Anyone who spent time outdoors over the holiday weekend received an unwelcomed wake-up call Monday morning as temperatures plummeted to near freezing overnight.
Temperatures had surged into the 60s during the day on both Saturday and Sunday ahead of a strong storm system that produced widespread severe storms across the South and dropped more than a foot of snow in some parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
High temperatures Monday are forecasted to struggle to break 40 degrees across much of northern Illinois. A wind advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. with winds of 20 to 30 mph expected and gusts as high as 45 mph.
Below average temperatures are expected throughout the work week with highs in the low 40s and lows in the mid to upper 20s.
Conditions are expected to remain mostly dry during the week with the best chance for rain — and possibly even a few snowflakes — on Wednesday.
On Sunday, severe weather swept across the South, killing at least 19 people and damaging hundreds of homes from Louisiana into the Appalachian Mountains. Many people spent part of the night early Monday sheltering in basements, closets and bathroom tubs as sirens wailed to warn of possible tornadoes.
Eleven people were killed in Mississippi, and six more died in northwest Georgia. Two other bodies were pulled from damaged homes in Arkansas and South Carolina.
The storms blew onward through the night, causing flooding and mudslides in mountainous areas, and knocking out electricity for about 750,000 customers in a 10-state swath ranging from Texas to Georgia up to West Virginia, according to poweroutages.us.
A suspected twister lifted a house, mostly intact, and deposited it in the middle of a road in central Georgia. In Louisiana, winds ripped apart a metal airplane hangar.
In Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey suspended social distancing rules related to the coronavirus pandemic because of the weather threat, people wearing protective masks huddled in storm shelters.
A twister shredded the house, meat-processing business and vehicles of Andrew Phillips, but his family was unscathed after he huddled with his wife and two sons inside a cinder-block “safe room” inside their rural home in Moss, Mississippi. They crowded inside with their pillows hours after watching an online Easter service because the pandemic forced their church to halt regular worship. The room was the only thing on their property left standing.
“I’m just going to let the insurance handle it and trust in the good Lord,” said Phillips.
The National Weather Service tallied hundreds of reports of trees down across the region, including many that punctured roofs and downed power lines. Meteorologists warned the mid-Atlantic states to prepare for potential tornadoes, wind and hail on Monday. The storms knocked down trees across Pennsylvania, and an apparently strong tornado moved through southern South Carolina, leaving chaos in its wake.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: The Daily Chronicle