Millions of north Texas and southern Oklahoma residents on Tuesday braced for tornadoes and heavy rains, as an equal number of Americans in the Rockies and Midwest prepared for blinding snow.
Big-rig trucks were toppled by high winds Tuesday morning in Parker and Wise counties in Texas, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
A storm passed through Rockwall County, Texas, pelting the area with hail the size of tennis balls, officials said.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport issued a “shelter in place” warning at 8:51 a.m. asking anyone near one of the nation’s busiest airports to hunker down and away from windows, before that caution was cleared in less that 10 minutes.
There are multiple “family structures damaged” with power poles and trees in the roads of McClain County, Oklahoma, according to emergency management there.
Students of Wayne Public Schools in McClain County were told to stay home on Tuesday due to “no electricity and the high probability of storm damage,” the district said.
Downed power lines and trees have littered roads in Grapevine, Texas, where authorities asked residents to avoid certain neighborhoods as public safety crews to their work on Tuesday.
The strong winds appeared to peel off portions of the roof of the Sam’s Club in Grapevine.
That megastore, along with the Grapevine Mills mall and Walmart in Grapevine were closed for the day as several “city roads remain closed due to debris and downed power lines,” police said.
About 17 million people who live in parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi could be hit with tornadoes, large hail and gusts of more than 70 mph.
As those residents take shelter from impending storms, another 17 million Americans from the central Rockies to the northern Great Lakes were under winter weather alerts.
Westbound Interstate 70 was closed near the Kansas-Colorado border due to fear of dangerous winter weather, officials in both states said.
Heavy snowfall made travel difficult throughout much of the region as a blizzard warning in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, was set through 5 a.m. MST Thursday.
Up too 20 inches of snow was forecast to fall on the far western edge of the state.
Steve Strouss contributed.