Rare January tornadoes sweep
At least one dies as houses demolished, railroad cars knocked off tracks
The Associated Press, Jan. 8, 2008
Record temperatures were reported across much of the country Monday, and storms continued to pummel the nation's midsection as darkness fell. More warmth and storms were in store for Tuesday.
Tornadoes were reported or suspected Monday in southwest
Eleven houses in
"I have never seen damage like this in the summertime when we have potential for tornadoes," Sheriff David Beth said. "To see something like this in January is mind-boggling to me. This is just unimaginable to me."
Tim Carpentier was among the
'Windows blew out'
"I was just running down the stairs as the front windows blew out," he said. The front of his house was flipped over the roof, and neighboring houses had collapsed roofs and natural gas leaks.
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce E. Schroeder, presiding over opening testimony in a murder trial, said he couldn't believe it when a deputy said the courtroom had to be evacuated because of a tornado warning.
"It's a first," he said while waiting with 300 people in the basement. "I've actually had.... warnings occur during jury trials before and frankly I just ignored them. But not in January."
Beckie Gilbert, a secretary who works in Wheatland, watched from her company's back door as wispy funnel clouds grew and the tornado uprooted about five trees.
"We saw it in the distance, which wasn't far, and it was pretty scary," she said. "We were watching as it picked up dirt and got really dark, and then it disappeared over some trees."
Meteorologists said the unusual weather was the result of warm, moist air moving from the south. It brought temperatures hovering near 70 degrees on Sunday and Monday.
"It's very unseasonable for this time of year," said National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell. "The atmosphere is just right."
About six homes were destroyed in the small town of
About 15 miles away in
Authorities ordered about 500 residents to evacuate the nearby unincorporated town of
Elsewhere, the heat was making history. By about noon Monday,
The high in
Six snowmobilers missing in the Colorado mountains for 2 1/2 days while a howling blizzard swirled around them were rescued Monday _ hungry and cold but unhurt _ after taking shelter in a cozy cabin and calling 911 on a cell phone when the storm eased up.
The group, consisting of two couples and two teenagers, broke into the cabin, where they huddled around a gas grill and dined on popcorn and chicken bouillon they found inside.
"We counted 18 blankets. We were cozy," 31-year-old Shannon Groen said after rescue crews on snowmobiles brought the group to safety. "God was looking out for us.
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