United States

Tornado Watch: 'High Risk' Alert Issued For Oklahoma, Neighboring States

The NOAA has issued a severe weather alert for Oklahoma and neighboring states, predicting multiple intense, long-track tornadoes on Monday afternoon and evening. The warning is the first for Oklahoma since 2019.

Debris and damage from powerful storms are seen. Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in Barnsdall, Okla. Photo: AP

A severe weather alert issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns of potentially intense and historic tornadoes heading towards Oklahoma and neighboring states on Monday.

The NOAA's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, has issued the highest risk alert for severe weather, indicating the possibility of multiple intense, long-track tornadoes Monday afternoon and evening. These tornadoes could persist into the overnight hours, which is particularly dangerous due to reduced visibility.

This is the first time a "high risk" designation has been issued for severe storms this year and the first for Oklahoma since 2019. The forecast for Tornado Alley includes significant severe storms from Nebraska to Texas, particularly affecting Kansas and Oklahoma.

The storms are expected to rapidly develop into supercells, bringing with them all modes of severe weather, including strong tornadoes and large hail up to the size of softballs. Destructive thunderstorms could also produce wind speeds of up to 80 mph.

Storms are anticipated to begin forming around 3 p.m. ET, spreading from Nebraska to Kansas. Tornado watches may be issued before the storms develop, so residents should remain vigilant and prepared for rapidly changing conditions.

A "particularly dangerous situation" tornado watch has been issued for parts of south-central Kansas, much of Oklahoma, and into far northern Texas through 12 p.m. ET.

By 6 p.m. ET, storms are expected to intensify, reaching central Oklahoma and potentially spawning strong and long-track tornadoes, along with large hail.

Throughout the evening, the storm system will continue pushing east, impacting areas such as Beatrice, Nebraska, and Wichita, Kansas. By midnight, additional storms may develop east of Oklahoma City, with a line forming from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Joplin, Missouri, to Kansas City, Missouri.

The severe weather threat will persist into the overnight hours, gradually diminishing as the system moves towards Paducah, Kentucky, by sunrise.

Residents should remain vigilant and stay updated on weather alerts, as new energy could bring renewed chances for storms on Tuesday and Wednesday.