July 3, 2022

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Summer-like heat fuels another Midwest severe weather event

3 min read

The storm system is part of a multiday severe weather event that again places millions of Americans at risk of large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. More than 17 million people need to keep an eye on the sky for rapidly changing weather conditions.

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted an enhanced risk of severe weather, a level 3 of 5, across much of Minnesota, northwest Iowa, eastern Nebraska and the eastern Dakotas. A slight risk (level 2 of 5) surrounds this region and extends south toward Kansas and carries a similar threat while the probability of severe weather is marginally lower.

Some of the larger cities that need to be keenly aware of the severe weather potential include Minneapolis/St. Paul in Minnesota, Omaha in Nebraska, Sioux City in Iowa, and to a lesser extent Des Moines, Iowa. Even though all hazards are on the table, including tornadoes, the greatest risk appears to be damaging straight-line winds and large hail.

“Well-organized severe storms are expected to evolve from the eastern Dakotas and Minnesota southward into the central Plains Thursday,” said the SPC.

Who and when the severe weather strikes is dependent on the evolution of the storm system moving through the Central US.

Timing of storms dependent on two factors

As a warm front lifts northward across the Plains, the sticky air mass that settles in and the daytime heating from the sun will help induce thunderstorm development into the early afternoon hours. If these storms begin to rotate, a tornado could spawn at any time. However, the main event occurs when the trailing cold front sweeps through the region by the evening and overnight hours.

“Thursday will have every ingredient necessary to have significant severe storms in the upper Midwest,” explains CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. “We have near record-breaking heat, high humidity, a warm front, a cold front and an upper level low aligning to make a volatile day.”

Temperatures are forecast to run between 15-25 degrees above average for much of the central US, similar to the heat experienced mid-summer. The Twin Cities, for instance, average a high temperature of 68 degrees; meanwhile the forecast is for the mercury in the thermometer to climb to a stifling 91. A new record will be written in the history books if this happens. This is one of 38 locations forecast to tie or break their daily high temperature records on Thursday.

Weather computer models are in agreement that a strong line of storms will push through eastern Nebraska and South Dakota around dinner time, advancing eastward across Minnesota just after dusk.

Peak of tornado season

According to the Storm Prediction Center, May is statistically, the peak of the US tornado season with the most tornadoes reported of any month. Peak activity across the upper Midwest can extend into late May and even June as the jet stream typically pulls northward later in the spring.
4 tornado safety tips that could save your life

Regardless of statistics and monthly averages, the SPC is able to identify areas that are at greatest risk of severe weather.

Just like the forecast for Thursday, conditions are favorable for severe weather development — but this does not necessarily mean you will experience damaging winds, large hail or tornadoes.

However, it’s best to have a plan in place for you and your family should strong storms threaten. This includes having multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, such as text messages or a NOAA Weather Radio.

2022-05-12 05:52:59

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