Despite a generally quiet start to severe weather so far this May, severe weather is expected Wednesday night in the southern Plains.
A cold, slow-moving storm set temperature and snowfall records across the South last week and contributed to the lack of severe weather. The storm ushered in unusually dry air for this time of the year in the South.
However, the cold storm will depart into the Northeast this week, allowing more typical May heat and humidity to build across areas from Kansas to Texas.
The clash of returning heat and humidity and dry air lingering farther west will create a volatile scenario. The primary threat from the severe thunderstorms on Wednesday night will be damaging winds and large hail. However, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.
At 7:39 p.m EDT, a rope tornado was reported eight miles north of Gorham, Kan. A rope tornado is formed by the merger of two funnel clouds.
Near the town of Rotan, Texas, hail the size of baseballs and golf balls was reported over the span of 15 minutes.
"The weather pattern this week does not favor tornado development," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said.
The above graphic plots tornado reports since 2005. Note that 2013 is well below the average (615 through May 5).
"In fact, this year has recorded the fewest amount of tornadoes (preliminarily) to date, since the 2005 season," Margusity said.
Cities at risk include Wichita, Kan., Oklahoma City and Abilene, Texas. The severe weather may even threaten Dallas, Texas after midnight Wednesday night.
A combination of factors, including a storm emerging onto the southern Plains and an unrelated cold front, will keep the risk for severe weather in the region Thursday into Friday.
Similar to Wednesday night's threats, the primary risks Thursday will be focused on damaging winds and large hail. These strong storms will stretch from Kansas and Missouri to Texas.
For Friday, the strongest thunderstorms will move eastward. While there is a chance for some severe weather with these storms, from Missouri to Louisiana, the main threat will be torrential downpours in northern Louisiana and Arkansas.
Content of the this story contributed by Meteorologist Courtney Spamer.
The first part of this week will feel more like September than the middle of July, typically the hottest time of year, throughout the Midwest.
The hot weather seen across the Northwest over the weekend will carry over into the new week, continuing the risk of heat-related illness.
Areas in the East and South will be at risk for severe thunderstorms packing damaging winds, flooding rain and frequent lightning strikes into Tuesday.
One person was killed and three were injured after a lightning strike at Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park Saturday afternoon. This comes one day after another strike occurred in the park on Friday, leaving one woman dead and seven injured.
Beachgoers were sent running by a sudden, violent hail storm in Siberia on Sunday.
In the western Pacific, Typhoon Rammasun is on track to hit the Philippines.
Columbia Co., NY (1870)
Workmen in fields injured by hail.
Los Angeles, CA (1886)
A total of 0.24 inches of rain, the greatest 24-hour July rainstorm.
Central & Eastern U.S. (1936)
Summer of '36 sets marks for absolute maximum in 16 states which still are unsurpassed. Collegeville, IN 116 degrees, all-time record for Indiana Waterloo, IA 112 degrees Dubuque, IA 110 degrees Burlington, VT 111 degrees Moline, IL 112 degrees Terre Haute, IN 110 degrees Fort Wayne, IN 106 degrees Rochester, MN 108 degrees St. Paul, MN 108 degrees Madison, WI 107 degrees La Crosse, WI 108 degrees Sandusky, OH 105 degrees Toledo, OH 105 degrees Columbus, OH 106 degrees