Central US bracing for storm system that may cause tornadoes, flooding

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Residents of the central U.S., brace yourselves.

A major storm system is developing in the central U.S., and it will bring several high-impact weather events across much of the region, including the potential for a major flash flood event Saturday.

Flood watches Saturday morning have been posted from northern Texas to western Pennsylvania, and includes many metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Little Rock, Nashville, Louisville and Pittsburgh.

On the colder side of this system, winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings have been posted for snow and ice accumulation. Minneapolis is in the path for the brunt of this developing snow event.

The storm will really start to develop Saturday morning before bringing widespread impacts by mid-day and into the evening. Accumulation, heavy rain and dangerous thunderstorms will develop in the Mississippi River Valley from Little Rock to Memphis, as well as along parts of the Midwest from Paducah, Kentucky, to Cincinnati.

On the northern side of this storm, snow will develop and intensify as it heads toward Minnesota. Low visibility and blowing snow will likely be an issue Saturday evening.

By Saturday night or Sunday morning, the storm will slide eastward with very heavy rain and thunderstorms from Louisiana all the way to Pennsylvania. A wintry mix and some snow will be likely for parts of New England, including Hartford, Connecticut, and Albany, New York. The storm will clear the U.S. by Sunday night.

The storm will tap into high-moisture content across parts of the South and Midwest. A high risk of flash flooding has been issued by the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, and covers Little Rock, Paducah, Louisville and Cincinnati.

Locally, over 4 inches of rainfall is expected through Sunday in the region. However, this will be on top of the rain that has already fallen in some areas. Nearly 10.5 inches of rain has been reported in parts of Arkansas this week. This means that any excessive rain that falls will cause flash flooding.

The heavy rain, however, will miss northern Indiana, Michigan and northern Illinois — the latter of which has been dealing with ongoing major river flooding from rain over the last week.

Strong severe storms will develop across the South and Midwest on Sunday. Intense storms will develop by mid-day and into Saturday night. An enhanced risk for severe weather has been issued for parts of Louisiana up through parts of Kentucky.

Tornadoes — perhaps a couple of strong ones — could develop later Saturday across the enhanced risk region. Damaging winds and large hail will also be possible.

The severe weather threat is not expected to remain intense through the day on Sunday.

On the colder side of this storm, there is some freezing rain and light snow moving across northern Missouri and Kansas on Saturday morning.

The snow will expand and intensify as it heads toward the upper Midwest. Heavy snow, low visibility and blowing snow will be likely in Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin by Saturday afternoon and evening.

Nearly 6 inches to 10 inches of fresh snow is likely across parts of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Some snow and ice makes its way toward New England on Sunday. Accumulations will be light, but could catch some people off guard considering how warm the Northeast was all week.

Many rivers in northern Indiana and Southern Michigan are still running high on Saturday morning. Some rivers still have a few days before they will begin to recede, and some have time before they crest.

With more heavy rain on the way, widespread river flooding is expected on the Ohio River next week. The Ohio River at Parkersburg, West Virginia, will rise into moderate flood stage, even near major flood stage by Monday or Tuesday. The Ohio River at Racine Lock is forecast to reach major flood stage by Monday night and Tuesday. A 48-inch crest could flood the town of Racine, West Virginia.

In parts of Louisville and Cincinnati, the rising Ohio River is expected to be the highest it has been in 20 years, but only moderate impacts are expected. This could change based on how much rain the region receives this weekend.

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