Central US Faces Labor Day Weekend Severe Weather

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
August 30, 2014; 3:10 AM ET
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Play video Weather across the North Central region is detailed in the above AccuWeather.com video.

As a storm system moves out of the northern Rockies this weekend, it will trigger an outbreak of severe weather on Sunday that includes the risk of a few tornadoes in portions of the northern and central Plains to the Upper Midwest.

People will want to stay informed on the situation, especially if they will be attending picnics, fishing trips and other outings.

In addition to the potential for a few tornadoes, many of the storms will bring the full spectrum risk of severe weather, including damaging wind gusts, large hail, frequent lightning strikes and flash flooding.

During the afternoon hours on Sunday, the risk of storms will extend from north-central Kansas to central and northeastern Nebraska to eastern South Dakota and western and central Minnesota.

On Sunday night, the risk of storms will shift farther east and south and will extend from central and eastern Kansas to eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Major cities that can be affected by the storms include Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Minneapolis.

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The tornado threat will be greatest as the severe weather outbreak commences Sunday afternoon, according to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Expert Senior Meteorologist Scott Breit.

"That would be primarily from eastern Nebraska and western Iowa northward into Minnesota."

The tornado danger will evolve into more of a straight-line wind threat overnight Sunday, Breit added.

During Labor Day, the risk of locally heavy, gusty thunderstorms could reach farther east and may impact portions of central Missouri, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.

According to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, "The outbreak of severe weather could rival that of earlier this year, on June 16."

On June 16, there were more than 500 reported incidents of severe weather, including several dozen tornadoes.

"The severe weather will center on the same general area, and we may have a similar count of severe weather incidents, when compared to June 16," Margusity said.

The June 16 outbreak produced locally strong tornadoes, including the deadly twin tornadoes that struck Pilger, Nebraska.

While the setup could yield isolated strong tornadoes, twin tornadoes of the strength that hit Pilger are very rare and are not likely to be repeated during the potential outbreak this weekend.

Prior to Sunday's severe weather outbreak, the front will ignite severe thunderstorms with hail and damaging winds in the vicinity of western North Dakota Saturday afternoon and evening. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out on Saturday as well.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski made contributions to this article

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