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    Friday, June 6, 2014
    Colorado Weather
    (AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin)

    The threat of severe thunderstorms will continue over the southern Plains on Friday and extend toward the Southeast heading into the weekend.

    Denver; Oklahoma City; Wichita, Kansas; Springfield, Missouri; and Little Rock, Arkansas are a few of the bigger travel hubs in the region that may see delays on the roads and at the airports as these storms roll through.

    Thunderstorms through Saturday may also ruin outdoor plans from Colorado to Alabama as frequent lightning can make it dangerous for actives such as baseball games and cookouts.

    Hail as large as baseballs and damaging wind gusts past 70 mph will be the main threat with these storms with the highest risk focusing around Oklahoma.

    A few tornadoes are also possible Friday afternoon and evening from western Kansas into the Texas Panhandle with the tornado threat decreasing heading into Friday night.

    If you live in this region, you should keep an eye on the weather and know where to go for safety if one of these storms hits your area.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center
    Interactive Radar
    The Difference Between Watches and Warnings

    Flooding downpours will be an additional danger, especially in locations that are hit by several storms.

    Rainfall amounts are forecast to total as much as 2 to 4 inches over a large area with local amounts upwards of 6 inches possible.

    This will be enough rain to cause roads to flood and rivers to rise toward flood stage, forcing some people living closer to rivers and streams to take action.

    Remember that if you come across a flooded roadway, it is advised that you do not attempt to drive through it since the water may be deeper than it appears. Turn around; don't drown.

    Although these storms may cause flooding as the drop copious amounts of rain, they will bring some good news with them.

    Portions of Kansas and Oklahoma that are in the path of these severe thunderstorms are currently experiencing an extreme to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

    Storms over the past several weeks have already begun to reduce the severity of the drought as they delivered much needed rain across the region.

    In Oklahoma alone, rainfall from rounds of thunderstorms have reduced the exceptional drought from 34 percent to 21 percent over the past two weeks.

    Even though much more rain is needed to end the drought, this batch of storms will put another dent in the drought as rain fill rivers, lakes and water reservoirs.

    This is the latest report issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor on June 5, 2014.

     

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    Friday, June 6, 2014
    Severe Weather
    A man talks on a cell phone on a blocked street in Jonesboro, Ark., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Strong winds and flooding led to the deaths of at least three people in the South on Thursday as powerful thunderstorms moved through several states.

    In Arkansas, two people were killed as strong winds toppled trees. Craighead County Coroner Toby Emerson said one man died in Jonesboro when a tree fell on his home, while Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Brandon Morris said another person was killed when a tree fell on a van in in the town of Black Rock.

    In southern Tennessee, a 72-year-old man died Thursday morning when his vehicle was swept downstream as he apparently tried to cross a flooded roadway, according to the Highway Patrol.

    WSMV-TV said a search was underway in Hickman County, Tennessee, for a 6- or 7-year-old child missing after a car became stuck in water Thursday afternoon.

    Alabama and Georgia were also in the path of the storms.

    About 30,000 people were without power in Shelby County, Tennessee, on Thursday afternoon. There were reports of downed trees and power lines, blocking some roads.

    The storms damaged numerous homes and businesses in Arkansas, and strong winds blew over a freight train on a Union Pacific line, blocking U.S. 49 in the northeast part of the state.

    "Right now the issue is the cargo boxes that are causing the problem, those that have spilled out across the highway," Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said.

    He said winds also blew over about a half-dozen tractor-trailers. No serious injuries or hazardous cargo were involved in those incidents.

    Further north, the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota. No injuries were reported from that twister that resulted from a strong, isolated thunderstorm that dumped about an inch of rain within 20 minutes.

     

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    Friday, June 6, 2014

    Army troops wade ashore on "Omaha" Beach during the "D-Day" landings, June 6, 1944. They were brought to the beach by a Coast Guard manned LCVP. (Photo/U.S. National Archives)

    One of the most important weather forecasts in world history would occur in early June 1944, as Allied meteorologists prepared to deliver the final word for the long awaited D-Day invasion of Normandy.

    Thousands of lives and the tide of the war depended entirely on teams of Allied meteorologists who determined what constituted suitable weather conditions for the invasion in a small time window.

    "The Allies had decided that they wanted to go in at low tide on the landing beaches and that the airborne needed basically a full moon to have the proper dropping conditions," historian and author John McManus said on the Diane Rehm Show.

    High winds and rough seas could impede the amphibious assault and low clouds could block vital air support. The weather factors that would play a significant role in the invasion would be wind, visibility and cloud cover according to a MET article.

    "On the Allied side, six meteorologists working in three different teams were responsible for the D-Day forecasts," according to a report by James R. Fleming, president of the International Commission on History of Meteorology.

    By June 3, the forecasting team determined the June 5 would not be an ideal day for the invasion as high pressure over France and low pressure northwest of Ireland would maintain strong southwesterly winds in the [English] Channel, meaning seas too rough for landings and cloud coverage too thick for bombing operations, according to MET.

    Years of preparation were at stake, but on June 4, hours before the launch of D-Day operations amid an approaching storm, British Group Captain James Stagg urged General Eisenhower for a last-minute delay, according to the History Channel.

    According to History Channel, only a few invasion dates were possible because of the need for a full moon for illumination and for a low tide at dawn to expose underwater German defenses; June 5 was the first date in a narrow three-day window.

    "The American team used an analogue method that compared the current weather with past conditions. Their forecast was overly optimistic and would have resulted in disaster on June 5, 1944," Fleming said.

    At the last minute, following Stagg's advice and the other British forecasters', Eisenhower postponed the invasion.

