Millions of people are under scrutiny from tornadoes in the Upper Midwest and Plains after a massive deadly storm swept across California.
Areas in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma received their first tornado warning Monday for 2023, which is in effect until 9 p.m. CST.
Jessieville in Arkansas was hit by a tornado late Sunday afternoon that damaged 14 homes, three buildings and up to seven buildings in a local school district. It is unclear if there were any injuries.
Tornadoes aren’t the only threat to the area this week, as the National Weather Service warned of heavy snow, freezing rain and gusty winds through Wednesday.
Experts urged everyone in tornado warning areas to seek shelter immediately rather than wait for the threat to appear.
“If you wait for a warning to be issued, it will be too late,” Brad Bryant, a meteorologist at NWS told CNN. “You need to have a safe shelter plan ahead of these storms.”
Millions of people are on tornado watch as a storm threatens the Midwest and Plains. The threat is in effect in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma until 9 p.m. CST. But thunderstorms are possible leading up to Tuesday
While the tornado warning runs through Monday evening, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana could experience strong and damaging winds through Tuesday.
The current storm warning threatens about 30 million people in the Mid-South and Mississippi Valleys, who are at risk of five to four inches of rain and flash flooding through Tuesday.
The National Weather Service warned that travel could be affected until the storm subsides on Wednesday.
Parts of Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota are expected to receive up to 3 inches of snow per hour through Tuesday.
As the National Weather Service warned on Twitter, “On Monday and Tuesday, a winter storm will move from the Four Corners across the central plains and upper Midwest with areas of heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain.
Arkansas was hit by a tornado on Sunday that damaged several homes and a local school. The storm appeared to have damaged the lights of a football stadium
Damage was seen in multiple areas around Jessieville, Arkansas
The threat is in effect in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma until 9 p.m. CST
The current storm warning threatens about 30 million people as the Mid-South and Mississippi Valley. Parts of Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota are expected to receive up to 3 inches of snow per hour through Tuesday
The National Weather Service warned of conditions leading up to this week
Ice up to a quarter of an inch is also likely in eastern Nebraska and southern Minnesota.
The weather conditions can lead to dangerous travel, tree damage and power outages.
Meanwhile, California could be hit by more excessive rain again on Wednesday after the northern part of the state plummeted with widespread flooding and heavy snow over the weekend.
At least three people died from the treacherous conditions, including a person found dead Saturday in a completely submerged car in Sacramento County and a 72-year-old man who died after being struck by a fallen tree in a Santa Cruz park .
The storm left 300,000 Californians without power on Saturday, but as of Monday, that number had dropped to more than 50,000.
As the storm moves further east, rain and thunderstorms are predicted to hit the coast
Meanwhile, California could be hit again by more excessive rain on Wednesday, after the northern part of the state plunged with widespread flooding over the weekend. In Sacramento, a car is submerged in water
Three vehicles were seen underwater on Highway 99 in southern Sacramento County on Sunday
Two other cars were submerged in the water when power went out to more than 170,000 homes over the weekend
The storm now moving south has been attributed to what’s known as an atmospheric river — a region of the atmosphere that can carry moisture thousands of miles away.
That “river” has already devastated the Sacramento area, where rescue crews spent the weekend rescuing multiple flood victims with boats and helicopters, and responding to calls from fallen trees and disabled vehicles trapped in the floodwaters.
An evacuation order was issued on Sunday for the rural areas of Point Pleasant in Sacramento County — just one day after rising floodwaters forced evacuations in Wilton, California and three communities near the Santa Cruz County town of Watsonville.
There was also a flash flood watch along and west of Highway 5 leading to the Sacramento River, where there were already concerns about excessive rainfall and flooding.
An embankment was eventually skipped and breached by the Cosumnes River on Saturday night due to the heavy rainfall, flooding Wilton. And on Sunday morning, Sacramento County spokesman Matt Robinson said helicopter footage showed a second levee had breached.
Residents in areas near Interstate 5 were told to “prepare to leave the area now before roads are cut to evacuate the area.”
The Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services also urged rural residents to move their livestock to higher elevations.
Meanwhile, videos on Highway 99 showed cars submerged past their door handles.
The highway was later closed south of Elk Grove in Sacramento County,
Sacramento County officials were eventually forced to declare a local state of emergency.
Some cars were overturned and seen off the side of the road in Sacramento County
An aerial image Monday showed flooded areas around homes following the storm
Buildings were flooded after the rainstorm hit Sacramento County
Now, northern and central California are once again at risk for more heavy rain and flooding, starting Wednesday and leading into Thursday, according to NWS.
The flood risk then leads Thursday and Friday to be moved more inland and south of the state.
It’s unclear whether the excessive rainfall will put a dent in California’s endless drought, which is heading into the fourth driest year on record.