Severe thunderstorms have been tearing across the United States all week, leaving behind uprooted trees and downed power lines in dozens of states.
Through Wednesday, more than 380 reports of wind damage and large hailstones have been sent to the National Weather Service (NWS) from the public, emergency managers and trained weather observers.
Two tornadoes were reported – one in North Dakota Monday, another in southwestern Kansas Wednesday. Fortunately, they caused only minor damage.
Stalled frontal boundaries and low pressure troughs, along with plenty of warmth and thick, humid air, will spark more severe storms across several regions today through the Independence Day weekend.
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.
Severe storms Thursday will pop up from the northern Great Plains all the way to the Gulf Coast, as well as in northern New England.
Dangerous wind gusts, large hail and periods of torrential rainfall could slow down drivers in the areas of Minot and Bismarck, North Dakota to Rapid City, South Dakota; Scotts Bluff, Nebraska; Wichita, Kansas; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Springfield, Missouri; Ft. Smith and Little Rock, Arkansas; Monroe, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson and Gulfport, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama.
Severe storms could also hit from the Adirondacks in upstate New York to upstate portions of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
In any of these areas, flash flooding could lead to road or ramp closures.
Friday, the severe weather threat will be mostly confined to the northern High Plains and northern Rockies.
Areas in the target zone are eastern Idaho to the eastern half of Montana; northern Wyoming; and much of the Dakotas.
Severe storms Independence Day could hit many of the same areas under the gun Friday – namely Montana and the Dakotas – in addition to much of Minnesota, Nebraska, eastern Colorado and western Kansas.
Each day, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), part of the NWS, has these regions in the “marginal risk” category, meaning any severe storms that develop will be isolated with plenty of relatively quiet weather between the worst storms.
The exception is Friday, when parts of the Dakotas and eastern Montana will be under the “slight” risk, meaning severe storms could be a bit more numerous than surrounding areas.
Severe storms on the 4th of July could also hit places like Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City; and upstate New York.
Truckers will have to remain “weather aware” over the next few days as conditions can change rapidly.
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