Central US to receive welcome break from widespread severe weather but not from rain

The Millers sit together in the trunk of their car amid their neighborhood levelled by a tornado on May 07, 2024 in Barnsdall, northeast Oklahoma. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Mother Nature will put a pause on the widespread severe weather following the recent rash of severe thunderstorm outbreaks that have left several communities in ruins across the central United States. Although the risk of damaging thunderstorms will decrease through the middle of May, episodes of rain can impact cleanup efforts.

"There will be a break in widespread severe weather for the middle of the nation through the first half of [this] week as cooler and more stable air takes over," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok explained. Severe thunderstorms feed off warm, moist air, so when this source is cut off, the risk of severe weather incidents diminishes.

As of Friday, there have been 699 preliminary tornado reports across the United States this year, well above the historical average, according to the Storm Prediction Center. More than 150 of those tornadoes have touched down this month.

Although the southern Plains could face isolated occurrences of thunderstorms packing gusty winds and hail through the rest of the weekend, AccuWeather forecasters say that the greatest risk to life and property across the South Central and Southeastern states into the new week will be from flooding.

Farther to the north, rain will return across the central Plains for Mother's Day, following a needed dry break earlier in the weekend. Rain with locally embedded thunderstorms will continue into Monday and slowly expand eastward toward the mid-Mississippi Valley.

In communities where homes or other structures were damaged by the slew of severe thunderstorms, tarps may need to be placed over exposed roofs to protect salvageable items from the wet weather.


AccuWeather meteorologists expect dry weather to return briefly to the Plains states later Monday into Tuesday before the next round of wet weather eyes the region.

"[On] Wednesday and Thursday, rounds of showers and thunderstorms will move across the central and southern Plains," Pastelok said.

The atmospheric pattern during the middle of the new week is not one that is raising alarm bells for a widespread severe weather outbreak. Although gusty, heavy thunderstorms can occur on a localized basis, especially across the southern Plains, heavy rain, flooding and slowed cleanup efforts are likely to be the main concerns, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

"Going forward in May, there will be several systems that cross the Plains, but the pattern in the upper part of the atmosphere is not quite as extreme as it was in late April and early May. Severe weather can still occur from the Plains states eastward, but it will be more spread out with a less likelihood of major outbreaks," Pastelok said.

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