Severe Storms Exploding Thursday From Oklahoma to Wisconsin

By Brian Thompson, Meteorologist
May 30, 2013; 7:31 AM ET
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In a week that has produced hundreds of reports of severe weather and over 60 reports of tornadoes, the threat for more damaging storms continues into Thursday night across the Plains and the Midwest.

Update at 4:15 p.m. CDT Thursday: Severe storms are erupting from Wisconsin and Michigan to Oklahoma and Arkansas. Several tornadoes with damage and injuries have been reported in Arkansas. Tornado reports have also come out of Oklahoma. Follow the latest information in our live blog.

The threat of severe storms extends over a large area from North Texas northward into Wisconsin and Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Des Moines, Omaha, Wichita and Oklahoma City. The greatest threat for tornadoes will extend from northern Missouri southwestward into northeastern Oklahoma, including Kansas City, Springfield, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla.

The risk of strong to severe storms has expanded rapidly eastward late Thursday and includes Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis and Little Rock.

The storms will develop in advance of a cold front associated with a potent storm system sitting over the Dakotas. The clash between the cool air behind the front and the building warm, humid air over the Midwest and East will provide an environment that is ripe for severe thunderstorms.

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Large hail, damaging winds, heavy rainfall and frequent lightning will accompany some of the storms.

As has been the case for the past several days, there is also the risk for tornadoes. If the atmosphere destabilizes enough, some strong, long-lived tornadoes are possible.

Another major concern will be flooding, especially over portions of the Midwest where several inches of rain has already fallen this week. Some of the worst flooding has been across Iowa, where record high water levels have been reached on a couple of rivers in the state.

Additional rainfall will lead to more flash flooding and washed out roadways in these areas.

The slow-moving front will continue to crawl eastward on Friday, keeping the threat for more severe weather and flooding downpours across the Midwest.

Drier weather will finally move in across the Central states over the weekend as the front moves toward the Appalachians.

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