Destructive thunderstorms, flooding rain target the Plains

By Story by Meteorologist Katie Storbeck.
May 19, 2010, 11:08:41 AM EDT

The southern Plains will continue to fall prey to violent thunderstorms and tornadoes into tonight. Meanwhile, steady rain will douse areas farther north, accompanied by a heightened risk for flash flooding as a storm system advances across the Plains.

Severe Thunderstorm Threat This Evening

Cities including Wichita and Dodge City, Kan., and Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton, Okla., will be at risk for severe weather. The dangerous thunderstorms will be on the prowl mainly this afternoon into tonight.


The thunderstorms will unleash torrential downpours, vivid lightning, damaging winds and large hail. It is important to seek shelter in a sturdy building should one of these storms enter your vicinity.

Large hail will be a significant threat from the thunderstorms. Softball-sized hailstones will be possible in this outbreak, which can cause costly damage to vehicles, crops and roofs.

Meanwhile, conditions will also allow gusty winds to howl over the area. Gusts past 50 mph can lead to downed trees and power lines and scatter lawn furniture.

Oklahomans will face the highest risk for severe thunderstorms into this evening, and tornadoes cannot be ruled out in the strongest of storms.

The same storm system sparked powerful thunderstorms from the Texas Panhandle into the northern Rockies on Tuesday. Several tornadoes tore over parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries or major damage from these twisters.

Flash Flooding Also a Concern

While the damaging thunderstorms roam along a swath from southern Kansas to northern Texas, heavy rain will lead to dangerous conditions farther north.


A large portion of the central Plains will continue to face a soaking rain. In fact, rainfall totals will easily fall into the 1 to 2 inch range, with amounts surpassing 4 inches in spots, from Nebraska into the central Mississippi Valley into Thursday.

Flooding problems could ensue, especially in low-lying or poor drainage areas. Flash flooding and reduced visibility in sudden downpours will hinder travelers along portions of Interstates 80, 70, 44, 40 and 35.

The soaking rain and strong thunderstorms will shift eastward on Thursday as the storm system journeys across the Plains.

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