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Tornadoes predicted to sweep central U.S. Saturday

By The Mercury

Tornadoes are expected to sweep across the central U.S. Saturday from Nebraska to Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

The biggest threat to the Manhattan area would be between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday night, Riley County Emergency Management Director Pat Collins said Friday morning.

Collins said that residents can expect large hail and possible tornadoes.

He said people should be aware of their surroundings if they have to be away from home Saturday night.

The weather may force people to take shelter immediately, he said.

  The highest chance for severe weather will be in central Kansas and Oklahoma, according to a center bulletin.

  “Tornado outbreak is likely across the southern and central Plains northward into the mid-Missouri Valley from Saturday afternoon to Saturday night,” the center said. “The greatest threat for significant tornadoes should exist Saturday evening” from Salina to Oklahoma City.

  Tornadoes and hail struck the Dallas area earlier this month, causing the cancellation of more than 1,900 flights and damaging aircraft at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

  An outbreak March 2 to March 3 across the Ohio Valley and the Southeast killed at least 40 people and caused more than $1.5 billion of damage, according to NOAA. It is the first $1 billion weather-related disaster of the year. In 2011, the U.S. recorded 14 weather-related disasters that caused $1 billion in damage or more, according to NOAA.

  In March, 223 tornadoes were reported in a month that normally has about 80, according to NOAA.

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