The risk of damaging thunderstorms, including a few tornadoes, will ramp up this weekend over the central and southern Plains and will peak on Palm Sunday.
The severe weather this weekend has the potential to develop into a dangerous situation. The storms may not only foil outdoor plans and disrupt travel in part of the Central states but could threaten lives and cause significant property damage in some locations.
Areas from Texas to Illinois will be at risk for severe weather at some point this weekend for severe weather.
According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Meteorologist Brian Knopick, "During Saturday afternoon into Saturday night, storms will ignite over eastern Nebraska, Iowa, western Illinois, northern Missouri and northeastern Kansas."
These storms will bring a risk of damaging wind gusts, large hail and flash flooding. An isolated tornado is possible in the storms Saturday evening.
Cities in the risk area for severe weather Saturday afternoon and evening include Kansas, City, Mo.; Topeka, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; and Des Moines, Iowa.
"The main severe weather event will be on Palm Sunday and will focus from southeastern Kansas, central and eastern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas to central and southern Missouri, much of Arkansas and northern Louisiana," Knopick said. "There is a higher risk for isolated tornadoes on Sunday in this area, along with the potential for damaging wind gusts, hail and flash flooding."
Cities at greatest risk for violent storms on Sunday include Dallas and Tyler, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Fort Smith, Fayetteville and Little Rock, Ark.; and Joplin and Springfield, Mo.
Gusty and drenching thunderstorms will affect portions of southern Louisiana and parts of Mississippi on Sunday.
During Sunday into Sunday night, heavy rainfall and locally gusty winds will reach northeast of the severe weather area into portions of northern Missouri, northern Illinois, southeastern Iowa, southeastern Wisconsin and parts of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
The number of tornadoes Sunday will depend on the speed of cool air moving into the region.
"If cool air were to rapidly sweep in on Sunday, the risk of tornadoes will be cut significantly from Kansas to Texas," AccuWeather Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity said. "On the other hand, if that cool air is delayed, there may be a significant number of tornadoes on Sunday over the central and southern Plains to Texas."
A quick push of cool air can still bring storms with damaging winds and hail.
"During Sunday night, the event is likely to quickly change from a tornado threat to a less dangerous strong wind gust situation," Knopick said.
Even if very few tornadoes develop with the severe weather event this weekend, some of the storms packing high winds and hail have the potential to cause property damage and pose a safety risk. A single tornado striking a populated area can cause great destruction, multiple injuries and loss of life.
People in the alert area are advised to keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions this weekend and to utilize all means of staying up to date with watches and warnings as they are issued.
AccuWeather provides a great deal of information pertaining to severe weather forecasts and advice on safety through its website, local forecasts and apps for hand-held devices.
As much cooler air invades the Plains by Monday, the potential for gusty thunderstorms and heavy rainfall will shift farther east across the South and into portions of the Appalachians, eastern Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes.