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    Hail, Gusty Winds From Lubbock to Kansas City

    By Dan DePodwin, Meteorologist
    September 6, 2012; 3:20 AM ET
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    Shelf cloud at sunrise over Bloomington, Ill. Courtesy of AccuFan Ken Griffin. Taken Sept. 5, 2012.

    The first in a string of stormy days for the eastern half of the nation is expected to begin later this afternoon across the central Plains. A potent disturbance digging into the nation's heartland will trigger spotty, strong thunderstorms toward evening.

    Although the coverage area of these storms will be spotty, any thunderstorm can bring damaging winds and large hail. As with any thunderstorm, drenching, blinding rainfall is possible as well as lightning. If traveling, never drive through a flooded roadways and slow down when you encounter torrential rainfall.

    Residents from Lubbock, Texas, to Wichita, Kan., should keep an eye to the sky this afternoon for potentially nasty weather. Later tonight, the severe threat shifts north and east into places such as Springfield and Kansas City, Mo.

    The damaging winds from these storms can topple trees and power lines while hail can damage cars and housing.

    By tomorrow, drier and cooler weather is expected to rush into the region on brisk northerly winds. This will make for a refreshingly cool week's end.

    Farther east, however, the potent disturbance and associated cold front will spark stormy, wet conditions in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys by Friday and Saturday.

    On the northern side of this storm, a swath of rain will promote wet conditions for northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan tonight.

    This moisture-laden, powerful storm system is just a precursor of fall storms to come this season. As we move into autumn, the jet stream dips farther south, allowing strong disturbances to sweep through the nation.

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