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Fox News Weather Center

Minneapolis, Chicago, Omaha Face Severe Weather Danger

An outbreak of severe weather, including a few tornadoes, threatens to ruin the holiday weekend across the North Central U.S. states.

The first round of severe weather will be triggered by a storm system emerging from the Rockies rattling western North Dakota, northwestern South Dakota and far eastern Montana Saturday afternoon and evening.

The strongest thunderstorms will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail and blinding downpours. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

Late Sunday is when a more widespread severe weather outbreak will ignite, putting residents and visitors enjoying the Labor Day holiday weekend in harm's way.

"We are forecasting an organized severe weather event extending from the Upper Midwest to the Missouri Valley and central Plains, initiating by late afternoon Sunday and continuing through Sunday evening," stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Expert Senior Meteorologist Scott Breit.

More specifically, the cities of St. Cloud, Minneapolis; Sioux Falls and Mitchell, South Dakota; Grand Island and Omaha, Nebraska; and Sioux City, Iowa, will be threatened late Sunday.

The danger will shift to Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; and Topeka, Kansas, at night.

"In addition to the potential for a few tornadoes, many of the storms will bring the full spectrum risk of severe weather, including damaging wind gusts, large hail, frequent lightning strikes and flash flooding," according to Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Those attending picnics, parades, sporting events or any other holiday celebrations should have a weather radio handy or make sure cell phone notifications for storm-related watches and warnings are turned on. MinuteCastâ„¢ will also help keep you ahead of impending severe weather.

"The tornado threat will be most problematic from late afternoon through early evening," added Breit.

That puts central and eastern Nebraska, western Iowa and southwestern Minnesota at greatest risk for tornadoes to touch down and threaten lives and property. Omaha and Pilger, Nebraska, site of the deadly twin tornadoes from earlier this summer, lie in this zone.

Breit expects the tornado danger to evolve into more of a straight-line wind threat overnight Sunday, likely before the violent thunderstorms reach Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids.

The severe weather risk in terms of damaging winds should wane for a time late Sunday night and Monday morning. Blinding downpours could still remain as the thunderstorms push into the Upper Midwest and disrupt outdoor holiday plans.

A new round of severe weather is expected to ignite as the Labor Day holiday weekend comes to a close Monday afternoon from southwestern Michigan and northern Illinois to northern Missouri.

This includes Kalamazoo, Michigan; South Bend, Indiana; Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and Columbia, Missouri. The danger will reach St. Louis and Indianapolis Sunday evening.

Damaging winds, hail and flooding downpours are the greatest concerns on Labor Day. Any tornado touching down would be an isolated event, but it only takes one tornado to turn the holiday into a nightmare for a family and/or community.

Throughout the Labor Day holiday weekend, anyone spending time outdoors is reminded to seek shelter as soon as thunder is heard. You are then close enough to be struck by lightning.