Spanning April 3-4, 1974, a swarm of tornadoes tore through areas from Illinois and southern Michigan to northern Alabama and Georgia. The outbreak produced 148 confirmed tornadoes, six of which were F-5 intensity. The most powerful of these storms slammed into Xenia, Ohio. Every weather pattern no matter how similar always has its differences, and this outbreak will have its own characteristics. However, according to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, "In the case of the end of this week and back in early April of 1974, it appears strong upper-level winds and cool air approaching from the west could hit a zone of advancing warm, moist air in just the right manner to produce monsters of thunderstorms." This is not to say communities that were hit by the tornadoes in 1974 will be hit again, as the atmosphere is much more random than this. "There will be a strengthening storm system tracking to the northeast from the southern Plains to the Great Lakes," Margusity said. Former West Lafayette, Ind., resident Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews recalls that outbreak. "Having one of the super cell thunderstorms pass right over my town was the scariest moment of my life," Andrews said. Fortunately, Andrews' town was spared any major damage. This outbreak is not likely to extend as far north into the Great Lakes region as that of 1974. We pray the storms are far less intense and hope they avoid places where people live. We do urge that people take this threat seriously, as there is a risk of violent storms sweeping through population centers and rural communities. Also similar to 1974, a sweep of cold air in the wake of the tornado outbreak will yield areas of snow. Most of any snow that falls this weekend in the wake of severe weather will tend to be focused near the Great Lakes into the central Appalachians, the cold and/or spotty snow. The pattern could add to the misery of cleanup operations from the midweek event and, woefully, from Friday into Saturday. It is possible some snow showers dip as far south and west as portions of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys by early Monday. According to Severe Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "At least the weather pattern in the wake of the storms Friday into Saturday will be much less volatile in these areas and others for many days." Drier, more stable air will settle over the region through much of next week. - Accu Weather.
Tornadoes are forecast to swarm Friday through a very large and populated area of the nation, stretching from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and other states. After a brief reprieve from severe weather today, a storm system emerging from the Rockies late this afternoon will act as the trigger for another round of dangerous storms in portions of recently hard-hit states and others late tonight through Friday. Although residents in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys will have dry but breezy weather for clean-up efforts today, the tranquil weather will not last long. Late tonight, storms are expected to erupt across eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Hail will be the greatest threat from this initial round of thunderstorms. In light of less than perfect atmospheric conditions in the tornado and severe weather outbreak Tuesday night and Wednesday, it seems this potential event may have many key ingredients coming together. Warm, moist air will combine with strong winds aloft in such a way to generate powerful thunderstorms that may spawn tornadoes. - Accu Weather.WATCH: Accu Weather forecast for Friday.