The northern periphery of a building heat bubble stretching from the Plains to the Deep South and Eastern Seaboard will become the focus for showers and thunderstorms into the weekend.
Many of the storms will interrupt hot, humid days and warm, muggy nights with sudden downpours and blasts of strong winds.
The area at risk for these storms, which will tend to organize into complexes and move east then southeast, will extend from the central Plains to the Great Lakes and into the mid-Atlantic.
This area generally represents the northern extent of the intense, record-setting heat dome expected to persist through the weekend.
Many times, thunderstorms like these form and move along the edges of the dome of heat, thus the phrase "ring of fire."
Today, storms expected to form over Nebraska and Iowa will head toward Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit later in the day, with both cities expecting to challenge record high temperatures.
Thunderstorms today will tend to move along the northern boundary of the worst heat from the Plains to the Great Lakes and eventually into the mid-Atlantic at night (not pictured).
Toward and after dark, cities such as Cleveland, Buffalo and Erie will be under the gun for some strong storms as a batch of storms slides out of southern Ontario and across the eastern Great Lakes.
Thereafter, the activity will eventually advance through upstate New York and the Keystone State to the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston, early in the morning, making for a hairy proposition for morning commuters.
Farther west, the process will likely already begin repeating itself as the ring of fire stays active, with more batches of storms expected to form and push through the Rust Belt corridor at times into the weekend.
To meteorologists, this presents a unique challenge to making an accurate forecast. The placement, size, speed and direction of the thunderstorm complexes could throw monkey wrenches into what otherwise would be easier hot and sunny forecasts.
If the storms pass through your location in the afternoon, temperatures forecast to reach records may not come to fruition.
For most who don't particularly care about the exact temperature when it already is hot, it will just seem like a prototypical summer forecast, because it is "hazy, hot and humid with a shower or thunderstorm."
Still, any threat for thunderstorms should not be taken lightly. Please stay alert when you're cooling off in the lake or pool, and be ready to head indoors at the first sign of lightning.
As the heat bubble maintains itself into the weekend, the ring of fire will remain activated as thunderstorms continue to fire then move south and east periodically.
Severe thunderstorms with the risk of a few tornadoes will advance eastward across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest into Friday.
A dangerous outbreak of severe storms will strike the northern High Plains and Canadian Prairies on Wednesday.
Join us on Thursday for AccuWeather LIVE as we will discuss the debate of climate change and hurricane frequency and the top five things you need to know about summer weather.
A hot and humid weekend is shaping up for Chicagoland just in time for the official start of summer, while severe thunderstorms fire nearby to the north.
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A tornado touched down at Denver International Airport as a severe weather system moved through the area.
Southeast China (1932)
Hailstorm in Hunan Province killed 20 people and injured thousands of others.
New Brunswick, NJ (1835)
Great New Brunswick Tornado; 5 dead, 17-mile path through the center of town; in all, 145 buildings were damaged. This is the worst tornado catastrophe in New Jersey history to date.
3-4" rains common across the state.