Summerlike warmth and record-breaking heat kicked off the week, but by midweek, powerful storms rumbled across the Central U.S., bringing baseball-sized hail, short-lived tornadoes and even heavy snowfall to some areas. On Tuesday, in Concordia, Kansas, temperatures reached 99 degrees Fahrenheit, shattering the 127-year old record set in 1887. Wichita, Kansas, also broke a 119 year old record of 93 F by seeing temperatures three degrees higher.
Medicine Lodge broke a record high with temperatures reaching 103 F; Dodge City and Garden City also broke records with highs of 96 F. Temperatures hit a scorching 102 F in Childress, Texas.
By Wednesday evening, however, violent thunderstorms began firing across portions of the Plains bringing baseball-sized hail, damaging wind gusts of 80 mph and a few tornadoes to the region.
There were more than 200 preliminary reports of hail Wednesday from Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas. Short-lived tornadoes were also reported in Washington and Phillips counties in Colorado.
In Chillicothe, Missouri, a farmer would witness a whirling vortex of fire Wednesday. The whirling "fire-devil" was spawned when the active fire is swept upwards by strong winds, creating a vortex.
Late Wednesday night, a magnitude-3.3 earthquake's epicenter was reported just outside Cudahy, California. No damage or injuries were reported.
The Aurora Borealis would also be visible in northeastern Montana early Thursday morning, according to the Montana Department of Transportation.
Thunderstorms would continue into Thursday from Texas to Minnesota, but heavy snowfall would also follow for some areas. A tornado was reported in Blue Earth County, Minnesota, according to NWS. Several preliminary tornado reports also were made in Lincoln County, Colorado.
Areas near Rushville, Nebraska, saw high temperatures in the 70s on Monday, but would be slammed 10 inches of snowfall by Thursday afternoon.
In Shannon County, South Dakota, heavy snowfall totaling 15 inches was reported by an NWS trained spotter Thursday evening.
Not all areas were slammed with snowfall; Thursday was the warmest day Chicago had seen since September 11, 2013, reaching a high of 86 F by early afternoon.
By Friday, the widespread severe weather from Thursday had subsided, but areas in Texas and the Mississippi Delta were experiencing heavy rain, bringing the risk of flash flooding and isolated storms with damaging winds and hail.
"Thunderstorms will weaken overnight from the Ohio Valley to the northwest Gulf Coast, but the risk of isolated flash flooding problems will continue," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "Downpours on Saturday from the Northeast to the central Gulf coast could disrupt outdoor activities ranging from baseball games to weddings and graduations."
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