Severe weather, including tornado threat, expected to impact the Heartland


(NEW YORK) -- Severe weather is expected to impact the Heartland on Friday and into the weekend, including a threat for tornadoes.

Twenty million Americans, from Texas to Iowa, are on alert Friday for tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

The highest tornado threat exists from the Dallas region north to Des Moines, Iowa.

The rest of the Plains -- including Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Dallas -- could see damaging winds, large hail and an isolated tornado.

Tornado watches are in effect for parts of six states -- Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, including Dallas -- into Friday afternoon and evening.

The National Weather Service in Omaha also issued a tornado emergency for parts of east-central Nebraska and southwestern Iowa Friday afternoon after a confirmed "large and destructive" tornado was seen over Elkhorn, Nebraska.

There have been at least seven tornado reports in Texas and Nebraska so far on Friday, with some damage reported in northeast Texas and central Nebraska. Tornado warnings remain in effect there.

A likely tornado also hit east of Oklahoma City in Pottawatomie County Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

On Saturday, some of these severe storms could stretch as far north as Chicago; Milwaukee; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Traverse City, Michigan. These areas will mostly see damaging winds and some hail.

The severe thunderstorms could also produce very heavy rain causing flash flooding, with the highest flash flood threat in Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and extending into northern Texas and eastern Kansas. Up to half a foot of rain is possible locally in a short amount of time.

The highest tornado threat on Saturday is across the Plains from Texas to Iowa -- including Oklahoma City; Kansas City, Missouri; Wichita, Kansas; and Des Moines -- in the afternoon and evening.

The tornado threat will decrease but not dissipate on Sunday, with storms expected to redevelop from Texas to Missouri to Illinois in the afternoon and evening. Severe weather with damaging winds, hail and an isolated tornado are possible in cities including St. Louis and Little Rock.

The flash flood threat will also move into Arkansas, including Little Rock, on Sunday.

The current tornado threat comes after Thursday saw four reported landspouts and tornadoes in four states -- Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, primarily in rural areas. Parts of Kansas also saw hail larger than a baseball and winds gusting up to 70 mph.

Meanwhile, classic spring whiplash is expected for the Midwest and the Northeast this weekend, as temperatures are forecast to flip from freezing to summer-like 80s.

Eleven states were on frost and freeze alerts Friday morning, from Michigan to Maryland, with many areas dipping to freezing or below.

A major warm-up is expected Saturday through Monday, with temperatures to skyrocket into the 80s from Chicago to New York City.

Chicago is forecast to reach 80 degrees on Saturday, while New York City could reach 80 on Monday. In Washington, D.C., temps could get close to 90.

Friday, April 26, 2024 at 1:15PM by Max Golembo, Meredith Deliso, and Melissa Griffin, ABC News Permalink