Severe weather, including torrential hailstorms and tornadoes, are striking across the Great Plains tonight (April 14). A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite caught a glimpse of the storm system from space this afternoon.
The storm system is being generated by the collision of two air masses : Dry air from over the Mojave Dessert is being forced against moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Where these two different types of air meet, the ideal conditions for convection, and thus severe thunderstorms, is created.
Parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma have already seen multiple tornadoes, as well as pounding hail. Severe storms are also possible from north Texas to Iowa and southeast South Dakota and southern Minnesota.
Severe weather watches are in place for many areas through the night. "Strong winds throughout the atmosphere will be very favorable for powerful supercell thunderstorms capable of producing strong to violent tornadoes as well as very large hail over long paths from this afternoon until at least midnight," a NOAA statement said.
Tornadoes striking after dark are particularly dangerous as they are difficult to see and can strike while people are sleeping. Nocturnal tornadoes are more than twice as likely to kill people than daytime tornadoes, researchers have found.