    "June 5 becomes quickly off the table because of a terrible storm that is coming in and it's going to make any invasion basically impossible," McManus said. "So, Ike has to postpone it a day and then he has to sift through dozens of weather reports to ultimately decide on June 6 as a kind of an opening in the system that allows weather that's at least good enough, while nowhere near ideal."

    RELATED:
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    Summer 2014: Series of Storms to Attack Central US, Mid-Atlantic

    German forecasters also predicted the hostile weather conditions; however, they did not expect the high winds or rough seas to weaken until mid-June.

    The German forecasters did not have the same amount of forecast information as the Allied forces. The German Navy had few remaining vessels in the Atlantic and their weather stations in Greenland had been closed down, according to MET.

    This would prove folly, as many Nazi commanders left their defenses.

    "German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel even returned home to personally present a pair of Parisian shoes to his wife as a birthday present," the History Channel reported.

    With a more accurate forecast from Allied forces, Eisenhower would commence the D-Day operations, setting a historic shift in the war.


    LCVP landing craft put troops ashore on "Omaha" Beach on "D-Day," June 6, 1944. The LCVP at far left is from USS Samuel Chase (APA-26).(Photo/ U.S. National Archives)

    "On Tuesday, June 6, 1944, under barely tolerable conditions, the largest amphibious landing force ever assembled landed on the beaches of Normandy," Fleming said.

    More than 150,000 Allied forces would lead the charge to liberate France from the Nazi's control, leading to the death of nearly 2,500 Americans in one of the bloodiest days of the war, according to NPR.

    Contributions to this article were made by AccuWeather.com staff writer Kevin Byrne.

     

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    Across the world, some locations see incredible amounts of rainfall each year. Most of the major U.S. cities that see higher rain amounts are located in the Southeast.

    "There are a lot of sources for moisture there," said Accuweather.com senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, continuing, "with the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean."

    "It's also warm year-round for those locations," he added.

    These conditions come together to create ample rainfall amounts that create these large rain totals.

    World's Wettest Places


    Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kristen Rodman at Kristen.Rodman@accuweather.com, or Samantha-Rae Tuthill at SamanthaRae.Tuthill@accuweather.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @Accu_Kristen and @Accu_Sam. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.

     

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    Denver Lightning
    A bolt of lightning illuminates the sky behind downtown Denver late Thursday night, June 5, 2014. (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

    The loud roar of passing thunderstorms and other loud noises can spark fear in many animals, causing extreme anxiety not only for pets, but also their owners who must manage this stress.

    In order to help animals cope with these phobias, pet owners can look for different solutions with the help of their veterinarians. According to Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Lauren Connolly, there are several techniques to calm an animal during a thunderstorm.

    "Being afraid of thunderstorms is just a form of noise phobia," she said, adding that symptoms from dogs are often more noticeable than those exhibited by cats.

    "(Cats) can also be afraid of loud noises and storms," Connolly said. "They often will go and hide under a bed or behind a couch. Because they are not as destructive as dogs, their fear often goes unnoticed."

    lightning
    (Sean Waugh NOAA/NSSL)

    1. Calming Methods

    Connolly said that techniques such as calming the animal by petting them or simply sitting with them may reduce anxiety.

    Also, allowing a pet to have a "safe" quiet place where they can go and be undisturbed can be used.

    Try to block out the lightning and play loud music to block out the noise if possible, she said, adding that a white noise may help.

    Playing a game or distracting the animal with a favorite toy can also put them at ease, she said.

    In some cases, a veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medications such as Alprazolam that can be administered before a storm.

    2. Conditioning and Behavior Modification

    Other methods of reducing anxiety during storms may include conditioning a pet to not fear the sound.

    "You can play recordings of storms and play them at a sound level just below where they will get scared," Connolly said. "They should be played in short, 3- to 5-minute intervals and no longer."

    A concerned dog parent should work with their veterinarian to develop a safe and effective conditioning program, according to Connolly.

    "Behavior modification is the best way to get your dog desensitized to storms," Connolly said. "It is important to not punish your dog during this time, they will just get more stressed."

    Connolly said it is also important never to praise them and tell them it is "OK."

    "By rewarding this behavior you can inadvertently encourage it," she said.

    RELATED:
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    Do Animals Possess Instinctive Ability to Sense Impending Storms
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    Dog
    Clancy wears his Thundershirt to comfort him from a storm. (Kristen Connolly)

    3. Stress Relief Gear

    Out of necessity, ThunderWorks.com CEO and Founder Phil Blizzard said his business was started after trying various methods of calming his own dog during thunderstorms.

    "She's been afraid of thunder and fireworks," Blizzard said. "Anytime we had a thunderstorm, she would pant and shake."

    In the middle of the night during a storm, Blizzard said his dog would often awaken him by climbing on top of him while he was in bed.

    When methods recommended by the veterinarian didn't work, Blizzard and his wife started looking for another solution to alleviate her fear, which motivated the creation of the ThunderShirt.

    "Someone had suggested a snug wrap, like swaddling, which applies a gentle, constant pressure," he said, adding that this concept is to provide stress release for animals and humans alike.

    During Blizzard's research, he said they found that more than 30 percent of pet owners reported similar anxiety in their animals during thunderstorms.

    "As the name ThunderShirt implies, thunder and noises was the first fear we tackled, but along the way, we found that simple pressure helped with a multitude of pet anxieties including separation, travel, vet visits and much more," according to the ThunderShirt website.

    In 2008, with the help of partners and veterinary and trainer endorsements, Blizzard launched his website to sell the ThunderShirt. He now employees 25 people.

    Connolly said similar products that apply this method of constant, gentle pressure seem to help some animals, but are not clinically proven. Since Blizzard started his business, he has received endorsements from several thousand trainers, veterinarians, rescue groups and pet owners.

