The risk of damaging thunderstorms will spread into the Midwest and South Thursday and then into part of the East Friday.
As the outbreak spreads eastward, it is likely to produce a swath of downed trees, power outages, large hail and isolated flash flooding. There is also the risk of a few tornadoes.
An unusually strong storm system for late May will continue to roll out of the Plains and toward the Great Lakes during the balance of the week.
Cold upper levels of the atmosphere will combine with strong surface heating to produce the rapid development of thunderstorms.
The storms will bring a raised risk for hail since the air is so chilly aloft. However, since the storms will poke high into the atmosphere, where strong winds are present, some of the strong, high-level winds can reach down to the surface in the form of powerful downdrafts and horizontal gusts.
The early stages of the severe weather took aim at the Plains late Thursday, as thunderstorms dropped hail as large as grapefruits and generated wind gusts as high as 90 mph. Meteorologist Bill Deger has more on those damaging storms
Later today and into tonight, more severe storms will target a large area from Texas to the Ohio Valley with damaging winds, hail and even a few tornadoes.
As it is now, an outbreak of large, long-tracking tornadoes is generally not expected east of the Mississippi, but rather more on the order of the straight-line wind and hail scenario.
Even with the setup as it is, brief tornadoes are still possible with the event in portions of the Ohio, Tennessee valleys as well as part of the central Appalachians and East Coast.
People should take the severe weather threat seriously and keep an eye on rapidly changing weather conditions.
The greatest threat to lives from any thunderstorms is lightning. Seek shelter indoors as storms approach. If you can hear thunder, you are at risk for being struck by lightning.
The storm system is more typical of early April in terms of the potential for severe weather.
According to Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "The pattern coming up in June will seem more like April, while May may have seemed more like June for some folks."
Abrams was referring to the relatively weak land-based storms in the Central and Eastern states, while the tropics were active in May.
The upcoming pattern well into June will tend to favor stronger land-based storms and the likelihood of minimal tropical activity due to wind shear.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Bill Deger contributed to the content of this story.
As California heads into its third consecutive dry winter with no relief in sight, firefighters continue to battle a late-fall blaze in Big Sur.
After several days of unseasonable warmth, bitter cold and rounds of snow will continue to spread across the Western and Central states into this weekend.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and skies in the U.S. and southern Canada.
An abrupt and abnormal cold wave gripped parts of southeastern Texas in early December, catching many off-guard, including two native Southern California bobcats recently transferred to the area.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
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Central Illinois (1836)
Famous "Sudden Change" in central Illinois. Cold front at noon caused quick drop from 40 degrees to zero.
International Falls, MN (1989)
Low of -34 + high of -21. Wind chill between 60 + 70 below.
Atlantic Ocean (1984)
Hurricane Lili northeast of Puerto Rico. Only the 6th tropical storm in December since 1886.