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Weekend Severe Storms Eye Great Lakes, US Central Plains

Rounds of severe weather will target the corridor from the Great Lakes to the central High Plains this weekend.

The severe weather threat will shift eastward across the Great Lakes this weekend, while targeting Missouri to eastern Colorado both days.

"An area of low pressure is tracking east across the Plains and dragging a cold front behind it," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott. "This cold front, along with leftover boundaries from the storm activity Saturday morning, will be the triggers for storms that develop later Saturday afternoon."

Sizzling heat and humidity pouring in ahead of the front will provide more than enough fuel for the severe thunderstorms.

Traverse City, Michigan; Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago; and Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; are at risk for the severe weather through Saturday night. The threat will also expand toward St. Louis overnight.

"All the ingredients are in place for isolated tornadoes to be a threat, along with damaging wind gusts, large hail and flooding downpours," Elliott continued.

Even if flooding does not ensue, the downpours will reduce visibility for motorists and heighten the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds. The danger of being struck by lightning will also exist as soon as thunder is heard.

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Thunderstorms with damaging winds already kicked off Saturday across Wisconsin and western Michigan. Three people sustained injuries in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, when thunderstorm winds overturned 14 vendor tents at Rock USA, according to the Emergency Manager.

Concertgoers at Rock USA will have to keep an eye to the sky and AccuWeather MinuteCast to know when to seek shelter with another round of severe thunderstorms set to target Oshkosh later Saturday.

For Chicago, AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger states the severe weather threat will commence this evening.

"Following what is expected to be the hottest day of the year, thunderstorms will blast through the city and break the heat tonight," Deger said. A couple of heavy and gusty thunderstorms will still be around at the start of Sunday.

The front and the severe weather threat will then shift eastward for Sunday, targeting Detroit; Toronto and Ottawa, Canada; Buffalo and Syracuse, New York; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis and St. Louis for the second half of the weekend.

The majority of the strongest thunderstorms will rumble in the afternoon and evening and will produce damaging winds, hail and flooding downpours. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

"Another area of concern on Saturday will be behind the cold front, in northeastern Colorado and surrounding corners of Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas," continued Elliott.

While erupting just to the northeast of Denver, this zone of thunderstorms later Saturday will threaten Cheyenne, Wyoming; McCook, Nebraska; and Goodland, Kansas.

"These thunderstorms will be high-based in nature, so the tornado threat is low, but hail and damaging winds are still likely to be threats," added Elliott.

A stray strong thunderstorm or two will carry over into Kansas overnight Saturday and Sunday before another cluster of intense thunderstorm fires up across eastern Colorado and pushes into western and northern Kansas and southern Nebraska Sunday afternoon into Sunday night.

Flooding downpours and damaging winds are the main concerns. Hail can also be produced when the thunderstorms initially develop.