After a period of dry and increasingly warmer weather across the northern Plains and Midwest, unsettled weather is in store for the area into the weekend.
“As cool and warm air masses collide over the Dakotas and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday, there will be some thunderstorms crossing these areas,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Babinski.
A cold front tracking through the area will tap into the surface heat, sparking strong afternoon thunderstorms from southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada, into the Nebraska Panhandle on Friday.
Residents of Bismarck, North Dakota, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Alliance, Nebraska, should prepare for potentially dangerous storms during the afternoon.
“The main concerns include strong, potentially damaging wind gusts and large hail. Hail greater than an inch in diameter is possible,” said Babinski.
Hail of this size would pose a significant threat to agriculture and livestock, as well as cars and property.
Strong winds in any storms will also heighten the risk of toppled trees and power lines.
“Wind gusts in places unimpeded by structures could exceed 70 mph,” said Babinski.
As Friday evening progresses, the area of storms will track eastward across the Plains, impacting Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
On Saturday, cities including Minneapolis and Madison and Green Bay, Wisconsin, will be impacted by storms containing heavy downpours and potentially damaging winds and hail.
Major League Baseball games in Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit scheduled for Saturday afternoon could face delays as storms roll through those areas Saturday through Saturday night.
The system driving these storms is expected to strengthen as it tracks eastward, resulting in a larger temperature drop in the Midwest than in the Dakotas.
Temperatures are expected to persist well above average in the northern Plains in the wake of this cold front, but the frontal passage will bring noticeably cooler weather into the Great Lakes by Monday.
As the system continues to strengthen and move into the Northeast, a period of pleasantly dry and seasonable weather will commence in the Midwest.