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Severe weather outbreak, tornado risk poised to strike central U.S. next week

| Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 3:06 p.m.

A change in the weather pattern is likely to trigger one or more rounds of severe weather, including tornadoes, over the central United States next week, according to State College-based AccuWeather.

Areas at risk for severe weather and tornadoes may extend from the Plains to the Mississippi Valley and possibly farther east from the Great Lakes region to the Tennessee Valley.

“The overall magnitude, coverage and timing of the severe weather during the first week of May will depend on the speed and strength of a pair of storms moving out of the Rockies and onto the Plains,” AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

“Most likely, storms that develop next week will include the full spectrum of severe weather ranging from strong wind gusts and large hail to frequent lightning strikes and flash flooding,” Pastelok said.

Warmth and humidity levels are forecast to surge over the region next week.

Temperatures are likely to climb well into the 60s, 70s and 80s. With a breeze originating from the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, humidity levels should climb.

“However, warmth and moisture alone may not lead to thunderstorms and severe weather,” according to AccuWeather. “There needs to be a trigger — such as a large-scale storm system — to help get the air to rise and form towering clouds and thunderstorms.”

In a scenario where two storms emerge into the central U.S., the first round would be associated with a fast-moving storm across the North Central states during Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Severe weather with this first of two storms may extend across the Plains before shifting eastward to parts of the Great Lakes and Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys.

“A spread of cooler air in the wake of this storm may limit a second round of severe weather to areas farther south late next week into the first weekend of May,” Pastelok said.

The second round of severe weather may be the most intense and emerge from the southern Rockies. Severe weather may then focus farther south from the central and southern Plains to the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys late next week.

But if there is no storm during the first part of next week, warm and humid air is likely to remain over much of the Central states for much of next week. In this scenario, a storm is likely to travel from the southern Rockies toward the Great Lakes late next week into the first weekend of May.

That swath of severe weather in the one-storm scenario may sweep eastward over a broad area from the southern and central Plains to the Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys.

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