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Spring into summer: Unseasonable heat helps pave way for violent weather

Spring is just beginning, but in many parts of the country it already feels like summer. As a storm moves into especially warm humid air in the center of the country, Texas is under the gun for violent storms.

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The sun rises and cuts through the fog Monday over the marsh at Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina. Tuesday marks the first day of spring.

Steve Jessmore/The Sun News Photo/AP

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The Spring equinox arrives at 1:14 a.m. EDT Tuesday. But for much of the country, 2012 appears to have brought not just a leap day in February, but a leap season in March, with temperatures this month in many parts of the country hitting summertime highs.

With a major storm system moving through the central US, the conditions for violent weather, including tornadoes, are in place.

The potential for the most violent weather, including summer-like “super cell” thunderstorms and tornadoes, is centered in Texas, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. But a tongue-like swath stretching from the Texas Gulf through northwestern North Dakota also faces an elevated risk of tornadoes over the next 24 hours. The possibility of severe thunderstorms spans much of the eastern US.

On Sunday, the storm system triggered severe thunderstorms over the Great Plains, with reports of tornadoes touching down in five communities sprinkled among southern South Dakota, western Nebraska, and western Oklahoma.

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