Severe Storm Threat From Billings to Denver, Wichita
August 03, 2013; 8:08 PM
Severe storms are firing Saturday evening from Montana to Colorado. The severe storm threat will shift across the central Plains overnight.
Denver is among the cities in the path of severe weather Saturday evening.
Multiple clusters of thunderstorms will continue to fire up through early Saturday night. Storms have already spawned brief tornadoes and hail up to the size of baseballs across northeastern Colorado.
The most intense storms that fire through the remainder of the evening will be capable of bringing damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes. These powerful storms will threaten to down trees and power lines, causing power outages.
On Saturday night, an organized complex of thunderstorms will trek across Kansas and into extreme western Missouri. Damaging winds, downpours and flooding will become the main concerns into early Sunday.
In addition to Denver and surrounding suburbs, the Wichita, Kan., area will also be at risk for adverse weather.
The ground is fairly moist across central and eastern Kansas, where up to 4 to 8 inches of rain has fallen in the past week.
The above image shows rainfall over the past seven days ending at 7 a.m. CDT, Friday, Aug. 2. Image courtesy of NOAA.
Intense downpours with these storms will create the threat for flash flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas and runoff will cause streams and rivers to rise.
Travelers along Interstates 70 and 35 may come across reduced visibility in downpours and ponding of water with the risk for hydroplaning.
Never drive across flooded roadways, as only about a foot of water can cause your vehicle to lose traction and be swept downstream.
The rain will certainly be welcome for some, as extreme drought conditions continue to grip eastern Colorado and western Kansas.
The potential for severe storms will not only be restricted to the Plains for the start of the weekend. While the widespread threat will remain in the center of the country, there is a risk for isolated gusty storms in the Mid-Atlantic on Saturday. The greatest risk area will be across Maryland and Virginia, however the higher winds will be isolated events.
Story by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mike Doll. Content contributed by Meteorologist Andy Mussoline