    "It is like a swaddle for a baby and did nothing for my dog, but I know others who have used it and loved it," she said.

    Other products include a special lining to decrease animals' sensitivity to the static charge associated with storms, she said.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos
    Lightning Hits the Grand Canyon

     

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    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

    The threat of severe thunderstorms will continue from the Plains to the South though the first half of the weekend.

    St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City, Missouri; Oklahoma City; Memphis, Tennessee; and Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, are a few of the bigger travel hubs in the region that may see delays on the roads and at the airports as these storms roll through.

    Thunderstorms through Saturday night may also ruin outdoor plans from Texas to Missouri and into Alabama as frequent lightning can make it dangerous for actives such as baseball games and cookouts.



    Hail as large as baseballs and damaging wind gusts past 70 mph will be the main threat with these storms with the highest risk focusing from Oklahoma into Missouri.

    Although the threat for tornadoes does not appear to be as high as it was on Friday, a few twisters may still spin up late Saturday afternoon.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center
    Interactive Radar
    The Difference Between Watches and Warnings


    Flooding downpours will be an additional danger, especially in locations that are hit by several storms.

    Rainfall amounts are forecast to total as much as 2 to 4 inches over a large area with local amounts upwards of 6 inches possible.

    This will be enough rain to cause roads to flood and rivers to rise toward flood stage, forcing some people living closer to rivers and streams to take action.

    Remember that if you come across a flooded roadway, it is advised that you do not attempt to drive through it since the water may be deeper than it appears. Turn around; don't drown.



    Although these storms may cause flooding as the drop copious amounts of rain, they will bring some good news with them.

    Portions of Oklahoma and Texas that are in the path of these severe thunderstorms are currently experiencing an extreme to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

    Storms over the past several weeks have already begun to reduce the severity of the drought as they delivered much needed rain across the region.

    In Oklahoma alone, rainfall from rounds of thunderstorms have reduced the exceptional drought from 34 percent to 21 percent over the past two weeks.

    Even though much more rain is needed to end the drought, this batch of storms will put another dent in the drought as rain fills rivers, lakes and water reservoirs.



    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2013
    Lightning Hits the Grand Canyon

     

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    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    Leaving a child in a car, even during mild temperatures, can have deadly consequences. (Thinkstock)

    Even though temperatures were in the low 70s midweek for the region, AP reported that a 15-month-old girl died after being left unattended in a car on Wednesday in Dolgeville, N.Y.

    Police are still investigating the incident.

    On average, 38 children die each year from heat-related deaths after being left inside motor vehicles according to Kids and Cars, a nonprofit child safety organization.

    Car windows act as a catalyst for rapid temperature increases inside the vehicle and Wednesday's tragedy proves that even without scorching heat, there is still the risk of heatstroke death when a child is left in a vehicle.

    "If a car is in the sun and the windows are up, temperatures can climb 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. Cars with dark interiors heat up the fastest.




    A total of 44 children died of heatstroke after being left in a car in 2013 according to Jan Null, CCM at San Francisco State University.

    As a heat wave grips the Southwest this weekend, parents and caregivers should take extra caution.
    Above-average temperatures are expected to linger throughout next week, on track with the AccuWeather.com summer forecast of above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall for the Southwest over the next few months.

    RELATED:
    Scorching Heat to Build Across Southwest
    Hundreds Die From Exposure to Heat, Humidity Each Year
    Hot Cars Can Kill


    Safercar.gov recommends checking the back seat of the car each time before locking the doors.
    Here are other tips from Safercar.gov and KidsandCars.org that could prevent any child from a heat-related vehicle death:

    1. Never leave a child alone in a car.

    2. Keep a large teddy bear or stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. Move the teddy bear when the child is in the car seat as a visual reminder. Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, brief case, etc., in the backseat.

    3. Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage.

    4. If you see an unattended child in a car, call 911 immediately.

    5. Be vigilant about always checking the backseat before you lock the doors
    .

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Tips for Surviving a Heat Wave

     

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    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    An Indian cycle rickshaw puller drinks water on a hot day in Allahabad, India, Saturday, June 7, 2014. Thousands of people enraged by power cuts during an extreme heat wave have been rioting across northern India, setting electricity substations on fire and taking power company officials hostage, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

    LUCKNOW, India - Thousands of people enraged by power cuts during an extreme heat wave rioted across northern India, setting electricity substations on fire and taking power company officials hostage, officials said Saturday.

    The impoverished state of Uttar Pradesh has never had enough power for its 200 million people - about the population of Brazil - and many receive only a few hours a day under normal conditions, while 63 percent of homes have no access to electricity at all.

    But recent temperatures that soared to 47 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit) have caused power demand to spike at 11,000 megawatts - far higher than the state's 8,000 MW capacity - triggering blackouts that shut down fans, city water pumps and air conditioners.

    Thousands of people stormed an electricity substation Friday near the state capital of Lucknow, ransacking offices and taking several workers hostage for 18 hours until police intervened Saturday morning, state utility official Narendra Nath Mullick said.

    Elsewhere, an angry crowd set fire to an electricity substation in Gonda, 112 miles southeast of Lucknow. It took three hours for firefighters to put out the flames on Friday. Another substation was set on fire in Gorakhpur, 200 miles southeast of Lucknow.

    Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akilesh Yadav said officials were trying to purchase power from other states, though they were also facing shortages amid the extreme heat.

    Power was largely restored to most areas by Saturday afternoon, leading dozens of people who were still protesting outside Lucknow's Indira Nagar substation to go home.

    Residents had been particularly angry about the power cuts after receiving reliable supplies through the Indian elections, which ended May 16. Since then, only some regions have been guaranteed unbroken power supplies, while others have received little to none.

