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Widespread, multi-day severe weather outbreak expected to kick off April in central, eastern US

April typically kicks off the most active three months for tornadoes in the US, and this year will be no exception as a widespread, multi-day severe weather outbreak is expected to impact tens of millions of Americans in the eastern half of the country between Monday and Tuesday.

A storm system that soaked Southern California with flooding rainfall over the Easter holiday weekend helped contribute to the development of a new area of low pressure in the central Plains on Monday, which is expected to quickly strengthen and track eastward during the first half of the workweek.

As that low-pressure system pulls in moisture streaming northward from the Gulf of Mexico, the atmosphere will quickly turn unstable and result in widespread thunderstorms beginning Monday afternoon in the southern Plains and spreading toward the mid-Mississippi and Ohio valleys during the evening and overnight hours.

“Dew points are really important. It’s another key ingredient to seeing that activation, and dew points in these areas are anywhere within the upper 60s to maybe 70s,” Fox Weather meteorologist Marissa Torres noted about how moist the air mass is over the region. “And then you’re going to have that daytime heating. So things will start to pop in through the afternoon hours, and that’s where we’ll be tracking potentially some of those supercells.”

A widespread severe weather outbreak, with storms packing threats of large to very large hail, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes, is expected to develop from Monday afternoon through Monday night across a broad area from the southern Plains and the Ozarks into portions of the mid-Mississippi and Ohio valleys, perhaps even spreading into a small part of the mid-Atlantic.

Monday’s threat zone encompasses more than 53 million people and includes major cities such as Dallas in Texas, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, St. Louis in Missouri, Indianapolis in Indiana and Cincinnati in Ohio.

Potentially giant hail is possible in a corridor extending from north Texas to southern Illinois, including major metro areas such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and St. Louis.

“We’re talking the size of baseballs,” Fox Weather meteorologist Kendall Smith said. “I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want a baseball to come crashing down while I’m driving on the highway, or even just my home in general. So you need to take those precautions today and make sure that you are ready.”

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The greatest tornado threat is expected Monday evening from central and eastern Oklahoma into southern Indiana. A few tornadoes could be EF-2 or stronger in parts of northeastern Oklahoma, northwestern Arkansas, southwestern Missouri and southeastern Kansas.

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Most of the Ohio Valley won’t see its peak severe weather risk until the evening and overnight hours. Nighttime tornadoes are more than twice as likely to result in fatalities than those that happen during the day, so make sure you have a way to receive potentially life-saving weather alerts that would wake you up during the night.

A continuation of Monday night’s severe storms is expected farther east on Tuesday, with the threat stretching from the Ohio and Tennessee valleys eastward into the mid-Atlantic and southward to the central Gulf Coast states.

Wind damage and isolated large hail are possible across this widespread zone that comprises more than 58 million people, including the cities of Cincinnati in Ohio, Louisville in Kentucky, Charleston in West Virginia, Nashville in Tennessee, Baltimore in Maryland and Washington, DC.

The tornado threat is expected to be greatest from middle Tennessee, including the Nashville area, north-northeastward into central and northern Kentucky.

A few lingering severe thunderstorms are possible Wednesday across parts of the mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and the Florida peninsula as the storm system continues to track toward the East Coast. That includes cities along Interstate 95 such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond, Virginia, as well as Raleigh, North Carolina.

Be sure to check back with Fox Weather for updates on this expected widespread severe weather outbreak. You can download the free Fox Weather app and enable notifications to receive real-time alerts about any severe weather headed your way.


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