Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

From Rockies to Rust Belt, storm brings extremes

ST. LOUIS — A powerful spring storm system stretching from southern Texas to northern Michigan unleashed a wave of weather extremes on the Midwest Thursday and threatened to bring its mix of hard rains, high winds and severe thunderstorms to the East by the weekend.

The massive system was wreaking havoc from the Rockies to the Rust Belt.

Up to a foot of snow was expected in parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Snow and ice closed highways in Colorado and Wyoming. Rivers surged beyond their banks from downpours in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. Tornadoes caused scattered damage in Oklahoma. Rain opened a massive sinkhole that swallowed two parked cars and one that was driving through in Chicago. The driver was hospitalized but was expected to survive.

In the Plains and Midwest, seemingly every community was under some sort of watch or warning.

Alex Sosnowski, a meteorologist for AccuWeather, said the storm's biggest punch had come from its intense rainfall: "There's been a general 3- to 6-inch swath of rain from portions of Oklahoma all the way up to southern Wisconsin."

The system will thin out as it heads east but could still spell trouble in the Appalachian Mountain region today and in some spots along the East Coast by tonight, Sosnowski said.

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