Intense thunderstorms will threaten to spread a swath of damage as they march eastward from the Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley and Northeast through Friday.
The thunderstorms will ignite where steamy conditions typical for early August clash with a strong push of refreshing September-like air.
The threat for severe weather will intensify along this dividing line to close out the week when compared to the spotty heavy storms that erupted over Nebraska and Colorado on Wednesday.
“This is an unusually strong system for this time of year, which is one of the factors that will contribute to the severe weather,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.
On Thursday afternoon and into the overnight, the western Great Lakes and part of the central Plains will lie within the zone of intense storminess, including the metropolitan areas of Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and St. Louis.
“While the main threats will be torrential downpours, hail and damaging winds, there will also be a threat of isolated tornadoes,” Adamson said. “The tornado threat will be highest in southern Wisconsin and northwestern Illinois.”
Sporadic power outages will occur as gusty winds past 60 mph buffet trees and power lines.
The storms will approach Milwaukee and Chicago later in the afternoon, potentially jeopardizing the late innings of the Major League Baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs.
“Storms will push into southwestern Michigan and into northwestern Indiana overnight,” Adamson said.
After a break in severe activity later Thursday night and into Friday morning, thunderstorms will be reinvigorated by the heating of the day prior to reaching the eastern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley during Friday afternoon and evening.
“The severe threat will reignite by Friday afternoon in cities such as Buffalo and Syracuse, New York; and Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” Adamson said.
Damaging winds and power outages will once again be the primary threat, but an isolated tornado or two is also possible.
Fans headed to MLB games in Cleveland and Pittsburgh on Friday evening may want to bring along an umbrella or poncho. Baseball games in Baltimore, Boston and New York are less likely to experience delays due to the speed of the storm.
The line of thunderstorms will reach the corridor from New York City to Washington, D.C., at an unfavorable time of day for severe weather. A brief, drenching downpour and a few rumbles of thunder is more likely to dot this corridor late Friday night into Saturday morning.
Motorists along stretches of interstates 70, 80 and 90 should anticipate a period of ponding of water on the roadway and unusually slow travel through Friday. Airport delays can occur as jets maneuver around the storms.
Localized flooding can occur where the soil remains saturated and several inches of rain pour down in a short amount of time.
Residents should enable severe weather alerts for their location on a cell phone to be notified when dangerous conditions are imminent.
As the stormy weather lifts northward into New England on Saturday, cooler and less humid conditions will lead to a beautiful beginning of the weekend across the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic.