While people living in the Midwest were very relieved to get a break from the sweltering heat that sent thermometers soaring into the 90s, many are not so happy about waking up Saturday morning to find entire trees uprooted and snapped off in their yards. Severe thunderstorms rocked parts of the Great Lakes late Friday, resulting in downed trees and powerlines wherein around 150,000 were left in the dark.
In the Chicago area, thousands of homes and businesses remained in the dark Saturday in Chi Town’s northwest suburbs. Officials from Com Ed said that many people may not get their power back on until around dinnertime on Sunday. There were so many trees down in the Chicago area that Com Ed decided to send out additional tree crews.
A tornado packing 100 mile per hour winds struck Ursuline College in northeastern Ohio early Saturday, taking down a huge gymnasium wall at the school’s athletic building. The twister which was confirmed to be an EF1, hit just before 4 am north of the school and continued its journey across the campus. The tornado was about 150 yards wide and traveled on the ground for over 1.3 miles. Luckily there were only a handful of students on the campus at the time and none were in the vicinity of the athletic building. The same twister hit Pepper Pike before striking the college. Many residents of that community woke up to find trees laying in the yards. One unlucky family’s home sustained massive damage as a huge tree on their neighbor’s property crashed into their home, breaking the foundation and cracking walls.
In Mentor, Ohio near Cleveland, Saturday morning started with a slew of road closures across the city following a night of serious flooding. Many cars were left abandoned in Mentor, nearly fully submerged in water as the severe weather dumped a lot of rain over the area in a very short period of time. Officials in Mentor expect most of the city’s streets to be reopened by mid-afternoon Sunday as work crews worked overnight to clear.
Police in Mentor were discouraging residents from traveling and said that if people had to travel that they’d have to find alternate routes and proceed with extreme caution as many of the city’s streets were covered with water.
Scorching hot temperatures and stifling humidity will continue to cause misery in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast this week as there’s a large ridge of high pressure stalled out over the Ohio Valley. Daytime high temperatures will be in the upper 80s and lower 90s in most areas although some areas may reach or even top the 100 degree mark. The very hot weather combined with high humidity levels makes it feel like its in the mid 90s to low 100s. The heat wave is being forecast to remain in place into Friday although some thunderstorms could pop up to bring some people relief from the western portion of Pennsylvania to southwest Virginia.
On Wednesday afternoon, a cold front in the southeastern portion of Canada could trigger some thunderstorm activity from the very northern reaches of New York through northern Maine that could last through the evening hours. There also could be some isolated thunderstorms Wednesday in the Ohio Valley. A few of those storms could produce large, damaging hail and kick up damaging wind gusts as well as spawn a tornado or two. Anyone living in the Ohio Valley region of the country should keep an eye on their local weather reports in case weather alerts are issued.
So far this year in the United States, just under six hundred tornadoes have touched down which is far fewer than the over 950 tornadoes that typically touch down by this time during July. What is typically one of the most active tornado months in the country with an average 225 tornadoes touching down, it’s been a very quiet month thus far. Weather experts say that the reason July has been a relatively quiet tornado month this year is because there’s been a few rather odd upper air patterns over the country that have limited the treat.
Instead of having to worry about tornadoes, people living in tornado-prone parts of the country are concentrating on keeping cool. There are heat advisories in effect for many parts of the nation including the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast. With temperatures in those parts of the country expected to soar between 87 and 95 degrees both Wednesday and Thursday, it will feel as though it’s up to 105 degrees outside during the hottest parts of the day from around 2pm to 7pm. The searing heat wave that’s gripping a large portion of the US is likely to produce some showers and thunderstorms by the end of the week as there’s a cold front moving in. Some of those storms could trigger heavy rainfall, deadly lightening and large damaging hail.
Folks living in the Midwest are being told to keep an eye on their local and state weather forecasts as a cold front coming down from Canada is on a collision course with hot and steamy tropical weather to the south, making conditions perfect for severe thunderstorms. Many of these storms could bring with them very heavy downpours of rain, high winds, damaging hail, flash flooding and even the threat of tornadoes. The threat of bad weather is going to stick around for a while as once the line of severe thunderstorms moves through Tuesday, things will be right once again on Wednesday to produce more inclement weather.
Tuesday morning’s thunderstorms subsided in the Sioux Falls, SD area before lunchtime but there’s a chance for more this afternoon for that area and for the rest of southern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska according to the National Weather Service. The NWS also said that people living in that part of the country should be aware that thunderstorms will re-develop during the afternoon hours and that some of these storms could produce large, damaging hail the size of golf balls and damaging winds up to 65 miles per hour. The threat of high winds for the evening hours is even greater for northwestern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota as they could gust up to 70 miles per hour there. If that does occur, tree limbs and powerlines are sure to come down and many structures will sustain damages.
The Storm Prediction Center said Tuesday morning that the risk for severe weather stretches all the way from mid-Kansas up through Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Illinois and most of Michigan’s lower peninsula. There is a hazardous weather outlook in effect for the Detroit/Pontiac areas of southeastern lower Michigan that will remain in effect until the evening hours on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service has several lower counties in several midwestern states under a hazardous weather outlook and said that low pressure over the Plains and Midwest will lead to thunderstorm formation throughout the day on Tuesday. The warm and humid weather over the Midwest will fuel the storms as they move across the region which could trigger tropical-like downpours, flash flooding and large damaging hail.