A severe weather system developing over parts of Texas and Oklahoma is likely to produce “strong, long-tracking tornadoes” in the region on Monday afternoon and evening before continuing east-northeast into Missouri, Illinois, and parts beyond on Tuesday and Wednesday.
As AccuWeather reports, on Monday morning the National Weather Service (NWS) highlighted a corridor over the northeastern part of the Texas Panhandle and into central Oklahoma. In that corridor, the NWS says there is a 45 percent chance of EF2-EF5 tornadoes appearing within 25 miles of any point in the region.
This is a rarely-used issuance that underscores how severe the NWS is taking this outbreak: The last time such a warning was issued was April 14, 2012. During the five-day period surrounding that date, as AccuWeather reports, at least 113 tornadoes formed, including a deadly one that caused at least six fatalities in Woodward, Oklahoma. The five-day tornado outbreak caused an estimated $238 million in damages.
Underscoring the danger of Monday’s system even further, the NWS issued a Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) tornado watch for portions of West Texas. A few hours later, the warning was extended to parts of Central Oklahoma.
By mid-morning on Monday, some schools across Oklahoma had already canceled school for the afternoon, in advance of the warnings.
According to Oklahoma City’s The Oklahoman, the worst of the system is expected to last between 1 p.m. Central Time (2 p.m. Eastern Time) Monday and 4 a.m. Tuesday.
LIVE: A 'Particularly dangerous' tornado outbreak is beginning to unfolding over Oklahoma, Texas with storms storms already capable of spinning up tornadoes: https://t.co/l37rIqLJWt pic.twitter.com/YwSOubPSXO
— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) May 20, 2019
The storm system is expected to produce strong winds, torrential rain, and potentially damaging hail. Residents are warned to take all warnings and watches seriously and to be prepared to take cover in a basement or interior room on a moment’s notice.
Convection initiating over the eastern Texas Panhandle and West Oklahoma in a very favorable kinematic environment. Strongly backed surface winds will bring a tornado threat to the region in coming hours; a few strong/violent tornadoes are possible. Flooding is also a big threat pic.twitter.com/ZJ4rMhpOcV
— James Spann (@spann) May 20, 2019
The system is expected to continue northward and eastward into Tuesday and beyond. As St. Louis’ KMOV-TV reports, the system is expected to move across Missouri and into parts of Western Illinois Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning. The entire St. Louis metro area is under an “Enhanced” threat of severe weather Tuesday afternoon and evening.
As The Weather Channel reported in early May, 2019’s tornado season got off to an active start in March and April, with an above-average number of twisters spawned in that two-month period. By April 30, 422 tornadoes are believed to have been spawned, compared to an average of 273 in that two-month period. There is no indication, however, that May and June will be any more or any less active than March and April.