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Jonathan is an emergency management coordinator with a passion for all things weather. He currently lives in south-central Pennsylvania with his wife and son.

Damaging Storms Possible across Midwest; Record-Breaking Heat in the South

May 02, 2012

Damaging severe thunderstorms are expected to strike portions of the Midwest today, with residents in Nebraska and Iowa facing the greatest risk.

This morning’s severe weather outlook by the Storm Prediction Center included a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms from central Nebraska to central Iowa including the cities of Omaha and Des Moines. 
 
day1otlk 1200
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center's severe weather probability for Wednesday, May 2, 2012 includes a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms (red-shaded areas) across parts of the Midwest.  Image credit:  NOAA
 
The storm system, which brought severe weather to the Midwest Tuesday night into the early hours on Wednesday, is expected to gain strength today as it interacts with warm, moist air surging in from the south.
 
While a widespread severe weather outbreak is not expected, any storms that develop have the risk of damaging winds over 60 MPH, hail in excess of 2 inches in diameter, localized flash flooding, and isolated tornadoes.
 
day1probotlk 1200 wind
The greatest risk from today's storms will be wind; with the Midwestern states of Nebraksa and Iowa most at risk (purple-shaded area).  Image credit:  NOAAA
 
Elsewhere, severe thunderstorms are expected to extend in an arch from the Midwest to the Great Lakes and south to the Mid-Atlantic States of Virginia and North Carolina.
 
Storms that do develop from the Great Lakes to the Mid-Atlantic will form ahead of a warm front. While some storms will exhibit severe characteristics, the main threat from these storms will be torrential downpours and gusty winds.
 
Behind the warm front, unseasonable heat will build in across the southeast as much of the region will see July-like temperatures begin today and last through the end of the week. Temperatures are expected to reach near 90 for some locations through the end of the week. Residents across the southeast can expect this to be a record-tying, if not record-breaking, heat wave.
 
southeast dm
US Drought Monitor graphic shows extreme to exceptional drought conditions across the southeast.  Unfortunately, this week's heat wave will do little to relieve the drought situation. 
 
Unfortunately for agricultural interests in the southeast, the heat wave also means little chance for widespread beneficial rain over the next few days. 
 
A dominant area of high pressure off the southeast coast will form a blocking pattern keeping rain away from the areas that need it most in the southeast. According to the US Drought Monitor, much of the southeast is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions with the worst areas in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama.
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