Severity: Warning Alert

Environment: Heavy rainfall, strong winds, hail, tornadoes, and flooding forecast across the Plains, Midwest, and Southeast regions, US, through May 18.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Houston, Texas
  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • St Louis, Missouri
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Lansing, Michigan
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Windsor, Ont.
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • Peoria, Illinois
  • Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Acuna
  • Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Akron, Ohio
  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Decatur, Illinois
  • Moline, Illinois
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Monroe, Louisiana
  • Greenville, Mississippi
  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Jackson, Tennessee
  • Harlingen, Texas
  • Laredo, Texas
  • Longview, Texas
  • Lubbock, Texas
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Midland-Odessa, Texas
  • San Angelo, Texas
  • Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Pontiac, Michigan
  • Reynosa
  • Del Rio, Texas
  • North Platte, Nebraska
  • Piedras Negras
  • Matamoros
  • Houma, Louisiana
  • Abilene, Texas
  • Springfield, Illinois
  • Evansville, Indiana
  • Lima, Ohio
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Goodland, Kansas
  • Lawton, Oklahoma
  • Woodward, Oklahoma
  • Enid, Oklahoma
  • Galveston-Texas City, Texas
  • Killeen, Texas
  • Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Cushing, Oklahoma
  • Scottsbluff, Nebraska
  • Cameron, Louisiana
  • Intracoastal City, Louisiana
  • Morgan City-Amelia, Louisiana
  • New Iberia, Louisiana
  • Abbeville, Louisiana
  • Galliano-Golden Meadow, Louisiana
  • Columbia-Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Joliet, Illinois
  • Parkersburg, West Virginia
  • Wheeling, West Virginia
  • Waco, Texas
  • Texarkana, Arkansas
  • Burlington, Iowa
  • Columbus, Indiana
  • South Bend, Indiana
  • Rogers, Arkansas
  • Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Joplin, Missouri
  • Paducah, Kentucky
  • Tyler, Texas
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
  • College Station, Texas
  • Marion, Illinois
  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • Valparaiso, Indiana
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri
  • Lamar, Colorado
  • Lawrenceville, Illinois
  • Clarksville, Tennessee
  • Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Bartlesville, Oklahoma
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • Bloomington, Indiana
  • Canton, Ohio
  • Lafayette, Indiana

This alert began 15 May 2020 16:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 18 May 2020 15:00 GMT.

  • Event: Severe weather
  • Location(s): Plains, Midwest, and western Southeast regions, US (map)
  • Date: Through at least early May 18
  • Impact: Ground and air transport disruptions, power outages, property damage

Summary
Strong-to-severe thunderstorms are forecast to develop across portions of the Plains, Midwest, and western Southeast regions through at least early May 18. The affected areas include far southwestern South Dakota, western Nebraska, eastern Colorado, far western and far eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, western Mississippi, Arkansas, western Tennessee, Missouri, southern Iowa, Illinois, western and northern Kentucky, Indiana, southern Michigan, and Ohio. Forecast models indicate that the most intense storm activity will occur in central Texas and southern Oklahoma, where the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued an "Enhanced Risk" (Level 3 on a five-tier scale). The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued a "Slight Risk" (Level 2 on a five-tier scale) for Texas, Oklahoma, northwestern Arkansas, far southwestern Missouri, northeastern Colorado, western Nebraska Panhandle, and eastern Ohio.

Severe storms are forecast across portions of the central and southern Plains and the Midwest through at least early May 16. Beginning May 16, storms are forecast to linger across eastern Texas, western Louisiana, far northeastern Kansas, northern Missouri, western Illinois, and southern Iowa through at least early May 17; however, the threat of severe storms is low. Storms will spread eastward to eastern Illinois, northern Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and southern Michigan through at least early May 18; however, the threat of severe storms remains low at this time.

Hazardous Conditions
The storms will be capable of producing strong winds, heavy rainfall, and hail. Gusts in excess of 97 kph (60 mph) are likely and could cause power outages through at least May 18. A few storms could also spawn some tornadoes in the affected area.

Sustained heavy rainfall could trigger flooding in low-lying communities near rivers, streams, and creeks. Urban flooding is also possible in developed areas with easily overwhelmed or a lack of stormwater drainage systems. Sites located downstream from large reservoirs or rivers may be subject to flash flooding after relatively short periods of intense rainfall. Landslides cannot be discounted in hilly or mountainous areas, especially where the soil has become saturated by heavy rainfall.

Authorities could issue mandatory evacuation orders for flood-prone communities over the coming days. Disruptions to electricity and telecommunications services are possible where significant flooding or landslides impact utility networks.

Transport
The severe weather will likely contribute to transport disruptions throughout the region. Floodwaters and debris flows could render some bridges, rail networks, or roadways impassable, impacting overland travel in and around affected areas. Traffic and commercial trucking delays might occur along regional highways. Authorities could temporarily close some low-lying routes that become inundated by floodwaters. Strong winds might also pose a hazard to high-profile vehicles. Hazardous weather conditions might cause flight delays and cancellations at regional airports, including those serving Austin (AUS), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), San Antonio (SAN), Houston (HOU, IAH), Tulsa (TUL), Oklahoma City (OKC), Kansas City (MCI), Saint Louis (STL), Little Rock (LIT), Jackson (JAN), New Orleans (MSY), Memphis (MEM), Omaha (OMA), Denver (DEN), Des Moines (DSM), Chicago (MDW, ORD), Indianapolis (IND), Detroit (DTW), Columbus (CMH), Cincinnati (CVG), Cleveland (CLE), and Pittsburgh (PIT). Flooding could block regional rail lines; freight and passenger train delays and cancellations are likely in areas that see heavy rainfall and potential track inundation. The weather system will further exacerbate transportation disruptions already occurring in areas under restrictions due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity.

Localized business disruptions may occur in low-lying areas; some businesses might not operate at full capacity because of flood damage to facilities, possible evacuations, and some employees' inability to reach work sites.

Advice
Confirm flights. Monitor local media for updated emergency and weather information. Seek updated information on weather and road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where severe weather is forecast. Plan accordingly for potential freight delivery delays if routing shipments by truck through the affected area through at least May 18. Do not attempt to drive through flooded areas. Review contingency plans and be prepared to move quickly to shelter if tornado warnings are issued. Charge battery-powered devices in case prolonged electricity outages occur.


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