By Brian Lada
The threat of severe thunderstorms will continue over the southern Plains on Friday and extend toward the Southeast heading into the weekend.
Denver; Oklahoma City; Wichita, Kansas; Springfield, Missouri; and Little Rock, Arkansas are a few of the bigger travel hubs in the region that may see delays on the roads and at the airports as these storms roll through.
Thunderstorms through Saturday may also ruin outdoor plans from Colorado to Alabama as frequent lightning can make it dangerous for actives such as baseball games and cookouts.
Hail as large as baseballs and damaging wind gusts past 70 mph will be the main threat with these storms with the highest risk focusing around Oklahoma.
A few tornadoes are also possible Friday afternoon and evening from western Kansas into the Texas Panhandle with the tornado threat decreasing heading into Friday night.
If you live in this region, you should keep an eye on the weather and know where to go for safety if one of these storms hits your area.
Flooding downpours will be an additional danger, especially in locations that are hit by several storms.
Rainfall amounts are forecast to total as much as 2 to 4 inches over a large area with local amounts upwards of 6 inches possible.
This will be enough rain to cause roads to flood and rivers to rise toward flood stage, forcing some people living closer to rivers and streams to take action.
Remember that if you come across a flooded roadway, it is advised that you do not attempt to drive through it since the water may be deeper than it appears. Turn around; don’t drown.
Although these storms may cause flooding as the drop copious amounts of rain, they will bring some good news with them.
Portions of Kansas and Oklahoma that are in the path of these severe thunderstorms are currently experiencing an extreme to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Storms over the past several weeks have already begun to reduce the severity of the drought as they delivered much needed rain across the region.
In Oklahoma alone, rainfall from rounds of thunderstorms have reduced the exceptional drought from 34 percent to 21 percent over the past two weeks.
Even though much more rain is needed to end the drought, this batch of storms will put another dent in the drought as rain fill rivers, lakes and water reservoirs.
This is the latest report issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor on June 5, 2014.
More at AccuWeather: Denver to Little Rock: Severe Storms to Carry Into Weekend