    The High Court in the city of Allahabad is now hearing a petition alleging discrimination in power distribution, and has asked the government to explain why some regions allegedly were receiving preferential treatment. Those regions include the city of Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as constituencies held by Yadav and other top officials in Uttar Pradesh's ruling party.

    Meteorological officials said temperatures would likely remain high through at least Tuesday in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and other areas of northern India.

    "People are advised not to venture out of their homes," said Lucknow-based weather official J.P. Gupta.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Off-the-Charts Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth
    Hottest Places on Earth

     

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    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    This still from a SpaceX mission concept video shows a Dragon space capsule landing on the surface of Mars. SpaceX's Dragon is a privately built space capsule to carry unmanned payloads, and eventually astronauts, into space. (SpaceX)

    LOS ANGELES -- As SpaceX's Dragon capsule descended toward Earth, it was clear this landing was going to be different than previous ones.

    Instead of falling toward the ocean and deploying parachutes -- as SpaceX capsules have done several times after completing robotic cargo runs to the International Space Station for NASA -- this Dragon spaceship was aiming for land. It fired its SuperDraco engines, extended four legs and made a pinpoint touchdown on a concrete landing pad not far from where it was launched into space.

    "That is how a 21st century spaceship should land," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk told a cheering crowd of employees and VIPs late late month as the landing -- which was an animation, not an actual event -- ended on two large video screens. [Meet Dragon V2: SpaceX's Manned Space Taxi]

    Musk had just unveiled the first crewed version of SpaceX's spacecraft, known as Dragon V2, at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. The invitation-only event gave attendees -- and thousands watching online -- a view of the improved spacecraft and one of the clearest views yet of Musk's ambitious space goals.

    "It is, all around, I think, really a big leap in technology. It really takes things to the next level," said Musk, describing upgrades to the ship that could allow Dragons to fly up to 10 times without significant refurbishment.

    The spacecraft is the company's entry into NASA's commercial crew competition, whose main goal is the development of a private American vehicle that can safely transport seven astronauts to and from the space station.

    SpaceX is competing with Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp., which are developing a capsule called the CST-100 and a space plane called Dream Chaser, respectively. NASA is expected to award the next round of contracts in August. [Mars Sample-Return Idea with SpaceX Dragon (Images)]

    Musk doesn't want SpaceX to simply become an orbital taxi service, however. His dreams are far grander: to transform the way in which space exploration is conducted, opening up the final frontier to widespread and affordable use. Musk's vision doesn't end in Earth orbit but rather stretches all the way to the frozen deserts of Mars.

    The key is reusability. Musk said the crewed Dragon is designed to land softly back on Earth and be rapidly turned around for another flight -- possibly on the same day.

    "The reason that this is really important is that, apart from the convenience of the landing location, is that it enables rapid reusability of the spacecraft," Musk told the audience.

    "So, you can just reload the propellants and fly it again. This is extremely important for revolutionizing access to space, because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft, we will never have true access to space; it will always be incredibly expensive," he added. "You can imagine a scenario where, if an aircraft was thrown away after each flight, nobody would be able to afford to fly. Or very few, only a small number of government customers. The same is true with rockets and spacecraft."

    If SpaceX's engineers can pull it off, the crewed Dragon will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket that's also fully reusable. This past April, the first stage of a Falcon 9 maneuvered to a soft "landing" on the ocean, refiring its engines and extending four landing legs before hitting the water intact.

    SpaceX's goal is to to recover a Falcon 9 first stage with a touchdown on land by the end of the year. The company would then re-launch the stage next year on a demonstration flight. The company's engineers are also working on the more difficult problem of trying to recover the Falcon 9's second stage, which reaches a much higher altitude.

    Musk predicted that instead of flying into space a handful of times per year as we do now, humans would eventually be able to fly to space multiples times per day.

    "I think 20 years for thousands of flights," Musk said in response to a question about increasing annual launch rates. "And I think we could probably get to the hundreds-of-flights level in 12 to 15 years."

    Getting into space easily and cheaply would allow people to go almost anywhere in the solar system. Musk's focus is Mars. He has been talking to NASA about using a Dragon to land on the Red Planet, collect soil samples and send them back to Earth for analysis.

    After that would come something even more ambitious -- human settlement. Musk and his engineers are already designing a bigger launch vehicle that could send large payloads to the Red Planet. Musk wants to establish a colony on Mars, where he plans to retire.

    But first things first: If NASA provides additional funding to SpaceX, Musk believes SpaceX could launch a crewed test flight of Dragon V2 in about two years and begin ferrying astronauts to the space station by the end of 2016. That would be a year earlier than NASA's current schedule.

    Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Amazing Photos of the International Space Station
    International Space Station, Shuttle

     

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    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    (AccuWeather)

    Severe thunderstorms will continue to once again target the southern Plains and the mid-Mississippi Valley through Saturday night.

    Saturday has already started with strong thunderstorms whipping up 60-mph winds in Marshfield and Grovespring in south-central Missouri.

    The thunderstorms also dropped penny-sized hail as they passed through Springfield.

    Additional severe thunderstorms will erupt through Saturday evening from the lower Ohio Valley (southeast of St. Louis) to Arkansas and to communities between Oklahoma City and Dallas.

    Other cities in this zone include Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Paducah, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Evansville, Indiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; and McAlester, Oklahoma.

    North of these severe thunderstorms, drenching rain will spread from northern Missouri to Chicago's southern suburbs.

    Also through Saturday evening, another round of severe weather will erupt across southeastern Colorado, eastern New Mexico, West Texas and far western Oklahoma. Such thunderstorms will target Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, and Tucumcari, New Mexico.

