Tropical Storm Ana Makes Landfall On Atlantic Coast, After Texas Tornado Kills One & Hail Hits The Rockies
Wild weather events hit the country over the weekend, with one person reportedly killed when multiple tornadoes hit northern Texas Saturday. According to The Guardian, homes were destroyed and several individuals were left unaccounted for after the twisters ripped through a sparsely populated farming and ranching area. Elsewhere, twin weather systems stretching coast-to-coast brought quarter-sized hail to Oklahoma and flash flooding to Colorado Saturday, while Tropical Storm Ana plodded towards the South Carolina coast and eventually made landfall early Sunday morning.
Ana, a surprisingly early tropical storm and the first of the hurricane season (which will officially begin on June 1), was reportedly weakening before making landfall on the Atlantic coast. With top sustained winds of 45mph, the storm was expected to gust ashore between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane specialist Dave Roberts told the Associated Press that despite Ana’s weakened state, the storm was whipping up waves of 11 to 12 feet, rendering swimming hazardous. “It's about rough surf. People need to stay off the beach for sure,” Roberts told AP from a hurricane center.
Although Ana comes earlier in the year than expected for the Atlantic hurricane season, the center highlighted that early storms are not unusual, citing two tropical storms that hit in May, 2012 — although 2015’s Ana is the earliest tropical storm to form in the Atlantic basin since a previous Ana made landfall in 2003. A tropical storm warning, stretching from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, remained in place Sunday morning. Ana is expected to weaken further and head inland before breaking up, once it hits cooler water.
Locals certainly didn’t seem too concerned. “There isn't much to do for this one,” Little River, South Carolina, resident Dave Rey told AP Sunday, “just a little wind and rain and a couple of downed branches, not a whole lot going on ... maybe 20 mph winds.” The Atlantic hurricane period officially runs from the start of June through November, and Ana looks to be a relatively gentle season opener (although swimmers and sailors should exercise caution), with rough surf, blustery winds, and one to three inches of rain expected.
Gentle is, however, not the word that springs to mind regarding Texas’s Saturday tornadoes. Cisco, a town some 100 miles west of Fort Worth, sustained bad damage in the twisters, Eastland County judge Rex Fields told The Guardian. “The homes that I’ve seen, there are just maybe one or two walls standing,” Fields said. He speculated that aside from the tornadoes’ victim, there were likely others who sustained injuries across the region. Heavy rainfall had hindered authorities’ efforts to assess the damage, he said. Eastland County, part of an area of enhanced risk, was also hit with three-inch hail as the storm thundered through the state.
Storms laden with rain and hail swept through Oklahoma Saturday afternoon, but the tornado threat there was diminishing Sunday morning. Severe weather also affected western Kansas, as storms were distributed even further across the country by twin weather systems extending from coast to coast. Ana’s buffeting winds and rain were matched in the west by a late-season snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains.
Snow was expected Sunday afternoon in sections of the Rockies, the Nebraska Panhandle and parts of South Dakota, according to the weather service. Bruce Sullivan, a weather service meteorologist, was reported by The Guardian as saying that such late and heavy snowfall was “unusual” for May. A thunderstorm on Saturday had already brought two inches of hail to Colorado.