The central part of the country is under the gun for severe weather once again. Residents in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys should brace themselves for two systems that are bearing down upon the area.
Parts of southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, northern and central Arkansas, southern and central Indiana and smaller portions of eastern Oklahoma and western Ohio are under moderate risk of severe thunderstorms Tuesday and into Wednesday. The risk will decrease as it moves east and southward on Wednesday.
This storm system comes on the heels of a deadly three-day storm rampage that spawned more than 200 tornadoes and more than 40 fatalities across 14 states. According to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, Tuesday's storm could bring damaging winds, tornadoes and hail.
Friday will bring another round of severe weather to the same area. AccuWeather.com forecasters report that tornadoes are definitely a possibility for both of these storms but the winds associated with these storms may not have the rotation that creates tornadoes. Instead, the worst danger may lie in straight-line winds which can cause extreme damage with little warning.
The southern Illinois region experienced a straight line wind event known as a derecho in May 2009 and can attest to the damaging power of such weather. This particular severe weather event caused extensive damage over a wide, multi-county area. Homes and businesses were without power for several days. A large number of trees were overturned, power lines were snapped, homes and businesses were damaged and the region was basically shut down for several days.
Hopefully these next round of storms won't produce any serious damage but it is better to be prepared and have a plan just in case.