Two ‘never-before-seen’ forecasts, including after-dark tornado risk, issued by NWS

Weather

A National Weather Service outlook shows the threat of severe weather on Dec. 15, 2021. (Credit: NWS)

(NEXSTAR) – The National Weather Service is warning of “another historical weather day” Wednesday. The agency issued two “never-before-seen outlooks” for dangerous weather in two different areas of the country.

The first area of concern centers around Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where there’s a moderate risk of severe weather Wednesday. “Moderate” is the second highest risk category, and the NWS said this is the first time the region has ever seen such a high risk of dangerous storms in December.

The forecast includes winds of up to 100 mph and the possibility of tornadoes.

What makes the forecast extra concerning, the NWS said, is that the storms are expected to roll in after dark. Tornadoes can be difficult to spot when it’s dark outside and people who are asleep are more likely to miss warnings – both of which make nighttime tornadoes especially dangerous.

The bullseye of Wednesday night’s storm risk is further north than the area devastated by late-night severe weather last week. Tornadoes tore through Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky Friday night, killing at least 88 people.

The highest risk of tornadoes Wednesday night is for Iowa, southern Minnesota, and the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, the NWS forecasts. A smaller chance of tornadoes is also forecast for parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin.

The National Weather Service forecasts tornado risk for Dec. 15, 2021. (Credit: NWS)

The second “never-before-seen” weather outlook issued by the NWS has to do with a different type of weather threat: fire. In Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, southern Nebraska, and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, fire danger ranges from “elevated” to “extremely critical.”

“Dangerous, life-threatening fire weather conditions are likely with fast moving and uncontrollable fire spread due to extreme winds and dry conditions,” the NWS said on Twitter.

The National Weather Service issued this fire risk outlook for the Plains on Dec. 15, 2021. (Credit: NWS)

It’s the “first Extremely Critical Fire Weather Outlook for the Southern and Central Plains during December” in the history of the Storm Prediction Center, the agency said. A 107 mph wind gust was already recorded in the Eastern Colorado town of Lamar Wednesday morning.

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