Midwest Hurricane-forced Winds Leave at least 5 Dead

At least 5 dead as Midwest rocked by hurricane-force winds on December 15. | Photo: MGN

A powerful and extremely unusual storm system swept across the Great Plains and Midwest amid unseasonably warm temperatures, spawning hurricane-force winds and possible tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Five fell victims, losing their lives to this deadly hurricane.

The storm shifted north of the Great Lakes into Canada on Thursday, with high winds, snow and hazardous conditions continuing in the upper Great Lakes region, the National Weather Service said. More than 400,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kansas, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.

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The Weather Company historian Chris Burt compared the heat to that of a “warm July evening. . . I can say with some confidence that this event (the heat and tornadoes) is among the most (if not THE most) anomalous weather event ever on record for the Upper Midwest,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

The winds knocked down trees, tree limbs and nearly 150 power lines in northern and western Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. In the western Michigan village of Fruitport, high winds peeled back a portion of Edgewood Elementary School’s roof, leading officials to close all district schools Thursday.

The system came on the heels of devastating tornadoes last weekend that cut a path through states including Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois and Kentucky, killing more than 85 people.

The governors of Kansas and Iowa declared states of emergency.

– Ella Breedlove

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