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Another Tornado Outbreak Looming For Central U.S.

Families and businesses in areas impacted by recent severe weather outbreaks in late April are being warned to prepare for the threat of more tornadoes and damaging wind gusts early next week.

May 2, 2024

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AccuWeather Global Weather Center – May 2, 2024

AccuWeather expert meteorologists are sounding the alarm about early warning signs of another tornado outbreak in the central United States early next week.
AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno says there are clear, early indicators of a growing threat for another outbreak early next week, in the same region that was hit hard by destructive tornadoes and damaging hail.
“There’s another tornado outbreak looming for the central states. Dozens of tornadoes are possible with the situation on Monday afternoon and evening over parts of Plains,” warned Rayno. “This severe weather pattern has been relentless. It’s very concerning and a lot of people are tired, but everyone needs to be prepared for the threat of more tornadoes.”


Drenching thunderstorms are forecast to rumble over parts of the central U.S. this weekend, ahead of the next outbreak.


“When it comes to severe weather in May, the atmosphere doesn’t hold anything back,” said Rayno. “The tornado threat early next week will include the Omaha, Kansas City, and Wichita metro areas.”


Expert meteorologists at AccuWeather’s Global Weather Center say the area of concern for more severe weather is focused on a zone from western South Dakota to southern Oklahoma, that also stretches through eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, to western and central Iowa, and western Missouri.


"With the expectation for a volatile atmospheric setup favoring severe thunderstorms and tornadoes yet again, AccuWeather meteorologists are increasingly concerned that the tornado outbreak can even include some particularly intense or long-track tornadoes,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter. “Long-track tornadoes can be especially dangerous and result in significant property damage, especially if a populated area is struck, as we’ve sadly seen in recent weeks.”


The next round of severe thunderstorms could impact cleanup and recovery efforts underway after recent tornadoes hit populated areas in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa.


“It appears nearly the same atmospheric setup will unfold early next week,” said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok. “While every situation is a bit different, there will be the combination of a strong jet stream barreling in with high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico, poised to pump juicy air from the Gulf of Mexico.”


More than 100 tornadoes have been confirmed after the latest severe weather outbreaks. The tornado that hit Marietta, Oklahoma was given a preliminary rating of EF4 strength with winds as high as 170 mph.




“Many locations are still in cleanup and damage assessment mode, and this new round of storms may interfere with that,” Pastelok said. “There is the potential for damaging straight-line wind gusts and torrential downpours that can not only disrupt recovery efforts, but cause further damage to exposed and compromised buildings.”


AccuWeather expert meteorologists warned in March that “Tornado Alley may roar back to life”. The AccuWeather 2024 U.S. Tornado Forecast predicts 1,250 to 1,375 tornadoes in the United States this year, slightly higher than the historical average of 1,225 tornadoes.


The threat of springtime severe thunderstorms and tornadoes typically ramps up through the month of May before gradually slowing down in June.


Pastelok says the frequency of severe weather and tornadoes tends to increase well into the summer in the northern third of the country; those areas tend to hang on to leftover cooler air from the winter season and chilly waters from the Great Lakes and North Atlantic.


AccuWeather expert meteorologists say people in the severe weather threat zone need to stay connected and take every tornado warning seriously.


“Please remind people you know who live in the affected areas about the severe weather risk. We all live busy lives, and sometimes reaching out by phone, text, email, or social media to let a friend or family member know about the risk for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flash flooding could help save their life,” said Porter. “In recent devastating tornadoes, so many lives were saved by people receiving weather warnings and promptly moving to safe shelter.”


There is also a threat of strong winds in the southwestern Plains this weekend ahead of the forecasted severe thunderstorms, which could lead to reduced visibility and an increased risk of wildfires.




“Not only will the strong winds on the southern side of the potent storm system result in a very high fire risk, but they will also kick up a considerable amount of dust in portions of the central and southern Plains,” said Rayno.


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