The storm system that brought severe thunderstorms to parts of the Northwest on Tuesday and the northern Plains on Wednesday will move across the Midwest Thursday and Friday.
Powerhouse thunderstorms on Wednesday produced damaging wind gusts across the Dakotas, especially in South Dakota where hail damaged cars and even some crops.
The focus for strong thunderstorms will shift farther east and south on Thursday, reaching the Upper Midwest and central Plains.
The most intense thunderstorms across the threat areas can contain strong winds, frequent lightning, hail and downpours.
While not all areas will experience severe weather, those that do are at risk for power outages from strong winds and lightning. Downpours could cause urban flooding, especially in low-lying and poor-drainage areas.
Minneapolis; Omaha, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Mo.; and Wichita, Kan.; are among the larger cities that will be affected on Thursday.
During Thursday night, the risk of strong thunderstorms will shift into the Great Lakes region and southwestward into the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio valleys. Chicago and Milwaukee, Wis., are most likely to be hit by the storms Thursday night.
Louisville, Ky., St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cincinnati could be affected by strong thunderstorms on Friday.
There were locally drenching showers and thunderstorms occurring well ahead of the zone of severe weather Thursday over the Midwest. These were affecting parts of Indiana and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan to name a couple of areas.
Soil moisture is quite low in the Plains and Midwest, thus the ground will be able to absorb a reasonable amount of rain over time.
However, some storms could dump too much rain too fast. In that situation, the water is more apt to run off. Some storm drains may not be able to handle the excess water.
With the recent dry weather, the rain will certainly be welcome for some. However, farmers in the Plains and Midwest will face challenges determining the best time to harvest their crops.
The rain will certainly help to minimize the dust the equipment tends to kick up. However, too much rain in a particular location can cause problems if the fields become too muddy.
High school football will take center stage on Friday night at hundreds of schools across the Great Lakes and Midwest. School administrators should pay close attention to the weather and advise the teams and spectators to seek shelter from the outdoors if thunderstorms approach.
In addition to being located in an open area, metal bleachers and the tall stadium lights make high school stadiums vulnerable to lightning strikes.
Written by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mike Doll.
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