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Severe, flooding threats to persist in north-central US into weekend

The Upper Midwest was relatively quiet on Wednesday after spotty severe weather on Tuesday, but AccuWeather meteorologists say that break will be short-lived. A persistent and familiar pattern that has been in place so far this summer has featured excessive heat in the southern Plains and frequent showers and thunderstorms in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest. The heat continued unabated on Wednesday, but there was a brief break in the…

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Tuesday saw some severe weather in the Upper Midwest, but AccuWeather forecasters say the respite will be short-lived.

So far this summer, the southern Plains have been sweltering while the northern Plains and Upper Midwest have been battered by frequent thunderstorms and rain. Despite the sweltering conditions, a brief respite from the storms was seen in the north. However, there were already indications of the next round of storms approaching.

There will be “a dome of high summer heat” over the central and southern Plains for the next few days; “stout and gusty thunderstorms will erupt along the northern rim of that heat,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney predicted.

This year’s wet spring and stormy summer have slashed the drought that had been plaguing the northern Plains. To the south and east, there has been a decrease in the frequency of showers and thunderstorms, allowing drought to continue. These drought-stricken areas may see some relief from the rain, but it comes with the risk of severe weather.

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On Thursday afternoon, a front moving through the Dakotas will set the stage for a severe storm event in the north-central Plains and upper Midwest that will last into Thursday night, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Sadvary.

On Thursday, thunderstorms won’t start to form until after sunset. There will be a few storms forming in eastern North Dakota before they dive south into northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota’s prairies. The storms will grow in size and strength as they move southward.

In addition to damaging wind gusts and heavy rain, “abundant energy in the atmosphere will allow storms to be capable of producing damaging hail and even an isolated tornado,” said Sadvary.

Storms that develop late Thursday night and into Friday are likely to be strong.

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Atmospheric energy will carry a rain-and-thunderstorm system into southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois by Friday morning, according to Sadvary.

Although the storms are expected to continue into Friday, their intensity is expected to decrease.

According to Sadvary, “Most of the remaining storms on Friday are not expected to produce severe impacts, but pockets of heavy rain can cause localized flooding from Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, to Chicago..”

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While the Midwest is unlikely to see widespread thunderstorms on Friday, the focus will shift to the High Plains, where the next thunderstorm complex is expected to develop.

From southern Saskatchewan, Canada, through Wyoming, sporadic thunderstorms will erupt late Friday. When these storms move eastward into the western Dakotas and the Nebraska panhandle on Friday night, they might try to form a more solid line. The main threats will be downpours and damaging wind gusts, but some storms in the northern parts of the threat zone may also contain hail.

This weekend’s extreme weather threat may lessen, but the worst storms may still bring damaging wind and/or hail to the Dakotas.

Rounds of rain and thunderstorms are expected to return to large swaths of the Midwest this weekend, including Minneapolis and St. Louis; Indianapolis and Grand Rapids. Even though rain will become more of a concern, strong thunderstorms can still produce gusty winds and hail.

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By the beginning of next week, the unsettled pattern should have abated for the most part across the region. There may be an exception near the Canadian border, but a drier climate is expected further south.

Temperatures will rise above average, especially in the west, due to a decrease in the likelihood of showers and thunderstorms. Over 100 degrees Fahrenheit is possible as early as Monday in some parts of South Dakota.

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