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Millions Across Oklahoma and Kansas at Risk of Tornadoes, Hail and Severe Thunderstorms

UNDATED (AP) - Forecasters say millions of people in the central United States could see powerful storms Monday including long-track tornadoes, hurricane-force winds and baseball-sized hail. The National Weather Service forecast that much of Oklahoma and parts of Kansas are at the greatest risk of severe weather. Some of those areas in Oklahoma are still recovering from tornadoes. The forecast follows severe flooding in Houston early Monday morning.

Much of Oklahoma and parts of Kansas are at the greatest risk of bad weather — including areas in Oklahoma, such as Sulphur and Holdenville, still recovering from a tornado that killed 4 and left thousands without power last week. The Plains and Midwest, both, have been hammered by tornadoes this spring.

In all, nearly 10 million people live in areas under threat of severe weather, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said. Forecasters there issued a rare high risk for central Oklahoma and southern Kansas. The last time a high risk was issued was March 31, 2023, when a massive storm system tore through parts of the South and Midwest including Arkansas, Illinois and rural Indiana.

Bill Bunting, the center’s deputy director, said a high risk from the Storm Prediction Center is not something seen every day or every spring. “It’s the highest level of threat we can assign. And it’s a day to take very, very seriously," he said.

AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said the risk on Monday in parts of the southern Plains is the worst in five years. “If you look at a meteorology textbook about how to get a significant tornado outbreak in the southern Plains, all the ingredients you need are here today,” Porter said.

Other cities that could see stormy weather include Kansas City, Missouri and Lincoln, Nebraska.

The number of storms and their intensity should increase quickly in the evening hours across western parts of Oklahoma and up into south central Kansas, Bunting said.

The expected thunderstorms could produce winds up to and potentially exceeding 80 mph, according to Porter. Even worse, those “supercell” storms can produce destructive tornadoes. “The kinds of tornadoes that this storm can produce are particularly intense, and they can be long-lasting,” Porter said. “These are the tornadoes that sometimes can last for 45 minutes or an hour, even more, creating paths of destruction as they move along.”

The high risk is due to an unusual confluence: A storm system that resulted in mountain snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and heavy rain elsewhere in the West is colliding with a warm and humid air mass coming up from the Gulf of Mexico, Porter said.

Severe weather was possible in southern Kansas after about 4 p.m. Monday. The dangerous weather will move east, potentially creating overnight risk in places like Kansas City and Springfield in Missouri through early Tuesday, Porter said.

Bunting advises people in the affected areas to develop a severe weather plan early in the day. “Make sure that you have ways to communicate with your family members,” he said. “Make sure everyone knows where their shelters are,” and how they can continue to receive warnings.

(Earlier reporting...)

Rainy, Stormy Weather Headed for Eastern Kansas... Again

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) - Another round of rain and thunderstorms is headed for eastern Kansas. The National Weather Service says there's a 40% chance of rain & storms in eastern Kansas this afternoon and a nearly 100% chance for showers & storms this evening. Some of the evening and overnight storms may be severe. Heavy rainfall is possible.

Stay "Weather Aware" and be sure to have more than one way to receive the latest weather information. A tornado has already claimed one life in Kansas so far this year.