    Damaging wind gusts past 70 mph and flooding downpours will be the main threats with the strongest thunderstorms through Saturday evening. Hail is also a concern with the largest hailstones, potentially up to the size of baseballs, set to slam the southern High Plains.

    Although the threat for tornadoes does not appear to be as high as it was on Friday, a few twisters may still spin up late Saturday afternoon.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center
    Interactive Radar
    The Difference Between Watches and Warnings


    Thunderstorms through Saturday night may ruin outdoor plans as frequent lightning can make it dangerous for activities such as baseball games and cookouts.

    Later Saturday night, thunderstorms with flooding downpours and strong wind gusts will tend to cluster together and take aim at places along the border of Oklahoma and Texas.

    The northern extent of the intense thunderstorms later Saturday night will graze Oklahoma City as heavy rain pours down to the north.

    The flood threat through Saturday night will be especially greatest in locations that are hit by several storms.

    Rainfall amounts are forecast to total as much as 2 to 4 inches over a large area in the southern Plains with local amounts upwards of 6 inches possible.

    This will be enough rain to cause roads to flood and rivers to rise toward flood stage, forcing some people living closer to rivers and streams to take action.

    Remember that if you come across a flooded roadway, it is advised that you do not attempt to drive through it since the water may be deeper than it appears. Turn around; don't drown.



    Although these storms may cause flooding as the drop copious amounts of rain, they will bring some good news with them.

    Portions of Oklahoma and Texas that are in the path of these severe thunderstorms are currently experiencing an extreme to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

    Storms over the past several weeks have already begun to reduce the severity of the drought as they delivered much needed rain across the region.

    In Oklahoma alone, rainfall from rounds of thunderstorms have reduced the exceptional drought from 34 percent to 21 percent over the past two weeks.

    Even though much more rain is needed to end the drought, this batch of storms will put another dent in the drought as rain fills rivers, lakes and water reservoirs.



    Looking ahead to Sunday, flooding downpours will focus on central and eastern Oklahoma as the threat for strong thunderstorms stretches from northeastern Texas to the southern High Plains. Heavy and gusty thunderstorms will also rattle the central High Plains, including Denver.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Dramatic Photos Reveal California's Epic Drought

     

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    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

    The heat from Saturday will peak Sunday and Monday across the interior of California with numerous record highs being challenged.

    Widespread triple-digit is set to bake California's Central Valley and deserts Sunday and Monday as a ridge of high pressure builds overhead.

    For the Central Valley, the next couple of days will yield the highest temperatures so far this year.

    Sacramento has yet to crack the century mark this year, but that should change before the weekend is over. While Sunday's record high of 108 F from last year is likely out of reach, Sacramento will challenge Monday's record of 102 F from 1986.



    Other communities in the Central Valley that will challenge record highs Sunday and/or Monday include Redding, Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield.

    Despite temperatures soaring to near 110-degrees in the Lower Deserts, such as Palm Springs, record highs for Sunday and Monday are closer to 115 F and should stand through this hot spell.

    "If one is looking to cool down, take the drive to the coast, along with many thousands flocking to seek relief from the heat," stated AccuWeather.com Western Expert Meteorologist Ken Clark.

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    "The marine layer will keep these areas considerably cooler with mostly 60s and low 70s. Morning clouds will start the day and then clear to sunshine, but some of the beaches may only partially clear."

    Fog dramatically reducing visibility may also become an issue at some beaches in the morning.

    For those who cannot head to the beaches, be sure to stay safe as temperatures sizzle by drinking plenty of water, wearing light-colored clothing and avoiding strenuous activities during the late-morning and afternoon hours.



    AccuWeather.com Staff Writer Katy Galimberti lists five quick and cheap ways to cope with summer heat.

    Motorists should also remember to never leave children or pets in a vehicle with the windows up. A 15-month-old girl died just this past Wednesday after being left in an unattended car in Dolgeville, New York.

    Sunday and Monday will be warm in Downtown Los Angeles with temperatures rising to the lower 80s, but a lack of Santa Ana winds will prevent the record heat from mid-May from being repeated. Riverside and some other valley locations, however, will turn hot enough to challenge daily record highs.

    Since Santa Ana winds will not be present, the fire danger will also not be as extreme. Care, though, should still be taken when dealing with sparks, campfires and cigarette butts across the interior due to the ongoing drought, heat and low humidity.

    The heat across California will ease Tuesday through Wednesday as the ridge shifts eastward, bringing a brief surge of heat to more of the Southwest and then the southern Plains.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Dramatic Photos Reveal California's Epic Drought

     

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    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    As in this file photos,these storms may produce hail. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    The stormy pattern that has set up over the southern Plains will continue over the region right into the beginning of the new week.

    Severe thunderstorms are forecast to erupt yet again from southeastern Colorado to northern Texas on Sunday afternoon before racing eastward on Sunday night.

    Power outages may occur as these storms blast through with wind gusts powerful enough to knock over power lines and blow down large tree limbs.

    A few brief tornadoes may spin up as well, particularly late in the afternoon in eastern New Mexico and western Texas.

    Thunderstorms that develop will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts, large hail and torrential downpours.

    Not only will damaging wind gusts and large hail impact the region, but there will also be the threat of flash flooding.

    While storms expand eastward through Sunday night and into Monday, an area of steady rain is forecast to develop over Kansas, Nebraska and eventually Missouri.

    Moisture getting drawn in from the Gulf of Mexico will help to fuel torrential downpours which can lead to localized flash flooding both in this area of rain and in areas hit by severe thunderstorms.

    If you are driving and come across a flooded roadway, you should avoid driving through it. Turn around, don't drown.

