Violent storms threaten 1,000-mile swath of central U.S.

Severe thunderstorms, including the potential for tornadoes, will exist along a 1,000-mile swath of the central United States into Wednesday night.

While damaging thunderstorms may only affect a fraction of this zone and tornadoes are likely to only affect a tiny fraction, many locations within the swath from central Ohio to north-central Texas can expect to be hit with torrential downpours, gusty winds and frequent lightning strikes.

The stronger storms in this zone can produce wind gusts to 70 mph, hail the size of golf balls, flash flooding and perhaps a tornado.

The danger is that these violent conditions may strike a heavily populated area.

Major cities are in the path of severe thunderstorms into Wednesday night. These include Dallas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Nashville, Tennessee; Tupelo, Mississippi; St. Louis; Louisville, Kentucky; Indianapolis; and Cincinnati.

Motorists along major highways such as Interstate 30, I-40, I-55 and I-70 should keep alert for approaching severe weather that may cause blinding rain and flash flooding.

"Eastern Missouri and southern Illinois may have some of the more robust thunderstorms," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

"Farther south, another complex of severe thunderstorms will develop across southeastern Oklahoma," Rossio said.

"In the biggest storms over the southern Plains, hail to the size of baseballs may bombard some communities."

The severe weather outbreak is being produced by the caboose in a train of storm systems that have pestered areas from the Plains to the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic since this past weekend.

This last storm in the series is the strongest of the bunch and hence is anticipated to produce the most significant and widespread batch of severe weather of the train.

On Thursday, the main focus of severe weather, including a tornado risk, will be in the Eastern states including along part of the heavily populated corridor from near New York City to Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina.

While the weather is forecast to be more quiet in the swath from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley on Thursday, a new round of severe weather is forecast to erupt farther north over portions of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and northern Missouri on Friday.

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2019 spring weather across the US
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2019 spring weather across the US
A vehicle drives through Mississippi River flood water in downtown Alton, Il. on Monday, May 6, 2019. Flooding from the Mississippi River closed streets in downtown, forced the closure of Argosy Casino and flooded the basements of several businesses. The Mississippi River is expected to crest at 34.8 feet later on Monday, almost 14 feet above flood stage. The red painted line beneath the American flag on the grain silos denotes the height of flood water in 1993. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Water from the swelling Mississippi River covers roadways and surrounds houses on Saturday, May 4, 2019 in Foley, Mo. he National Weather Service at St. Louis says rain in the coming days will determine whether Mississippi River levels will rise more than expected. A flood warning continues for areas on either side of the river from Minnesota all the way to Louisiana, where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico.(Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
A runner makes his way along South Grandview Ave. during a snowfall Saturday, April 27, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. (Dave Kettering/Telegraph Herald via AP)
John Love of Pacific Junction, Iowa, stands in flood water to wash the muck off of his golf clubs which were in a flooded shed Thursday, April 18, 2019. The mandatory evacuation of the city during the flooding from the Missouri River has been lifted Thursday and residents and owners were allowed to return to their property to determine the viability of their premises. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Marissa Whitman, 20, wades in about 3 feet of floodwater from the swelling Mississippi River, while guiding a boat carrying her boyfriend Brendan Cameron and his mother, Tory Cameron, to their home along Pet Street, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in East Foley, Mo. "I just need to see if the water reached inside," said Tory. The family had to evacuate Saturday when the water rose suddenly. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
A van stands in floodwaters as cornstalks cover its roof after a flood inundated Pacific Junction, Iowa, Thursday, April 18, 2019. The mandatory evacuation of the city during the flooding from the Missouri River has been lifted Thursday and residents and owners were allowed to return to their property to determine the viability of their premises. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Floodwaters surround a home, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Ottumwa, Iowa, as rising waters from the Des Moines River has forced residents out of homes along the riverbank. (Matt Milner/The Ottumwa Courier via AP)
Residents load sandbags onto a truck Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Ottumwa, Iowa, as floodwaters from the Des Moines River has forced residents out of homes along the riverbank. (Matt Milner/The Ottumwa Courier via AP)
In this Tuesday, May 22, 2019 photo, a late-spring snowstorm fell in Red Cliff, Colo. The unusually cold weather impacted other parts of the West, including California, that were hit by late spring storms. A storm dumped heavy, wet snow in Colorado and Wyoming, cancelling flights and snapping newly greened up tree limbs. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)
Frisco resident Dianne Stuhr walks with her dogs, Winston and Patty, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, along Tenmile Creek in Frisco, Colo. Nearby Breckenridge Ski Resort reported 9 inches of snow overnight. (Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News via AP)
This image from a Caltrans traffic camera shows traffic moving along Interstate 80 past new snow Thursday, May 16, 2019, at Donner Summit, Calif. Slopes of the Sierra Nevada sported fresh powder Thursday as a late-spring storm with a winter-like potency moved through California, adding to snowpack and rainfall accumulations that were already well above normal. (Caltrans via AP)
In this May 10, 2019 photo, flood waters from the Missouri River flow through a break in a levee, north of Hamburg, Iowa. Communities that were flooded when levees failed along the Missouri River earlier this spring will likely remain exposed to high water for months to come. More than 40 levees were damaged but only a handful of construction contracts to fix them have been issued. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
People watch from the Liberty Memorial as a severe storm that dropped several tornados earlier approaches downtown Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
In this aerial image, debris from damaged homes litters the properties on Fairground Road after a tornado storm system passed through the area the previous night, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Celina, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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