Rounds of severe storms, flash flooding to culminate with tornado threat in central US
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 19, 2019, 9:38:17 AM EDT
A widespread severe weather episode that may unleash tornadoes is likely on Wednesday in part of the central United States.
On Monday and Tuesday, the weather pattern produced complexes of heavy, gusty and locally severe thunderstorms over parts of the Plains and the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys.
On Monday night, thunderstorms struck parts of Colorado, leaving some roads impassable due to flooding while other areas were covered in hail.
A handful of tornadoes were reported on Tuesday, with dozens of wind and hail reports over the southern Plains.
One tornado was spotted north of Kinsley, Kansas, on Tuesday afternoon during of of the first severe storms of the afternoon. Another storm produced hail as large as tennis balls near Wichita, Kansas.
The risk of severe weather may ratchet up another level or two on Wednesday as a storm system develops over the central Plains and strengthens as it moves eastward.
The severe weather threat is forecast to extend from the lower Ohio Valley through part of the middle and lower Mississippi Valley and a portion of the southern Plains at midweek.
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"Storms are likely to pack a punch with damaging wind gusts and hail, but it is possible the situation evolves into a threat for multiple tornadoes on Wednesday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said.
"Should the storm strengthen quickly and there is sufficient sunshine to heat the region ahead of the thunderstorms, a violent severe weather outbreak that includes tornadoes may result."
The area at risk for these violent storms will stretch from Interstate 20 near Dallas to I-70 near Indianapolis.
The same storm system is likely to pull the risk of severe thunderstorms and perhaps a tornado threat farther to the east Wednesday night and Thursday over parts of the Appalachians and mid-Atlantic region.
River flooding eases; Flash flood threat continues
The river flooding situation is easing over the much of the Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas basins. Waters over most of these rivers are receding or have already dropped below flood stage. Levels are still high over part of the middle and lower Mississippi, but they are not expected to rise in the short term.
Rainfall has not be as concentrated as that which prompted record or near-record flooding from earlier this spring.
However, any slow-moving downpour, let alone a large complex of thunderstorms, is likely to trigger flash, urban and small stream flooding from the Plains to the Midwest and mid-South.
A few pockets of quick river flooding can occur where thunderstorm complexes linger, such as the swath from north-central Texas to central Missouri.
Some rises are likely on the Ohio River and there is the potential for flooding along some of the secondary rivers in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky in the weather pattern through this week.
Some of these rivers empty into the Ohio River and others flow northward and empty into the Great Lakes.
Download the free AccuWeather app for more precise details on the forecast for your area, including severe weather watches and warnings. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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