NewsUSAA significant destructive wind system is expected this Sunday in the central US.

A significant destructive wind system is expected this Sunday in the central US.

(CNN) — The storm system that brought blizzard warnings to Southern California on Friday and Saturday will produce a significant destructive wind event in the central United States on Sunday.

More than 20 million people are under threat from severe storms Sunday from West Texas to Illinois, including Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City, Fort Worth and St. Louis.

The highest severe storm risk today, a level 4 of 5 or moderate risk, was issued over parts of western Oklahoma and Texas. Cities at this risk include Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, and Enid in Oklahoma. This area is where the highest probability of a strong tornado will be on Sunday afternoon.

This is the first Level 4 of 5 hazard to be issued so far this year, the most recent Level 4 hazard being issued on December 14, 2022, when a tornado touched down in New Orleans.

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“A significant destructive wind event is expected from eastern Texas into much of Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas this afternoon through tonight,” the Storm Prediction Center wrote in its forecast discussion early Sunday morning. .

Damaging wind gusts of over 120 km/h will be possible, as well as a couple of strong tornadoes. Frequent lightning and hail are also possible.

The greatest tornado threat will be “early in the event,” according to the storm center, meaning in the late afternoon when the storms move through parts of northwestern Texas and southwestern Oklahoma.

This will then quickly transition to a damaging wind event tonight and overnight as the storms develop into a squall line, which is a continuous narrow band of thunderstorms that forms ahead of a cold front.

“The storms will eventually develop into a squall line,” the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma said. Additionally, tornadoes embedded within this squall line will continue to be possible as the storms move eastward.

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The storms will also move fairly quickly, racing east and northeast at 60 to 80 mph, which will only increase the threat of destructive winds.

“The destructive wind potential will not be limited to the thunderstorms themselves,” the Norman weather service office said. “Very high winds and potentially destructive winds will be possible even in the general wind field after the storms pass.”

Wind watches are currently in place for more than 65 million people from Arizona to Ohio, including Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Memphis, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Cincinnati.

“Some models have suggested a narrow line of very strong winds moving across areas approximately three hours after storms pass,” the Norman weather service added.

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Wind gusts of 96 to 120 km/h are possible in the Southwest and West Texas behind these severe storms. And gusts of 40 to 55 mph are forecast in the central plains through the Ohio River Valley.

By Monday morning, the threat of severe storms will move north and east over the Ohio River Valley, where a Level 2 of 5 risk has been issued. This includes Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Louisville.

The main threats for Monday will be frequent lightning, destructive winds, hail and a few tornadoes.

As this same system continues its eastward journey, it will bring the threat of heavy rain, snow, and ice to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Monday night, potentially causing travel disruptions.

Snow totals of 6 to 12 inches are forecast for much of the Northeast, while freezing rain is possible in the northern parts of the mid-Atlantic.


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