Violent thunderstorms will rumble across a wide, highly populated corridor of the Midwest and Plains from Minnesota to Texas into Thursday night. Nearly 50 million people live within the severe storm risk area.
According to Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "This system has had a history of producing many incidents of large hail and that threat will continue Thursday."
On Wednesday there were nearly 200 preliminary reports of large hail which accounted for more than double the number of incidents of damaging wind gusts. There were five initial reports of tornadoes on Wednesday.
"The greatest concern for severe weather will be from the mid-afternoon into the evening," AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Scott Breit said.
The upcoming severe weather is on the heels of a recent devastating five-day severe storm outbreak. Similar to that outbreak, tornadoes will be among the threats, but they are expected to be more isolated.
"The severe weather event Thursday will include damaging wind gusts to 70 mph, large hail, flash flooding and even isolated tornadoes," Breit said.
The severe weather will evolve from a wide-reaching, slow-moving storm system that will combine with powerful winds aloft and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico.
"Minneapolis and Lacrosse, Wisconsin, will be included in the northern extent of the threat zone, but stay just west of Milwaukee," Breit said. "In the southern extent of the threat, areas from Oklahoma City to Dallas could be hit with severe storms, especially from late afternoon into the evening."
Thunderstorms capable of producing large, destructive hail will be a prime concern for people from Iowa to Minnesota and Wisconsin. The hail produced can be large enough to break windows and damage the siding and roofs of homes and businesses.
A few tornadoes could also be produced by the storms over the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest.
Eastern Kansas, Iowa and southwestern Minnesota were being watched closely late Thursday afternoon. The sun has broken through and the air remained rather warm and humid following showers and thunderstorms from earlier in the day.
According to Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, the tornado risk will be most concentrated from far northern Texas into portions of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Springfield, MIssouri, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, lie within this zone of elevated tornado risk.
Those living or traveling in the threat zone should pay close attention to severe weather warnings throughout the day.
If you hear thunder, seek shelter.
Multiple severe storms can repeatedly hit some communities on into Thursday night, so residents are urged to stay alert after the first round of violent storms.
The repeating nature of the storms over parts of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and eastern Oklahoma can lead to flooding in some communities.
As the storm system moves farther east on Friday, the severe threat will fade. Flooding rain will become the primary threat from the Tennessee Valley to the central Gulf Coast.
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