A couple of slow-moving storm systems will be responsible for multiple rounds of severe weather over the Central states through Friday.
During Tuesday and Wednesday, thunderstorms can become briefly severe farther south from Texas to Kansas and Missouri. The storms on Wednesday could be known for large hail, ahead of a push of warm, humid air.
“We are looking at Thursday to be the first decent setup for tornadoes this spring,” stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Rebecca Elliott.
Thursday will likely be the most active day of the week, in terms of severe weather, across the southern Plains as a potent storm from the West clashes with warm, humid air streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico.
Warm, humid conditions will be established by Thursday centered on Arkansas, but including most of the neighboring states.
In addition to the tornado threat, there exists the potential for numerous thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and blinding downpours on Thursday.
Cities likely in the path of Thursday’s severe weather outbreak include Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Little Rock, Ark.; and Dallas, Waco and Tyler, Texas; Joplin, Springfield and Cape Girardeau, Mo.; and Shreveport, La.
The violent thunderstorms may press to the lower Mississippi and Ohio valleys Thursday night and on Friday.
Residents throughout the South Central states should continue to check back with AccuWeather.com as details on the severe weather threat unfold, especially concerning the storms during the second half of the week.
The running total of tornadoes so far this year is lagging behind average.
The behavior of this season’s severe weather season is consistent with the AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecast Team’s synopsis that this year’s severe weather and tornado threat will spike later than usual.
Following a significant round of severe weather from Wednesday, the atmosphere will continue to energize on Thursday from the South Central states to part of the Midwest.
There are many communities at risk for severe weather on Thursday. Major cities in or near the alert area include Dallas, Houston; Shreveport, La.; Tulsa, Okla.; Little Rock and Fort Smith, Ark.; St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Peoria, Ill.; Tupelo, Miss.; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; Paducah and Louisville, Ky.; Evansville and Indianapolis, Ind.; and Cincinnati.
According to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, “Thursday will be a prime day for severe weather with risks ranging from damaging wind gusts and large hail to flash flooding and tornadoes spanning multiple states.”
The severe weather risk will stretch along a nearly 1,000-mile-long swath.
Flight delays may be extensive Thursday as the storms approach and pass through many airline hubs. Travel along highways from I-10 to I-70 in the Central states could be dangerous, slow and disrupted for a time.
According to Severe Weather Meteorologist Justin Pullin, “The number of straight-line damaging wind gust incidents will far outnumber the amount of tornadoes as a cold front gathers forward speed and thunderstorms develop into a squall line.”
A handful of tornadoes could also be scattered about ahead of the cold front Thursday.
According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Executive Mike Smith, “At this early stage, the area where there is the greatest risk for a couple of strong tornadoes on Thursday is from northeastern Oklahoma to southern Missouri and central and western Arkansas.”
The threat of severe weather will continue to push eastward across the South, Ohio Valley and perhaps part of the lower Great Lakes into Friday.
April 3 and 4 mark the 40th anniversary of the Super Tornado Outbreak of April 1974, which centered on the Ohio and Tennessee valleys. The tornado outbreak from 1974 was one of the worst such events in U.S. history.
The number of tornadoes spanning this Thursday into Friday is forecast to fall well short of the event from 40 years ago. However, even one tornado hitting a populated area has the potential to bring disaster and great loss of life. – AccuWeather.