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Severe storms to blast High Plains as week draws to a close

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
August 09, 2019, 11:22:12 PM EDT


The greatest risk of severe thunderstorms across the nation into Friday night will focus over the High Plains from Wyoming and the Dakotas to Colorado and Nebraska.

The greatest threats from the storms are likely to be be high winds, which can gust to 70 mph, as well as hail and flash flooding.

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Motorists traveling along U.S. Routes 83 and 85, as well as interstates 80, 90 and 94, should be on the lookout for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Should a thunderstorm cross your path on the highway, the safest maneuver is to take the nearest exit and wait out the storm. Pulling onto the shoulder of the highway is dangerous as oncoming motorists may not realize you have stopped even if your flashers are on during a downpour.

People spending time outdoors, including ranchers, should be prepared to take cover at the first rumble of thunder.

In addition to the risk of damaging winds and hail, a couple of tornadoes can be spawned in the strongest thunderstorms.

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Cities that may be directly affected by the storms into Friday night include Rapid City and Pierre, South Dakota; Cheyenne, Wyoming; part of the Denver metro area and Scottsbluff and Valentine, Nebraska.

As the weekend progresses, more rounds of severe weather are likely in the same region.

Heavy, gusty and locally severe storms are likely to shift a bit farther east on Saturday over the northern and central Plains.

Sunday may be very active in terms of severe weather with high winds and large hail possibly taking center stage from the eastern slopes of the Rockies to much of the central and northern Plains.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert of severe weather advisories. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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