A dangerous day is ahead for 51 million people from northern Iowa all the way down to Louisiana where large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are all possible Friday afternoon and into the overnight.
States at the greatest risk for strong EF2+ long-track tornadoes stretch from northeast Iowa to southern Arkansas and northern Mississippi. This includes cities like Des Moines, Davenport, Little Rock and Memphis.
Tornado watches were issued by the National Weather Service from Iowa all the way down to eastern Texas, including parts of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi until Friday night. The agency warned that many tornadoes can be expected as well as “widespread hail up to apple size” and wind gusts up to 70 mph.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Friday afternoon ahead of the severe weather expected in the western part of the state.
“Severe weather in the form of damaging wind gusts, large hail, and several tornadoes (some strong) are expected today and tonight between the Midwest and Lower Mississippi Valley,” the National Weather Service warned in a weather update.
The agency’s field office in Little Rock, Arkansas issued a tornado emergency urging residents in north Little Rock, Sherwood and Jacksonville to seek shelter.
“This is a life threatening situation,” the agency warned.