Severe storm, tornado and flood risk to precede cool push in midwestern US
By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
September 20, 2018, 11:24:58 PM EDT
Ahead of a sweep of October-like air, damaging thunderstorms, including the risk of tornadoes, will march across the midwestern United States into Thursday night.
Storms have rumbled through the Midwest on a daily basis this week, producing isolated incidents of severe weather.
However, Thursday evening’s event is likely to be more robust and widespread, threatening communities from Minnesota and Wisconsin to Kansas.
The storms will feed off of unseasonable warmth and high humidity that will be drawn northward across the region.
“Straight-line wind gusts to 70 mph and flash flooding will be the primary threats with Thursday’s storms, though tornadoes will be possible into the early evening,” said AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Brian Koochel.
While Koochel said the greatest risk of severe weather will be from central portions of Wisconsin to southern Minnesota and Iowa, there will be an isolated risk of violent storms farther south into Nebraska and Kansas.
A small number of thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes may also strike parts of Ohio and western Pennsylvania into Thursday night.
Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota; Eau Claire, La Crosse and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; and Salina, Kansas; are among the communities that could be in the crosshairs of the storms.
Crisp autumn weather to sweep into the Midwest at week's end
7 lightning safety tips if you’re caught outside during a thunderstorm
Is it safe to talk on your cell phone during a thunderstorm?
People are reminded to seek shelter indoors as soon as thunder is heard or lightning is seen.
Motorists will need to be on the lookout for roads blocked by downed trees, power lines or high water. There will be an increased risk of hydroplaning at highway speeds on interstates 29, 35, 70, 80, 90 and 94.
The corridor from southern Minnesota and northern Iowa to southern Wisconsin will face the highest risk of flash flooding due to prior downpours this week.
To the north of the severe weather zone, a swath of drenching rain will bring a localized flood threat from the Dakotas to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Part of this swath could use a thorough soaking due to ongoing drought.
As the soaking rain moves into central Ontario and the severe weather threat wanes prior to reaching Lake Michigan and the mid-Mississippi Valley on Thursday night, focus will then shift to the Northeast at the end of the week.
Koochel expects another round of severe weather to fire up on Friday afternoon across the eastern Great Lakes, western New England and part of the Ohio Valley.
Friday’s storms can contain torrential downpours and wind gusts to 60 mph, which can knock over trees and power lines.
Even a moderate wind gust of 40 mph could be enough to cause tree damage after Florence left the ground saturated early this week.
“The overall threat for tornadoes is quite low, but a couple of brief spin-ups cannot be ruled out before the sun sets,” Koochel said.
The storms will progress to the east-southeast into the evening hours, but they are expected to fall well short of reaching the major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay aware of the threat for severe weather in the coming days and throughout the fall months, which are typically an active time for severe storms.
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
Weather News - March 18, 2019, 5:27:01 PM EDT
The impacts will depend greatly on the track and strength of the storm, which is still yet to develop
Weather News - March 18, 2019, 2:13:49 PM EDT
Flooding will continue in waves and varying degrees of severity over the central United States, including a large part of the Mississippi River, watershed through the spring.
Weather News - March 18, 2019, 1:41:28 PM EDT
Relentless rain, snow and cold hammered the United States during the winter of 2018-2019.
Weather News - March 18, 2019, 12:02:15 PM EDT
Strengthening Tropical Cyclone Trevor will strike the Cape York Peninsula late Tuesday before plowing westward into the Gulf of Carpentaria and then threatening parts of the Northern Territory later this week.
Weather News - March 18, 2019, 2:18:35 PM EDT
After an extended break from storms, a new storm from the Pacific will eye California and much of the Southwest during the middle to latter part of this week.
Weather News - March 18, 2019, 12:00:58 PM EDT
Tropical depression Chedeng organized across the Philippine Sea and will threaten the southern Philippines with flash flooding and gusty winds early this week.
Weather News - March 18, 2019, 2:06:45 PM EDT
The number of fatalities continues to rise as communities remain isolated by devastating flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai.