Get AccuWeather alerts right in your browser!
Enable Notifications
Rip Current Statement

Lightning, severe weather dangers to plague Midwest, Northeast over the holiday weekend

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 25, 2019, 4:53:46 AM EDT

Rounds of showers and thunderstorms, some of which can turn severe, threaten to spoil festivities across the midwestern and northeastern United States this Memorial Day holiday weekend.

During the early afternoon of Friday, a confirmed tornado was sighted near Ipava, Illinois. Ipava is located to the southwest of Peoria.

(Twitter/James Willinghan)

A shelf cloud on the leading edge of a severe thunderstorm moving into Columbia, Maryland, on Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Arlington County PD)

This road in Arlington, Virginia, is projected to be closed for eight to 12 hours due to damage caused by severe storms on Thursday.


Ominous storm clouds over Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon.


Storm clouds rolling into the Washington, D.C. area on Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Howard County Fire & EMS)

A tree that crashed into a house in Columbia, Maryland, on Thursday afternoon amid severe storms.


A tree blocking traffic in Falls Church, Virginia, in the wake of severe thunderstorms.

(Photo/Arlington County PD)

Power lines blocking a road in Arlington, Virginia.


A large tree that fell near a house in Falls Church, Virginia, during severe thunderstorms on Thursday.


A large tree was uprooted in Washington, D.C. near the Jefferson Memorial on Thursday afternoon amid severe storms.


A large tree branch fell on a house in Falls Church, Virginia. The storms also kicked out the power in the area.


A shelf cloud moving into Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon on the leading edge of a tornado-warned thunderstorm.

(Photo/Arlington Country PD)

A large tree that fell onto a parked car in Arlington, Virginia, during severe storms on Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Garrett Talkington)

A lightning strike seen in Butler County, Pennsylvania, on May 23, 2019.

(Photo/Millville Elementary School)

A lightning strike was caught on a webcam near Millville Elementary School in Millville, Pennsylvania, on May 23, 2019.

"A new round of severe weather is expected later Saturday afternoon into the night from southwestern New York and northwestern Pennsylvania to northern and central Ohio and Indiana and into central Illinois," Sojda said.

AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring the potential for the threat to also expand eastward to around Syracuse, New York, and southward from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis, site of this weekend's Indy 500.

NE severe

"Again, all modes of severe weather will be possible in this region, but hail and damaging winds will be the main threats," Sojda said.

While the worst of the severe weather is expected around the southern Great Lakes, showers and thunderstorms can spread over New England and the mid-Atlantic Saturday afternoon and night.

NE Sun storms

Another round of thunderstorms that may ignite around Iowa and northern Missouri later Saturday may sweep across the lower Midwest states and into the mid-Atlantic Sunday into Sunday night. AccuWeather meteorologists will be monitoring this area for possible flash flooding and severe thunderstorms.

Storm-weary residents of Plains to face more violent weather into Memorial Day weekend
Lightning kills: Which outdoor activity ranks no. 1 for fatal strikes?
Southeastern US to endure lengthy streak with highs nearing 100, challenging records from a century ago
Forecasters closely monitoring the tropics for possible next storm development

The good news for residents and visitors in the eastern Great Lakes and Northeast is that a sweep of dry air may suppress thunderstorm activity on Memorial Day to a narrow corridor in the upper Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic.

Memorial Day

The upper Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes, however, may face yet another bout of rain and thunderstorms threatening to spoil holiday festivities.

Even in the absence of severe weather, anyone with plans over this extended holiday weekend is reminded to seek shelter as soon as thunder is heard to avoid being struck by lightning.

Download the free AccuWeather app to know when thunderstorms are expected in your community. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

Podcast banner for news stories

Report a Typo


Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News