Fox News Weather Center

Christmas severe weather episode may threaten lives from Texas to Iowa

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A storm more typical of March could threaten lives and property with the onset of severe weather over part of the central United States during Christmas 2016.

The severe weather threat includes the potential for a few tornadoes.

Well south of blizzard conditions, a surge of warm air over the central and southern Plains is likely to increase the risk for violent thunderstorms from late in the day to the nighttime hours on Christmas.

"People from the central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley to the southern Plains will need to keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

Static severe weather Christmas Day

Cities at risk for severe weather includes Dallas and Longview, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita and Topeka, Kansas; Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; and Omaha, Nebraska.

"The first initial storms that erupt will bring the potential for large hail and isolated tornadoes during Christmas afternoon," Rossio said. "The storms could organize into a fast-moving, extensive squall line after dark with damaging winds and flash flooding at night."

The solid line of locally severe thunderstorms will push eastward along the I-35 corridor from Iowa and north-central Texas early Christmas night to parts of Illinois and northeastern Texas late Christmas night.

"Despite the time of the year, severe weather occasionally occurs in this part of the nation with storm systems such as this," Rossio said.

The last severe weather outbreak to occur on Christmas was in 2012. It was centered over the lower Mississippi Valley. More than two dozen tornadoes were spawned during the event that continued into Dec. 26. The storms killed 16 people.