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Midwestern US to swelter under sizzling heat as storms prowl across the northern tier

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 19, 2019, 7:33:47 AM EDT

As heat and high humidity combine with intense July sunshine to make for a brutal heat wave from the central Plains to the Ohio Valley, rounds of severe storms will tear across the northern tier of the central United States into this weekend.

In the past, weather patterns such as this have produced long-lived complexes of severe thunderstorms called derechos.

Areas south of the northern Plains and the central Great Lakes will generally not escape the heat wave that will have more than 200 million Americans in the Central and Eastern states broiling in 90-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures or higher through at least Saturday.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will reach 100 or higher over 29 states from Arizona to New England during the multiple-day summer swelter.

Friday RF


In some of the large metro areas such as St. Louis; Chicago; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Kansas City, Missouri; and Omaha, Nebraska; RealFeel Temperatures can reach 110 for a time in the afternoon hours.

As temperatures approach 100 in Chicago Friday and Saturday, daily record highs set as far back as the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s will be challenged.

Saturday RF 3 pm


In the summer swelter, daily record high temperatures will also be challenged in Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee to name a few cities.

Many urban areas from the central Plains to the Ohio Valley will cool at a slow pace at night. By the time the temperature dips to a comfortable level, the sun is already climbing in the sky the next morning. Low temperatures in the heart of some of the major cities may not drop below 80.

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The combination of light winds, heat, sunshine and humidity will result in reduced air quality.

All of these heat-related factors can put stress on people, especially young children, the elderly and those with cardiovascular or respiratory ailments.

More people die due to heat-related illness than any other weather factor.

Weather Fatality Comparison


Be sure to consume non-alcoholic fluids regularly and take breaks from the heat in an air conditioned environment.

Don't forget your pets can suffer in the extreme heat as well. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water and a means to get out of the sun.

Some communities from the northern Plains to the Great Lakes region can expect periodic thunderstorms during the pattern through this weekend.

The storms can pack a punch in some neighborhoods with flooding downpours, damaging wind gusts, hail and frequent lightning strikes.

One such round of storms brought damaging winds to the St. Louis metro area at midweek. A few tornadoes were also reported in northern Minnesota on Wednesday.

Storms drenched Chicago for a time on Thursday.

More storms are anticipated in the swath from the Dakotas to Ohio into Friday night.

severe midwest 7.19 am


The greatest risk for storms capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and even a few tornadoes will be across portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan at week's end.

For those spending time outdoors across the northern tier, be sure to keep an eye out for changing weather conditions. In some cases, the storms can approach in excess of 40 mph.

From late this weekend to early next week, cooler air will bulge southward from Canada across much of the Central and Eastern states.

US Next Week


Temperatures are expected to dip to and perhaps slightly below average for late-July.

Normal highs during mid- to late-July range from the upper 70s across the northern tier to near 90 across the central Plains and the middle Mississippi and Ohio valleys.

Download the free AccuWeather app for more details on temperature trends in your community. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

severe aug17

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