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Severe Thunderstorms Threaten Central US Amid Heat Wave

Torrential downpours, damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes expected as storms move across Midwest and Great Lakes.

Rounds of thunderstorms, including some that will turn severe, will rumble through parts of the central United States into the middle of the week along the edge of a tremendous dome of heat, according to AccuWeather forecasters.

The storms, which will erupt Tuesday in the central and northern Plains before moving into and across the Midwest and Great Lakes region Wednesday, can pack torrential downpours, damaging wind gusts, hail and even isolated tornadoes.

The thunderstorms will feed off the heat in many areas and travel along a corridor where the warmth interfaces with cooler air trying to move south from Canada. Some of the storms could survive across multiple states for hundreds of miles as they form and move to the east-southeast through midweek.

Severe weather will be a possibility across a large portion of the Plains from Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night. This includes areas from eastern Colorado to the Dakotas and Minnesota, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

“A volatile environment rife with atmospheric energy and moisture will allow storms to pop up later Tuesday,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Haley Taylor. “Those storms will have the potential to produce localized damaging wind gusts to 65 mph, as well as hail and isolated tornadoes.”

A portion of this area experienced damage from thunderstorms to start the week Monday. Wind gusts as high as 68 mph were reported from Colorado to South Dakota, according to the National Weather Service.

The cities at risk for a damaging thunderstorm into Tuesday night include Bismarck, Grand Forks, Omaha and Sioux Falls, along with portions of interstates 29, 70, 80, 90 and 94.

“Travelers should be prepared for hazardous conditions, especially during the nighttime hours” added Taylor. “Downpours can limit visibility and cause ponding on some roadways.”

Taylor points out that, depending on where storms initially set up, they could reach as far east as the Twin Cities metropolitan area late Tuesday night. Storms in this area also turned severe Monday, producing damaging wind gusts and hail.

Some thunderstorms that form and wreak havoc in the Plains Tuesday can survive into Wednesday as they move across the Midwest and toward the Great Lakes, according to AccuWeather forecasters.

The area where there’s at least ‘some’ risk for severe thunderstorms from Wednesday into Wednesday night extends across at least six states from eastern Iowa and Illinois to Ohio and Michigan. A smaller area in the middle of that zone has been given a ‘moderate’ risk for feisty storms. ACCUWEATHER/GETTY IMAGES 

“The highest risk area for midweek extends across central and southern lower Michigan, where most of the atmospheric energy is expected to be,” said Taylor. “This energy could translate into storms with damaging wind gusts, hail and even a tornado or two.”

Chicago and Detroit are included in that higher risk zone where thunderstorms will interrupt very warm and humid days with temperatures well into the 80s and even near 90. Residents in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis and Milwaukee will also be at risk of severe storms.

Travelers on portions of interstates 55, 70, 75, 80 and 90 will have to slow down when encountering heavy thunderstorms since driving could become dangerous for a time, forecasters say.

The severe weather threat will not wane as storms track farther east into Thursday. Parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where severe weather is expected Tuesday, will again see a risk later this week.

The “train” of thunderstorms will roll on later this week, as additional rounds of storms that are expected to develop in the time frame from Thursday to Saturday could again turn severe, AccuWeather meteorologists warn.

Behind the thunderstorms and cold front, a much more refreshing air mass will bring some heat relief to millions across the northern U.S. into next week. ACCUWEATHER/GETTY IMAGES 

These storms, this time in association with a strong cold front dropping south from Canada, will first impact parts of the Plains and Midwest Thursday from Colorado to Wisconsin before again venturing through the Midwest, Great Lakes and even parts of the Northeast heading into next weekend.

Behind the thunderstorms and cold front, a much more refreshing air mass will bring some heat relief to millions across the northern U.S. into next week.

“Parts of the northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast should experience much more comfortable conditions by next week,” said Taylor. “The cold front bringing this relief from the heat will also push moisture farther south, ending the threat for storms for several days.”

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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