Severe Storms Friday Night for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas

By Courtney Spamer, Meteorologist
April 26, 2013; 9:50 PM ET
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A strengthening storm early Friday will bring the potential for severe weather in the southern Plains Friday evening and overnight.

The storm will track slowly eastward over the southern third of the nation through the weekend.

The threat of strong, potentially severe, thunderstorms will stretch from northeastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, much of Arkansas and southern Missouri.

With these storms, the greatest risks will be damaging wind gusts, flash flooding and a few incidents of large hail.

These impacts will not affect every place in the outlined area, but gusts could potentially bring down trees and power lines. While there is a low risk of tornadoes with this event, severe thunderstorms occasionally produce such dangerous conditions.

The rain from Friday's storms is not expected to bring widespread problems, like the dangerous flooding in the Midwest earlier this week, initially. However, as the excessive water from the northern portions of the Mississippi works downstream and meets up with the rain falling this weekend, significant rises are possible on stretches of the Lower Mississippi into next week. Flash and urban flooding is the primary concern farther east this weekend.

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Current Severe Weather Watches and Warnings

Like all thunderstorms, these will also pose the threat of lightning strikes. As reported by NOAA recently, the first lightning death of 2013 occurred on Tuesday, April 23. In Pomona City, Missouri, a woman was struck and killed while standing under a tree.

Developing or fast-moving thunderstorms can give little or no notice of lightning about to strike. Severe thunderstorms can cause multiple lightning strikes within a small area. Seek shelter indoors as storms approach.

Time lapse photo of lightning strikes spanning about 2.5 minutes by Flickr user Bo Insogna.

A car or truck can offer adequate protection from lightning. However, avoid remaining in a vehicle beneath a tree during a storm as strong winds can case large limbs to crash down. Golf carts and picnic pavilions do not offer sufficient protection from lightning.

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