OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (AP) -- In an unusually early and strong warning, national weather forecasters cautioned Friday that conditions are ripe for violent tornadoes to rip through the nation's midsection from Texas to Minnesota this weekend.
As states across the middle of the country prepared for the worst, storms were already kicking off in Norman, Okla., where a twister whizzed by the nation's tornado forecasting headquarters but caused little damage.
It was only the second time in U.S. history that the Storm Prediction Center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance, said Russ Schneider, director of the center, which is part of the National Weather Service. The first such warning was issued in April 2006 before nearly 100 tornadoes tore across a large swathe of the southeastern U.S.
The latest warning covers portions of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The worst weather is expected to develop late Saturday afternoon between Oklahoma City and Salina, Kan., but other areas also could see severe storms with baseball-sized hail and winds of up to 70 mph, forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center said Friday.
The outbreak could be a "high-end, life threatening event," the center said.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment