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Tropical Storm Karen fizzles; South Dakota pounded by snow

October 06, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • A beach in Gulf Shores, Ala. Tropical Storm Karen dissipated Sunday morning in the Gulf of Mexico, and storm preparations in the region were called off or scaled back.
A beach in Gulf Shores, Ala. Tropical Storm Karen dissipated Sunday morning… (Dave Martin / Associated…)

Adios, Karen.

The first named storm system of the season, which had Louisianans packing off for safety and federal emergency workers scurrying back from shutdown furlough, dissipated in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

Karen, once a tropical storm whipping 65-mph winds around its center, was expected to wander eastward with much weaker winds as the Gulf Coast dodged a meteorological headache.

The rest of the U.S. wasn't so lucky over the weekend, with the Great Plains racked by tornadoes and blizzards, parts of the Appalachians deluged by rain, and California battling dry winds and wildfires.

A snowstorm socked South Dakota on Friday and Saturday, obliterating October accumulation records, the National Weather Service said. Nineteen inches of snow hit Rapid City on Friday, just shy of the all-time 20-inch mark reached in a single day in April 1970. But it was double the single-day accumulation mark for October (9.9 inches in 1919), the weather service said. The storm brought a downfall so gargantuan that, in 24 hours, it made this October the snowiest in Rapid City's history by a 3.9-inch margin.

If that weren't enough, the storm system tacked on 4.1 more inches of snow by the end of the weekend. Making matters worse, all that snow started to rapidly melt Sunday, bringing minor flooding along creeks and streams as residents dug themselves out.

Heavy rains elsewhere along the Kentucky-Indiana border on Saturday and Sunday doused the Louisville area with more than half a foot of rain, according to a weather service estimate as of Sunday morning.

Flooding forced the evacuation of scores of people in low-lying areas. According to the Associated Press, no one was harmed, though some residents may be returning home to wet furniture and squishy carpets after the weather service lifted its flood alerts as of Sunday evening.


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