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Central US faces “particularly dangerous situation” from potential derecho with 100 mph winds and huge hail

US News

The central U.S. is bracing for a potentially dangerous end to the weekend as forecasters anticipate the threat of severe weather on Sunday, including the possibility of a derecho that could hit parts of Kansas and Oklahoma with damaging wind gusts of more than 100 miles per hour and Baseball-sized hail.

This follows another deadly derecho that swept across Texas and Louisiana on Thursday, flooding the Houston metropolitan area with winds of up to 100 miles per hour, leaving at least seven people dead and more than a million customers without power.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for several states in the central United States from South Dakota to Texas on Sunday afternoon.

The watch, which covers parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, has been classified as a “particularly dangerous situation” by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, highlighting the dire nature of the storms expected to develop in the area.

The watch includes Sterling in Colorado and North Platte, Valentine and Scottsbluff in Nebraska.

Rapid City, Pierre and Eagle Butte in South Dakota were also included.

Sunday marks the start of a multi-day, multi-state severe weather threat that is expected to affect millions of people from the Plains to the Midwest through at least Tuesday, although the severe weather threat across the central U.S. will continue at least through the middle of the upcoming work week.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Sunday afternoon for several states in the central United States from South Dakota to Texas. FOX Weather
The watch highlights the severe nature of the storms that are expected to develop in the area. JSirlin – stock.adobe.com

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) increased the severe weather threat on Sunday, focusing on central Kansas, where the risk of damaging wind gusts and large hail is highest.

The threat will expand eastward Monday and Tuesday, putting tens of millions of people in the Plains and Midwest at risk of extreme weather.

Potential derecho could blow up Central America today

The SPC said severe thunderstorms are expected in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, beginning in the late afternoon and continuing into the evening hours, which includes the possibility of a derecho.

“Destroying wind speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour may occur, with locally extreme wind gusts of more than 100 miles per hour possible,” the SPC said in its forecast discussion. “Very large hail and some tornadoes are also expected.”

The derecho devastated the greater Houston area with winds of up to 100 miles per hour, killing at least seven people and leaving more than a million customers without power. FOX Weather
A destroyed home in Houston, Texas, on May 17, 2024. Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Because of the threat, the SPC placed nearly 570,000 people in Kansas at risk level 4 out of 5 on its 5-point severe thunderstorm risk scale.

This includes Dodge City, Great Bend, Salina and areas north of Wichita.

However, the threat of severe weather is not limited to these areas.

The SPC also placed about 850,000 people in Kansas and parts of northwest Oklahoma at a level 3 out of 5 risk.

That threat includes Topeka, Wichita and Hays in Kansas and Woodward in Oklahoma.

Severe thunderstorms developing across the region on Sunday could produce life-threatening lightning, tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail.

And while there is a threat of tornadoes in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, forecasters say they are far more concerned about the threat of damaging wind gusts and baseball-sized hail.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) increased the severe weather threat on Sunday, focusing on central Kansas, where the risk of damaging wind gusts and large hail is highest. FOX Weather
“Destroying wind speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour may occur, with locally extreme wind gusts of more than 100 miles per hour possible,” the SPC said in its forecast discussion. “Very large hail and some tornadoes are also expected.” FOX Weather

The SPC said there was a higher risk of supercell thunderstorms developing on Sunday, which could form into a bow echo as they sweep across the region.

“Now we will be watching for damaging winds,” said FOX weather meteorologist Craig Herrera. “And when we talk about damaging winds, we're talking about gusts of 75 miles per hour or more. They imagine sustained hurricane winds of 74 miles per hour. Those are gusts, but a gust that fast, 75 miles per hour or more, can still cause damage.”

And some of those thunderstorms on Sunday could produce wind gusts as strong as a Category 2 hurricane.

The SPC said there could be striped wind gusts of 80 to 100 mph, with local areas experiencing gusts of more than 100 mph.

Danger of severe weather on Monday

There are now two areas of concern for severe weather on Monday.

The SPC has assigned just over 17 million people to a level 2 out of 5 risk, which includes parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, as well as parts of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in the Midwest.

Severe thunderstorms developing in the region may produce life-threatening lightning, tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail. FOX Weather

The cities of Norfolk, Omaha, Lincoln and McCook in Nebraska are all at risk, while Des Moines in Iowa is just outside this threat level 2.

Kansas City, Missouri, is also included in the Level 2 threat on Monday.

Milwaukee and Chicago were also placed at a level 2 out of 5 risk on Monday.

Thunderstorms developing in the Plains and Midwest may produce damaging wind gusts, hail and possibly tornadoes.

Danger of severe weather on Tuesday

The SPC issued a Level 3 out of 5 severe weather risk on Tuesday, affecting more than 9.5 million people.

Some of these thunderstorms on Sunday could produce wind gusts as strong as a Category 2 hurricane. Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

This threat will cause people in seven states from the Plains to the Midwest to be alert for storms that could produce damaging wind gusts, hail and possible tornadoes.

And while those areas will face a greater threat of thunderstorms on Tuesday, more than 31.5 million people in areas from Oklahoma to Michigan have been placed in a Level 2 out of 5 risk.

This Level 2 risk includes the cities of Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma, St. Louis in Missouri, Chicago in Illinois, Minneapolis in Minnesota, and Milwaukee and Green Bay in Wisconsin.


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