Tornadoes, Severe Storms, Flooding Continue Friday Night

By Brian Thompson, Meteorologist
May 31, 2013; 9:36 PM ET
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Severe thunderstorms were firing up once again across the Midwest, bringing damaging winds, frequent lightning strikes, hail and several tornadoes Friday.

People in the Oklahoma City area as well as other communities in Missouri and Kansas have been facing a very dangerous situation Friday evening, with destructive winds and tornadoes.

The atmosphere was being contained through most of the afternoon around Oklahoma, but the lid came off the giant pressure cooker as temperatures soured to near 90 degrees.

Storms form the southern Plains to the Great Lakes were developing out ahead of a cold front.

Large hail will be another big threat, especially from Oklahoma to Missouri. There were reports of softball-sized hail with a few storms Thursday. Some of the strongest storms into Friday night have the potential to produce hail at least the size of baseballs. Hail this size can cause damage to homes and cars, and can also cause fatal injuries to people and animals caught outside.

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Farther north from Illinois to Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, the main threats will be damaging winds, blinding downpours and hail. Even in these areas, though, an isolated tornado or two can be expected.

Flooding will also continue to be a widespread problem from Oklahoma all the way up into Illinois. The ground is already saturated from persistent drenching thunderstorms that produced heavy rainfall over the past several days.

Clusters of strong thunderstorms leftover from Thursday night will slowly diminish Friday. However, new isolated storms will fire during the afternoon and organize into pockets and lines of severe weather before the end of the day. People should remain alert in the indicated areas for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Many rivers and streams are already high, and additional rainfall Friday will add to flooding concerns.

As the cold front slides eastward Saturday, the threat for severe weather will also begin to shift. Areas from the eastern Great Lakes to Northeast Texas are set to be in the zone of violent storms.

There still could be a few strong thunderstorms around Chicago and St. Louis on Saturday, but the main focus for severe weather will be around Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and Little Rock.

Strong to locally severe thunderstorms will then shift into the central and northern Appalachians and perhaps as far as the I-95 corridor in the Northeast on Sunday.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed to the content of this story.

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