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In the wake of one of the worst tornado outbreaks in recorded history last week, more rounds of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are predicted to bombard the same general region into early May.
AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity even stated in his blog Tuesday that over the next two weeks, he thinks there could be up to 300 more tornadoes within an area spanning from eastern Oklahoma to northern Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
"You may think that 300 tornadoes is a lot, but if you look at 2008, we had just that many in the two-week time period leading up to the second week of May," Margusity said in his blog. "Also, given the pattern, I don't think it's too unrealistic to think that many can happen."
A few hours after he made these statements, more tornadoes broke out Tuesday evening from Oklahoma to Ohio. The number of tornado reports (unofficial) with this outbreak was up to 34 as of this morning.
This image, courtesy of the National Weather Service Office in San Diego, Calif., shows tornado reports across the Plains and Midwest late Tuesday into Tuesday night.
Margusity's prediction is based on expectations that the "wild" weather pattern that has been set up across the country this spring so far is showing no signs of change over the coming weeks.
His biggest concern is that this pattern is driving the severe weather into the populated areas of the Midwest, putting cities such as St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville at risk.
Typically in the spring, it's less populated areas of the southern High Plains that are targeted by severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreaks with this type of frequency. Instead, extreme dry conditions on the southern High Plains and especially Texas are creating an unprecedented wildfire situation this spring.
Warm, humid air will continue surging northward from the Gulf of Mexico into the Plains, Southeast and Midwest, as storm systems track through about once every several days. Add in a strong jet stream (an area of maximum winds in the upper atmosphere), and you have a recipe for significant severe weather outbreaks.
Threats Coming Up this Week and Next While some severe thunderstorms will threaten the southern Plains this afternoon and tonight, the next chance for a significant outbreak of severe weather, including the threat of tornadoes, will arrive Friday.
Areas from Oklahoma to Missouri are expected to lie in the heart of this outbreak. However, the thunderstorms will end up affecting areas farther east across the Ohio Valley on Friday night as well.
Another storm system moving out onto the southern Plains Sunday into Monday will spark another round of severe thunderstorms in many of the same areas from Oklahoma into the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.
A cold front associated with this storm will then sweep across the Southeast Tuesday into Wednesday, sparking strong thunderstorms along the way.
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