Midwest forecast: Snow, flooding, hail, and tornadoes
There's a risk of severe thunderstorms Saturday — including tornadoes and large hail — in parts of western Kansas, western Colorado, and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. Parts of South Dakota could receive as much as a foot of snow, says National Weather Service.
Oklahoma City — Oklahoma and other Great Plains states were bracing Saturday for more severe weather.
The National Weather Service says there's a risk of severe thunderstorms Saturday — including possible tornadoes and large hail — in parts of western Kansas, western Colorado, and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.
"We're going to see storms that present the risk of a full gamut of severe weather," National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Lindley said.
Threatening skies stretched beyond the Plains states, as twin weather systems stretching from the Carolinas to California produced an unseasonably early tropical storm in the Atlantic and a late-season snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains.
Up to 5 inches of snow was possible in the Nebraska Panhandle, and parts of South Dakota could receive as much as a foot, according to the weather service.
Heavy rains on Friday night caused some flooding in Oklahoma. In Shawnee, the Red Cross opened a shelter because officials said a Granada Lake dam was close to being topped after heavy rains, threatening homes in one neighborhood. Officials also closed some roads, including part of Interstate 44 in Tulsa.
Earlier this week, powerful storms rumbled through the southern Plains, producing more than 50 tornadoes and dropping 7.1 inches in Oklahoma City on Wednesday — the third-heaviest rainfall for any day on record dating back to 1890, state climatologist Gary McManus said.
David Wheeler and his family retreated underground to a small shelter several times this week. Two years ago, a top-of-the-scale twister tore a miles-long path through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore and turned Wheeler's son's school to rubble. The family now regularly drills on what to do if the skies turn ominous.
"We've done some dry runs before the spring. I made the kids go down there by themselves, and we've done the same thing with me, the wife and the kids, all together," Wheeler, a fifth-grade teacher whose family has survived two deadly tornadoes, said Friday.
Wheeler and his family are not the only ones who sought extra protection after the 2013 tornado that killed 24 people, including seven children who died in an elementary school.
In the two years since, the city has issued more than 3,000 storm shelter permits. City officials estimate that about 40 percent of homes in Moore now have shelters, spokeswoman Deidre Ebrey said.
Associated Press writer Sean Murphy contributed to this report.