Dangerous Thunderstorms to Menace from Shreveport to Detroit

May 25, 2011; 8:39 AM
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"A swath from Arkansas and northern Mississippi into the southern portions of Illinois and Indiana will be at the highest risk for devastating tornadoes."


Deadly thunderstorms erupted over the southern Plains on Tuesday. These storms will shift eastward into tonight, focusing their fury from lower Michigan to northern Louisiana.

A swath from eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi to the central portions of Illinois and Indiana will be in the highest risk area for devastating tornadoes into tonight. This elevated tornado risk area includes the cities of Little Rock, Memphis, St. Louis, Louisville and Indianapolis.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski advised on Tuesday, that "if a tornado warning is issued, immediately seek shelter. The safest areas are a storm shelter, basement or interior room in the lowest level of your home in that order."

Besides tornadoes, thunderstorms into tonight could produce wind gusts well past 60 mph that will be capable of downing trees and power lines, damaging buildings and toppling tractor trailers. Enough hail could fall to cover the ground in a few locations. A couple of the thunderstorms could bring hail the size of baseballs.

Torrents of rain could send flash flood waters flowing over city streets and small streams quickly out of their banks.

Travelers along stretches of Interstates 70, 44, 40, 30, 20, 75, 65, 57 and 55 could run into one of these storms. Motorists in these areas should be sure to heed all road sign and radio warnings.

It is also possible for some of the tornadoes to be wrapped in rain, making them nearly impossible to spot from a driver's view.

Never drive across flooded roadways as the road beneath may have been washed away.

Shreveport, Tyler, Little Rock, Jackson, Miss., Nashville, St. Louis, Louisville, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Detroit are among the cities and towns at risk for a damaging thunderstorm through tonight. Tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo., could also have another powerful thunderstorm today.

Travel headaches will not be limited to the ground. Flight delays and cancellations are a possibility as any thunderstorms enter the vicinity of some of the Midwest's busiest air hubs.

Thursday, the storms will continue to march eastward. Locally severe thunderstorms will threaten a zone from southern Ontario, much of Ohio and the western parts of New York and Pennsylvania to tornado-weary Alabama.

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