Massive Severe Outbreak Coming Next Week

April 22, 2011; 12:05 PM ET
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It appears the onslaught of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms that have claimed dozens of lives and left communities in ruins from the Plains into the East over the past few weeks is going to continue right into next week.

Next up is another severe outbreak set to hit areas from Oklahoma to Ohio Friday afternoon and night.

After that, AccuWeather.com severe weather experts are already greatly concerned about the tornado potential with a series of storm systems set to track across the hard-hit Plains, Midwest and Southeast throughout next week.

"This could be more widespread than anything we've seen this season," said AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

"We're going to see multiple outbreaks of severe weather Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week from the Ohio Valley to the southern Plains and into the southeastern U.S.," Kottlowski explained. "The orientation of upper-level winds with this setup look to favor a high risk of tornado development."

"People should review tornado safety guidelines and take any [severe thunderstorm or tornado] watches and warnings very seriously," Kottlowski stressed.

While severe thunderstorms with this outbreak could get under way as early as late Sunday, the main threat will evolve Monday through Wednesday.

Kottlowski said that Tuesday and Wednesday will be particularly bad and that the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and the Deep South are the most likely areas to be hit multiple times.

The number of tornadoes so far in 2011 has already surpassed the number up to this point in 2008, which had the second highest number of tornadoes on record, according to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity. This number will only continue to climb through next week.

Margusity said Tuesday that he thinks there could be up to 300 tornadoes from April 19 to May 4. Since making that statement, there have been 42 reports of tornadoes with a storm system that pushed through the Plains, South and Midwest Tuesday into Wednesday.

"There is no doubt between the recent event [Tuesday into Wednesday] and the weather pattern next week that we will see 300 tornadoes," Margusity stated. "People from the Plains into the East really need to pay attention to the weather."

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