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Severe weather outbreak could erupt in Central US

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 10/22/2021 Ryan Adamson

Warmer air flowing back into the central United States will help set the table for a potential severe weather outbreak this weekend, AccuWeather forecasters say.

Forecasters say the first risk of severe weather may develop as early as Saturday night as an area of low pressure begins to develop in western Kansas. This storm system represents a piece of the Pacific storm train that will be responsible for inches of rain and feet of high country snow in the West Coast states.

Warmer air moving northward will be a focus for showers and thunderstorms to develop Saturday night. The most likely location for any severe weather at this time will be just north of the warm and cool air boundary. Some hail will be possible with the strongest storms in portions of Kansas and Missouri. In lieu of severe weather, some people may have difficulty sleeping where bright flashes of lightning and loud thunder persist.

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The main risk of severe weather is expected to unfold on Sunday as the low pressure area strengthens.

"Rain and thunderstorms are likely to push across portions of South Dakota, southern Iowa, Illinois and Indiana on Sunday before stronger storms erupt to the south," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer.

Those storms to the south are likely to develop along a cold front. The energy arriving from the west combined with the front will lead to explosive thunderstorm development by Sunday afternoon.


"St. Louis, Springfield and Columbia, Missouri; and Little Rock and Fort Smith, Arkansas; are some locations at risk for severe thunderstorms," stated Smithmyer.

More than 7.6 million residents live in an area outlined by the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center as an enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms on Sunday and Sunday night. In total, nearly 30 million in the Central states are at risk for some form of severe weather during the latter part of the weekend.

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As opposed to any storms on Saturday night which will largely bring a threat for hail, multiple hazards will be present on Sunday afternoon and Sunday night.

"Some storms can pose risks such as localized flash flooding, damaging winds and even isolated tornadoes," said Smithmyer.

Since these storms will continue into the overnight hours as they progress eastward, forecasters say residents will want to make sure that they have a way to be alerted during the night in case a warning is issued for their location.

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Showers and thunderstorms will continue to progress eastward Monday.

"Even though the scope of severe weather is likely to be less extensive on Monday when compared to Sunday, there is still the risk of some storms packing high winds and flash flooding in areas from the central and southern Appalachians to part of the Atlantic Seaboard as the storm progresses eastward," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

The main dip in the jet stream responsible for the barrage of storms in the West is forecast to move into the Plains by Tuesday and may cause severe weather to unfold farther to the west over the Central states.

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