Although last weekend’s tornado strike on Kentucky and five other states were unprecedented, the severe weather pattern is far from over.
Last night, an intense storm system produced extreme storm weather, lightning, hail, tornadoes, and winds that ripped off roofs and tossed around semi-trucks like toy cars.
In Minnesota, a tornado was observed in Plainview – the first tornado ever reported in the state during the month of December. There were also approximately twenty reports of tornadoes in Iowa and Nebraska. Over 300 reports of severe wind gusts had come in from the Midwest states.
Major Tornado Damage Confirmed In Iowa, Wind Damage In New Mexico
Jefferson, Iowa, was among one of the hardest hit by last night’s sudden storm. Lightning, hail, and tornados were reported, as well as strong winds that exceeded 75 miles per hour.
Sheriff Jack Williams confirmed that a tornado had moved through the county and flattened buildings. As of this writing, no injuries have been confirmed. Williams is asking that residents stay in their homes and avoid fallen power lines.
Taos County Commissioner Candyce O’Donnell reported that at least ten homes in New Mexico had been damaged by high winds.
“County-wide damage to homes and a government building (Taos Ski Valley) are being reported,” O’Donnell wrote in a lengthy Facebook post. “High winds of up to 80 mph uprooted trees that fell on structures, damaging roofs. A large tree in the Upper Red River canyon smashed into a home splitting the home nearly in half.”
Over 100 MPH Wind Guests Recorded In Colorado
I’m setting in my office with no power. This is what it looks like outside. Remind me of why I spend so much time in Southeastern Colorado. pic.twitter.com/Bdi84VqiGo
— Donsteerman (@donsteerman) December 15, 2021
In Colorado, May Kirk Crespin confirmed structural damage due to strong winds. In Lamar, Colorado, a wind gust of 107 mph was recorded.
“It’s been an interesting day here in Lamar, and a record-breaking day for wind,” he stated. “Gusts have caused widespread damage.”
He added, “We have tree damage and electrical lines down as well as the Internet. We are working hard to keep everyone safe.”
He assured the public that all emergency management workers were out all day, trying to clean up the damage caused by the wind and repair power lines.
“We will have a lot of damage to repair when the winds die down,” he stated.
Colorado Springs Fire Department Severely Damaged Due To Sustained Winds
— Kevin Velazquez (@kvcreativetv) December 15, 2021
Public information officer for the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Mike Smaldino, added that they also experienced significant damage in Colorado Springs.
“Our own fire department roof has partly blown off. Just on my drive into the city, I saw about a dozen semi-trucks toppled over,” he stated, adding that they have received dozens of calls ranging from gas leaks, grass fires, and smoldering trees caused by fallen power lines.
The Chapel Hills Mall was evacuated due to a gas leak, but Smaldino assured a concerned public that the gas leak has been contained. There was also damage reported to one gate at Fort Carson, but no injuries have been reported.
More States Face Severe Winds, Evacuation From Fires
12 trucks tipped over in a 7mile stretch. Talk about High Wind warning! 80 mile winds in Colorado Springs pic.twitter.com/6S9kIegcXG
— Marcus Cox (@ELITEMS303) December 15, 2021
In Texas, several hundred people have been told to “evacuate or be prepared to evacuate” the city of Iowa Park, which is located about 150 miles northwest of Dallas.
“We have two separate fires going, so they’re trying to get them contained, but it’s going to be a little bit,” said Deputy Melvin Joyner. “The fire has changed direction a couple of times, but all we can do is monitor.”
Oklahoma Emergency Management Public Information Officer Keli Cain revealed that there are at least nine wildfires burning in northwest and western Oklahoma. The largest fire is reportedly in Guymon, where this is an evacuation order.
“The other big issue that we have is just simply the high winds,” Chain added. “We do have a high wind warning that is in effect for several counties as well up in Northwest, Oklahoma. And then we have a wind advisory that is in effect for most of the rest of the counties in Oklahoma.”
Across the United States, more than 80 million residents are under wind alerts and over 35 million are under high wind warnings. As of Thursday morning, over 450,000 thousand customers were left in the dark across five states, according to PowerOutage.us.