Severe thunderstorms

Thunderstorms will pop up Friday in the Pacific Northwest, the Rockies, the Plains, the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic. While some of these storms may produce heavy rain or gusty winds, most will be garden variety. However, storms could turn severe — winds of 58-plus mph or hail at least 1 inch in diameter — in isolated spots across the Plains and mid-Atlantic.

Instability increases Saturday, raising the odds for severe storms, mainly across the Plains. Look for scattered areas of intense wind gusts and large hail from far eastern Colorado to western Missouri, southward to Texas. This includes places such as Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; as well as Wichita Falls, Abilene and San Angelo, Texas. Isolated areas of tornadoes and flash flooding will be possible, too.

By Sunday, most severe storms will move eastward in the lower Mississippi Valley and eastern Texas. Drivers could run into the same issues — scattered severe winds and large hail, along with isolated tornadoes — in areas including Tyler and Texarkana, Texas; Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana; Little Rock and Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee; in addition to the Missouri Bootheel. Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas are on the bubble and may see isolated severe storms.

Severe storms could linger across the South early next week.

Spring snow

Periods of weekend snow, probably wet snow, will start Friday in some high elevations of the Cascades and northern Rockies. More than 4 inches could accumulate on some slopes, but most roads should be in good shape with only wet or minor slushy conditions.

Fire weather

Watch out for very dry air and gusty winds this weekend in parts of the northern Plains, the Mountain West and the Central Valley of California. Many of these areas are also experiencing droughts, so the ground is parched. New wildfires could easily spark. New and existing fires could spread out of control, and smoke from these fires could pose a threat to some drivers.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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