Severe thunderstorm activity has been plentiful across the Plains and Midwest so far this month, and after a brief reprieve from wet weather on Sunday, the region will face the threat for potentially damaging thunderstorms once again early week.
In the wake of an active day in terms of severe thunderstorm reports across the Midwest on Saturday, an area of high pressure will briefly build into the region to end the weekend, shifting the severe threat away and promoting dry and settled weather for places like Chicago, Minneapolis and Des Moines, Iowa.
Although there will not be a threat for severe weather across the Midwest on Sunday, there will be a few areas to watch for potentially drenching and locally severe thunderstorms. One of the areas to monitor closely will be along the Front Range of the southern Rockies and into the southern Plains.
Large hail, damaging wind gusts and torrential downpours will be the main hazards across this zone Sunday afternoon and into the overnight hours. Although the hail and wind will pose a threat, any rain that falls across this zone will be beneficial as moderate-to-severe drought conditions are in place.
Through the evening and into the overnight hours, it is possible that isolated storms congeal into a larger complex as they sink southeastward through the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.
Another area to monitor during the day on Sunday will be across portions of the Ohio Valley, mid-South and southern Appalachians.
While a majority of showers and thunderstorms are expected to remain below severe criteria, any storm that pops up in this zone will be able to produce prolific rainfall rates that could lead to flash flooding. These storms will also feature frequent lightning strikes and locally strong wind gusts.
Heading into early week, attention will shift back towards the Midwest as yet another disturbance will track into the region, firing up feisty thunderstorms.
Motorists traveling on interstates 29, 80, 90 and 94 across the Midwest will need to keep a close eye on the sky, especially during the afternoon hours, as conditions could rapidly deteriorate as thunderstorms develop.
Fargo, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, North Platte, Nebraska, and areas in between could be in for another round of thunderstorm activity on Monday.
Putting the risks for large hail and damaging wind aside, the persistent wet and stormy pattern is proving to be beneficial for farmers and their crops in the region.
The month of July is considered to be the most important month for farmers across the Midwest as this is when crops like corn and soybeans experience the most rapid growth if conditions are conducive.
Not only is the water beneficial to the crops, but lightning can aid in plant growth as well. The intense heat given off by a lightning strike can cause nitrogen and oxygen molecules to bond together, forming nitrogen oxides, or nitrates. These newly formed compounds can then get absorbed by water droplets and fall to the ground, providing beneficial nutrients for the plants below.
Across the Midwest, there will likely be plenty of lightning flashes within the thunderstorms on Monday.
A majority of the Plains and portions of the Midwest may not have much of a break in terms of the wet weather looking ahead to midweek, as a series of weak disturbances could spark daily thunderstorm activity.
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