Fox News Weather Center

Severe Storms Threaten 100 Million From Chicago to New York

Another show in a seemingly endless parade of severe weather will march through the Midwest into the Northeast on Wednesday, bringing damaging winds, large hail, flash flooding and even the threat for tornadoes along with it.

Cities and towns most at risk include New York City, N.Y.; Boston, Mass.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Ill.; Nashville, Tenn.; Indianapolis, Ind. and Saint Louis, Mo.

The worst of the storms will produce damaging wind gusts as high as 60 or 70 mph, hail as large as quarters or even golf balls and perhaps an isolated tornado.

Wind gusts to 60 or 70 mph can easily uproot trees, snap off large branches and bring down power poles. Sporadic power outages are possible in some areas. These kinds of wind gusts can also damage roofs and blow around unsecured objects left outside.

Hail as large as golf balls can cause damage to vehicles and crops such as corn and wheat. Any people or livestock caught outside can easily be injured.

While the pattern does not favor a large outbreak of tornadoes by any means, a stray spin-up is possible, especially across southern Illinois, southern Indiana and western Kentucky.

Spotty drenching thunderstorms around in the morning will diminish toward noon, but the most dangerous storms are likely to fire from Saint Louis into Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati during the afternoon and evening hours.

If you have any plans to be out and about on Wednesday or Wednesday night, you will need to pay special attention to the weather.

Once thunderstorms develop this afternoon, they will strengthen quickly, and dangerous conditions could follow soon after.

If you expect to travel interstate 80, 70 or any other major roadways from the Midwest into the Northeast and New England, be on alert for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Dark skies ahead can signal blinding downpours, powerful winds and possible hail. If you get caught driving through this weather, pull over to a safe location, away from any trees or power poles, and wait for it to pass.

One added concern across the region will be very heavy, potentially flooding rain. This storm system will have the ability to produce a large area of 1-3 inches of rain, especially across areas such as Indianapolis, Ind.; Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Flash flooding can easily become life-threatening, and given the already saturated soil across the region, it will not take much rain to cause flooding.

Current technology has advanced enough over recent years to provide ample alert of the potential for severe weather and the approach of localized severe storms. Be sure to understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that an area is being monitored for dangerous weather. A warning means that dangerous weather is imminent. When a warning is issued, there may be too little time to travel across town or across a county to escape the storm. The time to have a plan of action and move to the general vicinity of a storm shelter or safe area is when a watch is issued.

Keep in mind that lightning is one of Mother Nature's most dangerous killers. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning, even if the sun is still shining.