DISASTERS

Forecast predicts Midwest tornadoes, wildfires in Texas

This photo provided by Tim Creedon shows his baseball and a hailstone that fell in the backyard of Creedon's home in Ottawa, Ill., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has activated the state's emergency operations center as local officials reported damage from tornados spawned by a late-winter storm system. (Tim Creedon via AP)

This photo provided by Tim Creedon shows his baseball and a hailstone that fell in the backyard of Creedon's home in Ottawa, Ill., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has activated the state's emergency operations center as local officials reported damage from tornados spawned by a late-winter storm system. (Tim Creedon via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Forecasters say parts of the central United States could see strong tornadoes and damaging winds in a late-winter storm system, while areas of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico could be beset by wildfires.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says nearly 40 million people in an area stretching from Arkansas to Ohio are at risk for stormy weather Tuesday. The highest risk comes in northern Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, including St. Louis and Indianapolis.

The Chicago area could also see severe weather, including tornadoes, strong winds and golf-ball-sized hail.

Strong winds could also cause problems further south, and forecasters are predicting "extremely critical" wildfire conditions in the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma and southeastern New Mexico.