A rare “high risk” Level 5 of 5 has been issued targeting two countries and affecting nearly 3 million people, the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center said Friday.
Areas at risk include portions of southern Iowa, northern Illinois, and northern Missouri, and includes places like Davenport, Iowa, and Iowa City. The second region is more southern and includes parts of eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and southern Tennessee. Memphis, Tennessee, is included in the high risk area.
“Environmental conditions are quickly becoming favorable to support the potential for many strong to potentially violent and long-lasting tornadoes,” the center said.
High-risk days are very rare and are “maintained with a high degree of confidence in widespread coverage of severe storms with isolated instances of severe” weather such as violent tornadoes or extremely weak winds, according to the weather center.
The last dangerous level occurred on April 5, 2021, when several tornadoes were reported across the Southeast.
Additionally, severe storms are expected to sweep through some central and southern states beginning Friday afternoon, bringing the threat of several strong storms, hail and damaging winds to nearly 90 million people across 21 states.
A flea watch has been issued for portions of eastern Iowa, western Illinois, northern Missouri and southern Wisconsin. This tornado watch has been labeled an “especially dangerous situation” by the Storm Prediction Center.
“Parameters favor the potential for strong tornadoes and very strong hail/storms,” the weather center said.
Learn the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning
A moderate, level 4 out of 5, risk of severe weather extends from Mississippi north to Iowa, including Indianapolis, Indiana, Little Rock, Arkansas, Des Moines, Iowa, and St. Louis.
“At least a few long-lasting, strong potential for violent storms are likely, especially in parts of the Mid-Mississippi Valley to the Mid-South,” the Storm Prediction Center said. “Damaging gusts of strong winds with large hail are also expected.”
Here the storms are to be traced
Some tornadoes may be EF-3 or higher, meaning winds of at least 136 mph.
Overall, the controlled risk area covers 10 million people.
“We are concerned about strong tornadoes and widespread winds,” Bill Bunting, chief of forecasting operations at the Storm Prediction Center, told CNN, noting that the storms will be very fast. “We tried to emphasize, don’t wait until you see visual cues of an approaching storm, act while the warnings are issued.”
“Residents are advised to remain aware of the storms and have multiple routes to receive during severe storms.” Weather Prediction Center he said. “Besides the threat of severe storms, storms can also contain massive rainfall rates that could last long enough to produce scattered flash flooding in individual areas.”
A severe storm surge is expected to begin Friday afternoon and go into the evening, forecasters said. Tornadoes or severe storms at night have the greatest potential to be dangerous because people are less likely to be notified in time if they are asleep.
Last week, an overnight tornado leveled nearly the entire community of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where it recorded maximum winds of 170 mph. In total, at least 26 people were killed and dozens injured as a strong storm system moved across the East.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the risk was slightly weaker due to severe storms, Level 3 out of 5, in areas including Chicago, Nashville, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Louisville, Louisiana. The main isolated threats are tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail.
A level 2 out of 5 slight risk of severe weather extends into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and includes Columbus, Ohio, Kansas City, Missouri and Milwaukee.
There is also a marginal risk of severe weather, Level 1 of 5, extending from north Texas to Minnesota and eastward to Michigan and West Virginia.
Cities under him were Dallas, Detroit, Cleveland and Atlanta. The main isolated threats are tornadoes, high winds, and isolated hail.
Some of the areas still being cleaned up from last week’s storms could face more severe weather on Friday, and forecasters are warning that the conditions will be more intense.
“Just because you missed the worst of the weather last week doesn’t mean you’re going to hold that luck Friday,” Bunting said.
“I’ve seen these patterns before where it’s just a repeat of the weather in almost the same area,” Bunting said. “We can’t change past events, but what we can do is encourage everyone to be prepared for the next one.”
Lappish advice has been raised before a hurricane hits that could save your life.
“We’re just trying to encourage people, if you don’t, have a serious weather plan. If you’ve never thought about missing out, we’re in an active situation that they’re going to be doing next week, the time is now.