Fox News Weather Center

Dangerous severe storms to roll eastward across south-central US through Friday


The risk of dangerous and damaging thunderstorms will progress eastward from the southern Plains to the lower Mississippi Valley into Friday.

The storms will become strong enough to cause property damage in some communities and lead to travel disruptions.

The same storm was stalled over the Southwest and sparked multiple rounds of hail and strong wind gusts in Colorado and New Mexico. It will pick up forward speed for the rest of the week.

Many of the same characteristics will accompany the storms as they erupt and advance across the lower elevations of the South Central states.

However, as the storms encounter more humid air, the risk of torrential downpours and flash flooding will increase, which can aggravate the flooding situation in the Mississippi basin.

"The main threats from the storms will be large hail, strong wind gusts and flash flooding," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.

A few isolated tornadoes are also possible with the strongest storms during the afternoon and evening.

"Once the sun goes down, storms will tend to congeal into a solid line that marches eastward during the overnight hours," Walker said.

Wednesday afternoon and night, the storms will extend from northern Missouri to the Big Bend region of Texas.

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However, the storms will generally not reach the Interstate 35 corridor of Kansas and Oklahoma until Wednesday evening or overnight. Storms will stay west of I-35 over much of Texas until Thursday.

Thursday afternoon and early Thursday night, the greatest risk of storms with isolated tornadoes will extend from southeastern Kansas and southern Missouri to northeastern and central Texas.

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"By Friday, the severe thunderstorm threat will be more widely separated from the Tennessee Valley to the central Gulf coast," Walker said. "Only a small number of storms are likely to produce damaging wind gusts and moderate hail with a minimal tornado risk."

Another pocket of storms with locally strong wind gusts can erupt over North Carolina and southern Virginia on Friday.

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Storms with locally strong wind gusts and large hail can extend as far to the northeast as central Illinois, central Indiana and southern Ohio into Friday.

While incidents of flash and urban flooding can occur throughout the South Central states during the entire severe weather event, the greatest risk of small stream and renewed tributary river flooding will extend from the central Plains to the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio valleys.

During the weekend, as a storm ramps up with heavy rain, gusty winds and flooding in the Northeast, locally strong thunderstorms may develop in part of the mid-Atlantic region.

Any downpours that reach the Florida Peninsula and southern part of the Atlantic Seaboard are likely to be spotty this weekend and not of great assistance to those fighting wildfires in the region.

Thus far, the preliminary number of tornadoes is down for May.

"We expect lower tornadoes, when compared to average for the full month of May, due to the extent of cool air this month combined with the lack of extremely high humidity levels," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

"This trend is expected to continue through the balance of the spring and may result in a lower-than-average total number of tornadoes for all of 2017," Pastelok said.

The lower anticipated total count of tornadoes is despite the above-average number of tornadoes during the first few months of the year.

This does not imply that there cannot be significant outbreaks of tornadoes moving forward through the year. All it takes is one tornado striking a heavily-populated area to cause great destruction and threaten numerous lives.