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Cloud to ground lightning strikes during a supercell thunderstorm, May 9, 2017, in Lamb County, Texas. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A dangerous and potentially deadly severe weather outbreak is underway across the southern Plains, particularly in northern Texas and across Oklahoma, as a rare and especially volatile mix of tornado and flash flood-producing ingredients combine.

The big picture: The intense storm system brought a series of tornadoes over Monday night. Some damage was reported, but the tornadoes did not cause as much destruction as forecasters feared, per AP. But it's not over yet.

What's new: Forecasters warn there could be "significant threat to life and property" from this severe weather event — from tornadoes, strong winds and flash flooding — as the system moves northeast. The National Weather Service tweeted early Tuesday...

The threat: The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) warned Tuesday morning of an "enhanced risk" of severe thunderstorms and large hail over the southern and central Plains, as well as the Ohio Valley and northeast states.

  • The National Weather Service reduced the severe threat of storms to an area concentrated around southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. A tornado watch was in place until 5am CDT from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Wichita Falls, Texas.
  • 6 states were under flood alerts Tuesday morning, with flash flooding a major threat from Texas all the way up to North Dakota, as tornadoes continued to be reported in the region.
  • The Tulsa region has been especially hard hit by flooding on Tuesday, with many local rivers headed for record crests, and water rescues underway.
  • The first confirmed tornado of the day touched down near Paducah, Texas, at about 3:07 pm CDT Monday.
  • Dozens of sightings of tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Missouri on Monday evening — including a large tornado that passed just north of Mangum, Oklahoma, and another near Midland, Texas. Most spared heavily populated areas.
  • In preparation for the storms, many schools in and around Oklahoma City and Moore closed Monday, including the University of Oklahoma's Norman Campus and Oklahoma City public schools.

Context: The severe weather erupted on the sixth anniversary of an EF-5 tornado striking Moore, Oklahoma, which killed 24 people and injured more than 200. Among the dead were 7 children who died at an elementary school, where a wall collapsed.

Between the lines: An unusually powerful jet stream is roaring above the central and southern Plains, and there is plenty of wind shear (winds changing speed and/or direction with height) and powder-keg-like instability to trigger thunderstorms to erupt.

Plus, large moisture and air pressure contrasts have set up across the region, as a low pressure area of near record intensity for this time of year sets up to the west of the region. In a sign of the clash of airmasses involved, heavy snow fell over parts of Colorado and Wyoming, to the west of the cold front.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story is being updated throughout Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing a face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

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