By Mark Leberfinger – AccuWeather
A powerful storm swept the U.S. Plains Monday night into Tuesday spawning multiple tornadoes from Texas to Nebraska.
The same system spread snow and blizzard conditions across Colorado, forcing major travel delays on roadways and in the air. Some areas outside of Denver recorded up to 15 inches of snow on Tuesday morning.
As the snow winds down across eastern Colorado in the afternoon, the storm will push into Kansas and Nebraska.
“Snowfall totals of 12-18 inches will be common across this region with locally higher amounts possible,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ed Vallee said.
By Mark Leberfinger – AccuWeather
A magnitude-4.4 earthquake shook people in Oklahoma and Kansas early Saturday morning.
The temblor occurred at 4:20 a.m. CDT Saturday (5 a.m. EDT), with an epicenter 11 miles southwest of Medford, Oklahoma, and at a depth of 4 miles, the United States Geological Survey reported. It was initially listed as a magnitude-4.8 earthquake.
The risk of violent storms will dramatically increase over the South Central states on Friday.
The main event of severe weather this week is likely to occur later Friday into Friday night following several days of spotty storms.
AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski is concerned about an outbreak of severe weather late this week that can threaten lives and property.
“A significant outbreak could occur as the main storm system moves out from the Southwest,” Kottlowski said.
The coverage of severe storms is forecast to increase dramatically across a large part of Texas and Oklahoma and expand northeastward into Kansas and Missouri as well as eastward into Arkansas and Louisiana into Friday night.
Severe thunderstorms will ignite from western Texas to Minnesota and Wisconsin on Saturday with elevated violent storm risks centered on Nebraska and portions of Colorado, Iowa and Kansas.
Cities at risk for dangerous weather conditions Saturday into Saturday night include Omaha, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; and Wichita, Kansas. Severe storms may reach part of the metro areas of Denver and Minneapolis as well.
The threat of severe weather on Saturday is higher than what has occurred elsewhere across the nation this week.
The storms could threaten Saturday afternoon and evening play at the 2014 College World Series in Omaha.
As with any thunderstorm, lightning will pose the greatest danger to those outdoors.
During this particular event, winds from the storms may not only bring risks to high profile vehicles but also may down trees and power lines. Hail may be large enough to break windows, destroy crops and damage roofs. Enough rain may fall to cause incidents of flash flooding.
The first stages of severe thunderstorm development Saturday could also yield isolated tornadoes in parts of Nebraska, northeastern Colorado, southeastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Scott Breit, “We think separate severe thunderstorms on Saturday over Nebraska are likely to grow together quickly, form a large complex of storms and transform into a large hail and damaging wind event.”
Breit is concerned that some of the tornadoes may be concealed by heavy rain.
This complex of storms will begin to bow eastward and southward Saturday night across Nebraska, Iowa, northern Kansas, southern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin.
“There will also be isolated tornadoes developing farther south late Saturday afternoon and evening along a boundary of dry air and moist air extending into western and central Kansas,” Breit said.
Isolated strong to severe thunderstorms will extend into the Oklahoma Panhandle and western Texas.
On Father’s Day, the risk of severe weather will extend farther east. Thunderstorms on Sunday will extend from eastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Illinois, Missouri, southeastern Kansas and part of Oklahoma.
Cities that could be impacted by the storms at some point on Sunday include Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Missouri.
“The storms on Sunday will bring threats from large hail and damaging wind gusts,” Breit said.
People who plan on being outdoors either camping, fishing or at ballgames in areas threatened by storms are encouraged to keep an eye on the weather and be alert for rapidly changing conditions. Seek shelter as storms approach.
On a positive note, the rainfall over the Plains will continue to chip away at long-term drought. Favorable weather this spring is assisting in the growth of the corn crop.
More at AccuWeather: Saturday Violent Storm Threat to Center on Nebraska
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
Potent thunderstorms will continue to threaten flash flooding and locally damaging winds from Tennessee to northern portions of Alabama and Georgia early Thursday.
Power outages remained across portions of Kentucky and Tennessee, following strong winds associated with the storms Wednesday night into Thursday morning. More than 6.8 inches of rain fell in two hours early Thursday morning at Centerville, Tennessee, as a flash flood warning was posted for the area.
Meanwhile, a dangerous thunderstorm cluster is pushing across the central Plains early Thursday and will bring the threat for large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes to much of Kansas. The storms will progress eastward across parts of Missouri and Arkansas on Thursday.
Updates: (All Times Listed in Central Time)
8:40 a.m. CDT Thursday: More than 5,300 Westar customers are currently without power in Kansas.
8:00 a.m. CDT Thursday: Street flooding around Wichita, Kansas:
More at AccuWeather: LIVE: Storms Slam Tennessee; Dangerous Storm Complex Hits Kansas