The first round of severe thunderstorms in what could be a volatile end to April will ignite over the central United States on Tuesday night.
The dangerous thunderstorms will precede a potentially far more significant and widespread severe weather event late this week and into the last weekend of April.
The threat for severe weather blossoming after dark could catch some residents off guard.
“The biggest storm threats Tuesday night will likely be damaging wind gusts and hail,” AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Brian Adams said. “The tornado threat will be very marginal during this time period.”
Communities such as Springfield, Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, may be rocked by the thunderstorms. Oklahoma City may stay on the southern fringe of the worst of the storms, but severe weather will not be too far to the north and east.
Investing in a weather radio or keeping your cell phone on with the volume turned up can be life-saving measures during nighttime thunderstorms.
“By Wednesday, the threat for all severe weather hazards, including tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, hail and flash flooding will shift toward the lower Mississippi River Valley,” Adams said.
The threat zone will encompass Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Tyler, Texas; and Shreveport, Louisiana.
St. Louis could be at risk for severe weather given enough sunshine early in the day.
Power outages could occur in these communities and surrounding areas due to strong, damaging wind gusts knocking down power lines and breaking tree limbs.
Downpours reducing visibility to near zero will force motorists to slow down on sections of interstates 40, 44, 49 and 70 in order to reduce the risk of hydroplaning and car pileups.
The threat of flash flooding will be heightened where downpours sit over an area for an extended period of time.
Should enough warm, moist air surge northward ahead of the storm, locally heavy and gusty thunderstorms could erupt around the western Great Lakes region, including Chicago, later on Wednesday.
This threat will be greatly diminished should clouds and drizzle shroud the sun early in the day.
As the thunderstorms sweep eastward on Thursday, residents of the Central states will need to keep their guard up for a more significant round of severe weather looming this weekend.