Risk of strong tornadoes in 5 Midwestern states

Monday, June 2, 2014 | 2:01 p.m. CDT; updated 4:05 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 2, 2014

ST. LOUIS — It has been a fairly quiet tornado season this spring, but that could change Tuesday in Missouri and four other Midwestern states, where the National Weather Service predicts a heightened risk of severe storms that could produce strong twisters.

Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois are at greater risk of severe storms with hail, high winds and possibly tornadoes. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the threatened tornadoes could be strong.

Greg Carvin, lead forecaster for the Storm Prediction Center, said numerous thunderstorms will be fueled by warm, moist air in the upper Midwest.

"It'll be a busy day tomorrow," Carvin said Monday. "There will be a lot of intense thunderstorm activity."

Carvin said the system should move quickly, which should limit the amount of rain falling in any given area, though flash flooding is still a possibility.

The storms are expected to start during the day in Nebraska and Kansas and spread east through Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

"Basically the Corn Belt looks to be at the greatest risk," Carvin said.

Parts of the same states saw severe weather over the weekend. Several tornadoes were reported in Iowa, but no major damage was cited.

Kossuth County, Iowa, received more than 4 inches of rain during a three-hour period on Sunday.

It has been an unusually quiet season so far with 415 tornadoes through the end of May, well below the three-year average of 780 tornadoes, according to NWS statistics. No one died from a tornado in the month of May and only 35 people have died so far this year, compared with 44 dead by this time last year and a three-year average of 218 deaths by this time. The three-year average includes 2011, when 553 people died as a result of tornadoes, including devastating storms in Joplin and in Alabama.

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