Major, record-breaking heat wave moves into West Coast

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(OKLAHOMA CITY) — Severe weather, including possible tornadoes and flash flooding, is expected in a huge part of the Heartland on Thursday, from the Great Plains to Texas and North Dakota.

Nine states are also under flood alerts from Montana down to Mississippi.

A tornado watch is in effect for northern Louisiana through 5 p.m. local time Thursday. A couple of tornadoes are possible, along with damaging wind gusts up to 65 mph and isolated large hail events up to 1 inch in diameter.  

Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Wichita are all in the elevated risk for tornadoes and large hail, mainly between the hours of 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time.

The weather comes after there were 11 reported tornadoes in three states — Colorado, Arkansas and Kansas — Wednesday. Some damage was reported in Kansas where there was a tornado.

Softball-sized hail was reported in Colorado and Kansas saw winds up to 81 mph with the severe storms.

Severe storms are expected yet again across the Plains on Friday from Texas to Iowa. Cities such as San Antonio; Dallas; Oklahoma City; Kansas City, Missouri; and Des Moines, Iowa, could see damaging winds, large hail and brief tornadoes.  Brief tornadoes are most likely to occur in the pocket from Des Moines to Kansas City, while Oklahoma City to San Antonio will likely see large hail.

Aside from the severe weather, southern Texas will also see very heavy rain over the next several days. Locally, 6 to 10 inches of rain are possible, along with a flash flood threat Friday into the weekend.  

Flood alerts are also in effect from the Dakotas to Colorado and Montana, where heavy rain is also expected.

Heat wave in the West
 
In the West, an early season, summer-like heat wave from Seattle and Portland, Oregon, into central California is expected over the weekend and could bring major, record-breaking heat.

An excessive heat watch is in effect for Seattle and Portland Saturday through Monday. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to upper 80s in Seattle and into the 90s in Portland.

Record highs are also possible for several days straight in the Pacific Northwest over the weekend and into early next week. 

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