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Life-threatening severe storm clusters to repeat over central US during first few days of summer

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 22, 2019, 3:17:27 PM EDT

Severe thunderstorms will repeat across portions of the Plains and the Mississippi and Ohio valleys through Sunday and pose a significant risk to lives and property during the first few official days of summer 2019.

For some communities, this weekend will bring the second or third consecutive round of severe weather.

The main threats will be from high wind gusts, flash flooding and frequent lightning strikes.

Thunderstorm photo generic

Rainfall of 1-3 inches can occur in an hour's time in some communities. Rainfall of this intensity is enough to flood city streets and cause small streams to rapidly rise and spill out of their banks.

In some cases, hail and/or isolated tornadoes are also anticipated.

Large complexes of severe thunderstorms are likely to form with the weather pattern through Sunday.

One such complex developed near the border of Kansas and Nebraska on Thursday night, continued to plow along into Iowa and Missouri during the midday hours on Friday and advanced through the southern Appalachians on Friday night. At least three fatalities have been reported amid the storm's lifespan.

As storms rolled through Kansas City, Missouri, during Friday morning rush hour, there were several reports of hail, wind damage, power outages and flooded streets.

Multiple motorists became stuck in rising waters and had to be rescued, according to the Kansas City Fire Department.

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Another complex of heavy rain and thunderstorms led to numerous city roads being flooded in Harrisburg, Illinois, on Saturday afternoon.

More severe thunderstorms and thunderstorm complexes will riddle Colorado, northern Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana, as well as other states this weekend, including during the late-night and early-morning hours.

Some of the complexes that originate in these states can dive southeastward into the Tennessee Valley and Southeast.

Through Saturday night, the greatest threats of severe thunderstorms will extend from north-central Texas and eastern Colorado to Iowa and northwestern Illinois.

Sat night June 22

The risk of severe weather on Sunday can reach even farther from northern Texas and include parts of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, much of Indiana and southern Wisconsin.

On Sunday, the threat of severe weather is forecast to include many major cities in the Central states, including Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis.

Severe Sunday Central

As with the storms from Friday, the full spectrum of severe weather can occur with the strongest storms likely to produce frequent lightning strikes, wind gust to near 80 mph, hail, flash flooding and isolated tornadoes this weekend.

Just because a particular location gets hit with a severe thunderstorm on one day does not mean they should be considered to be in the clear for the rest of the weekend.

The pattern can bring multiple thunderstorms to same locations on a daily basis through this weekend and could bring more than one severe thunderstorm per day.

With the severe weather occurring through this weekend, which happens to be the first official weekend of summer 2019, people may need to alter their plans and should anticipate travel delays.

Some motorists may have to detour to avoid flooded roadways.

Remember to move indoors at the first rumble of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are at risk for being struck by lightning.

Why are so many repeating severe thunderstorms in the same area?

The forward speed of large storm systems and high pressure areas is slowing down this weekend.

The atmospheric traffic jam that will bring multiple days of dry weather in the Northeast will only permit a large storm from the northern Rockies to crawl eastward.

"The storm in the Northwest, with its chilly air, is clashing with surging warmth and moisture over the Central states," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

"Meanwhile, aloft, the jet stream is getting bunched up and is first bulging northward over the region but will dip southward later this weekend," Anderson said.

The bunching-up process is causing the air to rise and form thunderstorms in a vigorous fashion in multiple rounds.

Pattern shift next week 6.22

Next week, a northward shift in the jet stream is expected to give the central and southern Plains a break from daily severe storms.

However, this pattern change will put the northern Plains and Upper Midwest in the corridor at risk for frequent storms and bouts of severe weather.

Download the free AccuWeather app for your local forecast, including severe weather watches and warnings. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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