Memorial Day Storms From Texas to the Dakotas

Published May 26, 2013

| AccuWeather

Dangerous thunderstorms will once again erupt across the Plains this Memorial Day from West Texas northward into Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the western Dakotas. Some areas as far east as northern Missouri and southern Iowa will even be affected.

Some of the cities and towns with the greatest potential for severe thunderstorms include Omaha, Neb.; Kansas City, Mo.; Wichita, Kan.; Des Moines, Iowa; Weatherford, Okla. and Odessa, Texas. All totaled, over 10 million people run the risk of strong thunderstorms during the day.

While a major tornado outbreak is not expected, one or two of the strongest thunderstorms that develop will produce tornadoes, and these tornadoes have the potential to be particularly intense and long-lived in a few spots.

The highest threat for tornadoes looks to be in north-central Kansas and south-central and southeastern Nebraska. This includes Hastings in Nebraska and Salina in Kansas.

The thunderstorms that develop in the Plains on Memorial Day will also have the potential to bring hail as large as baseballs and wind gusts as high as 70 mph.

Hail this size is capable of causing serious injury to anyone caught outside. It can also kill exposed livestock, damage or destroy crops and smash windshields.

Wind gusts as high as 70 mph can easily uproot trees, snap branches and blow over power poles.

There may be some thunderstorm activity leftover from Sunday night across portions of Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, but this will diminish as the morning wears on.

Most of Memorial Day will be on the dry side, but as the late afternoon and evening hours approach, thunderstorms will quickly develop.

These thunderstorms will impact many of the same areas that were affected on Sunday, and flash flooding from heavy rainfall will also be a concern.

If you will be out and about over the Memorial Day weekend, keep an eye to the sky, especially in the afternoon and evening hours.

Once thunderstorms develop, they will strengthen quickly, and hail, high winds and possible tornadoes will not be far away.

Be sure to understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that an area is being monitored for dangerous weather. A warning means that dangerous weather is imminent.

Keep in mind that lightning is one of Mother Nature's most dangerous killers. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning, even if the sun is still shining.

Severe weather will once again threaten many of the same locations on Tuesday, so be sure to stay with as we continue to monitor this multi-day outbreak.