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    Although this rain may cause flooding, it will be good news for portions of the Plains that are currently experiencing an extreme drought.

    Even though much more rainfall is needed to end the drought, the rain expected to fall into Monday will help to put another dent in the drought conditions.

    The threat of severe weather in the southern Plains is forecast to continue into Monday, focusing from southern Missouri to northeastern Texas.

    Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas, will finally have a break from thunderstorms as they shift to their east after being impacted by storms on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

    Storms are expected to continue to shift eastward on Tuesday, stretching from Kentucky to Louisiana and allowing dry weather to return from Nebraska to Texas.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2013
    Lightning Hits the Grand Canyon

     

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    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    Afghans look for their belongings in their house damaged after flooding in the northeastern Baghlan province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, June 7, 2014. Flooding in a remote part of northern Afghanistan has claimed more than 50 lives and forced thousands to flee their homes, a provincial official said Saturday. (AP Photo/Javid Basharat)

    KABUL, Afghanistan - More than 80 bodies have been found after a devastating flash flood in Afghanistan's mountainous and remote north, a provincial official said Sunday, as police and villagers scoured the rugged terrain for missing people.

    Lt. Fazel Rahman, the police chief in the Guzirga i-Nur district of Baghlan province, said the death toll from Friday's flash flooding had climbed to 81 from 54. The flood destroyed some 850 houses across several villages and damaged more than 1,000, leaving thousands of people in need of shelter, food, water and medicine, Rahman said.

    Local resident Sahib Nazar openly wept while recounting his own family's losses.

    "I have lost everything, my parents, my wife and five children," he said. "I have buried my mother, wife and three of my children, but still looking for my father and two other children's bodies."

    Nazar, a local police officer, said he received a phone call late Friday afternoon about the heavy rain and flooding. He said he left his sick son at a hospital and tried to come home, but couldn't as all roads were destroyed.

    By the time he reached home the next morning, there was nothing left.

    "All the village was gone," he said.

    Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said army helicopters assisted in relief efforts in the remote district, which is just 140 kilometers (85 miles) north of the provincial capital, Puli Khumri, but is an eight-to-nine-hour drive because of the rugged terrain.

    Rahman said local authorities had received around 100 tents, several hundred blankets and some food, but that more supplies were needed.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has appointed a high-ranking government commission to accelerate emergency aid to the affected villages and expressed his "deep condolences" to those who lost loved ones, the palace said in a statement Sunday.

    Afghans living in the northern mountains have largely been spared from the country's decades of war, but are no strangers to natural disasters.

    Last month, a landslide triggered by heavy rain buried large sections of a remote village in the northeastern Badakhshan province bordering China, displacing some 700 families. Authorities have yet to provide an exact figure on the number of dead from the May 2 landslide, and estimates have ranged from 250 to 2,700. Officials said it was impossible to dig up all the bodies.

    A landslide in Baghlan province in 2012 killed 71 people. After days of digging unearthed only five bodies, authorities gave up on the recovery effort and turned the area into a memorial.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

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    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    (Joanna. W/Flickr)

    As summer approaches, people are thinking about the beach and other outdoor activities.

    Summer also means that lifeguards along the East and Gulf coasts are prepared to deal with one of the greatest dangers: rip currents.

    Rip currents are narrow, fast-moving channels of water that move away from the beach due to irregularities along the shoreline such as sandbars and piers, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Andy Mussoline said.

    More than 85 percent (more than 600 people) of all rescues during 2013 at the 5 miles of beach at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, were the result of rip currents, Ocean Rescue Supervisor David Elder of the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department said.

    "Rips are a predictable hazard," Elder said. "With accurate and timely information, lifeguards work to decrease exposure to the hazards of not only rip currents, but all beach hazards."

    If caught in a rip current, the best thing to do is to swim parallel to the shore out of the rip current, Elder said.

    "Don't fight the current: It's basically like being on a treadmill," he said. "Once out of the current, swim back to the shore."

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    We must look for new ways to reach out to beachgoers and try to keep them safe, Elder said.

    He is working on one way to better alert the public of rip current hazards: a rip-current forecast system at the National Weather Service.

    The new forecast system predicts the likelihood of rip current occurrence given wave field and water level inputs from the Nearshore Wave Prediction System (a numerical wave and water level model), Oceanographer Greg Dusek of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service said.


    Rip currents are shown along a crowded beach on the Delaware shore. (Photo/NWS/Courtesy of Dr. Wendy Carey, Delaware Sea Grant).

    Dusek started the research about nine years ago while a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received help from Elder and the Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue.

    "With the model, we can provide a hazardous rip current forecast every couple kilometers along the coast, every three hours, out for at least 48 hours," Dusek said.

    The forecast model will be tested on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, including Kill Devil Hills, and near Miami.

    How to Survive a Rip Current:

    1. Always stay calm.

    2. Do not fight the current.

    3. Swim parallel to the shoreline while in the current. Once free of the current, swim at an angle, away from the current and towards the shore.

    4. If unable to escape the rip current by swimming, float or tread water. Once the current weakens, resume swimming at an angle.

    5. If unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving or calling for help.


    RELATED ON SKYE: Could a Trip to Your Favorite Beach Make You Sick?

     

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    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    Astrophotographer Giuseppe Petricca took this image of Mercury, the moon and Jupiter shining on May 30, 2014 from Pisa, Italy. (Giuseppe Petricca)

    This stunning image of Mercury, the moon and Jupiter also showcases a historical landmark of the Italian city from which it was taken: the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

    Astrophotographer Giuseppe Petricca took this image on May 30 from Pisa, Italy. Petricca said he waited for the wide encounter between the three celestial objects. Mercury appears at the right of the image, while Jupiter shines from high above.

