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Spring Weather: 28M Face Severe Conditions Amid Tornado Alerts

by Ian Wood and Corky Siemaszko /  / Updated 

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Ernest Hemingway wrote that “when spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.”

So you can knock the nation’s midsection off the list of "where to be happiest" places.

Some 28 million Americans from Louisiana north to Iowa were expected to get a last blast of winter Wednesday with blizzard conditions in some places along with high winds, flash flooding, large hail and tornadoes, NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins warned.

And April was expected to roar into the northern states like the proverbial March lion with a surge of arctic air Friday that could blanket the upper Great Lakes region and parts of the Northeast with freezing temperatures and possibly even some snow, according to The Weather Channel.

Related: Deadly Gusts Prove Why 'March Winds' Are Legendary

Come Saturday, the mercury will struggle to reach the lower 40's and the highs in some areas near the Canadian border may not rise out of the 20s.

Meanwhile, the areas at greatest risk Wednesday of being nailed by tornadoes stretched from northeast Texas into northern Louisiana and western Mississippi, Karins said.

Isolated tornadoes were also possible from Arkansas to Iowa, he said.

Karin said that heavy rain expected over the next two days could see the return of flooding to Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

"Northern Texas — including Dallas — have the highest chance to see tornadoes today," Weather Channel senior meteorologist Juan De Cardenas said. "This is normally the time of the year on the Plains for severe weather. This is pretty much on time."

This severe weather was forming as warm moist air moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico and met cool air from the West. As the two fronts meet, it creates a "shear" between the layers of air in the atmosphere.

"The low-level jet transfers warm moisture from the Gulf and high-level jet brings cold air from the West and Southwest to create a shear in the atmosphere," De Cardenas added. "This helps create a spin which forms tornadoes."

The heavy snow will subside later Wednesday in Wyoming — where more than a foot has fallen around Casper, Karins said.

Moving into Thursday, the storms will head east across the South bringing the threat of tornadoes to Mississippi and Tennessee.

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