A rather unsettled and unorganized weather pattern will persist through at least this weekend as multiple disturbances ride the jet stream over the Northern Tier of the US. These different disturbances will fuel the development of strong to severe thunderstorms at the end of this week.

The main risk for severe thunderstorms on Thursday will exist across the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains from Montana down through Colorado and even into the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. That risk will also extend to the east, so even parts of the Mid-Mississippi River Valley may be at risk for isolated, severe thunderstorms. This will not be a widespread severe weather event. Instead, there will be many clusters of thunderstorms that will develop across the central part of the US, some of which may turn strong enough to meet severe criteria. Any of these storms that turn severe will pose the risk for damaging winds and small to moderately-sized hail. Near the northern Rocky Mountains, there is the very small chance for the development of a couple tornadoes.

This morning, there is an area of rain and thunderstorm activity over the eastern Central Plains. As the day progresses, much of this precipitation will dissipate or at least become scattered as it works into parts of the Upper Midwest and western Ohio River Valley. Meanwhile back to the west, scattered thunderstorms will rapidly develop during the mid-afternoon hours across the Northern Plains and east of the Rocky Mountains. These are associated with either a dry line, which separates the dry and moist air, or a surface trough, which is an elongated area of low pressure.

Some of these thunderstorms will dissipate overnight, but several thunderstorm clusters or Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCSs) will persist throughout the night, especially in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. There may also be a MSC that moves across the Red River Valley in the Southern Plains. These storms will likely last through the first few hours of the day on Friday before they gradually weaken midday.

Speaking of Friday, additional severe thunderstorms will be possible for some as the overall weather pattern over the United States remains locked in. Strong to severe storms will be possible across much of the Plains states as well as into portions of the Midwest and Ohio River Valley. Besides a remaining area of thunderstorms or two over the Midwest, the day overall will be quiet until the mid to late-afternoon. At this time of the day, scattered thunderstorms and a couple MCSs will develop over the Northern and Central Plains. Again, damaging winds and large hail will be the main risks associated with these storms, but an isolated tornado definitely cannot be ruled out.

By Saturday, a few large areas will be at risk for isolated severe thunderstorm activity, spanning from Montana through the Mid-Atlantic. It’s these areas that will be under the jet stream, therefore allowing for a damaging wind threat. The disturbances that are riding this jet stream will allow for additional thunderstorms to form in this region on Saturday, especially in the afternoon and evening.

On Sunday, the severe weather risk will be focused over the Northern Plains, particularly in North Dakota. Otherwise, it will be generally quiet across the country severe weather-wise.


Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Miami.

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