Severe weather — including possible tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds — will threaten more than 90 million people across the Midwest and Northeast on Wednesday, according to forecasts.
“Although large hail will be possible with [the thunderstorms], wind damage should be the more predominant severe threat,” according to the Storm Prediction Center in reference to the Midwest. The center forecast similar weather in the Northeast, with strong winds being the biggest concern.
A storm system is tracking from the northwestern US and into the Midwest, triggering the development of these storms. A Level 3 (out of 5) risk is in place for portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, according to the Storm Prediction Center. This includes Madison, Wisconsin; Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Rochester, Minnesota. There also is a risk — albeit lower — in cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Des Moines and Omaha.
The day is begining with rain and thunderstorms over the northern Plains and into western portions of the Midwest. There will be some heavier pockets of rain and perhaps an isolated storm, but as this moisture tracks into the Midwest, the severe weather risk will ramp up. By the afternoon, some of the thunderstorms are expected to turn severe as they track into parts of Minnesota and Iowa. “The complex [of thunderstorms] will have the potential for widespread damaging winds, but a few stronger updrafts could produce larger hail as well,” according to the National Weather Service Twin Cities office. Storms will continue to track east through the afternoon, likely reaching Lake Michigan by the evening. But some locations will be in for more than one round of strong-to severe-thunderstorms.