TODAY   |  May 19, 2013

Plains states brace for tornadoes

A severe weather outbreak is expected as the threat of tornadoes ramped up Sunday, and metropolitan areas from the Twin Cities of Minnesota to Dallas, Tex., were warned they could be affected. The Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes reports, with a weather update from TODAY’s Dylan Dreyer.

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>>> we want to turn to the severe weather very likely across the nation's midsection. roughly 35 million people potentially at risk. the weather channel 's mike bettis is chasing the storms today. he was on hand saturday when a big twister touched down in kansas . he's there live with more. mike, good morning.

>> reporter: lester , good morning to you. it was quite a scene that unfolded yesterday here in tornado alley , as a barrage of twisters touched down. we happened to be chasing yesterday afternoon with the weather channel 's tornado expert dr. greg forbes , and trust me when i tell you our view was up close and in person.

>> oh, it's right over us, but we can still see, it's in contact with the ground farther off to the northeast.

>> this is a one of a kind view. absolutely amazing. we're probably about, i'd say, half a mile or less from it. very close to you. the top of the storm --

>> wow.

>> -- very close to --

>> look right up there --

>> oh, yeah, the top -- the top of the tornado is less than a half mile -- from us. it's almost right overhead.

>> reporter: oh, it was an amazing view. believe it or not, as that tornado dissipated, we literally turned around, and less than 300 yards from us, another tornado racing across the wheat field in kansas . that one did very little damage, as most of the tornados did yesterday. three in all, from the same individual supercell thunderstorm. we can report that they did knock down power lines , did damage one home, have to report that the okay pant occupants made it out okay. an amazing view in kansas . the tornado threat ramp the up again today, and today could be one of the most violent tornado days we've had all day long in the u.s., and major metropolitan areas could be impacted. lester , we know from the twin cities , minneapolis, minnesota, all the way down to dallas, texas, we need to be on alert. of course, we'll be on top of it for you throughout the afternoon. lester , back to you.

>> incredible mans you shared with us, mike. i know you guys know what you're doing, but i'm compelled to say be careful out there, all right?

>> reporter: all right.