Winter storm hits the central US, with blizzard conditions possible; severe storms target South: Thursday forecast

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Friday updates: Read the latest weather news here.

As parts of the Northeast and California started to move on from the heavy snow and rain that hit the regions earlier this week, the Plains, Midwest and South were bracing for stormy weather on Thursday.

Winter storm conditions that stretched from Nebraska to Michigan are expected to bring as much as 7 inches of snow and intense winds to some areas, with the National Weather Service warning that blizzard conditions are possible and travel could be impacted by slick roads and blowing snow.

And in the South, severe storms could batter portions of several states on Thursday with hail, wind and tornadoes all possible. Parts of Texas were under a tornado watch Thursday evening as the majority of the state saw high winds.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is thundersnow and how does it form: Explaining how a thunderstorm can produce snow

What is lake-effect snow? Here's how it happens and how much snow it can bring with it.

Winter storm conditions hit Plains, Midwest

Snow and rain spread across the Plains and Midwest on Thursday, extending across states from Nebraska to Michigan.

A winter storm warning was in effect in parts of Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Thursday, with blizzard conditions possible, according to the weather service in Omaha, Nebraska. Up to 7 inches of snow and wind gusts as high as 55 mph are expected.

Travel could be "very difficult," the weather service warned.

A winter storm watch is also in effect from Thursday evening through Saturday in parts of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as the state prepares for lake-effect snow in the coming days.

Snowfall accumulations could reach over 6 inches, with winds also gusting up to 50 mph.

  • What is lake-effect snow? Lake effect snow can develop from bands of clouds that form when dry, arctic air passes over a large lake. The conditions can be brief, lasting for a few minutes or continue for several days.

What is wind chill? Understanding the wind chill index and how it's calculated

What is an 'atmospheric river'? These rivers of water vapor can extend thousands of miles.

Severe storms with hail and possible tornadoes target the South

A severe weather outbreak is possible later Thursday in portions of the southern Plains and Deep South, with states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana all at risk.

"Scattered severe thunderstorms capable of producing large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes are likely this afternoon and evening across parts of the southern Plains," the Storm Prediction Center said. "Some of the hail could be very large over southern Oklahoma and north-central Texas."

The Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area is in the area at greatest risk for severe weather on Thursday.

A tornado was confirmed to have touched down Thursday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas amid severe thunderstorm warnings. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth warned that threats of hail and strong winds up to 50 mph will continue through the night.

The weather service also advised residents to watch for out for tennis ball- and golf ball-sized hail.

Other Texas cities that could also see storms Thursday include Houston, San Antonio and Austin, the prediction center said.

A population of over 29 million is at risk of some form of severe weather on Thursday.

Winter storm tracker

National weather radar

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Thursday weather forecast: Winter storm hits from Nebraska to Michigan