“I couldn’t say when the last time we’ve had one like this. It’s been quite a while,” Trimarchi said.
The cold front is moving slowly east and expanding south and will meet up with the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen on Saturday or Sunday, after that storm makes landfall along the Gulf Coast.
Though much of the Midwest and Southeast may get soaked, it won’t be as devastating as past combination storms, such as Superstorm Sandy, said William Bunting, operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. Sandy resulted from the merging of cold fronts and a tropical storm.
The Midwest, especially Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, are at most risk for large thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail, “perhaps baseball-sized hail,” Bunting said.
Large hail and powerful winds were forecast for northwest Oklahoma later Friday, while heavy rain settled in parts of Iowa and was expected to swoop northeast across the region into Wisconsin.
In Nebraska, a tornado that touched down Thursday night damaged homes and businesses in several communities, knocked out power and toppled trees. But no injuries have been reported.
Snow also was still falling across northern Colorado on Friday, though no major problems were being reported.
Associated Press writers Chet Brokaw in Pierre, S.D., Steve Paulson in Denver and Bob Moen in Cheyenne, Wyo., contributed to this report.