Multiday severe weather threat to unfold over central U.S.

By Andrew Johnson-Levine,

Much of the central United States has experienced a period of calm weather in recent days as deluges drenched areas from the interior Southwest through the Gulf Coast states, including historic rainfall in Dallas.

However, AccuWeather forecasters say that unsettled weather will return to the Plains this weekend with rounds of severe weather.


As is typical in the summer months, a plethora of heat and moisture is present across much of the central U.S., and a disturbance tracking across the country will tap into the warmth and humidity to generate storms.

"With warm and humid air in place, an approaching storm system will lead to a dip in the jet stream, helping provide the final push necessary for these thunderstorms to quickly develop," AccuWeather meteorologist Adam Sadvary explained.

Storms are likely to first develop early on Saturday afternoon across portions of eastern Nebraska, northwestern Iowa and western Minnesota, pushing eastward as the day moves closer to the evening hours.


Cities such as Omaha, Neb., and Minneapolis could face intense thunderstorms on Saturday evening, and those with outdoor plans will want to follow the latest watches and warnings to avoid being caught by surprise by any thunderstorms that move through the area.

Damaging winds will be a primary threat from these storms, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax&trade of 75 mph. Hail will also be a threat in the strongest storms that develop. While a lack of recent heavy rainfall will keep the flood threat from being a major concern, localized flash flooding will be possible in spots that receive multiple rounds of storms in one day, especially in urban areas.

By the time these storms move into Wisconsin and eastern Iowa, on Saturday night they will likely begin to weaken. However, a similar setup will be in store for Sunday, bringing another round of severe weather to areas that are rattled on Saturday.

Storms are likely to develop in two areas during Sunday evening, one centered in northern Illinois and Wisconsin, and another farther west into Iowa and Minnesota. While the threatened area may change, the hazards will remain the same.

"While anywhere in the Chicago area could see thunderstorms Sunday evening and overnight, they aren't especially like to be severe. If somewhere near the city does see a severe storm, it is most likely to be in the northern and western suburbs," Sadvary explained.


Like the day prior, hail and strong wind gusts will be the main threats. However, a couple of tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

"The presence of a strong jet stream dipping down into the area will increase wind shear and might allow for a few tornadoes to develop," AccuWeather Meteorologist Thomas Geiger said.

More storms are predicted to rumble across the central U.S. to kick off the new week with the severe weather potential expanding to include areas from Michigan through the Texas Panhandle.

"Not every location will be hit by these storms. But with such a large area possibly in play, the impacts stand a chance to be greater," Geiger said.

On all three days, storms may be especially impactful to travel as families take advantage of the last weekends of summer. Air travel may be impacted in cities such as Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Oklahoma City, as thunderstorms contribute to travel delays and cancellations.

Travelers that elect to travel by road could also face weather-related disruptions, especially along portions of interstates 25, 55, 70, 80 and 90. Drivers are urged to allow for extra time when driving through poor weather and to never cross through flooded roadways.


Folks waiting for the return of dry conditions will not have to wait too long as thunderstorms are foreseen to clear much of the region by Tuesday and Wednesday.

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