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Extreme weather floods the US South, tornadoes and large hail wreak havoc


Heavy thunderstorms accompanied with intense hail and tornadoes swept through the portion of the southern United States on April 29, 2016. Severe storms continued across the region on the following day, causing severe flash floods and threatening human lives and properties. 5 people were reported dead, and numerous buildings and infrastructural objects were devastated. Traffic was severely disrupted across the affected areas.

On the night of April 29 (local time) tornado touchdowns were reported in Texas and Oklahoma while flash flood warnings were put in effect along the Gulf Coast. A first tornado touchdown in Sherman, Texas caused no immediate damage or injuries while the second one in Lindale caused widespread damage across the area.

Video credit: Breaking Disaster

Video credit: WeatherNation

A twister was also observed in Elgin, Oklahoma, accompanied by large hailstones and also caused substantial damage. A tornado was traveling with a speed of 48.3 km/h (30 mph), according to the National Weather Service. 

More than 152.4 mm (6 inches) of rain was recorded in a 24 hour period in Palestine, Texas. Severe flash floods claimed five lives, as of April 30. Rising flood waters have reached the rooftops of some houses in the area, and emergency evacuations have taken place.

$25,000 of funds was provided by the United Way to aid the victims of flooding in Palestine, and people have been invited to donate through a GoFundMe webpage.

On the morning of April 30, two Boeing 737 airplanes sustained damage at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, as winds over 96.6 km/h (60 mph) swept the area, causing one plane to land on top of a baggage handling vehicle. 

Numerous roads in Henderson County have been flooded, while in the Hughes Spring, a railroad was ripped from the tracks and out into the streets. Widespread damage was also reported in Bastrop County; roofs were torn from buildings and windows blown out. The damage included toppled trees and power lines, and multiple homes and local business suffered significant damage.

Oncor power supplier reported 6 000 customers have lost electricity, Upshur Rural reported 1 400 while 485 Swepco's customers experienced power outages, as well.

Hailstones the size of golf balls were observed in Tyler on April 29.

Video credit: StormChasingVideo

A 32-km (20 miles) patch of Interstate 35 between Purcell and Norman in Oklahoma was closed down on April 29 due to tornadoes and intense hail in the area. The tornado devastated a mobile home on Sooner Road in Ninnekah. Luckily, no fatalities were reported. Severe weather damage in the area included downed power lines, house roofs, and fences.

Video credit: WeatherNation

Hailstones of 7.6 cm (3 inches) in diameter were observed north of Manitou on April 29, according to NWS.

The state of Mississippi reported downed trees while strong floods and winds swept Arkansas. Western parts of Lewisville and several houses in Gin City were inundated while residents of MacArthur Drive in North Little Rock suffered electricity loss on April 29. Large hailstones were observed in Sebastian County.

Extreme weather conditions affected Louisiana, too. A part of Canal Street collapsed due to water pipe leakage, and a large sinkhole formed near Harrah's Hotel and Casino.

Featured image: Tornado damage in Fletcher, Oklahoma, April 29, 2016. Image credit:WeatherNation

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