By Brian Lada
Stormy weather will be the theme for the weekend across the Midwest and Ohio Valley with several chances for severe thunderstorms.
People planning to spend time outside will have to dodge showers and thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday with some of the stronger storms whipping up gusty winds, hail and frequent lightning.
Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Pittsburgh are some of the cities that can expect the unsettled weather for the last weekend of July.
Friday will set the stage for the stormy weekend weather in the Midwest and storms roll in from the northern Plains.
“For the most part, these storms are not likely to be severe, but they could contain some locally strong wind gusts, especially around the Chicago area Friday night,” said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Courtney Spamer.
Showers and thunderstorms will be spread across much of the Great Lakes by Saturday and are forecast to advance into the mid-Atlantic during the afternoon.
Although some of the storms during the day can bring torrential downpours, the higher risk for severe will arrive Saturday night.
There are indications that thunderstorms on Saturday night may try to organize themselves into a complex of storms that tracks across the lower Midwest and towards the Virginias.
If this type of severe weather event unfolds, the greatest risk will be wind gusts past 60 mph and torrential downpours.
Winds this strong can bring down trees and power lines which translates to the possibility of power outages.
The threat for severe thunderstorms will continue across a similar area through Sunday and Sunday night; however, there are still some uncertainties about how the severe weather on Sunday will unfold.
Severe or not, any thunderstorm that develops will be accompanied by lightning which can in turn bring danger to those in the outdoors.
Keep in mind that open areas such as golf courses or ball parks leave you most vulnerable to being struck by lightning.
If you can hear thunder or see the lightning, you should take shelter until the storm has passed.
Looking ahead to the beginning of next week, showers and thunderstorms will remain in the forecast for much of the Northeast while drier conditions slowly return to the Midwest.