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Monday, January 4, 2016

Extreme weather in central US abates

Recovery begins from December tornadoes, floods which affected those in eight states

Clean-up has begun after last week's vicious severe storms, which spawned nine tornadoes in the Dallas, Texas area and - after moving east - caused catastrophic flooding in Oklahoma and states along the Mississippi River. The river peaked in the hardest hit areas by Thursday, and a majority of rescue personnel have switched their efforts to recovery.

The tornado outbreak in Texas killed 11, with the city of Garland being the heaviest hit with eight deaths. Flooding has taken at least 31 lives in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arkansas, with nearly half of those deaths occurring in Missouri. Calculating the amount of property damage has only just begun, with dollar estimates suggesting losses in the tens of millions, at minimum.

Though recovery is beginning the threat is not over. Levies are stretched to their limits, and disaster management agencies are concerned what additional damage could occur is any one of those break. Furthermore, the threat to states on the southern portion of the river remains very real at least through mid-January, with evacuations in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana having been ordered.

While tornadic activity in the last month of the year is not impossible, the intensities of this year's storms have been highly unusual. With 20 confirmed deaths attributed to twisters thus far it makes 2015's December the most deadly since 1953. As to the extreme flooding, pre-planning efforts have thus far kept the number of those displaced relatively low, and with governors declaring states-of-emergencies financial aid will be made available.

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