Violent thunderstorms are forecast to hit more than a dozen states on Friday, with several tornadoes a near certainty.
About 89 million people in at least 15 states – from Texas to Alabama in the south to as far north as Wisconsin and Michigan – are at risk from “explosive” storms.
On Friday, two rare “high risk” zones were issued for severe weather Weather Prediction Centerone centered around Memphis and the other on the border of Iowa and Illinois. It is the first risk that the SPC has been issued in more than two years.
TO storm watch – which are weather conditions ripe for the formation of tornadoes – has also been issued for a large portion of the central US from Iowa to Arkansas.
The SPC said, “Severe dangerous thunderstorms are likely across much of the central states this afternoon. Long-track, potentially violent tornadoes are forecast across a wide area of the Mississippi Valley.”
Bob Larson, senior forecaster at AccuWeather, said, “This storm has a lot to do with a lot of different elements of the weather that will destroy it and it’s going to be a big story.”
Meanwhile, heavy snow and strong winds were expected to produce blizzard conditions from the Dakotas to northern Michigan.
Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s weather;
Severe weather forecast for Friday: Mississippi bucks as usual
A hurricane that pushed into the Midwest and South Mississippi, where tornadoes left 22 dead and dozens injured after tornadoes tore through several towns last week.
Larson said he expects a “more powerful” attack this time around. “That doesn’t mean that the storm surge will be worse, but I think it will be a larger area affected than what we had a week ago,” Larson said.
“Both north and south, in any direction, for several hundreds of miles away from the center of the storm will be a large area of high winds that can cause problems,” he added.
Locations including Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas; Oklahoma City; St. Louis; and Chicago will likely experience 50- to 60-mph winds throughout Friday, according to Larson.
Friday night, the storm will move east into Tennessee, Memphis and Nashville. On Saturday, it will move east from Ohio across all of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and part of New York state.
Some of those areas were pushed with 60-0 to 70-mph winds, Larson said.
The map shows where the worst storms are most likely on Friday
President Joe Biden on Friday visited areas heavily damaged by last week’s hurricanes. Rolling Fork and nearby Silver City, Mississippi, lost about 300 homes and businesses, with hundreds of other buildings badly damaged.
President and first lady Jill Biden will inspect the tornado damage, meet with affected homeowners and first responders and receive a briefing from federal and state officials.
He is expected to join Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Bennie Thompson.
Biden is expected to announce that the federal government will cover the full cost of the state’s emergency measures for the next 30 days, including overtime for first responders and debris cleanup.
Is there a tornado watch or worse warning?:What to know about preparing for these storms
Preparation of tornado tips
The National Weather Service says it’s always important to have an emergency plan in the event of a severe storm, including designating a “safe place” in your home, preferably away from windows and in an interior room. Keeping things handy like lamps, batteries, food, water, clothes and shoes is recommended.
The weather service also recommends having multiple ways to get updates, including alerts and push notifications, local TV reports, weather apps and NOAA weather radio.
“I think the No. 1 message that people need to have is that they need to be prepared,” said Pam Knox, director of the University of Georgia Weather Network. “Don’t rely on outdoor sirens as a warning. But have a weather radio or alarm at the ready.
“And know where you are going if you hear Polluce’s warning,” he said.
With 311 tornadoes so far, according to the Storm Prediction Center data, it’s the third active start to the year in the US.
“We have about 200 tornadoes for today,” Victor Gensini, an associate professor at Northern Illinois University, told USA TODAY on Thursday. “So we’re running on an average of about 100 tornadoes and have been all year.”
READ MORE:A bad hurricane season in the US has gone from bad to worse
The same weather system is expected to produce the heaviest snow band, with blizzard conditions possible from the central Plains to the upper Great Lakes region from Friday to Saturday, Larson said.
Published by the National Weather Service blizzard warning from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning to a large swath of South Dakota and neighboring states. An ice storm warning will be in effect for the area through Friday afternoon.
Some places in South Dakota could collect as much 20 inches of snow from a storm, it is called a storm.
About 2 to 4 inches of snow is expected in most other areas, with winds gusting up to 55 mph.
“Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice,” the weather service said. “Travel may be nearly impossible. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Hazardous conditions could impact early morning or evening commutes.”
Emergency weather service for drivers who must travel to get stuck for lamps, food and water.
Meanwhile, in parts of Oregon and Washington, a winter weather warning It will go into effect at 5 pm on Friday and will last until late Sunday.
Snow accumulations of up to 48 inches could reach higher elevations in the Cascades, and winds are expected to reach 40 mph.
Winter weather map
More coverage from USA TODAY
Contributing: Press; Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY