Nature's Fireworks: Strong Storms for Detroit, Buffalo

July 03, 2012; 6:28 PM
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Lightning was so prolific from thunderstorms across the country on Monday that it became a trending topic on Twitter. This photo, <a href="!/search/lightning/slideshow/photos?">posted to Twitter by @IanMSchwartz</a>, shows lightning from a thunderstorm in Bosque Farms, N.M.

Mother Nature will set off some fireworks of her own the day before the Fourth of July.

In a scene that has become all too familiar across parts of the country over the past week, another round of severe thunderstorms will be on the prowl later today, this time targeting the central and eastern Great Lakes region.

Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and Toronto are among the major cities at risk for a brief, but powerful blast of strong winds, severe enough to cause power outages and knock down trees.

Chicago, though on the western edge of the severe weather threat area, could still have a gusty storm today.

The worst of the storms are expected this afternoon into early tonight, but storms will be ongoing during the morning hours in many areas. Downpours, lightning and gusty winds will greet numerous commuters this morning across the central Great Lakes.

A nearly stationary front that has been the focus for storms over the past several days, including Friday's derecho, will again be the culprit today. In fact, the front will begin to edge north and east, allowing more intense heat and humidity to expand across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic.

The heat and humidity will provide the fuel for the storms, while the front will act as the match.

Following the round of storms that will start the day, meteorologists expect another large complex of thunderstorms to form by late this afternoon over eastern Michigan and southern Ontario.

The storms, which could eventually resemble an outstretched bow, will then advance across lakes Erie and Ontario into northern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and upstate New York through the evening hours.

In addition to the very real possibility of wind damage, storms will contain flooding downpours and frequent lightning. These staples of summertime thunderstorms are dangerous in their own right, without the benefit of wind gusts.

Small hail, probably not large enough to cause damage, is also a possibility.

A real summertime pattern will precipitate the threat of storms across other parts of the nation today as well.

Showers and storms will bubble up throughout the day in a popcorn fashion across the Southeast.

A front emerging into the northern Plains will also have the potential to spark some powerful storms late today into tonight, in cities such as Glasgow, Mont., and Minot, N.D.

Unfortunately for those planning on attending festivities and fireworks, some storms will linger into Independence Day. Those storms in the Northeast, perhaps leftover from tonight's activity, could turn severe.


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