The National Weather Service is predicting a variety of weather hazards across much of the nation over the weekend. The weather agency warns of tornadoes, thunderstorms and large hail across portions of the western and central US in addition to record-breaking warm temperatures in the east.
“A storm system pushing across the central US today will produce numerous weather hazards from the Intermountain West to the Upper Great Lakes,” the National Weather Service Prediction Center said Saturday morning.
Portions of the Midwest, Northern Plains and Upper Great Lakes had already begun feeling the impacts from the weather system Saturday afternoon as they were hit with wintry weather, the National Weather Service said. The weather agency issued winter weather advisories for multiple states Saturday, including Nebraska, Michigan, Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Areas in Nebraska are forecast to see snow accumulation of up to five inches, accompanied by 40 mph wind gusts, the NWS said. Portions of Colorado could be in for up to eight inches of snow with 55 mph wind gusts, while parts of South Dakota could see mixed precipitation and 35 mph winds.
In Michigan and Wisconsin, “pockets of significant freezing rain will remain a concern into early Sunday,” the NWS said. Ice storm warnings are in effect for parts of Michigan and Minnesota through the weekend.
The NWS warned residents in impacted areas to plan on slippery road conditions and reduced visibility while outside due to patchy blowing snow. Sizable ice accumulation in certain areas could lead to power outages and tree damage, according to the NWS.
“A few inches of snow falling quickly and after sunset can make travel treacherous at times,” the NWS said.
Meanwhile, the warm side of the weather system could spark thunderstorms across the Midwest. Parts of Nebraska are under severe thunderstorm warnings, with the weather service predicting 60 mph wind gusts and quarter-sized hail. The NWS said several severe storms across south-central Iowa and northern Missouri are possible as well.
“Damaging wind gusts associated with these thunderstorms are the most likely hazard, but isolated tornadoes and large hail are also possible,” the NWS said.
Multiple areas in Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma are currently under tornado watches, and multiple tornadoes were confirmed throughout Iowa and Nebraska on Saturday afternoon. At least six people were killed in Winterset, Iowa, after tornadoes touched down, according to the country’s emergency management office. Two of those killed were children, officials aid.
The NWS said it has also identified a severe thunderstorm that has the potential to create a tornado in Mercer county Missouri. A tornado warning has been issued there.
Residents in the area are encouraged to move to a basement or a room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building, avoid windows and to protect themselves from flying debris.
The storm system is also forecast to bring record-breaking warm temperatures across the eastern US on Sunday and Monday, the NWS said. New Jersey and Pennsylvania could see temperatures into the 70s while Northern Virginia could experience temperatures into the 80s on Monday. According to the NWS, these temperatures are around 20 to 30 degrees above average.