Hail, Tornado Threat Ramps Up Today Across the Plains

April 12, 2012; 1:52 PM ET
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AccuWeather Meteorologist Cory Mottice took this photo of 4-inch hail from a thunderstorm in North Woodward, Okla., on Monday. Similar large and damaging hail could fall from storms later today across the southern Plains.

After a few powerful storms on Wednesday, a more significant episode of severe weather is expected later today across the central and southern Plains.

Large, damaging hail will continue to be a huge concern from any thunderstorm, with conditions also appearing ripe for the development of a few tornadoes.

A storm system emerging from the Rockies will be the "trigger" for today's active weather, clashing with warm and unstable air in place from Texas to Kansas.

Powerful and twisting winds aloft will help prime the environment to become capable of spawning tornadoes.

While some showers and thunderstorms will start the day from western Texas north to the central Plains, the more significant storms should hold off until the afternoon and evening hours.

The strongest storms will fire along and ahead of a push of dry air expected to head east, eventually impacting cities such as Abilene, Childress and San Angelo, Texas; Enid and Lawton, Okla.; and Dodge City, Hays and Wichita, Kan.

As AccuWeather Meteorologist Cory Mottice experienced firsthand a few days ago, the hail from these severe storms can be frightening and dangerous.

Mottice observed 4-inch diameter hail from thunderstorms on Monday that could end up being similar to those expected to form later today.

Monday's storms also ended up briefly spawning a few tornadoes.

While such large hail and tornadoes may end up being the exception rather than the rule for many storms, the lightning and heavy rain alone from storms will be enough to interrupt outdoor activities and slow travel.

Unfortunately, today will not be the last day of severe storms over the region. Many of the same areas at risk today will be threatened repeatedly over the next few days as we head into the weekend.

The number of severe storms and tornadoes could reach full-blown outbreak level by Saturday from Oklahoma City to Wichita to Kansas City.

Meteorologist Meghan Evans has more on the potential for severe storms across the Plains beyond today.


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