As the summer season officially gets underway, severe thunderstorms will target large sections of the central United States, AccuWeather meteorologists say.
A repetitive storm track from Wyoming and Colorado to northern Minnesota through the end of the week will help to ignite rounds of severe weather across the Plains.
“Multiple waves of energy are forecast to move northeastward along the jet stream, acting as a trigger for thunderstorms to break out this week,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Elizabeth Danco.
The severe weather risk on Wednesday afternoon and into Wednesday night is likely to be the most expansive, with severe thunderstorms possible from North Dakota to central Texas. Residents in major cities like Bismarck, North Dakota, Denver and Lubbock, Texas, could all experience feisty storms.
“These thunderstorms will have an abundance of moisture to work with, as well as sufficient heating, aiding in the development of severe weather,” Danco explained.
Some of the same areas expected to be in the line of severe weather through Wednesday night may get more thunderstorms again on Thursday.
Eastern Wyoming and eastern Colorado on southward to the northern Texas Panhandle can expect another afternoon and evening of thunderstorms.
On both days, large hail and damaging wind gusts will be the main severe weather risks. Flash flooding from heavy downpours will also be a concern, especially as the week progresses with several locations at risk of thunderstorms multiple days in a row.
As is the case with every round of thunderstorms, the risk of lightning could be dangerous for anyone participating in outdoor activities. Downpours will also have the potential to bring reduced visibility, leading to slower travel.
The risks of hail, damaging winds and flash flooding will continue on Friday, and some of the same communities threatened by severe weather earlier in the week could once again be in the line of fire. This includes cities like Rapid City, South Dakota, Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Dodge City, Kansas, in the central Plains.
The biggest difference on Friday is that there will be an increased amount of spin in the atmosphere, which could lead to a greater chance of tornadoes.
“The risk for a tornado or two to spin up will increase late this week, with the best chance on Friday and Saturday,” Danco said.
AccuWeather meteorologists are also warning that there may be a more widespread risk of severe thunderstorms in general on Saturday.
In addition to the risk of isolated tornadoes for communities from the Interstate 94 corridor to Kansas City and the northern suburbs of St. Louis, large hail and damaging wind gusts as high as 80 mph are possible.
For locations farther east, this final day of severe weather could lead to a drastic change in the weather pattern.
Several days of abnormal heat are expected to close out the week in cities like Minneapolis and Omaha, Nebraska. Both locations are forecast to have several days of high temperatures in the 90s F, – about 5-10 degrees above historical average – a feat more typical for the month of July.
After Saturday’s thunderstorms roll through, temperatures are expected to take a nosedive. In Minneapolis, Sunday’s temperatures could struggle to reach the mid-70s. Temperatures are likely to bounce back to the 80s early next week, closer to historical averages for late June.
Edited by Deborah .C. Amirize and Jason Reed