Derecho may develop, rumble across northern Plains late Friday to early Saturday

A widespread damaging wind event, known as a Derecho, may roar across the northern Plains from late Friday to early Saturday.

Gusts in some of the storms may reach between 50 and 60 mph, which may knock down trees, cause property damage and trigger local to regional power outages.

A storm producing showers and thunderstorms over the northern Rockies through Thursday night will progress eastward and focus severe weather over the northern Plains from Friday to early Saturday.

The first storms of the outbreak are projected to fire along the U.S. Route 83 corridor from the west-central portions of the Dakotas and Nebraska during Friday afternoon.

Static NC Friday Afternoon Plain Language
Static NC Friday Afternoon Plain Language

"Cities such as Bismarck, North Dakota, Pierre, South Dakota, and North Platte, Nebraska, are likely to be affected during the late afternoon to the early evening hours on Friday," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.

The early threats from the developing storms during Friday afternoon are likely to include isolated large hail, flash flooding and strong wind gusts.

While the risk of a tornado is low, the best chance of a small number of twisters will be soon after the storms first erupt.

"As Friday night progresses, the storms will congeal into a bowing line with high winds and flooding rainfall in the eastern parts of the Dakotas and Nebraska," Walker said.

Static Severe Weather Risk Friday Night NC
Static Severe Weather Risk Friday Night NC

Late-night storms are likely in Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and perhaps Fargo, North Dakota.

During Saturday morning, the storms, perhaps as a derecho, are likely to roll into portions of western and central Minnesota and Iowa.

Storms with gusty winds and heavy rain may reach as far as Minneapolis and Des Moines, Iowa, before weakening or falling apart.

Static Derecho Occurrences
Static Derecho Occurrences

New storms may then develop and become locally severe over portions of Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois Saturday afternoon and evening.

People spending time outdoors or on the road in the region from Friday afternoon to Saturday should keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions.

If you can hear thunder, you are at risk for being struck by lightning. Move indoors at the first sign of a storm.

Motorists should never attempt to drive across flooded roads as the water may be deeper than it appears and/or the road surface may be been washed out beneath.

On a positive note, the storms will bring rainfall to a region in need.

While rainfall in recent weeks has been close to average, an overall long-term rainfall deficit exists in parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa. In part of this area, moderate to severe long-term drought is in progress.

"Farmers over the Great Plains rely on complexes of thunderstorms during the spring and summer to sustain adequate moisture in the ground for growing crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans," according to AccuWeather Lead Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler.

"You want to get some rain, but certainly not flooding or severe weather," Mohler said.

Unfortunately, the nature of the large thunderstorm complexes the Great Plains are famous for tends to carry some risk of crop damage from hail, high winds and torrential rain.