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Rounds of severe weather to charge through northern Plains

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 2 days ago Nicole LoBiondo

Dry and cooler air has settled across the northern Plains after a cold front replaced the recent spell of record-challenging heat, but the tranquil weather pattern will be short-lived as the threat of severe weather is expected to spark thunderstorms to end the week.

AccuWeather meteorologists warn that there will be multiple days where severe weather will largely occur overnight, elevating the threat even more as many residents will be sleeping when storms are expected to roll through the region.

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The Upper Midwest and northern Plains have been able to enjoy comfortable and dry conditions over the past couple of days since the last round of severe storms rolled through the area on Monday. From North Dakota to Minnesota and into Nebraska, there were over 170 damaging wind reports, almost 40 reports of hail and three tornado reports.

These same areas are expected to be in the path of yet another round or two of severe weather to end the week as temperatures and humidity levels rise due to the expansion of a heat dome that has sent the mercury to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the southern U.S. this week.


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Cities such as Fargo, North Dakota, and Minneapolis are set to challenge daily records as temperatures soar into the mid- to upper 90s F on Thursday afternoon. The long-standing record high in Fargo for Thursday is 96 F which was set in 1898. This is a dramatic change for the region as temperatures were in the low 80s on Wednesday.

"Highs on Friday across the northern Plains will be as much 6-12 degrees above average with plenty of humidity," AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex Dasilva stated.

The resurgence of heat in addition to higher humidity will be just a few of the ingredients that could aid in the development of thunderstorms through the end of the week.

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The first round of severe weather will spark thunderstorms through Thursday night as two pieces of energy move across the northern Plains.

One piece of energy could move across the border between Nebraska and Kansas, with storms drifting into northwestern Kansas, while the second piece of energy could move from eastern South Dakota into Minnesota.

Each piece of energy is expected to bring feisty storms to the region where flooding downpours, hail, damaging winds and even an isolated tornado are possible.

Even storms that are not severe can still pose a danger. On Wednesday, a lightning strike from a non-severe storm killed a woman and two dogs in Southern California as storms tracked over the region.

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"The northern Plains and Upper Midwest will once again face a threat of severe weather on Friday where residents around Fargo, North Dakota, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, could deal with a round of potentially damaging thunderstorms," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

By Friday afternoon, the threat of severe storms is expected to remain in this same region of the country from northern Minnesota to southern Nebraska. Storms are anticipated to be more organized in this part of the central U.S.

Any strong storm on Friday afternoon through Friday night could feature large hail, wind gusts potentially nearing the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 90 mph and even a few isolated tornadoes.

Motorists along interstates 29, 80, 90 and 94 should remain on alert for sudden changes in road conditions as any storm could bring intense downpours that could reduce visibility and increase the likelihood of hydroplaning, experts say.

"Although locally damaging thunderstorms are possible, the rainfall can largely be beneficial for area wheat and corn crops in the center of the nation," Buckingham explained.

There is a rule of thumb that farmers in the northern Plains go by, Buckingham said. Around an inch of rain per week is nearly ideal for most corn and soybean fields this time of year, and some locales across southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and even into southern Wisconsin could experience rainfall of this magnitude with storms expected to roll through the region through Friday night, he explained.

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By the weekend, AccuWeather meteorologists say the heat will be trimmed in the northern Plains as the cold front responsible for bringing severe weather to the area passes to the south.

"Even though a cold front will bring some relief from the heat on Saturday in the form of a few showers and thunderstorms, by the time Sunday rolls around, temperatures from the northern Plains to the Midwest will be several degrees below average," DaSilva said.

Sunday looks to be the most comfortable day of the weekend as cooler conditions and low humidity take hold across the region which will result in a fantastic day for any outdoor activities, forecasters say.

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