Almost 40 unconfirmed tornadoes were reported to batter the US Plains, as of November 17, 2015. Major damage has been reported in Texas, while extreme conditions persisted in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, as well. Devastated homes, blown cars, traffic disruptions and power cutoffs are reported across the affected areas.
Severe thunderstorms, large hail, tornadoes and strong winds have swept the area, causing major damage. Violent outbursts of such extreme weather conditions are quite common for this time of the year in US Plains, as seasonal lows and jet streams start to kick in.
In this case, a surface low pressure field formed east of the southern Rockies while warm, moist and unstable air in lower levels of the atmosphere originated from the Gulf of Mexico. A jet stream, causing strong wind shears coinciding with unstable air, is largely responsible for this development.
38 unconfirmed tornado touch downs swept Texas on the night (local time) of November 16, media reported. One of the twisters, reported in Pampa was about a kilometer wide. This massive tornado completely devastated the area around Halliburton plant, triggering chemical and gas leakage in the process. No injuries have been reported.
Video credit: AccuWeather
According to the officials, no radioactive materials have been released. Sand Martin, Gray County Emergency Coordinator informed the public that chemical spills and gas leaks are currently being contained.
At least 6 other tornadoes were reported across the Texas Panhandle, including areas near Groom, south and southeast of Pampa, Roberts County, and the towns of Miami and Canadian. Traffic disruptions, broken power lines, damaged houses and blown cars have been reported across the area. More than 50 000 residents were cutoff the electricity supplies, media reports.
Large hail stones, the size of a golf-ball, have been reported in the south side of Pampa.
At least 3 tornadoes have been reported in Oklahoma,south of Elmwood, southwest of Slapout and east of May in Beaver County. Two of the twisters have continued to travel to Texas.
Video credit: Adam Brett Weber
12 tornadoes raged across the grounds of Kansas, including the areas south of Ulysses, north of Pierceville, southeast of Grinnell and parts of Gove County. Several houses have been destroyed near Howell in Ford County and Comanche County. Damaged rooftops, cars and power cutoff has been reported across the affected area. Hail balls up to 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter have been observed north of Pierceville. One of the tornadoes crossed into Oklahoma.
A tornado, about 8 km (5 miles) southwest of Stamford was observed in Nebraska.
Video credit: AccuWeather
Large storm system, producing tornadoes, strong winds and intense hailstorms continues to move through the southeastern US. Severe weather watches are in effect across parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas, as of November 17.
Featured image: Massive tornado in Pampa, Texas, November 16, 2015. Image credit: AccuWeather