Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tornadoes Likely With Storms Across Upper Mississippi Valley Region Today...

Above is the latest severe weather outlook for today and tonight from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. Severe storms are possible anywhere within the yellow shaded area on the image, with an enhanced risk of severe storms, including tornadoes, within the red shaded area.

A cool front stretching from the upper Mississippi Valley, Southward into Missouri and then into southcentral Texas will focus thunderstorm development today.  

At this time, the most likely area for significant severe weather development, including tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds, will exist within the red shaded and black hatched area on the image below:

This elevated risk includes the cities of Minneapolis, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Mason City and Rochester.

Strong to severe storms are forecast to develop over western Iowa and/or southwest Minnesota by early to mid-afternoon and then progress toward the East/Northeast across the enhanced outlook area.  Storms will be very fast moving, so it will be critical for residents to heed warnings and seek shelter immediately if threatening weather approaches their area.

Elsewhere, strong to severe thunderstorms will develop Southward along the frontal boundary into the yellow shaded area on the top image.  The highest threat of severe storms will be during the afternoon as the atmosphere heats and becomes more unstable.  Large hail and damaging wind gusts will be the primary threats in this region, although isolated tornadoes are also possible with any storm that is able to become particularly well organized.

Within this region to the South, there will be an elevated risk of wind damage with storms that take place within the red shaded area on this image:

This elevated threat of wind damage includes the cities of St. Louis, Little Rock, Shreveport, Lufkin and Houston (especially Northern suburbs).

If you live across any of the threat areas described above, please pay attention to the weather today.  Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local media or another trusted source for later information and warnings.  Make sure that you've re-stocked your severe weather safety kit and have identified your best sheltering option ahead of time, that way you can take quick action when the time comes.

Please check back on the blog throughout the day for updates.  

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