Severe thunderstorms, including the potential for tornadoes, will take aim on the Plains and Midwest much of the week, due to what is shaping up to be a classic early May setup in the nation’s heartland.
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has issued the following severe weather watches:
- A severe thunderstorm watch until 11 p.m. CDT for central and northeastern Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota. This watch area includes North Platte, Nebraska, and Huron, South Dakota.
- A severe thunderstorm watch until 11 p.m. CDT for West Texas and western Oklahoma. This watch area includes Midland and Lubbock, Texas.
Current Radar, Watches and Warnings
The jet stream has now taken a southward plunge over the West, and this general pattern will hold in place through the middle portion of the week.
To the east of that, increasingly warm and humid air will be drawn north from the Gulf of Mexico into the Plains and Midwest.
The combination of cold, dry air aloft overlying the warm, humid air near the surface, changing wind speed and direction with height known as wind shear, and sources of lift such as frontal boundaries and the dryline is a classic spring pattern for severe weather in the Plains states.
The overall jet stream and surface ingredients for what could be widespread severe weather over multiple days in the Plains and Midwest this week.
At least some severe thunderstorms are expected in parts of the Plains and Midwest each day through Thursday. The most volatile mix of ingredients may set up on Wednesday in parts of the central and southern Plains.
Here’s what to expect this week.
Severe Thunderstorm Forecast
- Overview: Some scattered severe thunderstorms may flare up along the dryline from Kansas to West Texas, as well as from parts of Nebraska into the Dakotas.
- Threats: Large hail and damaging wind gusts are the main concerns but an isolated tornado threat cannot be ruled out.
- Cities: Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Dodge City, Kansas | Amarillo, Texas
Monday’s Severe Thunderstorm Outlook
- Overview: The best chance of severe storms may concentrate in an area that includes northern Kansas, northwest Missouri, southwest Iowa and southeast Nebraska. At least a few severe thunderstorms are possible as far north as western Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota and as far south as western Oklahoma.
- Threats: Damaging wind gusts, large hail and a few tornadoes are all possible. Although it’s been dry lately, heavy rain could also cause localized flash flooding in northeast Kansas, northwest Missouri, southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa.
- Cities: Omaha, Nebraska | Topeka, Kansas | Kansas City
Tuesday’s Severe Thunderstorm Oulook
- Overview: This may be the day/evening with the most widespread threat of severe thunderstorms of this week. Areas at risk for severe weather include southeast Nebraska, western Missouri, much of Kansas, Oklahoma into north and west-central Texas.
- Threats: Very large hail, tornadoes and damaging wind gusts are likely throughout this region. Depending on how the atmospheric setup evolves, some strong tornadoes are possible.
- Cities: Oklahoma City | Topeka, Kansas | Wichita, Kansas | Wichita Falls, Texas
Wednesday’s Severe Thunderstorm Outlook
The severe weather threat may persist Thursday from the mid-Mississippi Valley to Texas.
Thursday’s Thunderstorm Outlook
We also can’t rule out some strong storms Friday once the frontal system finally sweeps into the Northeast and Ohio Valley.
The coverage and strength of these storms later this week is still uncertain.
Check back with weather.com in the days ahead. We’ll be updating with additional forecast details as they become clearer.
Now is a good time to refresh or develop your plan to stay safe during severe weather. We have tips on what to do if you’re in a home, mobile home, or vehicle.