By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
July 18,2017, 10:15:51PM,EDT
Unrelenting rounds of severe weather will sweep across the midwestern United States, enhancing the threat of significant flash flooding and wind damage through the end of the week.
This type of weather pattern presents a significant risk to lives and property. There is the potential for an extensive swath of wind, tree and power line damage and life-threatening flash flooding through the remainder of the week.
Many areas from the northern Plains to the western and lower Great Lakes can expect a new round of thunderstorms to occur about every 24 hours through Friday.
The bulk of the severe weather will develop late in the day and continue through the overnight and early morning hours.
Following pockets of heavy and gusty thunderstorms across the Midwest on Tuesday, a more significant severe weather event may unfold later Wednesday.
"There is the risk for a long-lived cluster of damaging thunderstorms, known as a derecho, to ride the rim of the heat baking the central Plains from Wednesday night into Thursday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.
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“Thunderstorm complexes such as these have the potential to produce widespread wind damage including [downed] trees and power lines, leading to widespread power outages,” AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist John Lavin said. “In addition, damage to businesses and homes will also be possible.”
A few tornado spin ups could cause further damage in some communities. The tornado risk will be highest as thunderstorms initially develop across the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota late Wednesday afternoon.
Thunderstorms will initially develop across the eastern Dakotas late Wednesday afternoon before sweeping southeastward through Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois overnight, according to Lavin.
The strongest storms could reach Chicago late Wednesday night to Thursday morning.
Regardless of the extent of severe weather, flash flooding could turn life threatening in some communities as each round of storms has the potential to unleash several inches of rain in a matter of minutes or hours.
Roads may become impassable from flood waters and closures are possible. Use extra caution when driving at night as flood waters can be difficult to see. Never attempt to drive through a flooded roadway.
Runoff will cause rises on streams and rivers. Moderate to major flooding will continue on the Fox and Des Plaines rivers after recent deluges.
Depending on the exact path and severity of Wednesday night’s storm complex, severe weather could once again threaten much of the same swath late Thursday into Friday.
It will likely take until late this weekend and the early part of next week for quieter weather to finally settle over the Midwest and any needed cleanup operations to begin in full force.