Fox News Weather Center

Central US Severe Storms Threaten 30 Million Wednesday; Tornado Risk Spans Texas to Iowa

Severe thunderstorms, some capable of producing tornadoes, will threaten lives and property over portions of the central and southern Plains and the middle Mississippi Valley Wednesday and Wednesday night.

According to Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "Wednesday is part of a multiple-day severe weather outbreak that will continue to progress eastward into the end of the week."

"The outbreak will include hundreds of incidents of damage from wind and hail, as well as perhaps a number of dangerous tornadoes," Margusity said.

Dangerous and potentially damaging thunderstorms will threaten an area of the nation home to approximately 30 million people in the Central states ranging from farming communities to major metropolitan areas.

While only a small fraction of this area will likely be hit with a tornado, many locations in this swath will experience a thunderstorm that has the potential to develop into a serious weather situation.

Following the remnants of storms from Tuesday night, one round of severe weather will affect northern and central Missouri into Wednesday afternoon. The storms will bring hail, strong winds and the potential for flash flooding.

"The outbreak will include hundreds of incidents of damage from wind and hail, as well as perhaps a number of dangerous tornadoes," Margusity said.

Locally severe storms with damaging wind and hail will also affect portions of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio on Wednesday.

New storms will erupt Wednesday afternoon from central and eastern Kansas, southward to central Texas.

According to AccuWeather Assistant Director of Storm Warnings Andrew Gagnon, "Soon after the new batch of storms erupts, the threat of large hail and wind gusts to 70 mph will be common late Wednesday afternoon and evening."

"As the storms mature, several tornadoes are a concern," Gagnon said.

A tornado could occur anywhere from southeastern Nebraska and southern Iowa, southward to central Texas into early Wednesday night. The greatest risk for tornadoes is from eastern Kansas, northern and western Missouri and west-central Illinois to central and northeastern Oklahoma. The greatest threat for tornadoes will be between 4 and 10 p.m. CDT.

Cities in the line of fire for potentially violent storms late Wednesday and Wednesday evening include Peoria in Illinois, Cedar Rapids and Ottumwa in Iowa, Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield and Joplin in Missouri, Topeka and Wichita in Kansas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma and Dallas and Wichita Falls in Texas.

During the overnight hours on Wednesday, the storms will push eastward as a fairly solid line of severe storms, spawning strong winds, torrential downpours and frequent lightning. However, a couple of the strongest storms could still produce a tornado.

The risk of severe thunderstorms, including a few tornadoes, will continue on Thursday and will stretch from southern Wisconsin and southwestern Michigan to northeastern Texas.

People should be prepared to seek shelter should a severe storm or tornado warning be issued. Have a plan of action in place prior to the storm's arrival.