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Severe Weather, Tornado Threat Already Brewing For First Week Of April In Central US

AccuWeather meteorologists have already begun to sound the alarm to alert people about a major outbreak of severe weather

AccuWeather meteorologists have already begun to sound the alarm to alert people about a major outbreak of severe weather that will include a number of tornadoes next week over much of the same parts of the central United States that were facing a severe weather outbreak on Friday.

Another storm is forecast to journey across the country, and the ingredients will be in place for it to strengthen rapidly, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg.

“This next storm could be even stronger than the storm that was unfolding late this week,” he said.

This image of the upcoming storm for early next week was captured early Friday, March 31, 2023. COURTESY/ACCUWEATHER

The storm that Lundberg described was already a potent system spinning over the northern Pacific on Friday.

From this weekend to early next week, the incoming storm will traverse the western U.S. Rain will fall along the coast while snow will fall on some interior locations such as Denver, Salt Lake City and Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada.

Some of the first thunderstorms may erupt over parts of the High Plains late Monday, but the main outbreak of severe weather will focus on Tuesday and Wednesday over the middle of the nation.

This computer-generated image shows the developing jet stream energy (yellow, orange and red) over the northwest U.S. on Sunday, April 2, 2023. COURTESY/ACCUWEATHER

As the storm pushes east of the Rockies, it will take advantage of a strong temperature difference from the northwest to the southeast with Arctic air over the northern Plains and summerlike air near the Gulf Coast.

Temperatures will climb into the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Midwest and into the 70s and 80s F over much of the middle and lower Mississippi Valley. Meanwhile, temperatures may be no higher than the teens and 20s F over portions of the northern Rockies and Plains.

As the storm swings out across the Great Plains on Tuesday, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will be drawn northward, while at the same time, strong jet stream energy will be at the storm’s disposal high above the ground, Lundberg explained.

Thunderstorms hitting the Midwest from Northeast Texas to Michigan. COURTESY/ACCUWEATHER

“The zone likely to be at greatest risk of severe weather, including tornadoes, will be centered on the Mississippi and Ohio valleys,” Lundberg said.

A large portion of the Great Lakes region will also be at risk from Tuesday to Wednesday because the storm is likely to track farther to the north over the Upper Midwest when compared to the storm on Friday. Severe weather may also extend southward into a portion of the Tennessee Valley.

All modes of severe weather ranging from high winds and tornadoes to frequent lightning strikes, large hail and torrential downpours are possible at this time, forecasters say.

Major metro areas such as Chicago, St. Louis, Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as thousands of smaller towns in between, will again be at risk of violent storms.

Setups similar to the one anticipated next week can lead to multiple tornadoes, including the potential for strong, long-lived twisters.

Due to the severe thunderstorms that form late this week as well as the anticipated outbreak next week, the number of tornadoes across the United States so far in 2023 will likely continue to grow.

As of March 30, there have been more than 300 preliminary tornado reports across the country, which is well above the historical average of 220, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. Due to ongoing investigations by National Weather Service officials, the number of tornadoes from Jan. 1 through March 30 will change.

This graphic shows the number of preliminary tornado reports for the United States as of March 30, 2023. COURTESY/ACCUWEATHER

So far, the strongest confirmed tornado of the year was an EF4 that struck the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, on Friday, March 24. The nocturnal tornado was on the ground for nearly 60 miles, with peak winds of 166-200 mph.

As the storm’s cold front swings eastward, AccuWeather meteorologists will also closely monitor the potential for severe weather in portions of the Appalachians and the Atlantic Seaboard during the latter part of next week. This new severe weather potential will follow an episode of high winds and power outages associated with and without severe thunderstorm activity on Saturday.

While the storm system’s main jet stream energy will have lifted to the north and into Canada, meteorologists say a zone of warm and moist air will be in place over much of the East.

The same intense storm system will produce snow across a lengthy corridor stretching from the central and northern Rockies to the northern Plains.

Blizzard conditions are likely to unfold and threaten travelers with this storm in parts of the Dakotas and Nebraska from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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