Fox News Weather Center

Chicago, Detroit in Path of Dangerous Storms Wednesday

A rather potent area of low pressure and a cold front will continue their charge into the Great Lakes on Wednesday, setting the stage for severe weather in many cities.

Folks from Detroit to Chicago, Indianapolis to Saint Louis and south to Springfield will be at risk for severe weather throughout the day and into the night on Wednesday.

"Ample heat and moisture combined with early fall dynamics will set the stage for damaging straight-line winds, large hail, and even an isolated tornado or two," said AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Rich Putnam.

Downed trees and power lines could become a common sight later in the day as these storms blast through. Many people could be without power for an extended period of time.

These storms will have the ability to ruin daytime plans. Any outdoor activities that are scheduled may need to be put on hold or completed another day.

Storms will slam Chicago early and progress eastward, eventually reaching Detroit and Indianapolis by the late afternoon and evening. The risk will then shift to Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Louisville at night.

Flash flooding will also be a major threat with these thunderstorms. A juicy air mass will promote heavy rain to fall in a short amount of time which could cause roadways to turn into raging rivers.

This was seen on Tuesday across Iowa and Missouri due to this same storm system.

Rainfall rates exceeded an inch per hour in some locations which caused problems on major highways, including U.S. Highway 71. Widespread amounts ranged from 2 to 4 inches across this area, all falling in a short amount of time.

The rush hour commute could be significantly impacted for many. Motorists may be faced with travel delays, including delayed flights and road closures. MinuteCastâ„¢ has the minute-by-minute forecast for your exact location, detailing when thunderstorms will hit. Type your city name, select MinuteCastâ„¢, and input your street address. On mobile, you can also use your GPS location. Meteorologist Brian Lada suggests that if you live in an area that is in the path of these storms, now is the time to prepare.

"Making sure that your cell phone is charged, stocking up on extra batteries for flashlights and buying gasoline for a generator are a few ways to prepare for a power outage.," said Lada.

Although thunderstorms will not be severe on the northern side of the system, heavy rain will soak much of Michigan and southwestern Ontario and may bring flooding.

This storm will possess characteristics that are often seen in the fall.

"This is the strongest cold front we've seen thus far this summer," said Putnam. That cold air will clash with a contrasting warm and humid air mass, which will provide a ripe setup for severe thunderstorms.

The threat for strong thunderstorms will continue into Thursday as well as the cold front marches east. New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., will be at risk for torrential downpours and gusty winds.