Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis among 44 million at risk of severe weather from powerful cross-country storm

 The incoming strong to severe storms will be capable of producing large hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes.

- A powerful cross-country storm is expected to hit the US with heavy mountain snowfall in the West late Sunday, but as the storm moves east, it will bring the threat of severe weather to major cities in the Midwest. St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis through Tuesday.

The incoming strong to severe storms will be capable of producing large hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes.

"The central part of our country will be bracing for severe weather as this cross-country storm moves east," said Fox Meteorologist Kendall Smith.

By Sunday, the threat of severe weather is expected to last mostly through Tuesday, a change from earlier over the weekend.

Initially, there was also a threat of severe weather on Wednesday, but NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has downgraded the threat for that day.

"That's why it's so important to be out there so many days if there's a major thing that we can see coming that you just keep watching," Fox Weather meteorologist Jen Minar said. "Because, in that sense, it's a good thing that we've seen a decline in the threat of severe weather in some cities like Birmingham, Alabama, (and) Nashville, Tennessee."

However, this is not the case for cities like Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

More than 44 million people are at risk from parts of the mid-Mississippi Valley through the southwestern Great Lakes as the severe storm hits Tuesday.

However, the SPC placed more than 25 million people from eastern Missouri to southern Michigan at Level 2 on its 5-point severe storm risk scale.

Those at risk in this level 2 of 5 include the cities of Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis, as well as Peoria and Springfield in Illinois and Fort Wayne in Indiana.

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And while the risk is not currently as high, only at the 1 out of 5 level, severe storms are possible from northern Arkansas southward through Detroit and Saginaw in Michigan.

Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland in Ohio may also experience some severe storms late Tuesday night.

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