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Northern Plains Brace For Severe Storms

UPDATED 8:30 PM CDT, July 11, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Seth Carrier

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The northern Rocky Front Range and western Dakotas will be threatened by severe thunderstorms this evening. Destructive winds and large hail will be the primary risks.

With strong storms already racing across the area, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for western North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota. This includes the cities of Williston and Minot, N.D.

Fueling the dangerous thunderstorms in the High Plains is low pressure sliding off the northern Rockies. An associated warm front is drawing unseasonably hot and humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico throughout the Plains, while cooler and drier air penetrates the storm`s western flank along a strengthening cold front pushing toward the northern Rocky Front Range.

This volatile clash of air masses has triggered a line of severe thunderstorms that will evolve into a cluster of destructive thunderstorms while rolling into the Dakotas this evening and overnight, before slowly fading on Friday morning across eastern North and South Dakota. The primary concerns will be damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph and golf ball size hail.

Scattered severe weather reports have already rolled in this evening from the northern Plains. Golf ball size hail struck the town of Ray, N.D., while a 67 mph wind gust blew through the town of Beach, N.D.

Make sure that you download the WeatherBug app on your smart phone before you head out on any outdoor activities. The mobile app now includes Spark Lightning Alerts, a GPS-based lightning detection feature providing you the location of the closest lightning strike, so you can Know Before the storm hits. Click here for the link to download.

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