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Severe weather threat for Wednesday could include hail, wind, and isolated tornadoes

Tonight a Slight Risk of severe storms is in place late for southeast Oklahoma and northeast Texas, with a Marginal Risk over east Texas and southwest Akansas.

The severe threat will ramp up Wednesday mainly over south central Arkansas and north central Louisiana, with damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes possible.

Look for southerly winds to increase today to near 20 to 30 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph, especially later this afternoon through the overnight hours.

On Wednesday, much of the area is under Moderate risk for severe weather. Showers and thunderstorms will become widespread after midnight towards the predawn hours on Wednesday. The primary threats associated with these storms will be damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes. Some of these storms could also produce large hail and brief heavy downpours.

The Red Cross offers tips for staying safe during severe weather:

Tornado safety:

  • Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon – take shelter immediately.
  • Know your community’s warning system - some areas use outdoor sirens (near ULM, for example). 
  • Watch for tornado danger signs: dark and greenish clouds, a wall cloud or cloud of debris. 
  • Bring your pets indoors and keep an eye on them. 
  • If you have time, move or secure outside items that can be picked up by wind. 
  • During a tornado warning, go to your safe place immediately — an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. In a high-rise, pick a hallway in the center of the building. 
  • If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building or vehicle. No mobile home is safe in a tornado. 
  • If you’re outside, seek shelter in a sturdy building. 
  • If you cannot quickly walk to shelter, immediately get in a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seatbelt. Stay away from bridges or highway overpasses. If strong winds and flying debris occur while driving, pull over and park. Keep your seatbelt on and the engine running. Put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands and a blanket. 

Thunderstorm Safety:

  • Watch for storm signs, such as darkening skies, lightning flashes and increasing wind.  
  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger of lightning. 
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning aren’t in the area where it’s raining.
  • Take shelter in a substantial building or vehicle with the windows closed. 
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park.
  • If you’re outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall or isolated trees and metal objects, such as fences and bleachers.
  • If someone has been struck by lightning, call 911.