Archive for Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rare April snowstorm kills 3 in Kansas, heads to Northeast

April 15, 2007

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— A severe weather system blamed for five deaths plowed eastward out of the Plains on Saturday, leaving snow piled more than a foot deep and rattling the Gulf states with violent thunderstorms.

The Northeast prepared for possible coastal flooding.

The storm blew across the Plains on Friday, leaving up to 15 inches of snow in southwest Kansas and raking Texas with high wind.

"I felt my house start shaking like the wind, and I ran in here and grabbed my little girl," Amanda Rymer, 21, said in Haltom City, Texas. "As soon as I moved her, the roof fell in right where she was standing."

Three people were killed in Kansas in traffic accidents on highways covered with ice and slush, police said Saturday.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said the first deadly crash happened around 5:20 p.m. Friday when Jeris Louise Wunderlich, 26, of Cottonwood Falls, lost control of her car on an ice- and slush-covered stretch of Kansas 150 in Chase County.

Less than an hour later, Robert Logan, 54, of Sylvia, died when he lost control of his car because of the weather. Another driver also lost control of his pickup truck as he attempted to avoid the out-of-control car, and the vehicles collided on U.S. 50 in Reno County. Logan's car caught fire, the patrol said.

The third fatal crash happened around 10:45 p.m. Friday when a pickup truck hydroplaned in the slush on U.S. 75 in Woodson County and crashed into a car. The collision killed one of the car's passengers, Wayne Franklin, 51, of Olathe.

By Saturday afternoon, the system was spreading rain from Louisiana to Virginia. Lines of strong thunderstorms rolled across Louisiana and Mississippi into northern Alabama, and the National Weather Service posted tornado warnings for wide areas of Mississippi and some parts of Alabama.

The system was predicted to strengthen when it reaches the East Coast today and form a nor'easter, a storm that follows the coast north, with northeasterly wind driving waves and heavy rain.

"This is very odd for this time of year," National Weather Service meteorologist John Koch said Saturday. "This is something that you would expect to see more in the middle of winter."

A flood watch was posted for the New York City region, as the weather service forecast 2 to 4 inches of rain today with wind gusting to 50 mph. Snow and sleet were possible inland, Koch said.

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