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UPDATE 2: Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect for the shaded counties in New England until 1100PM Eastern. Hail larger than golfballs, 70 MPH winds, and a few tornadoes are possible.

UPDATE: A tornado watch has been issued for western parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas until 1000PM Central Time. The SPC notes the high risk for tornadoes in the watch area, several of which will be intense. Hail up to the size of baseballs and winds in excess of 70 MPH are possible.

INITIAL DIARY:

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk for severe weather across a large swath of the Central Plains this afternoon in anticipation of a pretty intense weather day across the region. Supercell thunderstorms are going to develop along and to the east of a dry line in western Texas and Oklahoma, and along a cold front in western Kansas and Nebraska. These storms will rapidly turn severe, producing significant tornadoes in western Texas and Oklahoma, extremely large hail up that could be larger than baseballs in places, and thunderstorm wind gusts up to 80 MPH.

The highest risk is in the red-shaded moderate risk zone. The yellow shading is a slight risk for severe weather. The green shading is a risk for general, non-severe thunderstorms.

Here's the tornado threat today. 10% means that there is a 10% chance of a tornado within 25 miles of any point in the shaded area. While there is a threat for tornadoes anywhere in the brown, green, or yellow shaded areas, the highest risk lies in the black hatching, which indicates the risk of at least one violent, long-lived tornado within 25 miles of any point within the black hatching.

The hail threat is arguably the most severe threat today, simply because it's going to impact the largest area. 45% means that there is a 45% chance of large hail within 25 miles of any point in the shaded area. The expansive black hatching indicates the risk for hail larger than golf balls. The atmosphere is conducive for hail to easily reach the size of baseballs (or larger) in the strongest storms.

As with almost every severe weather outbreak, the risk for damaging winds exists in the shaded areas. It's easy to ignore the wind risk when tornadoes and hail are involved, but 60+ MPH winds can do a lot of damage.

Don't ignore the risk for severe weather in New England, either. All modes of severe weather -- including a tornadoes or two -- are possible in the slight risk zone that covers a good chunk of New England.

I'll start a severe weather liveblog if tornadoes threaten a major metro area (like OKC), but the tornado outbreak should stay away from heavily populated areas today. The hail and wind threat, however, will likely impact heavily populated areas. I'll post radar images to my Facebook page as conditions warrant. Always keep up with your local NWS office for warnings and the most recent updates.

GET A WEATHER RADIO

National Weather Service Main Page
National Weather Service -- Central Oklahoma
National Weather Service -- Tulsa OK
National Weather Service -- Omaha NE
National Weather Service -- St. Louis MO
National Weather Service -- Central Nebraska
National Weather Service -- Western Kansas
National Weather Service -- Southwestern Kansas

Storm Prediction Center Main Page
Storm Prediction Center -- Current Severe Weather Watches
Storm Prediction Center -- Convective (Severe Weather) Outlooks
Storm Prediction Center -- Mesoscale Discussions
Storm Prediction Center -- Storm Reports
Storm Prediction Center -- Mesoscale Analysis Pages

Wunderground's Detailed Radar (click the + nearest to you to see your local radar)

NOAA Weather Models

TwisterData.com's excellent GFS/NAM/RAP model website.

ChaserTV-- live streaming video from storm chasers.

News9 in Oklahoma City provides extremely thorough severe weather coverage. This is Gary England's station -- the pioneers of on-screen weather warnings and chasing tornadoes with helicopters. Their efforts, along with those of storm chasers, have saved thousands of lives.

I'll continuously post updates to my Facebook page on this and most other major severe weather outbreaks.
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