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Severe Storm Alert for Oklahoma Texas Heat Records Broken

Photo : AP

The National Weather Service's Norman, Oklahoma office drew a vivid analogy on Saturday, comparing the day to "a gasoline-soaked brush pile." Forecasters cautioned that any storms that materialize could erupt with significant hail, perilous winds, and tornadoes.

Across portions of Oklahoma, scattered severe storms persisted on Saturday, with the potential for tornadoes lingering into the night. Meanwhile, South Texas saw some areas breaking heat records, with warnings issued for triple-digit temperatures over the extended holiday weekend.

Although Memorial Day traditionally signals the start of summer, the season won't officially begin for another four weeks.

The National Weather Service's Norman, Oklahoma office reiterated the hazardous conditions, likening Saturday's weather to "a gasoline-soaked brush pile." Forecasters underscored the potential for storms to intensify with large hail, dangerous winds, and tornadoes.

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"There's a small chance most of the matches are duds, and we only see a few storms today. Still, that's not a match I would want to play with. It only takes one storm to be impactful," the office cautioned via Facebook.

In South Texas, unusually high temperatures for May posed a significant threat. The heat index was forecasted to reach nearly 49 degrees Celsius in some locations over the weekend. While actual temperatures may be slightly lower, the humidity amplifies the perceived heat.

The region finds itself under the influence of a heat dome extending from Mexico to South America, noted National Weather Service meteorologist Zack Taylor.

Sunday is anticipated to be the peak of the heat wave, with record highs forecasted for late May in cities like Austin, Brownsville, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Brownsville and Harlingen, near the Texas-Mexico border, had already set new records for May 25th, registering temperatures of 37 and 38 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Additionally, Red Flag fire warnings were in effect across West Texas, New Mexico, and parts of Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado due to low humidity and strong winds.

Meanwhile, Rolla, North Dakota, witnessed several inches of snow from Friday into early Saturday, highlighting the unpredictability of weather patterns.

April and May saw heightened tornado activity, particularly in the Midwest, underscoring concerns about the increasing severity of storms worldwide due to climate change.

The storm system responsible for the severe weather is expected to progress eastward throughout the Memorial Day weekend, potentially affecting events like the Indianapolis 500 auto race in Indiana and bringing more severe storms to Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Forecasts indicate the risk of severe weather will extend into North Carolina and Virginia by Monday.

May 26, 2024 12:57 p.m. 533

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