A “productive wind damage event” is expected to unfold Thursday in parts of the Midwest, the forecast center says

A “productive wind damage event” is expected to unfold Thursday in parts of the Midwest, the forecast center says

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for parts of the Midwest through 10 p.m. CT Thursday, according to the Storm Prediction Center. The watch was labeled a “particularly dangerous situation” or “PDS” watch – a ranking that accounts for less than 3% of watches and is reserved for high-end events.

“A prolific wind damage event is expected to spread from northeast Nebraska to southeast South Dakota and northwest Iowa/southwest Minnesota,” the SPC said, adding that widespread damaging winds and gusts of up to 105 miles per hour are possible, along with hail up to 2 inches wide and a few tornadoes.

More than 20 million people were threatened by severe weather throughout the region on Thursday evening and into the night.

Winds of at least 107 miles per hour — equivalent to those of a Category 2 hurricane — were recorded in parts of Hutchinson County in southern South Dakota as of Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Across Nebraska and South Dakota, more than two dozen locations were reporting wind speeds of at least 80 miles per hour, according to the weather service.

The Weather Service tweeted a photo warns of poor visibility on the road due to high winds mixing with dust in parts of Nebraska. “Hold on when you travel,” the agency urged.

A tornado watch was issued through Thursday evening for central and northeastern South Dakota, including Pierre and Aberdeen, warning of high winds and near baseball-sized hail, SPC said.

Another tornado watch was on display through midnight local time for western and central Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota, according to the SPC. Strong gusts of wind and “very large hail” are also likely, the center said.

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for parts of Kansas and Nebraska through 9 p.m. CT, which included the possibility of isolated hail, strong gusts of wind up to 80 miles per hour and tornadoes, the weather service said called.

Some of the larger cities to be aware of severe weather potential are Minneapolis/St. Paul in Minnesota, Omaha in Nebraska, Sioux City in Iowa and, to a lesser extent, Des Moines, Iowa. Although all the dangers are on the table, including tornadoes, the biggest risk appears to be straight winds and large hail.

As the upper Midwest began to feel the effects of the storms, increasing numbers of people were left in the dark. More than 38,000 customers in South Dakota were without power as of Thursday night, according to poweroutage.us. According to the website, more than 18,000 customers were without power in Minnesota.
The latest storms follow a severe weather outbreak on Wednesday and another round of storms that brought more than 130 reports of hail, wind and tornadoes to the same region on Monday.
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The storms are fueled by hot temperatures

The storms are being fueled by temperatures in the region, which are more commonly seen in mid-July.

All Thursday, temperature records were broken from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, with states like Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin all recording temperatures in the 90s in some areas.

The combination of heat and humidity helped pave the way for the storms.

“Warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico has flowed north through the plains and into the upper Midwest,” said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.

“The warm and succulent air mass provides ample energy to foment severe storms with gusts in excess of hurricane force, baseball-sized hail and even tornadoes,” added Ward.

Peak of the tornado season

According to the SPC, May is statistically the peak of the US tornado season with the most reported tornadoes in a month. Peak activity in the upper Midwest can extend into late May and even June as the jet stream typically moves north later in spring.
4 Tornado Safety Tips That Could Save Your Life

Independent of statistics and monthly averages, the SPC is able to identify areas most at risk from severe weather.

Just like Thursday’s forecast, conditions are favorable for severe weather development – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience damaging winds, large hail or tornadoes.

However, it’s best to have a plan for you and your family in case strong storms threaten. This includes several ways to receive severe weather alerts, such as: B. Text messages or a NOAA weather radio.

CNN’s Taylor Ward contributed to this report.

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