70 million people in path of severe storms amid more tornado warnings

Tornado threat for the Upper Midwest on Tuesday afternoon and evening, then into southern Missouri and Arkansas at night

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
Tuesday 04 April 2023 22:01 BST
Football field ripped apart after tornado devastates Arkansas

Some 70 million people are in the path of a severe storm system just days after deadly tornadoes struck parts of the US.

Central states were warned of potentially powerful tornadoes in the Upper Midwest by late Tuesday afternoon/evening, and in southern Missouri and Arkansas after dark.

A tornado watch was in effect until 10pm (local time) across much of eastern and central Iowa, western Illinois and north-central, northeast Missouri as forecasters also warned of hail “the size of softballs”, The Weather Channel reported.

Nighttime storms and tornadoes can be particularly dangerous since most people are asleep, with Missouri State Emergency Management Agency among the public officials warning residents to take extra precautions and remain alert.

An alert was issued for supercell thunderstorms on Tuesday afternoon, moving east across central and southern Iowa, northern Missouri and northwest Illinois in the coming hours, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

Supercells -- intense, long-lived thunderstorms defined by a rotating updraft -- are responsible for the most damaging hail and deadly tornadoes.

“These storms will be capable of producing very large hail, tornadoes (some strong) and damaging gusts,” NWS added.

The severe weather threat extended southwestward across parts of Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Strong thunderstorms swept through the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois on Tuesday morning with winds up to 90mph and baseball-size hail, The Associated Press reported.

No injuries were reported but trees were downed and some businesses were damaged in Moline, Illinois.

More than 23,000 homes and businesses are without power in lllinois, according to utility tracker poweroutage.us.

Multiple large, dangerous, and fast-moving wildfires are likely across the southern/central Plains, the NWS warned.

The threat of fire danger is expected to remain high on Tuesday across portions of far western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, northeastern New Mexico and far southeastern Colorado, with low humidity, dry vegetation and wind gusts as high as 70 mph, according to NWS.

Meanwhile, a blizzard warning was in effect for nearly all of North Dakota and most of South Dakota through at least Wednesday night. Forecasters predicted parts of South Dakota could see up to 16 inches of snow and wind gusts as high as 55 mph.

In Minnesota, a winter storm warning was in effect in the north, while the southern part of the state expected thunderstorms that could include hail and strong winds.

On the west coast, coastal rain and snow in mountainous areas was forecast for the Pacific Northwest and Northern California through Wednesday, NWS reported, along with snow for the Rockies and Great Basin.

Communities were still picking up the pieces from a huge storm on Friday which left 32 people dead. Buildings were destroyed, roofs collapsed and vehicles flipped over in 11 states including Arkansas, Iowa, and Missouri amid reports of dozens of tornadoes.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, neighbourhoods were reduced to rubble and hundreds of trees uprooted after a huge twister tore through through the middle of the state.

With reporting from the Associated Press. This article has been updated

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