Following a period of volatile weather across the Upper Midwest on Wednesday, the threat for severe storms will shift southward for Thursday.
The storms are expected to target a swath of the central Plains and Midwest as a cold front drops into the region on Thursday.
“Severe weather will develop in the late afternoon into the evening across northern Kansas into southeastern Nebraska, northern Missouri and southern Iowa,” said AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Amber McGinnis.
Combined with the force of the incoming cold front, the building heat and humidity will provide plenty of fuel for these storms to be more dangerous than the average summertime thunderstorm.
“These storms can produce winds with gusts to 80 mph, large hail up to 2.75 inches (baseball sized) and even an isolated tornado through the evening hours,” warned McGinnis.
Those outside enjoying the warm afternoon weather will need to stay up-to-date on local watches and warnings, but also keep an eye on the sky. It will be important to seek shelter in a sturdy building at the first sign of threatening weather.
Cars should be covered ahead of any storms since the threat of large hail will be prominent in any system.
Residents should also take care to secure outdoor furniture or move it indoors ahead of any storms to limit property damage.
Those who live in these areas should keep a weather radio or charged cell phone nearby with weather alerts enabled overnight.
“As storms continue to push east and expand into northern Oklahoma and northwestern Illinois through the evening and overnight, wind will be the dominant hazard,” said McGinnis.
Strong winds can topple trees and power lines, resulting in power outages and widespread damage come Thursday morning.
On the Thursday morning commute, motorists should take care to avoid traversing flooded roadways.
Warm, unsettled weather will stick around through the end of the week, though another round of severe storms is not expected.