Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Severe Weather Likely Plains / Mississippi Valley This Evening and Tonight...

Above is the latest severe weather outlook for today and tonight from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK. Severe thunderstorms are forecast within the yellow shaded areas on the above image.

A very strong middle and upper-level storm system and associated surface front will move across the outlook area, generally from West to East, later today and tonight.

The initial threat of severe storms will take place along the front from southeastern Nebraska into northcentral Kansas late this afternoon, and continue Eastward into southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri this evening. Large hail and damaging wind gusts will be the primary severe weather threats in these areas, although an isolated tornado cannot be completely ruled out.

Isolated to scattered severe storms may form Southward along the cold front and/or dryline into southcentral Kansas and central or southwestern Oklahoma by early to mid-evening.  Coverage is not expected to be widespread in this region at this time, however any storm that does form will be capable of producing large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

A more widespread and significant threat of severe weather is forecast to develop late this evening and into the overnight hours tonight.  This will primarily take place from eastern Oklahoma into western Arkansas, with the activity then expanding toward the East as it approaches the Mississippi River toward the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday.  Large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes will all be possible with this activity.

The greatest threat of tornado development will be within and near the yellow shaded areas on the following image:

...with the highest threat of damaging winds within the red shaded area on this image:

The potential exists for a significant round of severe weather during the overnight hours, mainly from the Oklahoma/Arkansas border Eastward to the Mississippi River.  This includes the cities of Ft. Smith, Little Rock and Memphis.

Folks living in this region should review severe weather safety and preparedness tips today and have a plan of action in place prior to the arrival of this threat.  Be sure that you have a way to receive severe weather warnings at night, such as a NOAA Weather Radio, smartphone application, text alert, etc.

Watch for an update later this afternoon as the situation continues to unfold.

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