Chicago, Detroit Face a Risk for Severe Weather on Saturday
It looks like the weather over the United States will briefly get interesting again over the next few days, and as with all interesting weather, it spells danger for millions of people. Areas from Chicago to Detroit are at risk for large hail, damaging winds, and possibly an isolated tornado tomorrow.
Severe Weather Threatens the Midwest Tomorrow
There are two areas at risk for severe weather on Saturday; the first covers much of northern Minnesota and small parts of North Dakota and Wisconsin, with the second covering a swath of real estate from Illinois to Michigan, including the entire Chicago metro area and the extreme western Detroit metro.
The Storm Prediction Center issued the northernmost slight risk—including Duluth—based on the potential for thunderstorms that could reach "marginal" severe levels, with hail to the size of quarters and 60 MPH wind gusts possible.
The slight risk for severe weather exists in anticipation of strong thunderstorms developing along the leading edge of a cold front as it dips through the area during the day on Saturday. The agency warns that storms that do form have the potential to produce large hail (quarter size or larger) and some bowing segments may produce wind gusts of 60+ MPH. The SPC also notes that a tornado or two is possible if storms can tap into any low-level rotation present across the area.
Cold Canadian Air Politely Invades U.S.
The good news (or bad news, if you're a warm weather person) is that the cold front will bring a much more autumnal airmass, with Sunday's highs expected to reach the 70s and lows in the 50s in Illinois, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s closer to Lake Superior.
If you need another sign that fall is here and the (lack of) summer warmth is on its way out, it dipped below freezing in the northeast this morning, and some ski resorts are starting to produce snow.
Odile's Ghost, Pining for Swan Lake, Creates Texas Lake
Meanwhile, flooding rains are occurring across the southern United States thanks to both the remnants of Hurricane Odile and a trough digging across the northern Gulf of Mexico. The remnants of Odile thankfully weren't as bad as they were originally forecast, with the Tucson area escaping the major flooding that was expected. However, flash flooding did occur (and is ongoing) across parts of New Mexico and Texas as the late Odile's moisture moves through the area. Some parts of western Texas and extreme southeastern New Mexico have seen more than six inches of rain.
Conga Line of Heavy Rain
A different scenario is playing out along the Gulf Coast, as a trough currently located over the northern Gulf of Mexico is causing a conga line of heavy rain to stretch from Texas to Florida. It's hard to see the near-contiguous shield of rain on radar since the beam stops a few dozen miles off the coast, but it's pretty easy to see on satellite (above). The Houston area has seen flash flooding as a result of the heavy rain over the past couple of days, with parts of the western Houston metro seeing six inches of rain since midnight.
Have a good weekend, and keep an eye on the weather if you're under the gun for severe storms on Saturday.
[images: author, WeatherBELL, NWS, NASA]