A major outbreak of severe weather is forecast across the southern Plains into early Wednesday, with portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas at the greatest risk for the fierce storms.
Massive hail, hurricane-force winds and a few tornadoes are all possible, forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center said, warning that a "damaging squall line is expected."
During Tuesday, thunderstorms will extend along an approximately 1,100-mile swath from northern Illinois to central Texas, AccuWeather warned.
The tornado threat is greatest across eastern Oklahoma and far western Arkansas. A tornado watch has been issued for portions of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma until 11 p.m. CDT, the National Weather Service said.
Along with the tornado risk, forecasters warned that baseball-sized hail and wind gusts of 75 mph or greater are possible.
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In addition, there is a risk of excessive rainfall, the National Weather Service said. Some of the storms could produce 2 inches of rain in just 45 minutes.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, some 42 million people live where severe weather is possible on Tuesday. This includes the Dallas-Fort Worth, Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas.
On Wednesday, the threat for strong to severe storms shifts to the Southeast, particularly in parts of Alabama and Georgia, Weather.com said: "Localized damaging wind gusts and large hail would be the main threats from any storms that do intensify, but a couple of tornadoes cannot be ruled out."
This week's outbreak of severe weather continues a stormy pattern that's plagued the southern U.S. this year.
According to AccuWeather, 2020 continues on a trend to be among the nation's top years for tornadoes. So far this year, through April 26, 492 tornadoes have been reported across the nation, far above the to-date average of 307.
There have been 73 fatalities in 2020, as of mid-April, AccuWeather said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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- NWS SPC (@NWSSPC) April 28, 2020
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Weather: Tornadoes, hail to hit Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas on Tuesday