Fox News Weather Center

Powerful Storms to Rattle the Midwest Thursday, Friday

The storm system that brought intense thunderstorms to parts of the northwestern U.S. on Tuesday and the northern Plains on Wednesday will move across the Midwest Thursday and Friday, bringing with it the risk for strong to locally severe storms.

Powerhouse thunderstorms on Wednesday produced damaging wind gusts across the Dakotas, especially in South Dakota where hail damaged cars and even some crops.

The focus for strong thunderstorms will shift east and south on Thursday, and include the Upper Midwest and central Plains.

Minneapolis, Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City and Wichita are among the larger cities that could be impacted on Thursday.

For Friday, the risk for strong thunderstorms will shift into the Great Lakes region, and southwestward into the mid-Mississippi and lower Ohio valleys.

People in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Indianapolis could all see strong thunderstorms on Friday.

The most intense thunderstorms across the threat areas can contain strong winds, frequent lightning, hail and downpours.

While not all areas will experience strong thunderstorms, those that do are at risk for power outages from strong winds and lightning. Winds and lightning can also cause tree and structural damage.

Downpours could cause localized flooding, especially in low lying and poor drainage areas.

Soil moisture is quite low in the Plains and Midwest, thus the ground will be able to absorb quite a bit of rain.

However, some storms could dump a lot of rain in a short period of time. In that situation, the water is more apt to run off instead of being absorbed. In addition, some storm drains may not be able to handle the excess water.

With the recent dry weather, the rain will certainly be welcome for some. Farmers in the Plains and Midwest will face challenges determining the best time to harvest their crops.

The rain will certainly help to minimize the dust the equipment tends to kick up. However, too much rain in a particular location can cause delays if the fields become too muddy.

High school football will take center stage on Friday night at hundreds of schools across the Great Lakes and Midwest. School administrators should pay close attention to the weather and advise the teams and spectators to seek shelter from the outdoors if thunderstorms approach.

In addition to being located in an open area, metal bleachers and the tall light posts make high school stadiums vulnerable to lightning strikes.

Written by Meteorologist Mike Doll.