CHICAGO (Reuters) - Severe storms with thunder, hail, snow and possibly tornadoes were expected to strike the Midwest and South on Tuesday, including towns still staggering from last week's deadly weather, forecasters said.
At least 45 people were killed across the southern United States in three days of storms last week, nearly half of them in North Carolina alone, the highest storms-related death toll in more than three years.
"Unfortunately, some of those towns could be struck by strong storms this week," Accuweather.com meteorologist Bill Deger said.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were underway from Chicago south, with some of the direst predictions for St. Louis, where "ping-pong sized hail" was expected later Tuesday and into the night, Accuweather.com meteorologists said.
Through Tuesday afternoon, rain and thunderstorms were expected to be "fairly widespread" from Arkansas through to Cleveland, Ohio, spreading to northern Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee overnight, weather.com said.
Little Rock, Arkansas, Springfield, Missouri, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Nashville, Tennessee, also were at "especially high risk" for severe storms, Accuweather.com said.
Many of the storms will produce strong gusts, driving downpours, lightning strikes, large hail and possibly a "few" tornadoes, Accuweather.com said.
Farther north, wet heavy snow of up to 7 inches was expected in a band from northern Iowa, through southeast Minnesota, across from southeast to northeast Wisconsin and into Michigan's Upper Peninsula into Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
South central North Dakota received some snow on Tuesday and the National Weather Service was forecasting wet and heavy snow for southwestern North Dakota.
Flooding is widespread in North Dakota as snow slowly melts on ground saturated from last year's rains. It is most severe in the Red River Valley, which extends into Minnesota.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg, Rod Nickel and David Bailey; Editing by Jerry Norton)