Speed Reads

extreme weather

Devastating December storm system wreaks havoc 'from New Mexico to Michigan'

An "unprecedented" storm system attacked the central United States Wednesday night into Thursday morning "with high winds that kicked up dust storms, fueled wildfires," "knocked down power lines," and left "more than 510,000 customers without power," The Washington Post reports.

Over 36 million people "from New Mexico to Michigan" were placed under high-wind warnings, as fast-moving gusts tore apart roofs and "toppled tractor-trailers," writes the Post, with at least 21 reports of tornadoes, adds The New York Times

In Iowa, one person was reportedly killed Wednesday evening after storm winds blew over the truck he was driving. In Kansas, air traffic controllers at Kansas City International Airport were forced to temporarily evacuate the main control tower, per the Times

As of 5:50 a.m. ET on Thursday, "nearly 70 million people across the United States were under some form of severe weather watch or warning," writes the Times, whether from dust storms in Colorado or tornadoes in Nebraska. 

This latest bout of extreme weather arrived just days after deadly tornadoes wrecked havoc on Kentucky and at least five other states, killing at least 90 people.

What's more, such "back-to-back" meteorological events are, in fact, "highly unusual" for the Midwest this time of year.

"The storm system is unprecedented," said Andrew Ansorge, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Iowa to the Times. "We don't have anything to compare it to."