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Severe storms, high winds coming tonight

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After sweating through the first 90-degree day in almost 10 months, Milwaukeeans can expect to get drenched tonight.

With rain, not sweat.

Shortly before 6 p.m. the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until midnight throughout most of central and southern Wisconsin.

At 7 p.m. forecasters moved up the timeline because the thunderstorm cluster was barreling through central Wisconsin quicker than originally anticipated.

A cluster of thunderstorms that formed in southern Minnesota Tuesday afternoon is headed into central Wisconsin, possibly arriving between 7 and 9 in Wisconsin Dells and northwest of Madison before reaching southeastern Wisconsin between 9 and 11 p.m.

Severe thunderstorm cluster expected to move in to southeastern Wisconsin earlier than originally forecast. Credit: National Weather Service (Photo: National Weather Service)

The main threat from the storms will be heavy straight-line winds with gusts possibly reaching as high as 70 mph. Large hail is possible though the tornado risk is low because the wind shear profile is not favorable for twisters, said Andy Boxell, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Sullivan.

“When it gets up to 70 mph it’s more than just a few branches down. There’s more widespread tree damage, and tents and campers are at risk,” Boxell said Tuesday afternoon.

The storm will pose a threat to anyone outdoors or without access to strong shelter, the weather service warned.

The risk of lightning is high and power failures are possible.

Fueling the showers and thunderstorms is today’s record-setting heat. The National Weather Service’s official thermometer hit 91 degrees at 3 p.m. in Milwaukee, beating the previous record of 90 degrees for the day set in 1944.

The normal high temperature for this time of year in Milwaukee is 71. The last 90-degree day in Milwaukee was Aug. 5.

Dew points in the super-sticky 70s meant air conditioners and fans worked overtime on Tuesday.

The heat was courtesy of a hot air mass pushing into the state from the southwest. And since severe weather is spawned by unstable air created by heat and humidity, forecasters began a few days ago predicting severe weather for tonight.

Though the forecast calls for lingering showers Wednesday morning, the rest of the day is expected to be sunny with highs in the mid-80s. Thursday looks nice, too — sunny with a high of 82.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.jsonline.com/story/weather/2020/06/02/milwaukee-weather-severe-storms-high-winds-coming-tonight/3126462001/

2020-06-03 00:29:28

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