Wild Plains Weather: Winds, Fires, Dust and Thunderstorms

October 6, 2011; 5:27 AM ET
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Wild weather will finish this week over parts of the Plains with some areas being hit by high winds, wildfires, blowing dust and severe thunderstorms spanning today into Saturday.

The Great Plains will be in the middle of an atmospheric battle zone the next few days as pumped-up warm air in place tries to hold off a push of cooler air invading the West.

High winds, converging winds and swirling winds will be the root of the trouble.

Wildfires

Pre-existing dry conditions combined with the warmth and strong winds will fan the flames of existing fires and could lead to the the rapid spread of new blazes from Texas to Minnesota.

Meteorologist Brian Edward explains that higher humidity will push into some areas today, lowering the threat level a bit from Wednesday.

"Even a few showers and thunderstorms will move into the region [today]," Edwards explained.

Severe Thunderstorms

The showers and thunderstorms will not hit everywhere on the Plains, as many folks in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and parts of other states have grown accustomed to for months. However, areas that do get hit by thunderstorms could be really slammed.

This week could come to an end with the first multiple-state severe weather outbreak for the Plains during the first part of the summer.

The outbreak will feature thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts. However, some of the storms can also produce large hail and even a tornado.

The first round of severe thunderstorms will rumble late this afternoon and evening from western Texas to western South Dakota. The violent thunderstorms will be most numerous across the northern half of this zone.

The severe weather threat will bow out farther east over the central and northern Plains on Friday, while hanging back to the west farther south.

Nasty thunderstorms will erupt over parts of Minnesota to eastern Nebraska and central Kansas to the Texas Panhandle Friday afternoon and evening. The localized severe weather coming to the northern Plains late this week will precede what appears to be a rough winter for some areas in terms of cold and snow.

During the weekend, it is possible storms will continue to congregate farther east in a narrow zone over western parts of Texas and Oklahoma. While this may continue the severe weather risk, it could also present an opportunity for needed rainfall in an area that so desperately needs it. For part of the area, it is winter wheat planting time.

Blowing Dust

According to the AccuWeather.com Winter 2011-2012 forecast, the bulk of the storms will tend to track north of the Southwest and well east of Texas. This would put these areas in a zone of little precipitation and episodes of high winds and blowing dust for months to come.

During Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 4, 2011, a blinding dust storm contributed to a fatal multiple-vehicle accident along Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix.

The core of the strong winds will be centered east of the Arizona deserts today, threatening to kick up blowing dust across New Mexico and the southern High Plains.

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