Multiple days of severe weather to focus on US Great Plains to end May

Following a major outbreak of deadly tornadoes during the Memorial Day weekend, there will be little rest for portions of the central United States as more storms will erupt, and some will become severe over portions of the Great Plains and part of the Mississippi Valley this week, AccuWeather meteorologists warn.

For many Central states, the overall risk of severe weather will be less intense over the next several days. However, it only takes one violent thunderstorm or tornado to strike a populated area and bring risks to lives and property.

For example, north-central Texas, especially the Dallas metro area, was hammered by a couple of rounds of severe thunderstorms already in the pattern since Monday. One storm dropped baseball-sized hail on part of the region Monday night. Then, early Tuesday morning, storms packing high winds knocked the power out to hundreds of thousands of utility customers. While that complex of storms weakened as it moved to the southeast, it still brought robust thunderstorms to part of the Houston metro area. More storms erupted farther to the west into the nighttime hours.

The tally of filtered severe weather incidents was 1,450, with at least 80 tornadoes reported from Friday through Monday. The storms over the weekend were tragic and devastating in some communities, where at least 22 people, including several children, lost their lives during tornadoes.

As of Wednesday morning, nearly 500,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Central and Eastern states following recent storms. The number of outages will continue to fluctuate through Wednesday as crews work to restore electricity while new storms erupt, knocking down utility lines and damaging transformers.

The severe weather delayed or derailed outdoor plans for millions from the Plains to the East. Downpours and thunderstorms affected both of America's traditional auto races on Sunday. The Indy 500 race had a delayed start while the 600-mile NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was brought to an early end, with only about two-thirds of the event completed.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said the risk of severe thunderstorms is expected to focus across the Plains states into Friday.


"Daily rounds of severe thunderstorms are expected to span from Texas to the Dakotas between Wednesday and Thursday," Buckingham said.

On Wednesday, some risk of severe thunderstorms will extend along a 1,600-mile-long swath from the Rio Grande River in Texas northward to the Canada border in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Severe thunderstorms will occur in part of this zone, but there may be pockets where more general coverage occurs in parts of West Texas and the central and northern High Plains.

On Thursday, a similar zone will extend from central Texas to much of North Dakota for 1,400 miles north and south over much of the High Plains.

"The coverage of severe weather on Thursday will tend to be spotty for much of the southern Plains," Buckingham said. "But, as a potent storm system pushes eastward from the Rockies, more general severe weather is possible over the northern Plains."

The main threats from the storms on Wednesday and Thursday will be isolated large hail, strong wind gusts and flash flooding. The AccuWeather Local StormMax wind gust for both days is 85 mph. Should conditions come together, Thursday could prompt more than a few isolated storms packing tornadoes.

The likelihood of thunderstorms and the potential for severe weather will continue farther to the east over the Plains states on Friday and reach the Mississippi Valley on Saturday. The details on the extent and intensity will unfold in the coming days.

In any location where storms repeat over multiple days or linger for a few hours, the risk of flash urban and small stream flooding will increase exponentially.

Want next-level safety, ad-free? Unlock advanced, hyperlocal severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app. AccuWeather Alerts are prompted by our expert meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safer.