Fox News Weather Center

Late-Week Storms to Rattle Minneapolis, Omaha

A cold front swinging across the northern Plains will spark severe storms over the region on Thursday and Friday.

This is not expected to be a major severe weather outbreak, but could still put lives in property in danger from the Dakotas to the western shores of Lake Michigan.

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This time of year is typically the most active in the northern Plains in terms of severe weather.

According to AccuWeather Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, "In July, the northern Plains gets their severe weather season as the jet stream becomes more active across the northern part of the country."

The first round of severe weather is forecast to develop over the Dakotas late on Thursday with some storms reaching up into the Canadian Prairies.

"A couple lines of storms will develop during the course of [Thursday]," said Margusity. "Some of the storms can produce hail, damaging winds and maybe even some tornadoes."

Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Sioux Falls and Aberdeen, South Dakota, are just a handful of cities that could be hit by severe storms on Thursday or Thursday night.

People in Minneapolis should be far enough east to avoid being hit by Thursday's storms, but will be in the path of the severe weather by Friday.

The threat for severe, damaging storms will shift south and east for Friday, reaching from Omaha, Nebraska, through Minneapolis and up into Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Similar to Thursday's storms, this second round of severe weather will threaten with winds strong enough to bring down trees, hail as large as pingpong balls and perhaps even a tornado or two.

Severe or not, every thunderstorm that moves through the region will be accompanied by frequent lightning.

This could turn out to be the most dangerous aspect of the thunderstorms as lightning is one of nature's deadliest phenomenon.

So far this year, lightning has caused more than twice as many fatalities in the United States than tornadoes have.

As of July 22, the Nation Weather Service has reported 22 lightning-related fatalities across 13 states, compared to 10 tornado-related fatalities across four states.

If thunder roars, go indoors. If you are close enough to the storm to hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

Thunderstorm activity is expected to diminish across the northern Plains for the weekend, but some storms will still stick around.

Many of these lingering storms should generally stay along and south of Interstate 90 and not be as severe as those on Thursday and Friday.

Stay ahead of the storms by monitoring the latest watches and warnings at the AccuWeather Severe Weather Center and by following the latest breaking weather information on Twitter with @BreakingWeather.