A powerful spring storm is placing millions of Americans at risk of hazardous weather this week, ranging from heavy snow across the Northern Rockies to wildfires in the Southern Plains, to a multi-day severe weather outbreak across the Central U.S.

Residents and businesses affected by this storm are likely to experience more than one hazard, with fluctuating degrees of severity and at different times. Preparing for and responding to this moving information requires superior data and clear insights. Full story...

Updates to this event will be listed in reverse chronological order below this line, with newer information at the top.

Animation of Baron's future wind gust model, showing the potential for damaging wind.

Wednesday 12 pm CDT: All modes of severe weather are likely today across the areas highlighted by the National Weather Service as being under a "moderate risk" in the Central Mississippi River Valley. Staff Meteorologist Stephen Kreller used the exclusive Baron model in our daily briefing to highlight the various locations where particular hazards may materialize.

"Inside the moderate risk, the tornado potential is greatest across the southern half, with damaging winds likely to be a bit more prevalent across the northern regions."

Stephen also said the hail risk is rather widespread, but that the stones are likely to be on the "smaller side" compared to what fell in Texas Tuesday.

Baron future snowfall model showing snow still to come for the Northern Plains.

Wednesday 10 am CDT: High snowfall totals have verified across a large section of North Dakota, where more than a foot has already fallen. The Baron future snowfall model shows an additional 4 to 8 inches may fall across many of the same areas before the storm exits on Thursday.

Animation of U.S. Radar in Northern Plains Tuesday evening using Baron Threat Net.

Tuesday 8 pm CDT: Thunderstorms blossomed over the Iowa and Kansas Tuesday evening, with some cells becoming severe in less than an hour after forming. Meanwhile, blizzard conditions were noted only 200 miles to the northwest of the thunderstorms across central and eastern North Dakota.

Snippet of Baron's daily weather email from in-house meteorologists.

Tuesday 10 am CDT: Baron Lead Forecaster Kevin Nugent made Baron partners aware of the increasing severe weather risk in parts of Iowa.

"Within an hour or two of developing, the storms will be capable of very large hail, damaging winds, and several strong tornadoes," he wrote in his daily email briefing.

Kevin also confirmed with staff that the trend noted Monday with the questionable southern extent of the severe risk is likely "coming to fruition."

It was also pointed out that the extreme snowfall totals the exclusive Baron model was putting out for North Dakota are becoming increasingly likely.

Four-panel view of Baron's severe weather tools during the North Little Rock tornado.

Monday 10 pm CDT: A Tornado Emergency was declared on the north side of Little Rock, where a "large, extremely dangerous tornado" was observed at the Little Rock Air Force Base. High levels of wind shear and high probabilities of hail were also noted on Baron's exclusive severe weather tools, which were explained in this tweet thread.

Baron's exclusive historical hail path.

Monday 6 pm CDT: A complex of severe thunderstorms moved across portions of western Arkansas late Monday afternoon, where golf ball to baseball size hail was reported. The radar signatures were also able to confirm a tornado near Bloomer, AR.

The original story, which includes an overview of the event posted Monday morning, continues below this line.

Meteorologist and Graphic Artist Joshua Rivas briefed Baron staff on the event early Monday morning, referring first to the scope of impact the storm covers.

“You can really tell how big of a storm system this is just by looking at the number of watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service already,” he said. “They stretch from the Canadian border to Texas, as far west as California, then as far east as the Ohio Valley.!”

Powerful storm alerts
Animation of watches, warnings, and risk areas from the National Weather Service ahead of a large storm system forecast to move across the nation April 11-13, 2022.

Forecasters have been highlighting the potential for a significant weather event to unfold for several days, and public safety officials have been watching model simulations closely.

Severe Storm Potential

Confidence among forecasters was high for several days that a multi-day severe weather event would occur Monday through Wednesday from the Southern Plains to the Midwest. However, the extent and severity of the storms were uncertain leading up to the event due to concerns about thunderstorm coverage to the south and extent of storm energy to the north.

Joshua also mentioned this in his briefing Monday morning, expressing his curiosity with the Baron model showing a large gap in storm activity.

"The presence of thunderstorms across the Gulf Coast region could limit the instability parameters farther north by interrupting the transport of necessary ingredients for storm energy. This is shown well by our Baron model across the Kansas and Oklahoma regions."

At the time of this post, a large area of the Central Plains were placed under an "enhanced risk" (level 3 out of 5) of severe storms Tuesday, but no higher risk levels had been drawn.

Extreme Fire Danger

The high winds fueling the potential for severe weather ahead of the storm system have prompted the National Weather Service to issue Fire Weather Warnings from southern Arizona to Nebraska, with portions of Kansas and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles under an “extreme” risk Tuesday.

Future winds over critical fire danger areas
Animation of Baron's exclusive future wind model, highlighting areas under an "extremely critical" fire danger Tuesday.

In Baron Weather’s daily email briefing Monday, Senior Meteorologist Kevin Nugent informed clients when the highest wildfire danger will occur.  

“Winds will be the strongest during the afternoon hours, with many locations experiencing gusts of 40 to 60 mph,” he wrote. The winds will be combined with low humidity and occur “for several days”, he added.

Blizzard Conditions Possible

The winter side of the powerful low pressure system could be just as extreme as the severe thunderstorms and high fire danger. Baron’s exclusive forecast model is suggesting more than a foot of snow will fall across large areas of Oregon, Montana and North Dakota through Wednesday. The model was also consistent on predicting extreme snowfall accumulations of over 18" in central North Dakota.

Future snow model from Baron
Animation of Baron's exclusive future snowfall model over the next two days.

In addition to the heavy amounts of snow, strong winds across portions of North Dakota could lead to blizzard conditions and considerable drifting, where a Blizzard Warning is in effect.

Baron Weather’s forecast services division is staffed by experienced degreed meteorologists with access to the highest-quality weather data available. The products mentioned in this story are available to developers through the Baron Weather API  or media professionals through the Lynx platform. Emergency response personnel can also customize products and views unique to their circumstance in mapping systems like ArcGIS or the Baron Threat Net web and mobile application.