Severe storms to precede cooldown across northern Plains into Friday night

Renee Duff

Damaging thunderstorms will track through the northern Plains ahead of a push of cooler air at the end of the week.

Warm, humid air surging northward ahead of the cool push will give the thunderstorms a boost in intensity.

The severe weather threat is forecast from the Dakotas and Nebraska to western Minnesota into Friday night. Southern Manitoba may also be at risk for the severe thunderstorms.

"During the first few hours following storm initiation, isolated incidents of large hail and even a brief tornado or two cannot be ruled out," AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.

As the thunderstorms gain momentum as they rumble eastward, damaging winds will likely become the greatest threat, along with frequent lightning strikes and torrential downpours.

Some communities are likely to get hit with tree damage and downed power lines as winds gust to an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 70 mph in the strongest thunderstorms.

Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota; Rapid City, Pierre and Aberdeen, South Dakota; Alliance and North Platte, Nebraska; and Bemidji, Minnesota, are some of the areas where residents will need to be vigilant for rapidly changing weather conditions.

"Having a mobile device or weather radio handy is a good way to receive severe weather alerts long before violent weather actually arrives," Elliott said. "In the case that a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued, move indoors and away from doors and windows to minimize the risk of bodily injury."

This will be especially important since the risk of severe weather is expected to continue into Friday night.

Even if a thunderstorm does not reach severe criteria, it is vital to head inside at the first rumble of thunder to avoid potentially deadly lightning strikes.

Motorists on stretches of interstates 29, 90 and 94 should be prepared to slow down as downpours will drastically reduce visibility and create a heightened risk of hydroplaning while traveling at highway speeds.

Behind the stormy weather, Saturday's high temperatures will be trimmed by 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit from their peak on Friday across the northern Plains.

Meanwhile, the threat for severe weather is forecast to shift south and eastward into the Upper Mississippi Valley and central Plains on Saturday.

More rain may hit parts of the central US this weekend to next week

The storm over the North Central states will draw some of Imelda's moisture northward, which can heighten the risk of flash flooding over the central Plains, especially from Saturday night into Sunday.

Imelda stalled and unleashed feet of rainfall over the upper Texas and western Louisiana coasts on Thursday.

"Additional rounds of tropical moisture, including from the Pacific Ocean are likely to come into play over the central and southern Plains later this weekend to next week," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex sosnowski.

"It's conceivable that beyond portions of Arizona and new Mexico, portions of northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa receive several inches of rain from Saturday to Tuesday," Sosnowski said.

This can occur as fronts that dip southward interact with the surging rounds of tropical moisture.

Portions of northern Texas, Oklahoma and western Kansas are in need of a reasonable amount of rain with conditions ranging from abnormally dry to that of extreme drought as of this past Thursday.