Residents of the Midwestern U.S. states of Ohio and Indiana were sifting through the ravages of a series of powerful tornadoes that killed at least one person, injured more than 130 others, and destroyed homes, schools and businesses.
Two of the devastating twisters struck the Dayton, Ohio, suburbs of Beavercreek and Trotwood, while a third touched down 128 kilometers northwest in Celina, Ohio. The National Weather Service classified all three as EF3s on the Enhanced Fujita scale, meaning they packed estimated wind speeds of between 136 and 165 miles per hour (218 and 266 kilometers per hour) and were capable of severe damage.
At least a dozen communities suffered damage late Monday and early Tuesday as storms raced through the area.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said as many as 55 tornadoes may have touched down overnight across eight states stretching eastward from Idaho and Colorado. Storm reports posted online by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center said 14 suspected tornadoes touched down in Indiana, 12 in Colorado and nine in Ohio. Seven were reported in Iowa, five in Nebraska, four in Illinois, three in Minnesota, and one in Idaho.
The storms tore roofs off homes, toppled trees, downed power lines and created so much debris that cleanup crews had to use a snowplow to clear one highway in Ohio.
According to NWS, Tuesday was the 12th consecutive day where multiple tornadoes were reported in the United States.While the high number of twisters is not unusual, but they are typically not as widespread.
The National Weather Service said severe weather continued to threaten some 60 million Americans from Texas to New York on Tuesday afternoon.
As the stormy weather plagued the central U.S., several cities in the South have seen record-shattering high temperatures.
Over the weekend, Augusta, Georgia, tied a 141-year-old record high, as the temperature soared to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Savannah, Georgia, tied the record for the earliest occurrence of triple-digit heat in the city, and Charleston, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, reached 100 for the first time ever in May.
Meteorologists predict the scorching trend will continue, and high-temperature records will be set in cities from Louisiana to Virginia.
Also breaking records was flooding along the Mississippi River in eight states. NWS said the flooding is the longest-lasting since the Great Flood of 1927.The river has remained above flood stage since Feb. 17, while in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, it has remained there since early January.
By contrast, instead of sunshine and warmth, California has been hit by a rare late-May snowstorm, bringing record low temperatures. In the mountains of Northern and Southern California, surprise snowfalls have extended the ski season. Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort announced plans to stay open into August.