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More severe storms to slam several Plains states (with forecast video)

Updated to correct the number of tornado fatalities.

Dangerous thunderstorms will likely unleash destructive winds and huge hail in parts of the Plains today and tonight.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Thursday, July 9, 2020, 8 a.m. EDT; Severe thunderstorm risk areas

The National Weather Service (NWS) has already issued severe thunderstorm warnings this morning in South Dakota, but no damage reports have been issued yet.

This would be the 23rd day in a row that severe storms put a beating on states in the Mountains Prairie freight region.

Just since Independence Day, the National Weather Service (NWS) has received 1,321 reports of wind damage and large hail across the continental United States, as well as 33 tornado reports. A large number of those reports came from Mountain Prairie states, which are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado and Kansas, and 26 of the 33 tornado reports came from Mountain Prairie states. The last day that no severe storms hit any of these states was June 15.

Yesterday, a tornado crossed Interstate 94 near Dalton, Minnesota. Otter Tail County government officials tweeted that the tornado killed one person. Witnesses also reported landspouts in Nebraska.

Golf ball size hail hit near the town of Bennett in the northwestern corner of Wisconsin.

Trees and power lines were blown down in many areas, knocking out electricity and damaging property. A wind gust of 94 mph was recorded at the Sidney Municipal Airport (ICAO code: SNY) in far western Nebraska. Gusts of 60 to 75 mph hit other spots.

Severe storms will likely pop up not only in the Mountain Prairie region today and tonight, but the Midwest region, too.

The NWS classifies a thunderstorm as severe if it produces any of the following based on radar or eyewitness reports:

• Winds of at least 58 mph (50 knots).
• Hail at least 1 inch in diameter (quarter size).
• A tornado.

The most likely areas to see severe storms are from the Front Range of the Rockies eastward to northwestern Arkansas, and up to Wisconsin. Storms won’t damage every place in these target zones. They will be mostly scattered, with areas in between that see only garden variety thunderstorms or no storms.

Drivers may run into severe storms in cities like Denver, Colorado; Scottsbuff, Nebraska; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Springfield and Kansas City, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Davenport, Iowa; Rochester, Minnesota; La Crosse, Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Marquette, Michigan; and Chicago, Illinois.

Severe storms will be less widespread than yesterday, but they may still be powerful where they do develop. Also, truckers will run into torrential rainfall at times that could cause localized flash flooding and potential road/rap closures.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.