A potential significant severe weather outbreak is brewing in the Plains.

Ample energy, humidity and instability will combine to produce numerous severe thunderstorms Wednesday across several states.

Target zones

The overall risk covers a broad region from western Texas to eastern Wyoming, stretching as far east as western Iowa. This includes the metropolitan areas of Denver; Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; as well as Amarillo, Lubbock and Midland, Texas.

All these areas will be prone to possible tornadoes, wind gusts of 60 mph or stronger and/or large hail. However, the most numerous tornadoes and most intense non-tornadic storms will likely hit between the Interstate 70 and Interstate 80 corridors from Kansas to Nebraska. Storms in this bull’s-eye could produce wind gusts exceeding 75 mph in some spots, with hail at least as big as golf ball size.

There’s also a chance for severe storms Wednesday in the Northeast, although the chance is a bit lower than in the Plains. However, scattered areas of severe winds and large hail could develop across the region, including the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington to southern Maine. Isolated tornadoes could pop up too.

In addition to tornadoes, winds and hail, storms may cause localized flash flooding and frequent lightning.

Another round of severe storms could strike Thursday from western Texas to the mid-Mississippi Valley. This includes cities such as Midland (again), as well as Dallas-Fort Worth; Oklahoma City; Little Rock, Arkansas; Kansas City; and St. Louis.

Impact on freight

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Headhaul Index Weekly Change (HAULW). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

The FreightWaves SONAR Headhaul Index Weekly Change (HAULW) measures the difference between outbound and inbound freight volumes week over week. Some individual markets in the regions where severe weather is forecast to hit over the next two days may have decent outbound volumes. But overall these regions have more inbound freight than outbound, leading to loose capacity. This is indicated by their red shading on the SONAR map directly above.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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