DENVER (AP) — From the Carolinas to California, Friday was wet and wild across the United States as twin weather systems produced an unseasonably early tropical storm in the Atlantic, the threat of more tornadoes in the Plains and Texas, and a late snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains.
More is expected this weekend.
The nation is caught in a pincer move between the two massive systems, the National Weather Service says. One is sitting off the southeast U.S., steering Subtropical Storm Ana toward the Carolinas. The other is rolling through California; its unstable air mass stretches over the Rockies and into the High Plains and Texas. The two giant systems are not linked, said meteorologist Frank Cooper of the National Weather Service in Boulder, Colorado.
AN EARLY TROPICAL SEASON
A tropical-storm warning was issued for parts of North and South Carolina well ahead of the June 1 start of hurricane season. The slow-moving storm sat about 180 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Forecasters warned people to watch for dangerous surf and rip currents and brace for as much as six inches of rain over the weekend, which could cause flooding in some areas.
THE PLAINS: TORNADOES, FLOODS AND SNOW
The wet weather blowing over the Rockies triggered tornadoes in north Texas. Investigators are trying to determine if extreme weather caused the derailment of a 17-car freight train Friday. Forecasters warned conditions are ripe for strong thunderstorms and tornadoes later Friday and Saturday from western Kansas to Texas. In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts declared a state of emergency as workers struggled to rescue people from floodwaters in the southeastern corner of the state, which received nearly a foot of rain. Storms sweeping across western Nebraska and Iowa this weekend could bring high winds and up to 5 inches of snow in some areas.
SNOW IN CALIFORNIA
The headlines out of California lately have been about brown lawns and low reservoirs. But some mountain towns in Southern California closed schools because of snowfall above 5,000 feet, and the region's foothill communities braced for possible mudslides in areas that have burned recently. Several inches of snow fell in the Sierra Nevada, where some peaks have been bare all winter because of the epic drought. None of this was likely to ease California's water crisis. Neighboring Nevada could see 6 inches of snow at high elevations over the weekend.
MOTHER'S DAY SNOW
For the second year in a row, Denver braced for the possibility of snow on Mother's Day, and a half-foot or more is predicted for Cheyenne, Wyoming. More than 3 feet of snow is expected in the high elevations of the central Rockies, which have been saturated by rain and light snow all week. The air mass dumped eight inches of hail on Colorado Springs, Colorado, late Thursday, briefly closing parts of Interstate 25. The National Weather Service says snow could disrupt weekend travel on east-west Interstate 80 in Wyoming, I-70 in Colorado and I-25, which connects the two states. The same system could simultaneously produce tornadoes on Colorado's far eastern plains.