    "The slender crescent moon was the first to appear, like a small thin cut in the sky, then the gas giant and finally the dim and little Mercury," Petricca wrote in an email to Space.com. [Amazing Night Sky Photos for June (Stargazing Gallery)]

    The crescent moon was just 5-percent illuminated and two days past new phase when it passed Mercury and Jupiter as it waxed across the sky on May 30. Mercury arrived at its greatest eastern elongation, or its greatest angular distance to the east of the sun in the sky, on May 25 and has since started approaching the sun beginning to fade noticeably.

    Petricca captured this photo using a Nikon P90 camera on tripod, ISO 100, f3.5, with 1.6" exposure.

    To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

    Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

    Follow Space.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+. Original article on Space.com.

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Mind-Blowing New Photos from Space

     

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    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    (Sharon Drummond/Flickr)

    While the greatest threat for severe weather lies across the southern Plains, some violent thunderstorms will also end the weekend across West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

    The stage is set for thunderstorms with damaging winds and blinding downpours to target a handful of communities across West Virginia and western and central Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon.

    This includes Pittsburgh, State College, Johnstown and Altoona, Pennsylvania, as well as Wheeling, Morgantown, Clarksburg, and Charleston, West Virginia.

    The downpours could slow travel for a time on Interstates 68, 70, 76, 80, 79 and 99.



    Outdoor sporting events and other activities will likely be delayed or forced inside for some time.

    Remember, you are close enough to be struck by lightning if you hear thunder.

    While the heavy thunderstorms are targeting the central Appalachians, the rest of the Northeast will continue to enjoy a nice end to the weekend. However, the dry spell will not last beyond Sunday in many communities.

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    Rain and thunderstorms will spread across more of the mid-Atlantic and New York State Sunday night, reaching Philadelphia, New York City and Syracuse, New York.

    A couple of showers and thunderstorms will still be around most of the Northeast on Monday, putting a damper on some outdoor plans. Accompanying the return of the storminess will be higher humidity across the mid-Atlantic.

    Humidity will remain low along the New England coast from Portland, Maine, to Boston to Providence, Rhode Island, where dry weather from the weekend should hold through Monday.



    The return of showers and thunderstorms to the Northeast will commence a relatively unsettled week as the storminess from Monday will be slow to depart and another storm system arrives later in the week and only crawls through the Northeast.

    Many communities will only experience a day or two of dry weather this week before the next system arrives and wreaks havoc on construction sites, outdoor sporting events, graduations and any other summertime activity.

    The best opportunity for such outside work and activities will be Tuesday around the eastern Great Lakes and central Appalachians. Pittsburgh will actually start the new week on a dry note on Monday.

    After showers move through on Tuesday, most of New England should welcome a brief dry spell Wednesday and Thursday before the next round of storms returns Friday through Saturday.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Epic Storm Photos from the Twittersphere

     

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    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    (James Betts via Getty Images)

    Additional rounds of severe weather, including some tornadoes, will continue to target the southern half of the Plains and Deep South through Monday.

    A new round of severe thunderstorms will continue to erupt across central and southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle and westward through central Mississippi to northeastern Texas through Sunday evening.

    Also through Sunday evening, another batch of severe weather will ignite from eastern Colorado to northeastern New Mexico and parts of West Texas. These violent thunderstorms will drop into western Kansas and more of western and central Texas and far western Oklahoma through Sunday night.

    Cities in the path of the severe thunderstorms through Sunday night include Montgomery, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Shreveport, Louisiana; Tyler, Dallas, Abilene and Amarillo, Texas; and Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado.



    Power outages may occur as these storms blast through with wind gusts powerful enough to knock over power lines and blow down large tree limbs.

    A few brief tornadoes will spin up as well, particularly late in the afternoon in eastern parts of Colorado and New Mexico and western Texas.

    Not only will damaging wind gusts and large hail impact the region, but there will also be the threat of flash flooding.

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    While storms expand eastward through Sunday night and into Monday, an area of steady rain is forecast to develop over Kansas, Nebraska and eventually Missouri.

    Moisture getting drawn in from the Gulf of Mexico will help to fuel torrential downpours which can lead to localized flash flooding both in this area of rain and in areas hit by severe thunderstorms.

    If you are driving and come across a flooded roadway, you should avoid driving through it. Turn around, don't drown.

    Although this rain may cause flooding, it will be good news for portions of the Plains that are currently experiencing an extreme drought.

    Even though much more rainfall is needed to end the drought, the rain expected to fall into Monday will help to put another dent in the drought conditions.

    The threat of severe weather in the southern Plains is forecast to continue through Monday and Monday night.

    While the day may start with heavy and gusty thunderstorms, AccuWeather.com meteorologists are particularly concerned for severe thunderstorms and even tornadoes to erupt across eastern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas Monday afternoon. Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Dallas lie in this zone.



    The majority of the severe thunderstorms will wait until Monday night to reach places toward Memphis and Houston.

    The violent thunderstorms--complete with damaging winds, hail and flooding downpours--will push to the south and east toward Houston and into the lower Mississippi Valley Monday night.

    Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas, will finally have a break from thunderstorms on Monday as they shift to their east after being impacted by storms on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

    Storms are expected to continue to shift eastward on Tuesday, stretching from Kentucky to Louisiana and allowing dry weather to return from Nebraska to Texas.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2013
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    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    A damaged office trailer is flipped over after if was blown over by a reported tornado at the Blackstone County Club in southeast Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, June 8, 2014. A line of severe storms packing high winds and hail is sweeping across Colorado's eastern plains, spawning several damaging tornados, including one that dropped down near a junior golf tournament southeast of Denver. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    AURORA, Colo. - A line of severe storms packing high winds and hail swept across Colorado's Front Range and eastern plains Sunday, spawning several damaging tornadoes, including one that dropped down near a junior golf tournament southeast of Denver.

