Over 40 million people are under serious storm threat this weekend

All serious weather hazards will be possible, including harmful winds, hail and tornadoes.

“Severe thunderstorms associated with a threat of wind damage and isolated large hail are possible on Saturday from the center of the Mississippi Valley north into the Western Great Lakes,” the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) said.

A Level 2 out of 5 “mild” risk of severe storms has been issued and includes over 15 million people from Wisconsin to Arkansas, including Chicago and Indianapolis.

The best chance of strong storms occurring in this region will be in the afternoon and evening hours when the warming of the day has peaked.

While flooding may not be the primary concern with these storms, it is still something that needs to be monitored.

“The system as a whole should be weakening by this time, so most of the ingredients with heavy rainfall should also be on the way back,” the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) said. “With that said, we should have a pretty good rainfall coverage and enough instability to support some locally intense rainfall.”
Dozens of buildings leveled after a powerful tornado ripped through the Wichita area

Rainfall is expected to be 1 to 2 inches, but some local areas may see 3 to 4 inches of rain over the weekend.

“So while one does not currently expect any major / widespread flooding to develop, local problems are a possibility,” the WPC said.

On Sunday, this first system will continue to shift eastward into the Mid-Atlantic region.

Severe storms will be possible from western Pennsylvania down to the Virginia / Tennessee border in the latter half of the weekend. The primary threat will be harmful winds.

Double issues for Texas

There will also be a new system moving through areas of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma on Sunday, but before that system arrives, gusts of wind will already have been kicked up, triggering an increased fire risk.

“Elevated fire conditions are expected for Saturday with conditions that are humid driven with minimum relative humidity values ​​as low as 10 percent,” said the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Amarillo, Texas.
Wind gusts will still be predominant Saturday in the pan stores in Texas and Oklahoma, increasing the fire threat before it can rain on Sunday.
The area needs rain. Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico all have areas suffering from level 4 ‘exceptional drought’, the highest possible category.

While rain would be welcomed, lightning, hail and tornadoes are a different story.

“If we happen to get some lightning strikes in that area, it could actually start fires where the grass is already dry, where they might not get a whole lot of rain when the storms move east,” Aaron Ward, science and operations It told a officer at the NWS Amarillo office of CNN. “So that’s another thing we need to keep an eye on, possible fire starting because of the lightning on Sunday.”

A level 2 out of 5 “mild” risk of severe storms is in place for parts of the High Plains on Sunday and includes the cities of Lubbock, Amarillo and Abilene in Texas.

These thunderstorms are likely to bring all kinds of severe weather, including very heavy hail.

“The biggest concerns right now, what we’re looking at, will be big to very big hail and damaging winds,” Ward said. “The shelf could easily become a baseball-sized golf ball if everything falls right together.”

The timing of the storms will be mainly in the afternoon and early evening hours, although some storms will continue during the night.

On Monday, some of the same areas clearing up for storm damage from Friday night will receive a second round of heavy thunderstorms. From Abilene, Texas to St. Louis, down to Memphis, can be expected damaging winds, heavy hail and tornadoes.

CNN’s Caitlin Kaiser and Haley Brink contributed to this report.

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