Severe storms possible this weekend across North Dakota

Severe storms possible this weekend across North Dakota

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Three rounds of severe thunderstorms are possible this weekend in North Dakota, the National Weather Service says.

The storm systems could bring heavy rain, flash flooding, large hail, strong winds and even tornadoes.

"All hazards are possible," the weather service said, adding that it has greater than "medium" confidence in property damage.

A low pressure system developing in the western U.S. is forecast to reach the northern Rockies on Saturday, then shift into the Northern Plains through much of the weekend. Wind gusts could be as strong as 80 mph, according to Accuweather.

"Essentially, much of the northern High Plains to portions of southern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta, Canada, will be at risk from later Saturday to Saturday night," AccuWeather Canada Weather Expert Brett Anderson said.

The National Weather Service outlook for North Dakota is for isolated severe storms Saturday morning; scattered severe storms Saturday afternoon into early Sunday with the greatest threat in southern North Dakota, beginning just south of Bismarck; and scattered storms statewide Sunday afternoon and night with the greatest threat in the eastern half of the state.

The National Weather Service forecast for the Bismarck-Mandan area calls for a 60% chance of rain on Saturday and winds gusting to 40 mph.

The storm system has the potential to be the biggest one of the year so far in terms of the number of severe storms and the potential danger and damage, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"June and July are the prime months for severe storms over the northern tier of the U.S. and the southern tier of Canada," Anderson said.

So far in 2020, few rain storms have hit western North Dakota. Nearly all of the western half of the state is classified as "abnormally dry" or in a "moderate drought," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Weather service data show that Bismarck has had just 1.85 inches of rain since the start of the year. The city could normally expect 5.88 inches by early June.

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