Central US faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail

The central US is bracing for what could be a potentially dangerous end to the weekend as forecasters track the threat of severe weather on Sunday, including the potential for a derecho that could sweep across portions of Kansas and Oklahoma with destructive wind gusts higher than 100 mph and baseball-sized hail.

This comes on the heels of another deadly derecho that barreled across Texas and Louisiana on Thursday, blasting the Houston metro area with winds up to 100 mph that left at least seven people dead and more than 1 million customers without power.

Severe Thunderstorm Watches were issued Sunday afternoon for several states in the central US from South Dakota to Texas.

The watch that covers parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas was designated a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, emphasizing the dire nature of the storms that are forecast to develop in that area.

The watch includes Sterling in Colorado, as well as North Platte, Valentine and Scottsbluff in Nebraska.

Rapid City, Pierre and Eagle Butte in South Dakota have also been included.

Sunday marks the beginning of a multiday, multistate severe weather threat that is expected to impact millions of people from the Plains to the Midwest through at least Tuesday, although the threat of severe weather will continue in the central US through at least the middle of this upcoming workweek.

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
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Severe thunderstorm watches were issued Sunday afternoon for several states in the central US from South Dakota to Texas. FOX Weather

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
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The watch emphasizes the dire nature of the storms that are forecast to develop in that area. JSirlin – stock.adobe.com

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) increased the severe weather threat on Sunday and is focusing on central Kansas, where the threat of destructive wind gusts and large hail is highest.

The threat will expand to the east Monday and Tuesday, putting tens of millions of people in the Plains and Midwest at risk of seeing extreme weather.

Potential derecho could blast central US today

The SPC said severe thunderstorms are expected to fire up across portions of Kansas and Oklahoma starting in the late afternoon and lasting into the evening hours, which includes the potential for a derecho.

“Destructive wind swaths of 80-100 mph may occur, with localized extreme wind gusts exceeding 100 mph possible,” the SPC said in its forecast discussion. “Very large hail and a few tornadoes are also anticipated.”

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
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The derecho blasted the Houston metro area with winds up to 100 mph that left at least seven people dead and more than 1 million customers without power. FOX Weather

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
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A destroyed home in Houston, Texas on May 17, 2024. Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Because of the threat, the SPC placed nearly 570,000 people in Kansas in a Level 4 out of 5 risk on its 5-point severe thunderstorm risk scale.

This includes Dodge City, Great Bend, Salina and areas just to the north of Wichita.

The severe weather threat isn’t limited to those areas, however.

The SPC also placed about 850,000 people in Kansas and portions of northwestern Oklahoma in a Level 3 out of 5 risk.

This threat includes Topeka, Wichita and Hays in Kansas, as well as Woodward in Oklahoma.

Life-threatening lightning, tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail will all be possible from any severe thunderstorms that develop in the region on Sunday.

And while there is a tornado threat across portions of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, forecasters said they’re much more concerned for the threat of destructive wind gusts and baseball-sized hail.

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
8

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) increased the severe weather threat on Sunday and is focusing on central Kansas, where the threat of destructive wind gusts and large hail is highest. FOX Weather

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
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“Destructive wind swaths of 80-100 mph may occur, with localized extreme wind gusts exceeding 100 mph possible,” the SPC said in its forecast discussion. “Very large hail and a few tornadoes are also anticipated.” FOX Weather

The SPC said there is a higher risk on Sunday for the development of supercell thunderstorms that could form into a bow echo as they sweep across the region.

“Now, we’ll watch for the damaging winds,” FOX Weather Meteorologist Craig Herrera said. “And when we’re talking damaging winds, you’re talking wind gusts 75 mph or greater. You think of sustained winds from a hurricane are 74 mph. These are gusts, but a gust that quick and that fast at 75 mph or greater can still do some damage.”

And some of these thunderstorms on Sunday could produce wind gusts as strong as a Category 2 hurricane.

The SPC said there could be swaths of 80-100 mph wind gusts, with localized areas reaching gusts higher than 100 mph.

Monday’s severe weather threat

There are now two areas of concern for severe weather on Monday.

The SPC has placed just over 17 million people in a Level 2 out of 5 risk, which includes portions of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, as well as portions of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in the Midwest.

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
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Life threatening lightning, tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail will all be possible from any severe thunderstorms that develop in the region. FOX Weather

The cities of Norfolk, Omaha, Lincoln and McCook in Nebraska are all included in the risk, while Des Moines in Iowa is just outside that Level 2 threat.

Kansas City in Missouri is also included in the Level 2 threat on Monday.

Milwaukee and Chicago have also been placed in a Level 2 out of 5 risk on Monday.

Thunderstorms that develop in the Plains and Midwest will all be capable of producing damaging wind gusts, hail and possible tornadoes.

Tuesday’s severe weather threat

The SPC issued a Level 3 out of 5 risk for severe weather on Tuesday, which includes more than 9.5 million people.

us news, extreme weather, midwest, weather, central us faces ‘particularly dangerous situation’ from potential derecho with 100-mph winds, giant hail
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Some of these thunderstorms on Sunday could produce wind gusts as strong as a Category 2 hurricane. Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

This threat will have people in seven states from the Plains to the Midwest on alert for storms capable of producing damaging wind gusts, hail and possible tornadoes.

And while those areas will see a greater severe thunderstorm threat on Tuesday, more than 31.5 million people in areas stretching from Oklahoma to Michigan have been placed in a Level 2 out of 5 risk.

This Level 2 risk includes the cities of Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma, St. Louis in Missouri, Chicago in Illinois, Minneapolis in Minnesota and Milwaukee and Green Bay in Wisconsin.

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