weather

It’s been a wild weather week across the country, from historic rainfall and flooding in the Midwest, to a possible tornado spotted near Atlanta to a blizzard in the Plains region.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson (@BrettAWX) about what’s driving the unusual spring weather.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR

Frigid temperatures never fully took hold in Oklahoma this winter. February saw record high temperatures, and instead of ice and snow, wildfires were the main weather-related concern, and drought — though improved — has persisted across much of the state.

In a statement summarizing February’s weather highlights and looking ahead to March, State Climatologist Gary McManus says the first two months of 2017 broke the record for the warmest combined January and February in state history.

Multiple destructive storm systems damaged property and killed at least 19 people over the weekend, and continued to batter much of the U.S. with rain, snow and wind today.

All 19 reported deaths were in the South, where apparent tornadoes ripped through towns over the weekend, damaging and destroying buildings in multiple states.

"Trailers are just flat, just laid on top of people," Debbie Van Brackel, a volunteer EMT in Adel, Ga., told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. "You need a bulldozer to pull it off. Trailers are upside down."

Every morning in a government office building in Boulder, Colo., about a dozen people type a code into a door and line up against a wall on the other side. There are a couple of guys in military uniform, and some scientists in Hawaiian shirts. They work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they're here for a daily space weather forecast.

If you think it's been hot this year, you're right. The latest temperature numbers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the first six months of 2016 were the hottest on record around the planet.

Temperatures are expected to reach potentially lethal levels this weekend in parts of the Southwest and the Plains. Forecasters say major cities including Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tucson, as well as parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, will reach highs above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Zane LaCroix

UPDATE at 3:05 p.m. About 36,000 homes and businesses remain without electricity after an ice storm hit Oklahoma. The number of outages was estimated at 47,000 early Tuesday morning.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric reports nearly 46,000 outages, with more than 22,000 in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma City suburbs of Bethany, El Reno, The Village and Yukon had a total of about 11,000 outages while Enid in northern Oklahoma had about 4,200.

Extreme Weather Hits Oklahoma Over Holiday Weekend

Nov 30, 2015
Nati Harnik / AP

Ice, flooding and earthquakes – Oklahoma saw all three over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. As residents wait for the power lines to thaw and the floodwaters to recede, Here & Now’s Indira Lakshmanan, speaks with state climatologist Gary McManus about the extreme weather conditions, and whether this is the new normal for the state.

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