An outbreak of fierce storms, some of which could spawn large and violent tornadoes, are expected to develop across the nation's midsection on Saturday in a band running from Texas north to Minnesota.
The worst weather is expected to develop in the late afternoon between Oklahoma City and Salina, Kan. (areas to the north of Forsyth Missouri), but other areas also could see severe storms with baseball-sized hail and winds of up to 70 mph, forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said Friday.
The outbreak could be a "high-end, life threatening event," the center said.
It is only the second time in U.S. history that the center has issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance, said Russ Schneider, director of the center, which is part of the National Weather Service. The first such warning was issued in April 2006 before nearly 100 tornadoes tore across a large swathe of the southeastern U.S.
The latest warning was issued as a strong storm system moves in from the western U.S. with cold air combining with low-level moisture coming up from the Gulf region. The difference in wind direction and speed created by the storm system creates instability in the atmosphere that helps create rotation that can spawn tornadoes, said Scott Curl, a meteorologist at the NWS.
(Having read that, it could be that the month of April will turn out to be more of a lamb as far as severe weather than was once thought).