By DANIEL MANZO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The latest round of summer storms brought over 100 reports of severe weather on Thursday in three general clusters around the country. One cluster was the deep South, where damaging winds up to 60 mph were reported in parts of Louisiana into Mississippi and Alabama.
Additionally, heavy rainfall in Houston once again brought flash flooding in the metropolitan area on Thursday. Another cluster of storms was in the Washington, D.C. metro area and northern Virginia, where wind gusts nearing 60 mph downed trees. A third cluster is now moving through the northern Plains early Friday morning, bringing some gusty winds that so far have reached as high as 69 mph in parts of South Dakota.
The weather focus Friday and through the weekend will primarily be on a developing storm in the upper Midwest that is moving eastward. The storm will bring several rounds of severe weather to nearly 80 million Americans beginning Friday and lasting through the weekend. The risk region for severe weather in the next 48 hours covers a significant part of the country, basically from Colorado to Connecticut.
Storms are ongoing in parts of the upper Midwest already Friday morning, with heavy rainfall and gusty winds being the main threat. However, by Friday evening, it appears there will be several pulses of severe thunderstorms moving through the Midwest, especially around Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit. There is a risk Friday for damaging winds, tornadoes and large hail.
Overnight into Saturday, the severe weather will not let up. Several rounds of storms are likely to pulse southward into Missouri and Kansas, and the first of multiple pulses of storms will arrive in the Northeast by early morning.
High-Resolution models are showing severe thunderstorms arriving in the Philadelphia and New York metro areas by 7 a.m. Saturday morning with gusty winds, brief tornadoes and large hail.
While there may be a brief break in storms during the middle of the day, storms will quickly fire up again in parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Once again, damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes will be possible.
Any slow-moving storm will have the potential to bring flash flooding both this weekend.
Meanwhile, south of the severe weather action, Saharan dust is expected to continue to spread over much of the southern U.S. Air quality alerts are being posted Friday morning in Louisiana due to the high concentration of dust particles in the air.
For most Americans, the only notable impact from Saharan dust will be some scenic sunsets and sunrises as well has some haze. For most meteorologists, the most notable impact from the Saharan Dust is the complete shutdown of the tropical season temporarily. For individuals that have sensitive respiratory concerns, the Saharan Dust could aggravate those existing health issues.
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