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Hail, strong winds may be heading to region Tuesday

Much of Faulkner County is placed in a marginal risk for severe weather Tuesday, with the main threats being hail and potentially damaging winds.

The National Weather Service of Little Rock places the weather as entering the region in the mid-afternoon and evening hours Tuesday. 

Portions of western and northern Arkansas are placed at a higher severe weather risk, including Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Mena and Mountain Home. 

A cold front approaching Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri is expected to bring the threat of severe weather — less than a week after meteorologists reported no tornadoes in the United States thus far in March.

"It does look like the weather patterns are going to become a bit more active around midweek in the central United States," said Corey Mead, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center in Norman.

Mead said a cold front was expected to push strong storms through southeastern Kansas starting late Monday, then into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri on Tuesday. The most likely threat could be hail of up to two inches or more in diameter and damaging straight-line winds of 60 mph or more.

On Wednesday, he said, the threat of severe storms will expand into the southern Plains.

Mead added that the system could also spawn a tornado.

"The overall pattern is not going to be ideal for a number of tornadoes, but a tornado or two cannot be ruled out," Mead said. March is when tornado season often begins ramping up for parts of the country.

Mead said it was too early to predict the strength of any tornado that might develop.

High temperatures, which approached 80 degrees Monday in the region, were expected to fall into the 50s by Wednesday and Thursday with overnight lows near or below freezing by Friday night from northeastern Oklahoma through central and northeastern Arkansas, according to the National Weather Service.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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