Central U.S. faces storms, flooding, tornado threats

Following clusters of severe thunderstorms that will unleash localized flooding through Tuesday, a more widespread severe weather episode that may unleash tornadoes is likely on Wednesday in part of the central United States.

Into Tuesday night, the weather pattern will produce complexes of heavy, gusty and locally severe thunderstorms over parts of the Plains and the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys.

The main threats from these storms are likely to be frequent lightning strikes, strong wind gusts, hail and flash flooding.

While a tornado may briefly spin up in the strongest thunderstorms into Monday evening, tornadoes are likely to be very isolated.

Severe storms will focus from northeastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle to southwestern Nebraska and southeastern Wyoming into Monday evening.

Severe High Plains Monday 8 am

"In this area of the High Plains, storms may produce hail that can cover the ground and a few wind gusts in the neighborhood of 70 mph," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda.

Farther to the east, locally heavy storms may briefly approach severe levels from southeastern Missouri, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi to eastern Kentucky with a pocket of severe storms likely in the mid-Atlantic region into Monday night that could trigger substantial airline delays.

On Tuesday, severe thunderstorms are most likely to erupt from west-central Texas to central and western Kansas during the afternoon and evening hours.

Severe Tuesday Plains 8 am

A few of these storms may produce large hail, wind gusts to 70 mph and flash flooding, as well as a few isolated tornadoes.

The risk of severe weather may ratchet up another level or two on Wednesday as a storm system develops over the central Plains and strengthens as it moves eastward.

The severe weather threat is forecast to extend from the lower Ohio Valley through part of the middle and lower Mississippi Valley and a portion of the southern Plains at midweek.

"Storms are likely to pack a punch with damaging wind gusts and hail, but it is possible the situation evolves into a threat for multiple tornadoes on Wednesday," Sojda said.

Severe Wednesday 10 am

"Should the storm strengthen quickly and there is sufficient sunshine to heat the region ahead of the thunderstorms, a violent severe weather outbreak that includes tornadoes may result."

AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to monitor the situation closely.

US Midweek

The same storm system is likely to pull the risk of severe thunderstorms and perhaps a tornado threat farther to the east Wednesday night and Thursday over parts of the Appalachians and mid-Atlantic region.

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Flooding in the Midwest
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Flooding in the Midwest
Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, back right, travels by air boat with Glenn Wyles, top left, Mitch Snyder, bottom right, and Juan Jacobo, bottom left, as they survey damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
An orange windsock is seen at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Neb., site of the bases' flooded runway, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Rising waters from the Missouri River flooded about a third of the base, including about 3,000 feet of the base's 11,700-foot runway. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
A BNSF train sits in flood waters from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, right, talks to Glenn Wyles, second right, as they survey by air boat flood damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, top right, travels by air boat with Glenn Wyles, top left, Mitch Snyder, bottom left, and Juan Jacobo, bottom right, as they survey damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Vice President Mike Pence and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, second right point to flooded areas, with Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, during a helicopter flight over areas affected by the flooding of the Missouri and Elkhorn Rivers, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Nebraska. Pence flew to Omaha, Neb., Tuesday to view damage and to offer support to first responders, volunteers and those displaced by the floods. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Vice President Mike Pence, center, flies by helicopter over areas flooded by the Missouri and Elkhorn rivers, with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, right, and Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
This Tuesday, March 19, 2019 aerial photo shows flooding along the Missouri River in Pacific Junction, Iowa. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says rivers breached at least a dozen levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Hundreds of homes are damaged, and tens of thousands of acres are inundated with water. (DroneBase via AP)
Akashi Haynes, left, and her daughter Tabitha Viers carry their belongings rescued from their flooded home in Fremont, Neb., Monday, March 18, 2019. Authorities say flooding from the Platte River and other waterways is so bad that just one highway lane into Fremont remains uncovered, and access to that road is severely restricted. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
A BNSF train sits in flood waters from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Cars sit in flood waters from the Platte River alongside a BNSF train, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Flooded RV's, washed away by the flood waters of the Platte River, are seen in Merritt's RV Park in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT SURNAME - Tom Wilke, center, his son Chad, right, and Nick Kenny, load a boat out of the swollen waters of the North Fork of the Elkhorn River after checking on the Witke's flooded property, in Norfolk, Neb., Friday, March 15, 2019. Heavy rain falling atop deeply frozen ground has prompted evacuations along swollen rivers in Wisconsin, Nebraska and other Midwestern states. Thousands of people have been urged to evacuate along eastern Nebraska rivers as a massive late-winter storm has pushed streams and rivers out of their banks throughout the Midwest. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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River flooding eases; Flash flood threat continues

The river flooding situation is easing over the much of the Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas basins. Waters over most of these rivers are receding or have already dropped below flood stage. Levels are still high over part of the middle and lower Mississippi, but they are not expected to rise in the short term.

Rainfall has not be as concentrated as that which prompted record or near-record flooding from earlier this spring.

However, any slow-moving downpour, let alone a large complex of thunderstorms, is likely to trigger flash, urban and small stream flooding from the Plains to the Midwest and mid-South.

A few pockets of quick river flooding can occur where thunderstorm complexes linger, such as the swath from north-central Texas to central Missouri.

South Central River Flood Risk

Some rises are likely on the Ohio River and there is the potential for flooding along some of the secondary rivers in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky in the weather pattern through this week.

Some of these rivers empty into the Ohio River and other flow northward and empty into the Great Lakes.

Download the free AccuWeather app for more precise details on the forecast for your area, including severe weather watches and warnings. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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