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Weekend Severe Threat in the Plains

8 Aug 2020, 10:45 am

Severe storms have returned to the Plains and more are possible this weekend. A mid-level trough, which is a wave of jet stream energy, is moving out of the Pacific Northwest and into the Northern Rockies. This system will aid in the development of severe storms. On Friday, there were reports of heavy rainfall and large hail from the Dakotas to Minnesota.

Friday’s front moves through the Dakotas and helps initiate and carry storms.  Warm, humid air along with strong wind in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere will carry these storms through the overnight.

One of the factors working in favor of storm development, aside from the lift from the Rockies and low pressure system, is daytime heating. As warm air builds, rising hot air can help break the “cap”, allowing storms to ignite. Over the next few days we are looking at warm temperatures and increasing humidity that will create instability, aiding storm development as seen in the image below:

The darker reds and oranges represent more instability and energy, which will help storms initiate this weekend.


The Storm Prediction Center has also issued risk areas this weekend for severe storms. On Saturday, there is an enhanced risk (level 3 on a scale of 1 to 5) in South Dakota and Nebraska. Strong wind gusts are the biggest concern but there’s also a threat for large hail and isolated tornadoes.

On Sunday, the risk for severe storms returns to the Upper Midwest. Areas from the Canadian Border and Lake Superior to Siouxland in Nebraska and Iowa may see severe weather.

For more details on our late week severe threat, tune into WeatherNation.

About the author
Meredith is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist as designated by the American Meteorological Society.  She was born and raised in Cleveland but has worked from coast to coast covering almost every type of weather.  Meredith is a weather, space, and STEM journalist and has been live out in the field during destructive tropical storms on the Gulf Coast of Florida, raging wildfires in Southern Cali... Load Morefornia, and covered the wreckage from tornadoes in the Great Plains. In 2009, she reported on the damaging hail storm during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and in 2017, the historic California winter storms that produced record rain totals and devastating flash flooding.  Prior to joining WeatherNation, Meredith worked at KEYT/KKFX in Santa Barbara, CA, KOTA-TV in Rapid City, SD, WWSB-TV in Sarasota, FL, and began her career as an intern at WGN-TV in Chicago.  She was Santa Barbara's "Favorite Weathercaster of the Year" in 2016 and the Community Partner of the Year in 2017 for her volunteer work with Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and awarded with the 2018 Valparaiso University Alumni Association First Decade Achievement Award. Meredith is the current chair of the American Meteorological Society's Station Scientist Committee, which focuses on raising greater awareness & outreach when it comes to science education for viewers.  She's also an accomplished journalist, producing weather and science stories including rocket launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the new GOES-16 satellite and it's impacts on weather forecasting.  Meredith was personally invited by NASA's Johnson Space Center to interview astronauts on the International Space Station and was the only meteorologist in the nation to do an exclusive report accompanying the GOES-West satellite from Colorado to Florida, reporting on and covering it's launch in 2018.  Meredith's also worked on features that took her paragliding along the coast, white water rafting in Northern California, learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean, and how to be an aerial photographer while flying a single engine plane! Say hi on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn!

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