The extended lull in severe weather, which has been accompanied by a warm and tranquil start to the month, will soon come to an end for the south-central United States as the threat of severe storms will be a growing concern in the days ahead.
"A disturbance in the upper levels of the atmosphere will move through the West this weekend and spur the development of a potent storm in the south-central U.S.," A ccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Sadvary explained about the shifting weather pattern.
Many locations across the southern Plains began the month warmer than normal, and AccuWeather forecasters say the unseasonable heat forecast to build over the region late this week will make the region more susceptible to explosive storm activity.
"Cool, dry air from out of the Rockies is expected to clash in the southern Plains with warm, moist air originating from the Gulf," Sadvary said. "These ingredients will lead to a battleground of severe weather."
While thunderstorms can begin to rumble to life earlier in the day on Sunday, the most potent storms are expected to develop later Sunday afternoon or even closer to Sunday evening. These storms are forecast to push eastward into the overnight hours and may even remain hazardous into early Monday.
The area with the greatest risk of severe weather late this weekend includes portions of northeastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas and western Arkansas. Multiple major metropolitan areas are within the area of greatest concern.
Forecasters are urging residents of places like Oklahoma City and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as well as travelers along large portions of interstates 30, 35 and 40 to closely monitor the weather for rapidly changing conditions on Sunday.
All facets of severe weather will be possible. Flooding downpours, damaging wind gusts, hail and even isolated tornadoes can accompany the strongest storms on Sunday.
"Anyone in the south-central U.S. should pay close attention to the forecast, as small changes in the forecast area and storm intensity may occur," Sadvary cautioned.
With the bulk of the severe thunderstorms predicted to erupt later Sunday into Monday morning, this can present additional dangers for residents in the path of these potent storms.
Severe weather that occurs at night presents additional hazards. A large portion of the population sleeps during the overnight hours, so it is important that people at risk to get severe weather have multiple ways to receive potentially life-saving weather alerts in order to find shelter in a moment's notice.
Storm damage, including downed trees and powerlines, and flooded roadways can be difficult, or even impossible, to spot in the dark. Forecasters urge that anyone who must travel during severe weather to allow plenty of extra travel time and plan alternate routes in case certain roadways become impassible.
After the severe threat diminishes, a much calmer day is in the forecast for the South Central states on Monday. However, residents may not have long to catch their breath before a new threat roars to life.
AccuWeather forecasters are monitoring the development of another potent storm with the capability to produce severe weather for portions of the Plains beginning Tuesday.
"This storm system has the potential to be more widespread across the central U.S., and any cleanup efforts that may result from the first wave of storms could be short-lived," Sadvary explained.
Many across the U.S. may typically associate the spring and summer months with the development of severe weather, but fall is capable of being just as potent.
The spring season represents the largest peak in frequency of severe weather activity for the United States, but meteorologists say that there is a secondary, smaller peak that occurs during the fall season.
The southern tier of the U.S. is often the greatest area of concern for severe weather in the fall months.
During the autumn, chilly air is ushered southward as cold fronts dive into the South and collide with the steamy air that flows northward out of the Gulf of Mexico. When these two contrasting air masses meet, the results are often explosive.
"While the most common area for severe weather in the fall ranges from Texas to Georgia, some storms occasionally impact areas farther north, including the central Plains and the Mississippi Valley," AccuWeather Meteorologist and Staff Writer Brian Lada explained.
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