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90 million people across the central US are under threat for severe storms Sunday


By Haley Brink and Dakin Andone, CNN

More than 90 million people from the central Plains to the Ohio River Valley are under threat of severe storms Sunday before a cold front pushes the inclement weather to the east Monday.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 4 p.m. CT ahead of a line of severe storms pushing through Kansas and Missouri. The watch includes cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Springfield and Jefferson City, Missouri. Widespread damaging wind gusts up to 80 mph and up to tennis-ball-sized hail, as well as a couple tornadoes are among the potential threats.

Another severe thunderstorm watch was issued through 1 p.m. CT for parts of eastern Kansas and western Missouri, noting threats include scattered large hail up to 2 inches and damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph.

Overall, northeast Oklahoma, southeast Kansas, northwest Arkansas and southern Missouri face a Level 3 out of 5 “enhanced” risk for severe storms, per the SPC, including cities like Springfield, Missouri, and Fort Smith, Arkansas.

But the severe storm threat extends beyond the area, encompassing cities like Indianapolis, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Tulsa, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio.

Showers and thunderstorms will be focused along a cold front slowly tracking east across the Midwest Sunday afternoon and evening. Scattered damaging wind gusts and large hail will be the primary threats, particularly across the Ozarks, but an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

Heavy rain could also potentially lead to isolated areas of flash flooding over parts of southwestern Missouri into northwestern Arkansas.

The threat will shift to the east Monday as the cold front advances, with the risk of severe storms stretching from Georgia to Maine.

A Level 3 of 5 risk for severe storms is in place across the Northeast, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Syracuse, New York, per the Storm Prediction Center.

Meanwhile, a Level 2 risk includes New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Richmond, Virginia; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

The primary severe risks Monday will be locally damaging winds and some hail, and a tornado or two will also be possible in the afternoon.

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