Beneficial rain and severe weather will accompany a push of cooler air across the central United States this weekend.
The warmth spreading out of the southern Plains and challenging records across the mid-Mississippi and Ohio valleys will be erased as quickly as it arrived.
The storm that brought fresh chill to the Northwest is gaining moisture and strength as it clashes with the warmth over the Plains this weekend.
“This will set the stage not only for heavy rain, but also for severe thunderstorms,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.
Severe thunderstorms are expected to erupt into Saturday night from northern Illinois and northern Indiana to the Texas Panhandle. This includes Chicago and Peoria, Illinois; Davenport, Iowa; Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri; Wichita, Kansas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Amarillo, Texas.
Strong thunderstorms will even reach St. Louis later at night.
The strongest thunderstorms will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail and flash flooding. However, a few tornadoes may also touch down.
"While there can be an isolated tornado anywhere in the threat zone, the greatest risk for tornadoes will be around northwestern Illinois, far southeastern Iowa and northern Missouri," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.
Heavy and gusty thunderstorms could extend as far north as southern Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, depending on how quickly clouds and morning showers exit the area.
Otherwise, soaking rain capable of causing localized flooding and disruptions to travel and outdoor plans will target these communities.
Those with plans to travel the nation’s midsection along stretches of interstates 29, 35, 70, 75, 80 and 90 may need to allow extra time to arrive at their destinations due to the downpours and reduced visibility.
There will be good news as any rain that falls will help to ease the widespread abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions occurring across the central U.S.
The air on the backside of the storm may be cool enough and catch up fast enough with the back end of the storm for rain to mix with or changeover to snow across the Upper Midwest on Saturday night. This would bring the first snowflakes of the season for northern Minnesota and possibly northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
"There will be little rain or snow across the central High Plains with this storm. However, strong winds will get kicked up on Saturday and can cause localized damage," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.
As the line of showers and thunderstorms focus from the eastern Great Lakes to Texas on Sunday, cooler air will cause temperatures to hold steady or slowly fall from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Chicago, St. Louis and Little Rock, Arkansas. Gusty winds will create even lower AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures.
Warmth will quickly return to the region by the middle of next week.