    A tornado touched down near the Blackstone Country Club, causing one minor injury and flipping an empty trailer, Aurora Fire Department officials said.

    Paul Cleveland, 16, who was playing in the tournament, said he and two other people were riding a golf cart when they saw a funnel cloud heading in their direction, swirling debris.

    "I ducked down, protected my head and waited for the worst," he said.

    Moments later, Cleveland said, the twister lifted the cart and threw it on top of a caddy walking nearby. The caddy, a man in his 50s, was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, said Capt. Diane Lord with the Aurora Fire Department.

    Several other tornadoes were reported Sunday, including one in the tiny northeastern Colorado town of Grover and two in Park County. A twister also touched down in a sparsely populated area of southeast Wyoming, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

    In Colorado, a funnel cloud touched down near Fairplay about 65 miles southwest of Denver at about 11 a.m., damaging the roof of a home, Park County spokeswoman Linda Balough said.

    "This is amazingly unusual at 10,000 feet, very unusual for it to happen up here," she said.

    Another tornado was reported a short time later, about 40 miles away near Lake George, and caused "substantial" damage at an RV park, Balough said. No one was reported injured in either tornado.

    Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin said a trough of low pressure created a "large extensive line" of severe weather along the Front Range from southern Colorado to the Wyoming border.

    A tornado watch for all of eastern Colorado extends to 8 p.m. Sunday as the band of severe weather heads to the Plains states.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Epic Storm Photos from the Twittersphere

     

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  • 06/08/14--23:10: Record Heat For New Delhi
  • Monday, June 9, 2014
    India Gate, New Delhi, India (courtesy of ThinkStock.com)

    Some very hot conditions are being seen over northern India as the monsoon has yet to kick in for the capital city.

    Temperatures over the past several days have climbed well above 100 degrees F, this after having some severe thunderstorms no more than a week ago for the city.

    Normal high temperatures are 104 degrees F (40 C), and the past 5 days have seen high temperatures climb to 110 degrees F (43 C) or higher. The all-time record high for New Delhi for June is 116 degrees F (46.7 C), according to the India Weather Service.

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    Friday climbed to 113 degrees F (45 C), which was the hottest temperature in New Delhi in 2 years.

    For the Delhi region, temperatures climbed to 118 degrees F (47.8 C) in Palam, India, which is the hottest it has been in 62 years, also breaking a record for Sunday.

    The heat is thanks to the hot and dry winds from the west and southwest. These conditions look to continue for the next few days, possibly ending on Thursday when the high temperature is expected to top out at 109 degrees. This is after the high for Monday is expected to climb to 116 degrees F (46.7 C), approaching the hottest temperature in New Delhi since 1945 of 117 degrees F (47.2 C).

    This heat has not only been dangerous for anyone looking for relief from the heat, but has also lead to record energy use across Delhi.

    According to the Times of India, the power demand on Thursday was as high as 108.6 million units, the highest ever recorded. The peak demand was 5250 megawatts, shy of the record of 5653 megawatts from 2013.

    More extreme heat the next few days could push this record even higher. The temperatures on Monday and Tuesday look to remain very close to record highs, and the low temperatures at night have only been dropping to near 90 degrees F (32 C).

    This heat will remain around the area as the monsoon will remain off to the southeast for the next few weeks yet. Once the monsoon does develop, the temperatures will not be as high, but the dew points and threat for storms will be found almost daily.

    Story by AccuWeather.com meteorologist Alan Reppert

     

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    Monday, June 9, 2014
    driving in rain
    Shutterstock

    Unsettled weather will kick off the new week in the Plains, delivering another round of severe thunderstorms from Texas to Tennessee.

    This will follow up what has been an active weekend across the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley with thunderstorms on Monday continuing the threat of damaging wind gusts, hail and flooding downpours.

    Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Tyler, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; Springfield, Missouri; and Memphis Tennessee, are a few cities in the path of thunderstorms on Monday with some storms continuing into Monday night.

    If you plan on traveling around these cities, you should allow for extra time to reach your destination as blinding downpours can slow traffic on the roads and create delays at the airports.

    Heading into Monday night, the threat of severe weather is expected to decrease as violent thunderstorms scale back in intensity.

    However, a few gusty thunderstorms may still impact communities in the Deep South with wind gusts strong enough to blow over trees and cause power outages.

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    An area of steadier rain is forecast to develop north of these severe storms with rain overspreading parts of Nebraska and Kansas.

    Rain that falls over this area is not expected to be as heavy as the downpours associated with the thunderstorms from Texas to Tennessee. Instead, this will be a longer-duration rainfall, helping to ease the ongoing drought.

    A steady, long-duration rain means that the ground has more time to soak in the much-needed rain water rather than it quickly running off into nearby streams and lakes as it does during quick bursts of heavy rain.

    One to two inches of rain is possible through Monday night in areas of Kansas and Nebraska, with high temperatures struggling to reach the 60s in areas where rain falls through much of Monday.

    As much as this rain will help to reduce the intensity of the extreme drought, much more is required to end the drought over the Plains.

    Early indications show that after this system departs the region on Tuesday, there may not be another system similar to this that delivers a steady rain over a large area for at least a week, possibly longer.

    This does not mean that there will be no rain across the region, however.

    Thunderstorms may still develop across the region and deliver more beneficial rainfall, although this rain would be more localized rather than on a larger scale.

    This graphic shows the amount of rainfall required in a one month period to end the current drought conditions. Photo courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center.

     

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