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Following a period of volatile weather that included tornadoes across the Upper Midwest on Wednesday, the threat for severe storms will shift southward into Thursday night.
The storms will target a swath of the central Plains and small portion of the Mississippi Valley. Some areas hit by storms form Wednesday and Wednesday night can be hit again.
Flash flooding and locally damaging winds are a major concern as some communities will be hit by multiple storms over a several-hour period from northern and eastern Kansas to northern and central Missouri.
“More severe weather will develop into the evening across central Kansas into southeastern Nebraska, northern Missouri, Iowa and northern Illinois,” said AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Amber McGinnis.
Combined with a push of cool air, the building heat and humidity will provide plenty of fuel for these storms to be more dangerous than the average summertime thunderstorm.
“These storms can produce winds with gusts to 80 mph, baseball-sized hail and isolated tornadoes during the afternoon and evening hours,” warned McGinnis.
Those outside enjoying the warm afternoon weather will need to stay up-to-date on local watches and warnings, but also keep an eye on the sky. It will be important to seek shelter in a sturdy building at the first sign of threatening weather.
Where possible, cars should moved into garages ahead of any storms since the threat of large hail will be prominent in any system.
Residents should also take care to secure outdoor furniture or move it indoors ahead of any storms to limit property damage.
Those who live in these areas should keep a weather radio or charged cell phone nearby with weather alerts enabled overnight.
“As storms continue to push eastward and expand into northern Oklahoma and northwestern Illinois through the evening and overnight, wind will be the dominant hazard,” said McGinnis.
Strong winds can topple trees and power lines, resulting in power outages and widespread damage.
On Friday, the risk of severe thunderstorms will pick up where storms leave off from Thursday night.
The main threat for severe weather will extend from south-central Oklahoma to southern Illinois on Friday.
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