Powerful Storm to Bring Winds, T-Storms, Flooding to the Plains, Midwest

By Michael Doll, Meteorologist
October 12, 2013; 4:40 AM ET
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Play video See the above video for a detailed forecast for the north-central U.S.

A strong storm system crossing the northern Plains Friday with bring thunderstorms, flooding rain and powerful winds with it.

This same system moved into the Rockies Thursday and helped spark a line of severe thunderstorms late in the day from western Nebraska to the Texas Panhandle.

In addition, high winds developed early Friday morning with gusts in excess of 80 mph west and northwest of Denver, Colo., causing more than 10,000 customers to lose power.

Rain will be heavy at times across the western Dakotas and south-central Canada where 1 to 2.5 inches of rain is likely through Friday night.

The ground is already fairly saturated in western South Dakota due to snowmelt. A blizzard late last week dumped 1 to 4 feet of snow on that area and warmer temperatures this past week has caused most of the snow cover to vanish.

Rain that falls is likely to runoff since the ground cannot absorb much water. This will cause area creeks and streams to fill with water and rise, potentially flooding low land areas.

Some locations that are in the threat area include Rapid City, S.D., and Dickinson and Williston, N.D.

On the west side of a powerful low pressure system, west to northwest winds will gust 50 to 65 mph across the High Plains from North Dakota to southeastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.

More Snow Targets Colorado, Wyoming Into Friday
North Central Regional Weather Radar
U.S. Watches & Warnings

High-profile vehicles will get buffeted by the winds, and driving can become difficult at times. This will especially be the case on north-south oriented roads, like I-25 in southeastern Wyoming and Highway 85 from Cheyenne, Wyo., to western North Dakota.

The wind-driven rain will reduce visibility and also create challenging driving conditions.

Southerly winds will be brisk ahead of a cold front associated with this system across the central Plains and parts of the Midwest Friday afternoon and evening.

Wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph will impact Minneapolis, Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, S.D. Drivers of high-profile vehicles may find travel on west-east oriented roads challenging, especially on Interstates 80 and 90.

Thunderstorms are expected to break out Friday afternoon into Friday evening from the lower Missouri Valley northward to the Red River Valley. Some of the storms across the eastern Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota can contain strong winds and downpours.

Sporadic power outages may occur due to the thunderstorm winds and lightning.

In addition, between the gusty winds and thunderstorms, air travelers should be prepared for flight delays.

As the storm system moves northward into Canada, cooler air will settle over the Plains and Midwest on Saturday. The winds will still be brisk across parts of the Plains and Midwest with gusts between 30 to 40 mph.

The winds will subside across those regions by Saturday night.


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