First severe weather and hurricane threat of 2024 in the Upper Midwest unfolds Thursday –

First severe weather and hurricane threat of 2024 in the Upper Midwest unfolds Thursday –

While millions in the Midwest may enjoy record-defying warmth through this weekend, it won’t be without problems. AccuWeather meteorologists are closely monitoring the potential for severe thunderstorms, including the risk of some tornadoes, through Thursday night in parts of Wisconsin, northern Illinois and eastern Iowa.

It has been several months since severe thunderstorms occurred near and north of Interstate 80 in the upper Midwest. The last time there were severe storms with large hail and high winds in Wisconsin was October 2023. If it’s too early for severe weather concerns, it is. Typically, the first regional severe weather does not occur until early March in the region rather than early February.

High temperatures will head into the 50s and 60s over the Midwest through Friday before cooler, more seasonable air moves through the northern Plains. This cold air helped bring several inches of snow to parts of the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota.

As the leading edge of cold air (cold front) approaches, towering clouds will bring showers and thunderstorms from eastern Iowa and much of Wisconsin and northern Illinois through Thursday evening. As storms intensify, they can become locally severe with the risk of damaging 50-60 mph wind gusts, slow-moving heavy rain, and even quarter-sized hailstones.

AccuWeather Local StormMax™ straight-line wind speed for storms is 70 mph. Some of the strongest storms will also carry the potential for tornadoes, much stronger winds, and greater risks to life and property.

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“Most of the afternoon and evening in the area will be free of severe weather and free of precipitation as well,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg said, adding: “There will likely only be an hour or two of risk as the storms push through.” “. Through websites.

People should not let their guard down due to the dangers of severe weather in the middle of winter.

“The most likely area for severe weather to start will be from near and north of Davenport, Iowa, to Rockford, Illinois, and Madison, Wisconsin,” said Eddie Walker, AccuWeather’s lead storm warning meteorologist.

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“Wind shear will be abundant, allowing thunderstorms to develop and move quickly through the area through Thursday evening,” Walker explained. Wind shear is a change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed in the rising layers of the atmosphere.

If severe thunderstorms continue to the southeast and reach the Chicago area, they will not happen until the mid-evening hours on Thursday, and most of the day will be rain-free, mild and breezy.

As severe thunderstorms approach airport hubs, the potential for flight delays and ground stops will increase.

Walker said strong thunderstorms will likely survive the journey to the end like parts of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula on Thursday night.

On Friday, the risk of intensifying thunderstorms will decrease as cold air advances across the eastern Great Lakes, Ohio and central Mississippi valleys.

However, as a new storm exits the southwestern states and extends along the cold front later this weekend into early next week, severe thunderstorms may develop in the warm air area of ​​the southeastern United States.

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