Wind, hail and tornadoes: What to know about the severe weather coming to the central U.S.

Lightning strike against a dark, cloudy sky.
What to know about severe weather for this week. (Getty Creative)

A severe thunderstorm threat is forecast for the central United States early next week, posing risks of destructive wind gusts, hail and tornadoes, according to reports. Exactly what to expect from this week’s weather should solidify later this weekend, but already, meteorologists are keeping a close eye on the weather for Monday and Tuesday.

At the moment, weather forecasters say a large portion of the Great Plains, Mississippi Valley and Midwest should expect significant weather events on Monday and Tuesday. Severe thunderstorms are predicted from northern Texas to southern Kansas on Monday, with thunderstorms expected to develop in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas in the afternoon.

Here’s what to know.

🌡️Why is this weather happening?

You can blame this weekend's warm weather in the Midwest, as well as a storm that is currently hitting California with late-season rain and snow. The unseasonable temperatures help prime the atmosphere, and temperatures are set to surge to near-record highs across the Plains this weekend. These temperatures, increasing humidity and energetic jet-stream patterns will combine to quickly form and strengthen thunderstorms.

🌪️Who should be most concerned about the weather this weekend?

Thunderstorms may start on Monday afternoon in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, but the most severe storms might not occur until the evening. These storms — particularly those forming later in the day — could bring hail ranging from the size of quarters to baseballs, as well as damaging winds and tornadoes.

On Tuesday, however, the severe weather zone will shift. Another round of thunderstorms is forecast to move across the central United States, stretching from the Ozarks in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri up to the western Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. Strong wind gusts are expected across the Plains and Midwest through midweek as well.

Currently, Oklahoma faces the greatest tornado threat.

🌧️How can we protect ourselves from severe weather?

During a severe storm warning, the National Weather Service advises taking immediate action to ensure personal safety. Shelter indoors, preferably in a sturdy building, away from windows and doors. Individuals caught outside should seek shelter and avoid trees, which can fall during a storm.