Violent Storms, Tornadoes to Jar Texas to Nebraska

By , Senior Meteorologist
April 23, 2014; 12:11 PM
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Despite a quiet start to the day, severe weather will ramp up across the Plains Wednesday evening.

The stage is being set for violent thunderstorms to fire over the central and southern High Plains Wednesday evening, from Nebraska to west-central Texas. Many of the storms are forecast to ignite between Route 83 and I-35.

Cities in the path of the severe weather and the potential for a tornado include North Platte, McCook and Grand Island, Neb.; Dodge City and Russell, Kan.; Gage and Clinton, Okla.; and Childress, Abilene San Angelo and Del Rio, Texas, late in the day.

During the first part of Wednesday night the cities of Lincoln, Neb., Wichita, Kan., Wichita Falls, Texas, and Oklahoma City will be at risk for violent storms, including the possibility of an isolated tornado.

In addition to the tornado risk Wednesday evening, some areas may be hit with very large hail and damaging wind gusts.

While the risk of tornadoes will diminish later at night, lives could be put at risk during the first part of the night as the tornado risk carries over from the late afternoon and early evening hours.

All told through Wednesday night approximately 10 million people can be impacted by severe weather over the Central states.

The worst of the severe weather, at this point, is expected to remain to the north and west of Omaha, Neb., Dallas, Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Mo. However, these cities may still become the target of a gusty, drenching thunderstorm late Wednesday night.

"Wednesday will be a busy day dealing with a myriad of severe weather of all kinds, including large hail, high wind gusts as well as tornadoes," stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.

People will need to keep up-to-date on the track and speed of the storms as they approach their location from the west through Wednesday night.

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The danger of severe thunderstorms may not end with Wednesday night.

"It seems like at least portions of the eastern Plains into the Mississippi Valley will see severe threats on Thursday," Walker continued.

The area at risk for strong to locally severe thunderstorms on Thursday is forecast to extend from Arkansas to southeastern and central Missouri, southern Illinois, western Tennessee and western Kentucky.

Storms within this swath will bring the risk of blinding downpours, flash flooding and locally strong wind gusts.

Portions of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin may also be hit with a period of windswept, blinding downpours.

AccuWeather.com will cover the storms live late Wednesday into Thursday.

During this upcoming weekend, there is the potential for a more widespread and dangerous severe weather outbreak centered on Texas and the southern Plains. The weekend tornado threat will extend into the overnight hours Saturday to Sunday. More information on this severe weather threat will be released later Wednesday on AccuWeather.com

This year's severe weather season has gotten off to an extremely slow start compared to average, which the AccuWeather.com Long Range team anticipated.

The below graphic from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) shows that the preliminary tornado count so far this year is running well below the minimum value on the inflation adjusted annual tornado trend chart.

As the graphic declares, the preliminary count for 2014 has been multiplied by 0.85 to remove erroneous extra reports.

Greg Carbin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist from the SPC, told AccuWeather.com that the bars on the graphic are only estimates and do not represent any year in particular.

"[The graphic] is an attempt to define the ranges in the running annual total of U.S. tornadoes by removing the positive upward trend in reports of weak tornadoes over the past couple of decades when compared to the longer-term record," Carbin stated.

The SPC also reported that Saturday was the 153rd day without an EF-3 or stronger tornado touching down in the United States. That is the fourth-longest such stretch in the last 60 years.

Listed third on the list is the 188 days from 1997, while 2004 ranks first with 249 days.

Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.

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