Dangerous Weather Ahead: Severe Storms, Dust, Heat and Fire Weather

Severe storms span half the nation today and could bring dangerous weather in the evening and overnight hours, while record-setting heat is possible over the weekend, a dust cloud arrives, and Western fire weather.

Massive severe storms stretch from Colorado to New York

An expansive line of strong thunderstorms will stretch across half of the nation on Friday, starting from Colorado in the East all the way to New York in the East.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is warning that the storm front could bring dangerous weather that includes strong thunderstorms, damaging winds, including straight-line winds, large hail, heavy rain, flooding, and the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

Areas east of Denver are anticipating quarter-sized hail and 60 mph wind. In the upper Midwest and Ohio Valley, there is an Enhanced Level-3 risk of especially severe weather over southeastern Iowa, southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, southern Michigan, Northern Indiana, and northwestern Ohio.

There is a lesser, Slight Level-2 risk of severe weather for Northern Missouri, most of Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, most of Wisconsin, all of Michigan, in the northern portions of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, as well as Northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York.

Risk Level-3 includes more persistent storms bringing significant wind damage, large hail, and a few isolated tornadoes.

Risk Level-2 is defined as isolated intense storms, short-lived, bringing damaging winds and large hail, with a lower threat of isolated tornadoes.

Saharan dust cloud arrives on Friday

A historic in proportion plume of Saharan dust arrives in the southern US on Friday via the Gulf of Mexico and will affect portions of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida through Saturday. It will begin to reduce moisture in the air while covering the sky in a haze.

By the weekend, it will have moved farther inland, extending into the Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and reaching parts of the central Plains and upper Midwest. The main effects will be hazy skies and reduced air quality.

However, the large amount of dust in the air could create problems for people with respiratory issues, especially younger and elderly sufferers, those who are sensitive to dust, allergy sufferers, and even smokers, who might want to use the opportunity to think about how to stop smoking. For the rest of us, it shouldn’t produce much of an effect.

Heatwave and dust: Florida meteorologists advise Floridians to consider staying inside over the weekend

Portions of Florida are expected to reach record-setting heat over the weekend and meteorologists are warning residents they may want to consider staying inside.

Not only will they have the excessive heat and humidity to deal with, but the Saharan dust cloud that will be hovering over the area on the weekend will also reduce air quality and could prove troublesome for those suffering respiratory issues, dust sensitivity or asthma.

Fire weather watch for southern Arizona

Wildfires continue to rage throughout Arizona, and in particular, a number of fires are still burning in southern Arizona near the Tucson area.

Tucson is expected to reach 108 degrees on Friday, with low relative humidity and gusty winds which could feed the flames. The area is already experiencing a high degree of smoke from the fires.