Tornadoes strike the Plains with more severe weather expected

At least 18 tornadoes were reported on Tuesday.

At least 18 tornadoes were reported across Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma on Tuesday.

More severe weather is expected in the region today, potentially affecting tens of millions of Americans. There were 117 reports of severe weather in the Plains on Tuesday, including softball-sized hail in Kansas and Nebraska.

Since the storm outbreak began Monday, there have been 146 reports of severe weather across Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.

Today, the third day of this severe weather outbreak, the system is expected to ramp up later this afternoon and evening across the Plains. There's a moderate chance of severe weather in northeast Kansas and northern Missouri, including the Kansas City metro area. Strong tornadoes and large hail are possible, as are devastating widespread straight-line winds.

Parts of western Oklahoma into southern Iowa are at an enhanced risk for strong tornadoes, strong winds and large hail. Similar conditions are possible in areas experiencing a slight risk, from central Texas up through Chicago.

Thursday potentially could be the fourth day of this severe weather outbreak, as the area threatened spreads slightly east and may include areas such as Missouri and Iowa. Several tornadoes are possible. A slight risk for severe weather is likely from northern Texas up to southern Wisconsin.

Much of the severe weather is expected to subside as Friday approaches.

Parts of the Midwest and Northeast can look forward to soaring, and perhaps record, temperatures as the week winds down.

Chicago on Tuesday hit 86 degrees, typical there for July. It was the city's warmest open to May in 26 years. Temperatures in the Northeast were 20 to 30 degrees warmer on Tuesday than on Monday, touching 80s in some areas.

Today will be another warm today across parts of the Midwest and Northeast, with highs in the 80s along the Interstate-95 corridor. Thursday and Friday should be even hotter, nearing 90s in some spots.