June 1, 2004



US Corn Belt Inundated By Tornados, High Winds


Severe storms that started moving into the northwestern corn belt Saturday did not let up on Sunday as they spread east and south. During the 24 hours ending at 0700 CT (1200 GMT) Monday, there were 84 tornados, 419 high wind reports and 170 reports of hail scattered across the corn belt, Arkansas Delta and the Tennessee Valley, according to reports received by the National Weather Service.


Hardest-hit areas include eastern Missouri through central and southern Illinois and southern Indiana, plus virtually all of Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.


In addition to tornados, high winds and hail, considerable rain accompanied the storms, raising river levels to above flood stages in numerous locations throughout the Midwest. In central Indiana into northeastern Kentucky, and in southwestern Arkansas into Mississippi, rains totaled over 3 inches. But 1 to 2 inch amounts were fairly common over much of the corn belt east of the Mississippi River.


Most of the severe weather cleared the corn belt by sunrise this morning although a few showers continue to spread over northern Illinois into Wisconsin and Michigan, and will continue in the northern Corn Belt into midweek.


Meanwhile, heavy thunderstorms in the Southeast on Monday will slowly move out Tuesday, then return around Thursday with more rain.


Cool temperatures will dominate the corn belt this week, averaging 8-12 degrees below normal and not returning to normal until next week.