Much of the U.S. Midwest is bracing for snowstorms, and southern states have issued tornado warnings for a major storm sweeping the country.
An area stretching from Montana to western Nebraska and Colorado was under a blizzard warning, and the National Weather Service forecast up to 61 centimeters of snow for some areas in western South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska.
“This is a ‘we’re not kidding’ storm,” the South Dakota Department of Public Safety tweeted, urging people to stock up on essentials but stay indoors should the storm hit.
Tornadoes are expected today along with strong winds, hail and flash flooding – with the highest risk of severe storms in eastern Texas, much of Louisiana and western Mississippi.
Tornado warnings were also issued for parts of central Oklahoma and northern Texas.
Damage was reported in the Oklahoma town of Wayne shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday as forecasters warned of a “confirmed tornado.”
Large areas of the United States have hit by a powerful snowstormThe weather is cold with days of blizzards and freezing rain forecast.
The massive storm system swept across parts of the Northwest, Great Plains and Southwest on Monday.
Video footage from Oklahoma television station KOCO captured extensive damage to a home in Wayne, about 45 miles south of Oklahoma City.
“It’s going to be a busy week as this system moves across the country,” said Mark Chenard, a meteorologist at Weather Service headquarters in College Park, Maryland.
The snow downpour in the Sierra Nevada over the weekend was part of the same system before moving east.
The National Weather Service also warned that parts of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota could experience ice of up to half an inch and speeds of up to 45 mph.
Power outages, tree damage, fallen branches and hazardous travel conditions all threaten the area.
In California, the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab in northwest Lake Tahoe said the storm had dropped 138.5 centimeters of snow after years of drought in the region, prompting calls to conserve water.