map_specnews04_ltst_4namus_enus_650x366With a major pattern shift in the works bringing warmer weather to the central and eastern U.S., an outbreak of severe thunderstorms is now looming starting Thursday – even in areas that still have snow on the ground now. A very strong low-pressure system will bring a large area of very strong winds just above the ground beginning Wednesday night over the central U.S., spreading east on Thursday. The system will also pull warm, moist, unstable air north from the Gulf of Mexico. These elements will set the stage for an outbreak of severe thunderstorms. A few strong thunderstorms may begin flaring up as soon as late Wednesday night over parts of Kansas and Missouri. The bigger threat develops Thursday and continues into Thursday evening in the Ohio Valley, mid to lower Mississippi Valley, and the western Gulf Coast states. The main threat will be damaging winds. However, a few tornadoes will be possible, both embedded within the squall line of severe storms, as well as in any discrete cells that can form ahead of the line, particularly Thursday afternoon and evening from southern Indiana to northern Mississippi and northern Alabama. More