Residents of the central United States will once again have to contend with rain and a threat for severe weather this weekend.
The weather through Friday across the Plains and Midwest will be virtually perfect for pumpkin picking, sporting events or any other outdoor plans.
Dry weather will dominate, along with a partly to mostly sunny sky. Highs will generally range from the 60s and 70s F in the north to the upper 70s and lower 80s F in the south.
There will be one day of brief cooling in the upper Great Lakes on Thursday. However, the mild air will bounce right back, and in parts of the northern High Plains, temperatures will flirt with or exceed 80 F later in the week.
An occasional gusty wind will prevent the weather into Friday from being picture perfect and can toss around loose fall lawn decorations.
Much to the dismay for those with outdoor plans, Friday's gusty winds and an increase in thunderstorm activity around Texas will be signs that the mild stretch of weather will be ending this weekend.
The same cold front set to bring some welcome rain to Northern California late this week will sweep across the central U.S. this weekend with a band of rain and thunderstorms. The entire weekend will not be a washout in any one given location, but outdoor plans will be in jeopardy on at least one day.
The weekend will start with showers spreading across the Plains with thunderstorms becoming more numerous on Saturday afternoon and evening. On Sunday, rain and thunderstorms are expected to stretch from around Michigan to Louisiana.
“The heaviest thunderstorms may be focused on the South Central states rather than northern areas this weekend,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
Some of the thunderstorms may also become severe later on Saturday with damaging winds, hail and frequent lightning. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Latest indications put the corridor from Missouri and Kansas to northern Texas at risk.
“You think that severe weather season is over in October and November, but if you can get warm and increasingly humid air next to a cold front, you can get severe weather to break out,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.
Anderson anticipates more of the thunderstorms crossing the South Central states this weekend to produce downpours than severe weather.
“While there can be isolated problems, the thunderstorms will be moving too quickly for widespread flooding to occur," Anderson said.
In fact, the rain will help the abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions that have unfolded from northeastern Texas to the Great Lakes.
Regardless of severe weather, anyone planning to be outdoors will have to keep an eye on AccuWeather MinuteCast® and be prepared to seek shelter.
“Typically, you do not have to worry about lightning at football games and tailgating this time of year,” Abrams said, “but that can be a concern this weekend.”
The threat of lightning is expected to wane before the rain moves through the Great Lakes on Sunday.
However, depending on the speed of the rain, tailgaters and fans will need rain gear for the games between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field or as the Chicago Bears host the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field.
The passage of the front will not only return temperatures back closer to normal but will also mark a pattern change.
“We will see consecutive cold fronts follow this weekend storm,” Anderson said. “Behind the next front, strong winds are expected to get kicked up early next week."
Anderson anticipates the strongest winds to focus on the North Central states early next week.
Localized wind damage, power outages and travel disruptions may result.