Heavy rain, storms to pummel central US into Monday

A sweep of cooler air in the central United States will be preceded by disruptive downpours and locally strong thunderstorms into the start of the new week.

The stormy conditions will not only put a damper on outdoor activities and slow travel, but also bring flooding dangers to some communities.

A system will first douse the High Plains with rain and thunderstorms this weekend before moving into the Midwest and mid-Mississippi Valley on Monday, according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido.

On Saturday afternoon and evening, showers and thunderstorms are forecast to erupt over the Front Range of the Rockies and sweep into the adjacent High Plains.

NC Sat regional 8.18 AM
NC Sat regional 8.18 AM

The strongest storms along this swath can contain large hail and winds strong enough to knock down trees and power lines.

People traveling along interstates 25, 40, 70, 76, 80 and 90 should prepare for slowdowns amid the downpours and be wary of standing water on the roadways.

Flash flooding will likely become the greatest threat from the storms as they congeal into a solid area on Saturday night. This concern may be greatest across Kansas, as well as Oklahoma, where cleanup efforts continue in the wake of flooding last week.

Plains Storms 8.18 AM
Plains Storms 8.18 AM

On Sunday and Sunday night, areas farther east will be in line for a thorough soaking and could face localized flooding problems. This includes in Pierre, South Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Residents living near small streams or in flood-prone areas should be on the lookout for rising water levels.

If high water overtakes a roadway, motorists are reminded to never attempt to drive through the floodwaters.

After rain sweeps through during the first part of Sunday, enough sunshine may break out across Oklahoma and the Arklatex region for stronger storms to ignite during the afternoon and evening hours.

Stay up to date with the latest severe weather and flood alerts by downloading the free AccuWeather app.

Early Week outlook 8.18 AM
Early Week outlook 8.18 AM

The flood risk will not end with the close of the weekend.

Rain and locally gusty storms will settle over the Mississippi Valley on Monday, with the greatest risk of flooding expected to target the middle and upper portions of the region.

The core of heaviest rain may stay south of Minneapolis, but could cause travel headaches in Chicagoland at the start of the week.

Any non-flooding rainfall into early week will help to ease the pockets of drought over the central Plains.

As the downpours shift into the Great Lakes and Northeast prior to the middle of the week, Vido expects cooler, less humid conditions to take control of the nation's midsection.

On Sunday, Denver may not crack the 70-degree Fahrenheit mark for the first time since late May.

The city's low temperature record of 47 on Sunday night could also be in jeopardy.

Tue Storm 8.18 AM
Tue Storm 8.18 AM

Highs in the 70s F will overtake the upper Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes on Monday and Tuesday.

Oklahoma City will dip into the lower 80s by midweek, well below the average high in the lower 90s.

"It will feel refreshing for outdoor plans and projects and encourage lower regional cooling demand," Vido said.

While most of the region can expect dry weather to accompany the more comfortable conditions, systems ejecting out of the Rockies may put the central and southern Plains at risk for thunderstorms around midweek.

RELATED: Flooding, extreme heat in the US 2018

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