Derecho to Threaten Nebraska to Illinois With Hurricanelike Wind, Rain

By , Senior Meteorologist
June 4, 2014; 4:07 AM ET
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Play video An expert analysis on the severe weather threat is given in the above AccuWeather.com video.

A major outbreak of severe weather has begun across the central Plains Tuesday afternoon with a possible derecho evolving during the overnight hours.

During the early stage of the severe weather outbreak, individual thunderstorms will bring the risk of large hail, high winds and a few tornadoes to portions of South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa into Tuesday evening.

Thunderstorms have already caused damage in portions of northern Nebraska Tuesday afternoon and continued to strengthen and re-fire during the late-day hours.

Grand Island and Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux City, Iowa, are among the communities facing the large hail, strong wind gust and tornado risk into Tuesday evening.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "Many areas in the swath from southern South Dakota and northern and eastern Nebraska to Iowa may be hit by multiple severe thunderstorms into the first part of Tuesday night."

The potential exists for a far-reaching cluster of violent thunderstorms develop over Nebraska and to track from Iowa to northern Missouri, northeastern Kansas and western Illinois later Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

Such an intense cluster may officially be deemed a derecho.

"The origin of this potential strong line of storms will be in western Nebraska where afternoon thunderstorms will congeal into an intense cluster overnight Tuesday and progress through Iowa and into northern Illinois through Wednesday morning," stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Meteorologist Brian Knopick.

"The threats would be extremely heavy rain with flooding, large hail and wind gusts greater than 70 mph."

Such winds could easily down trees, overturn high-profile vehicles, send unsecured objects airborne and cause some structural damage. Falling trees threaten to cause bodily harm and additional damage to homes and vehicles.

The thunderstorm cluster has the potential to unleash 2 to 4 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, along its path.

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That amount of rain is very likely to trigger flash flooding, as well as cause problems for motorists by unleashing blinding downpours and increasing the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds.

From late in the day Tuesday through early Wednesday morning, the cluster of violent thunderstorms and potential derecho is expected to track in a general west-to-east fashion across Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City and Hannibal, Missouri; Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa; and Peoria and Springfield, Illinois.

Know when the storms will hit by using AccuWeather.com MinuteCast™. It has the minute-by-minute forecast for your exact location. Type your city name, select MinuteCast™, and input your street address. On mobile, you can also use your GPS location.

The northern extent of the thunderstorms will clip Chicago early Wednesday morning, bringing the threat for flooding and headaches for the morning commute. It is possible locally strong winds reach part of Chicagoland as well.

Rain and thunder are forecast to graze Detroit as Wednesday progresses, while severe weather shifts to the Ohio Valley states.

The derecho may continue to advance on Wednesday afternoon across the Ohio Valley. Residents of Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis should prepare for powerful thunderstorms that will remain capable of producing damaging winds, flooding downpours, hail and a few tornadoes.

The rain will be beneficial in the long run to the parts of the central Plains that are in the midst of a drought or have turned abnormally dry.

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