Millions are at risk of tornadoes in the South as a winter storm threatens intense snow and dangerously icy conditions in the Midwest

A powerful winter storm that raged through California now threatens powerful tornadoes in the South and heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain in the Midwest.

More than 3 million people are on tornado alert by 9 p.m. in parts of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

And tornadoes aren’t the only risk in the region. Heavy hail and winds of up to 70 miles per hour could continue “over much of the region well into the night,” the Storm Prediction Center warned.

Brad Bryant, weather officer for the National Weather Service in Shreveport, Louisiana, said anyone in a tornado-prone area should seek safe shelter immediately. .

“If you wait for a warning, it’s too late,” Bryant said Monday. “We need to have a safe evacuation plan in advance of these storms.”

He urged anyone in need of help, especially those living in mobile homes, to contact their local emergency manager or law enforcement for evacuation options.

“Since mid-November, we’ve had three severe weather events that have resulted in deaths, mostly in mobile homes,” says Bryant.

More than 30 million people from Missouri to the Gulf Coast are at risk of severe weather on Monday, said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.

Also, more tornadoes and high winds are likely in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as the storm moves east on Tuesday.

Further north, from Utah to Wisconsin, more than 15 million people received winter weather warnings on Monday.

In drought-hit California, the same storm system brought record rainfall and deadly flooding last weekend. Also, heavy rainfall waves this week could exacerbate dangerous flooding.

Rapid snowfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour is forecast for the plains and Midwest from the Nebraska Panhandle to southwestern Minnesota, with more than 12 inches of total snow left by late Tuesday. Snow onslaught can be accompanied by lightning.

“The combination of these high speeds and gusts will result in areas where the snow is blown and drifted, resulting in snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and difficulty in travel,” the Weather Forecast Center said. I’m here.

Large accumulations of ice can lead to blackouts and unsafe travel conditions.

Freezing rain could accumulate 1/4 inch or more of ice Monday through Tuesday from northeastern Nebraska to northwestern Iowa to southern Minnesota.

“Travel will be dangerous in many areas this evening (Tuesday), if not impossible.” Sioux Falls National Weather Service said Monday.

Communities in Northern California, which suffered massive flooding over the weekend, are likely to see more rainfall later this week.

It’s not clear how much impact this storm will have on the drought conditions that hit California, where 2022 began the driest start of the year on record, ending with flooded roads and swollen rivers.

“The early precipitation forecast for the midweek storm looks to be about 2 to 3 inches of liquid precipitation in the Central Valley and 3 to 6 inches or more in the foothills and mountains,” said the Sacramento Weather Service Office. .

Atmospheric rivers, long, narrow regions of the atmosphere that can carry moisture thousands of miles, sparked a parade of storms over the weekend, leading to record rainfall and water rescues.

Officials said at least two people died, one of whom was found inside a submerged car in Sacramento County, and a 72-year-old man who was hit by a fallen tree in a Santa Cruz park.

Another atmospheric river is now bringing heavy rains that could bring more flooding to northern and central California, including the Bay Area, on Wednesday.

The San Francisco National Weather Service said the upcoming storm “seems to create dangerous conditions.”

Officials urged residents to avoid driving in stagnant water.

Flooding from the Cosmnes River has closed Highway 99 south of Elk Grove in Sacramento County, the California Department of Transportation tweeted Sunday. “U.S. Route 99 is one of the state’s busiest and most commercially important corridors,” says its website.

“Dozens” of people have been rescued over the past few days, Captain Chris Chamber of the Cosmnes Fire Department told CNN affiliate KCRA. Aerial footage from the station showed the car submerged up to the door handle.

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