LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Springtime storms lashed parts of the Midwest and South on Wednesday, but on a smaller scale than the night before when tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas injured more than a dozen people and damaged homes.
Gusts up to 75 mph were expected near Louisiana’s Gulf coast during the latest round of storms, andforecasters said 15 million people along the Mississippi River between Iowa and New Orleans had at least a slight chance to see severe weather at some point.
Weak tornadoes touched down in northwestern Omaha, Nebraska, and in southwestern Iowa, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Expectations for Wednesday weren’t as dire as they had been for Tuesday, when meteorologists warned that conditions were ripe for a severe weather outbreak.
In Texas, a 62-year-old woman was killed early Wednesday after a tree fell on her home in the Tomball area northwest of Houston, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said. Forecasters also confirmed that three tornadoes struck areas north of Dallas near the Red River late Tuesday, shredding roofs, uprooting trees and overturning vehicles. Five people were hospitalized after their vehicles were caught up in an apparent tornado, Howe Police Chief Carl Hudman said.
The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down Tuesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where storms uprooted trees, snapped power poles and damaged roofs. In a preliminary assessment, the agency determined the damage less than a mile from where Interstate 44 crosses the Arkansas River was consistent with that of an EF1 tornado.
It also confirmed two more relatively weak tornadoes within 30 miles of Oklahoma City: an EF1 tornado near Luther and an EF0 tornado near Mustang.
Oklahoma hospitals said 12 injuries were linked to Tuesday’s storms.
An estimated 6 to 8 inches of rain fell Tuesday evening and overnight near Deshler, Nebraska, prompting officials to evacuate a nursing home and assisted living facility. About 45 patients and residents from Parkview Haven Nursing Home and Meadowlark Heights Assisted Living spent the night at Deshler High School because of high-water worries. They returned Wednesday.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said last week the nation could have seen significant tornadoes Tuesday, but it turned out as the weather developed that conditions weren’t right for the biggest storms.
The core of the bad weather forecast shifts back to Oklahoma and Texas on Thursday and Friday, then to Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas on Saturday.
Wednesday’s unsettled weather comes on the five-year anniversary of a tornado outbreak that killed more than 300 people in the South, mostly in Alabama.