept off a bridge by floodwaters in Hindsville, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office says. In Texas, search teams went door to door Sunday after the tornadoes the day before flattened homes and uprooted trees in Canton.


►  Midwest, South brace for flooding and tornadoes

Parts of the U.S. Midwest and South braced for more flooding and possible tornadoes Monday following a weekend of deadly torrents and powerful winds that claimed at least 15 lives.

Storms rolled eastward in a band stretching from Alabama into the Ohio River valley on Monday, leaving isolated pockets of damage in their wake.

Heavy rain caused the roof of a furniture store in northern Oklahoma to collapse early Monday, although no one was injured, and parts of the state remained under flood and flash flood warnings after excessive rainfall over the weekend.

The Illinois River that snakes through eastern Oklahoma crested Sunday night at about 29 feet — well above major flood stage of 18 feet. The Mississippi River was pushing 16 ½ feet above flood stage in Missouri’s Cape Girardeau on Monday, a half-foot shy of the all-time record.

Levees were straining to contain the floods in Missouri. A Cuivre River levee was topped near the town of Old Monroe, and in the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park, residents living below a levee on the rising Meramec River were ordered to evacuate Monday. Interstate 44 was flooded in spots and closed over a 57-mile stretch. Flooding also closed roads in hundreds of other places around Missouri.

More severe weather was expected in the South. A wind advisory was in effect in northwest Mississippi. Tornado warnings were issued for parts of southeastern Alabama and central Georgia Monday morning by the National Weather Service, which advised residents there to take cover. A severe thunderstorm over Fort Benning in Georgia could develop into a twister, the weather service said.

Parts of the Florida Panhandle could be affected by severe thunderstorms or high winds and dangerous rip currents.

The confirmed death toll rose to 15:

— Flooding and winds killed five people in Arkansas, including a fire chief struck by a vehicle while working the storm. That toll could rise, with authorities searching for two children who were swept away when their mother drove their truck onto a bridge built for low water.

— Tornadoes hit several small towns in East Texas, killing four people.

— Three deaths were reported in Missouri, including a 78-year-old man who went out to look at the floodwaters, slipped into a creek and was carried away, and two people who drowned after rushing water swept away cars. One man couldn’t save his 72-year-old wife from floodwaters that swept away their vehicle Saturday. Her body was found when the water receded, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.

— Two died in Mississippi: a 7-year-old boy electrocuted after unplugging an electric golf cart and dropping the cord in a puddle, and a man killed when a tree fell onto his house, knocking a beam into his head.

— In Tennessee, a 2-year-old girl died after being struck by a soccer goal post thrown by heavy winds that also knocked down trees and power lines Sunday. Wind and flood advisories remained in effect for much of the state Monday.

In Texas, search teams were going door to door Sunday after the tornadoes the day before flattened homes, uprooted trees and flipped several pickup trucks at a Dodge dealership in Canton.

“It is heartbreaking and upsetting to say the least,“ Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett said Sunday.

The storms cut a path of destruction 35 miles (56 kilometers) long and 15 miles (24 kilometers) wide in Van Zandt County, Everett said. The largely rural area is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Dallas.

The National Weather Service found evidence of four tornadoes with one twister possibly on the ground for 50 miles (80 kilometers).

The first reports of tornadoes came about 4:45 p.m. Saturday, but emergency crews were hampered by continuing severe weather, said Judge Don Kirkpatrick, the chief executive for Van Zandt County.

“We’d be out there working and get a report of another tornado on the ground,“ he said.

Threat Of Severe Weather Results In Tornado Watch In WV

The Free Press WV

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch through 7 p.m. Monday in 18 West Virginia counties.

The counties under the watch include Barbour, Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Ritchie, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Wetzel, Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Pleasants, Wirt, and Wood.

Strong storms were reported across the state Monday afternoon containing heavy rain and wind gusts close to 50 mph.

The weather made driving conditions difficult. A head-on crash on U.S. Route 35 in Putnam County was expected to force the closure of the highway for a few hours. Kanawha County Metro 911 also reported numerous crashes.

In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Steady rain could cause a problem in some areas

Some parts of southern West Virginia are at a risk for flash flooding through Sunday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

A flash flood watch was posted for McDowell and Wyoming counties beginning Saturday afternoon through Sunday. More than a dozen other counties stretching from Elkins to Wayne were placed under a hazardous weather outlook Saturday with the chance of those turning to flash flood watches.

“Periods of heavy rainfall are expected over the weekend. This could lead to flash flooding, particularly along flood prone creeks and streams, and adjacent low lying areas,” the NWS message said.

Some areas, particular south of U.S. Route 60, could get as much as three inches of rain out of the system.

Sunny skies are scheduled to return Monday.

In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Weather service: Wildfire danger higher in West Virginia

The National Weather Service says warm, dry conditions and gusty winds have increased the chances for wildfires in West Virginia.

The weather service says in a news release Sunday that outdoor burning is considered extremely dangerous.

The statement says residents should be aware of heat and sparks while operating equipment and avoid smoking in wooded areas.

Outdoor burning is only allowed through May 31 between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. and limited to brush, leaves, yard clippings and other vegetative materials.

Residents could faces fines if a fire they started escapes and causes a wildfire or forest fire. State law requires a safety strip or ring at least 10 feet wide around outdoor fires to prevent them from spreading into woods.

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