After violent thunderstorms pummeled the Plains with damaging wind gusts, hail and tornadoes through Tuesday night, the threat for severe weather will shift eastward into the midwestern United States at midweek.
While over a dozen tornadoes were reported Tuesday in the northern Plains, the threat for tornadic activity will diminish at midweek.
Instead, damaging wind gusts, large hail and locally flooding downpours will be the primary threats into Wednesday night across the Midwest. However, an isolated tornado or two may briefly touch down.
A large swath from Missouri to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northeastern Minnesota lie within the threat area at midweek.
Those spending time outdoors should be prepared to move indoors and away from windows at the first clap of thunder or the first distant flash of lightning.
Residents living in Chicago, Springfield and Rockford, Illinois; Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau, Wisconsin; Duluth, Minnesota; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Des Moines and Quad Cities, Iowa; and St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, should keep a weather radio handy and stock up on flashlights and other necessities in case of a power outage.
The storms will traverse hundreds of miles of major U.S. interstates, as well. Interstates 90, 80 and 35 lie in the path of destructive storms into Wednesday night.
“Storms are likely to redevelop around midday and into the early afternoon on Wednesday across Wisconsin and Illinois before congealing into a line or two as they push eastward toward Indiana and Michigan,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.
Motorists traveling across I-90 from southern Minnesota to Chicago, I-80 from Des Moines to Chicago, and I-35 from Duluth to Kansas City should keep alert for rapidly changing roadway conditions and greatly reduce speeds when traveling through drenching, gusty thunderstorms.
Seeking shelter under a bridge or overpass may help protect against damage from large hail, but only enhances the threat to both vehicles and drivers in the case of damaging winds or in a tornadic situation.
“As the storms first develop, hail will be the primary threat, with wind becoming the main risk as the storms form into multiple lines late in the day and during the overnight hours,” Adamson said.
Storms should approach Chicago just in time for the evening rush hour, heightening the risk for traffic accidents and the threat for major roadway and airline delays.
Another line of storms may form near Lake Michigan and barrel eastward across Lower Michigan during the night, possibly reaching Detroit by around daybreak Thursday morning, Adamson added.
The risk to both lives and property from tumultuous weather increases greatly at night when most people are sleeping. Severe weather warnings often times go unnoticed, and loose pieces of outdoor furniture can easily be destroyed or blown away by strong winds.
By Thursday, the severe weather threat should shift back into the southern Plains and central U.S. as a new storm system emerges from the Four Corners region.