Severe weather, tornado threat to build on Plains, Mississippi Valley next week

The risk of severe weather will ramp up across a nearly 1,000-mile-long swath of the central United States early next week, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. The severe weather threat includes the potential for tornadoes, and high winds in the wake of the storms could raise the risk of wildfires in some areas.

Temperatures will surge to warm levels this weekend over the Central states. Soon after the latest Pacific storm plows inland across California with rain and mountain snow this weekend, the system will reorganize east of the Rockies on Monday. The combination of warmth in place, an uptick in Gulf of Mexico moisture and plenty of jet stream energy will trigger thunderstorm development over the Great Plains.

The risk of severe weather will focus on areas largely missed by violent thunderstorms and flash flooding from the storm on Tuesday through Thursday.

The threat of severe weather from Monday afternoon to Monday night will extend from south of Abilene, Texas, located in the west-central part of the Lone Star State, to Sioux City, Iowa. AccuWeather meteorologists have already raised the threat level to moderate from near Wichita Falls, Texas, through Salina, Kansas.


"All modes of severe weather are possible on Monday -- ranging from strong wind gusts and large hail to isolated tornadoes and flash flooding," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Benz said.

On Friday afternoon, AccuWeather meteorologists raised the threat level for severe weather to high in portions of western Oklahoma for Monday afternoon and evening. This denotes the area at greatest risk of tornadoes and storms with damaging hail and high winds.

As the storm and its trailing cold front begin to push to the east on Tuesday, the severe weather threat zone will move along as well.

The risk of severe weather, including the potential for at least a few tornadoes, will extend from southeastern Minnesota and southern Wisconsin to central Arkansas. AccuWeather will determine which areas may be at greater risk for tornadoes in the days ahead.

The severe weather risk on Tuesday includes Chicago; Madison, Wisconsin; Davenport, Iowa; St. Louis; Memphis, Tennessee; and parts of the Little Rock, Arkansas, and Indianapolis metro areas.

In the wake of the severe weather, strong winds on the backside of the storm system can reach high velocities from the Rockies to the middle portions of the Plains.

Gusts frequenting 40-60 mph will be common over the central and southern Plains. In a zone just to the east of the Rockies, gusts between 60 and 80 mph are likely with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ gust of 100 mph.

Soil conditions range substantially across the Plains and Mississippi Valley from wet to exceptional drought, according to the latest United States Drought Monitor.

Where the soil is dry or remains dry in the wake of the storms, clouds of dust can be kicked up and transported more than 100 miles.

Where brush and grasslands remain dry, especially in areas of drought, the risk of wildfire ignition and rapid spread will increase from Sunday to Monday.

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