The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued severe thunderstorm and flash flood advisories across the Great Plains and Middle Mississippi Valley on Wednesday, May 22, as dangerous weather conditions persist across several states. Tornado watches are in effect as of Wednesday afternoon (local time) in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa; flood watches and warnings are active across large swaths of Kansas and Missouri states.
Officials warn the weather system will bring heavy rains, damaging winds, and tornadoes to the Great Plains and Midwest through Wednesday night. Parts of northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas, and southwestern Missouri states face the greatest tornado threat. Heavy rains are expected from Oklahoma to Illinois states through at least Thursday evening, May 23, where many waterways have surpassed flood stage. The severe weather threat is forecast to move into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions by Thursday night, where hail, heavy rain, and isolated tornadoes are forecast.
Widespread transportation disruptions (including flight delays and cancelations) and power outages are to be expected in affected areas.
Heavy rains, high winds, and tornadoes left four people killed - including two in Missouri state, one in Oklahoma state, and one in Iowa state - as weather officials observed nearly 60 tornadoes in the Great Plains and Midwest regions on May 20-21.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. road closures, evacuations), anticipate power outages and transportation disruptions, including dangerous driving conditions, and remember that running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater and chemical products; items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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