April 27, 2024

Second Tornado Outbreak Expected On The Plains Saturday

All signs point to a second tornado outbreak developing across the southern and central Plains on Saturday as a multi-day severe weather event unfolds over the region.

A moderate risk for severe weather—a 4 out of 5 on the scale measuring the threat for severe thunderstorms—is in place for much of Oklahoma and portions of northern Texas and southeastern Kansas. 

Multiple violent, long-lived tornadoes are possible from Texas north toward Iowa, including major cities like Dallas, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, and Omaha. Severe storms will also be capable of producing hail larger than golf balls and destructive wind gusts of 75+ mph.

Storms were already developing on the western edge of the risk areas as of this post's publication around 11:30 a.m. CDT. We'll see thunderstorms increase in coverage and intensity through the afternoon, with the greatest threat pushing into the moderate risk area through the late-afternoon and early evening hours. 

Saturday's severe weather follows a horrible tornado outbreak that struck the central Plains on Friday, including more than a dozen confirmed tornadoes. The worst storms hit Nebraska, where multiple violent and long-track tornadoes tore through communities in the central and eastern portions of the state.

One of the tornadoes near Lincoln, Nebraska, was caught on a traffic camera on I-80 as the storm roared across the highway. Forecasters will survey the damage once conditions settle down, and it's likely that a few of the twisters will receive high-end ratings on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The big news from Friday's storms, though, is the fact that there were apparently zero fatalities amid all the damage. It's a miracle of modern science and warning technology that multiple intense twisters levelled neighborhoods and—at least as of now—nobody died. 

Friday's warning success story is a testament to the power of tornado warnings and good weather communications. A more widespread outbreak on Saturday makes it even more important to ensure you have a way to receive severe weather warnings the moment they're issued.

Ensure emergency alerts are activated on your phone for tornado warnings. These free push alerts pop up on your phone the moment your location is placed within a tornado warning. The alerts are geotargeted to only alert you if you're in the warning polygon—you'll only get it if you're in danger.

It's important to have multiple ways to receive alerts in case one method gets delayed or outright fails. Keep tabs on the radar so you know what's coming in advance.

Take a look at the weather apps on your phone and make sure they're set to deliver tornado warnings for your current location. Local television news will run wall-to-wall coverage when tornado warnings are in effect. Most stations run livestreams online if you don't have cable or antenna. 

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.