Tornadoes roar through nation: 'All the windows exploded, it was just chaos'

John Bacon

A wide swath of the nation braced Sunday for severe storms capable of ruinous wind gusts, hail and tornadoes even as scattered communities from Iowa to Texas cleaned up the damage from the last round of angry weather.

"Tornado Alley is certainly waking up with significant, severe weather," AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer said.

More than 1,500 flights were delayed or canceled into and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport alone Saturday and Sunday because of the weather. More than 60,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas and Iowa on Sunday, down from almost 150,000 late Saturday.

Other cities at risk for severe weather on Sunday included Detroit; Chicago; Indianapolis; Toledo, Ohio; and Paducah, Kentucky, AccuWeather said. But the dangers were even more widespread.

In Louisiana, a gas station and other buildings in and around Ville Platte were destroyed early Sunday by a possible tornado, emergency management officials reported. In nearby Mamou, a Facebook post showed a battered home that had been shoved onto a highway by high winds, completely blocking the road.

"Y’all. There is a whole house on L’anse Meg road in Mamou....Literally," area resident Karoline Bieber Deshotels posted on Facebook. "The lady is ok. Her house and car not so much."

A plethora of tornado reports began rolling in Friday in Nebraska and Kansas. On Saturday, almost a dozen were reported in Texas and Oklahoma. In Texas, the National Weather Service Abilene/San Angelo concluded that an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 135 mph damage homes in San Angelo.

Dru Lewis was hunkered down with his family as the storm battered his home

"There was a suction ... from under the door, I could feel it," he said. "Then all the windows just exploded. It was just chaos from there until the storm died down."

At about the same time, a possible EF2 tornado with winds up to 135 mph was reported 250 miles to the north near Geronimo, Oklahoma. At least two homes were destroyed in the twister that hit one day after county courthouse employees conducted a tornado drill.

More possible tornadoes were scattered around the two states later Saturday, damaging buildings but resulting in no deaths.

Monday could be the worst of it, forecasters warned.

"Severe thunderstorms capable of all severe hazards, including strong tornadoes, are expected across portions of the southern Plains on Monday," the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said.

As the Memorial Day weekend rolls in, look for a "death ridge" of heat in the Southeast, forecasters warned.

"Extreme heat and very dry conditions for extended period of time. Days 6-10 averages are 8-10°F above normal in the ensemble mean." meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted. "Huge signal for record highs -- and long duration!"

Contributing: John Tufts, Jen Killin-Guadarrama and Samuel Sutton, San Angelo Standard-Times

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tornadoes roar through nation: 'All the windows exploded, it was just chaos'