OKLAHOMA CITY — Thunderstorms developed in central and eastern Oklahoma while western areas of the state face a critical fire danger.

The National Weather Service says thunderstorms with heavy rain began early Tuesday afternoon in southern and eastern Oklahoma and could produce heavy rain and hail in the state.

The storms come less than a week after heavy rains in the state that were blamed for the death of one man who drowned when he drove onto a flooded bridge in eastern Oklahoma and was swept off the roadway.

Meanwhile, near-critical to critical fire weather conditions are expected in western Oklahoma and the Panhandle where extreme drought is occurring.

The weather service says warm temperatures in the region, combined with low humidity and strong winds create the danger of any fire spreading rapidly.

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