Fox News Weather Center

Severe Storms From Wichita to Cincinnati

As a sharp cold front cuts through an air mass thick with humidity, showers and thunderstorms will bubble up from Kansas into Ohio.

Some of the cities and towns most at risk include Wichita, Kansas City, Springfield, Fayetteville, Paducah, Evansville, Cincinnati and Columbus.

While there will be a storm or two around on Tuesday morning with brief gusty winds and heavy downpours, the biggest impacts will come in the afternoon and evening hours as new storms fire across the region.

It should be stressed that not everyone will see a storm, but those that do run the risk of wind gusts to 60 mph, hail as large as ping pong or even golf balls, blinding rain and an isolated tornado.

Wind gusts to 60 mph can uproot trees and bring down power poles. They can also blow around any unsecured objects left outside.

Hail as large as ping-pong balls or golf balls can cause damage to crops, especially corn. It can also injure livestock and damage vehicles.

If you plan to travel on interstate 70, 44 or 35, to name a few, be on the lookout for quickly changing skies and the potential for blinding rain ahead. If you encounter blinding rain, put your four-way flashers on and pull off to a safe area of the roadway until the storm passes.

Those who will be out and about on Tuesday afternoon or evening from Wichita to Cincinnati will also need to keep a keen eye to the sky. Once thunderstorms develop this afternoon, they will strengthen quickly, and dangerous conditions could follow soon after.

Current technology has advanced enough over recent years to provide ample alerts of the potential for severe weather and the approach of localized severe storms. 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. When a warning is issued, there may be too little time to travel across town or across a county to escape the storm. The time to have a plan of action and move to the general vicinity of a storm shelter or safe area is when a watch is issued.

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.