CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA/SIOUX FALLS SOUTH DAKOTA – Hail, snow, a tornado and a tropical storm made it a “severe weather” Mother’s Day in much of the center of the United States and on the Carolina coast on Sunday.
Tropical Storm Ana, the first named storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, weakened after making landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but high surf and flooding still threatened the coast.
In eastern South Dakota, a tornado touched down at 10:50 a.m. (1550 GMT) in the town of Delmont, population 234, demolishing a Lutheran Church and damaging homes. No injuries or deaths were reported but emergency workers were dispatched, said Philip Schumacher, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, officials issued “no travel” advisories for western South Dakota, which was blanketed in snow and under a blizzard warning.
Trucks and cars were stuck in heavy drifts on the highway between Rapid City and Wall, the South Dakota Transportation and Public Safety agency said.
In early afternoon, severe thunderstorms moved over Sioux Falls, hail fell in Texas and Arkansas, and tornado watches were in effect in parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said that Ana was delivering maximum sustained wind of 35 miles per hour (56 kph), and at 2:00 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) was barely of tropical storm intensity.
The storm was moving very slowly north near the South Carolina-North Carolina border, the National Weather Center said.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect from Little River Inlet, South Carolina, to Surf City, North Carolina, a 75-mile (129-km) stretch centering on Wilmington, North Carolina, a city with about 112,000 residents.
Ana should remain over land at least through the overnight period, sapping more strength from the system and reducing it to the category of tropical depression later on Sunday, the weather agency said.
The storm could bring 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) of rainfall to the Carolina coast, though more is possible, the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office forecast.
Ana marks the earliest appearance of a named storm in the Atlantic since a previous incarnation of Subtropical Storm Ana on April 20, 2003, said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground, a commercial weather service.
The Atlantic hurricane season typically runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, while tornado season in the center of the country normally runs from May to early June.
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