The midwest of the US is bracing for dire weather conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic, as severe storms are expected Saturday afternoon and evening that may bring lashing rain and tornadoes, the National Weather service said in a statement.
"A significant severe thunderstorm outbreak is likely for portions of the Midwest this afternoon and evening, especially from eastern Iowa into northern and central Illinois. The threats include tornadoes, a few which may be significant, large to very large hail, and damaging winds", the statement reads.
Tornado warnings are in place for Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa and other states. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued a storm risk map for the midwest.
A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri until 9 PM CDT pic.twitter.com/kOpszN7efR— NWS Tornado (@NWStornado) March 28, 2020
— Josh Fitzpatrick (@JoshFitzWx) March 28, 2020
Some in Illinois have already noticed that the winds rising.
The National Weather Service has issued guidance for severe weather conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, advising those who need community shelter to check status in advance, given the ongoing pandemic.
“At this time, IEMA [Illinois Emergency Management Agency] and the NWS are recommending that your first priority should be to protect yourself from a potential tornado. However, the decision to open a community shelter will ultimately be at the discretion of local officials,” the statement said.
Some tweeted a video of a thunderstorm that they claim happened today in Indiana, at noon.
Amid the global outbreak of coronavirus, the US now has the highest number of confirmed cases, over 115,000 currently, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Globally, the number of cases has eclipsed 600,000 with over 30,000 fatalities.