Severe weather rolls up records through Midwest, South

Storm damage reported in the Cincinnati area. Photo Source: Viewer submitted
Storm damage reported in the Cincinnati area. Photo Source: Viewer submitted
Storm damage reported in the Cincinnati area. Photo Source: Viewer submitted
Storm damage reported in the Cincinnati area. Photo Source: Viewer submitted

LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (RNN) – A record-breaking low pressure system wreaked havoc on the Midwest and South on Tuesday, injuring dozens of people, leaving thousands without power and causing still-untold damage to property. Both regions continue to be troubled today by the severe weather system.

Susan Buchanan, a public affairs specialist with the National Weather Service (NWS), said 28 tornadoes and more than 500 severe thunderstorms and straight-line winds were reported. Although two dozen people were hurt or injured, no fatalities were reported.

One of the hardest hit areas was around Lincoln County, NC. Eleven people were injured, with one of them suffering potentially life-threatening injuries.

"All were treated and taken transported to local facilities," said Lincoln County Emergency Management Services Training Coordinator Kim Green.

WBTV, a Raycom news station in Charlotte, NC reported a pregnant woman and her three children were injured when the mobile home they were in flipped and was destroyed by the storm.

Green said three structures, believed to be residences, were destroyed during a possible tornado touchdown around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ninety-five residences are still without power Wednesday.

Emily Norcross, a public information officer with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said that voluntary reports from county agencies confirm that six tornadoes touched down in her state. The weather left 60 structures damaged and two people injured.

In Racine, WI a roof was torn off a tractor factory, injuring two people inside.

The National Weather Service said 200,000 customers lost power in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

The severity of the storm canceled hundreds of airline flights.

Greg Cunningham, spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Aviation, said that the city's two airports - O'Hare and Midway - were experiencing delays on Wednesday due to the continued severe weather.

More than 150 flights had been canceled by noon at O'Hare, with delays on remaining flights averaging 60 minutes.

Buchanan said that the storm originated off the Pacific Ocean and blew into the U.S. over its Western Coast.

She said the storm is one of the most intense non-tropical storms to ever hit the U.S. All-time low pressure records were set in several locations affected by the storm. When final statistics are determined, it will rank among the nation's top-five low pressure storms.

It's the storm's distinct low pressure system that makes it so destructive.

"In general, the lower the pressure, the more intense the storm," said a meteorologist with the NWS.

In this case, the storm's low pressure center, which consumed most of the Midwest,  fell to 955 millibars. That's the equivalent of the pressure in a Category 3 hurricane.

The unusually large system, which stretches from the Midwest down to Alabama, is expected to gradually weaken throughout the day today. But forecasts of severe thunderstorms, gusts, tornadoes, and even snow remain intact.

In Alabama, a tornado warning was issued for three counties Wednesday morning.

Currently, the storm is quasi-stationary, and convective activity will continue until Thursday, when it is expected to die, Buchanan said.

Light to moderate snow will be seen in some areas. In North Dakota, there will be near white-out conditions, with a blizzard warning under effect.

Midwest residents are excited that an end is in sight.

"We're hopeful it will start to subside and things will get back to normal," said Cunningham.

Copyright 2010 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. WBTV contributed to this report.