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Fox News Weather Center

Midweek Severe Weather Outbreak to Strike Central US

The worst severe weather outbreak so far this year will threaten lives and property across the Central U.S. Wednesday through Thursday.

A "potentially volatile" event is shaping up for the middle of this week, according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Rebecca Elliott.

Lives and property will be threatened as this outbreak will yield destructive tornadoes and numerous thunderstorms with damaging winds, large hail, blinding downpours and frequent lightning.

Latest indications point toward the worst of the outbreak targeting parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, eastern Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and southern Iowa.

This includes Des Moines, Iowa; Springfield, Illinois; Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Missouri; Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Dallas.

Elliott added that the potential for the danger to shift northward to Chicago will have to be monitored.

Now is the time for residents and motorists planning to travel in the threat zone to review tornado safety tips and the difference between tornado/severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.

Some residents will first have to deal with isolated, yet still potent severe thunderstorms in the days leading up to the outbreak.

The danger for such thunderstorms Monday afternoon and evening stretches from eastern Kansas and western Missouri to central Texas.

While any severe thunderstorm later Monday will be very isolated, AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Meteorologist Jonathon Pelissero warned that instability (fuel for violent thunderstorms) will be extreme.

"Any thunderstorms that do manage to form Monday will be severe with large hail and isolated tornadoes," stated Pelissero.

A line of violent thunderstorms will follow later Tuesday in the vicinity of central and eastern Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City.

The more widespread severe weather outbreak will then target the Central U.S. Wednesday through Thursday as the storm system set to return welcome rain and mountain snow to California early this week emerges from the Rockies.

Some communities could face violent thunderstorms and potential tornadoes both days.

Wednesday's threat zone stretches from Missouri to north-central Texas.

"The highest chance for tornadoes that day looks to be from south of Topeka, Kansas, through Wichita, and south to Oklahoma City," Pelissero continued.

How quick the storm from the Rockies tracks across the Plains will determine the precise threat zone for Thursday, but Pelissero has put the corridor from Illinois to north-central Texas on alert.

"As of right now, the highest tornado potential on Thursday looks to be across eastern Oklahoma into northern Arkansas, western Missouri and far southern Iowa."

All residents across the Central U.S. should continue to check back with AccuWeather.com for the latest updates to prepare for what is sure to become a dangerous situation.

"This is a very complex and evolving storm system and the forecast will need continuous refinement the closer we get to Wednesday and Thursday," continued Elliott.

North of the severe weather outbreak, the storm system will be responsible for unleashing a soaking rain that could present its own issues to residents.

"A secondary threat to the severe weather potential at midweek will be heavy rain and perhaps flooding across parts of the northern Plains into the upper Mississippi Valley," added Elliott.

"This system will be packing plenty of moisture and, with some rivers running high due to snow melt, flash flooding is not out of the question."

Valentine, Nebraska, and Watertown and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, are among the communities at risk for the soaking before the storm tracks eastward and ends the week on a wet note across the East.