Parts of the USA will be up against the "complete arsenal of violent weather," says AccuWeather's Henry Margusity.
(Photo: Craig Fry, AP)
by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Wild weather is forecast to batter the nation's heartland from Wisconsin to Texas this weekend.
"The potential from the storms spans the complete arsenal of violent weather, ranging from large hail and flash flooding to damaging straight-line wind gusts and tornadoes," says AccuWeather severe weather expert Henry Margusity.
The main threat will be Saturday, Weather Channel meteorologist Jon Erdman reports. "We expect the most widespread severe weather episode we've seen in the nation since mid-September," he says.
The most recent severe weather outbreak featured damaging winds that rattled the Northeast and mid-Atlantic on Sept. 18, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
The risk of damaging, life-threatening thunderstorms, including tornadoes, will reach a peak Saturday afternoon and evening from southern Minnesota and southern Wisconsin all the way to north-central Texas, Margusity says.
Cities that could be hit by violent thunderstorms Saturday afternoon and evening include Madison, Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City, Joplin, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Kansas City.
The poor weather conditions across the nation's midsection could be a problem for some college football games, the Weather Channel warns.
The severe storms are forecast to continue on Sunday in the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Lower Mississippi Valley.
Overall, the Storm Prediction Center reports that 2012 has been a relatively quiet year for tornadoes, with only about 850 reported so far this year, well below the to-date average of almost 1,200.