Severe weather outbreak could erupt in Central US
AccuWeather forecasters say energy associated with a bomb cyclone in the West will reach the central U.S. this weekend and help trigger damaging thunderstorms in areas such as Little Rock, Kansas City and St. Louis.
Storm systems hit both the Northwest and the north-central U.S. on Oct. 20, with heavy rain, wind and fall lightning.
Warmer air flowing back into the central United States will help set the table for a potential severe weather outbreak this weekend, AccuWeather forecasters say.
Forecasters say the first risk of severe weather may develop on Saturday night as an area of low pressure begins to develop in western Kansas. This storm system represents a piece of the Pacific storm train that will be responsible for inches of rain and feet of high country snow in the West Coast states.
Warmer air moving northward will be a focus for showers and thunderstorms to develop Saturday night. The most likely location for any severe weather at this time will be just north of the warm and cool air boundary. Some hail will be possible with the strongest storms in portions of Kansas and Missouri. In lieu of severe weather, some people may have difficulty sleeping where bright flashes of lightning and loud thunder persist.
On Saturday afternoon, The TDECU Stadium at the University of Houston had to be delayed and evacuated during the football game between the Houston Cougars and the East Carolina Pirates due to lightning in the area, according to Houston Chronicle reporter Joseph Duarte. Later in the afternoon, the game was able to proceed.
The main risk of severe weather is expected to unfold on Sunday as the low pressure area strengthens.
"Rain and thunderstorms are likely to push across portions of South Dakota, southern Iowa, Illinois and Indiana on Sunday before stronger storms erupt to the south," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer.
Those storms to the south are likely to develop along a cold front. The energy arriving from the west combined with the front will lead to explosive thunderstorm development by Sunday afternoon.
Nearly 7 million residents live in an area outlined by the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center as an enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms on Sunday and Sunday night. In total, nearly 30 million in the Central states are at risk for some form of severe weather during the latter part of the weekend.
As opposed to any storms on Saturday night which will largely bring a threat for hail, multiple hazards will be present on Sunday afternoon and Sunday night.
"Many of the storms can pose risks such as flash flooding, large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes," said Smithmyer.
"Tornadoes could be numerous Sunday afternoon and evening, with the potential for some of the tornadoes to be quite powerful and long-lasting," warned AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Feerick.
Since these storms will continue into the overnight hours as they progress eastward, forecasters say residents will want to make sure that they have a way to be alerted during the night in case a warning is issued for their location.
Just north of the severe thunderstorm threat, heavy rain is in store from Saturday night to Sunday night from portions of Iowa to northern Missouri, northern Illinois and northern Indiana. In this zone, repeated rounds of heavy rain and rumbles of thunder are expected to track from west to east.
Rainfall in this zone is forecast to be around 2-4 inches with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches possible where heavy downpours and even some thunderstorms are particularly persistent.
"While there will be a lot of focus on severe thunderstorms and the threat for tornadoes on Sunday, flooding will also be a risk that should not be ignored," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda.
Travel on Interstates 80 and 90 and in places in between could be difficult Sunday and Sunday night as drenching rain and at time torrential downpours greatly reduce visibility, cause ponding on roadways and increase the risk for hydroplaning at high speeds.
Those traveling around places like Chicago and Detroit Sunday evening and night may see some delays as well as drenching rain reduces visibility and could cause some standing water on roadways. This could continue into the Monday morning commute in both places.
Along with carrying an umbrella, residents in areas that receive this drenching rain will also want to bundle up. High pressure north of the storm in Canada will provide a flow of chilly air southward into the Midwest. Temperatures for many will feel more like mid- to late November, especially when combined with the clouds and rain.
It could become chilly enough for some wet snowflakes to mix in with rain across northeastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin and northwest Illinois Sunday and Sunday night.
Showers and thunderstorms will continue to progress eastward Monday.
“Even though the scope of severe weather is likely to be less extensive on Monday when compared to Sunday, there is still the risk of some storms packing high winds and flash flooding in areas from the central and southern Appalachians to part of the Atlantic Seaboard as the storm progresses eastward,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
The main dip in the jet stream responsible for the barrage of storms in the West is forecast to move into the Plains by Tuesday and may cause severe weather to unfold farther to the west over the Central states.
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