Severe storms and heavy rain fall could put a damper on western North Dakotans' Fourth of July plans.
According to the National Weather Service in Bismarck, the holiday weekend is expected to be hot and humid with "daily chances for severe storms and heavy rain through the weekend."
Storms forming in southwest North Dakota and northwest South Dakota are moving north-northeast.
"Right now, there are actually some thunderstorms strong to severe just to the east of Dickinson," said Michael Hollan, meteorologist with the weather service. "Those are currently not tracking toward the city of Dickinson, but there is a small chance for some thunderstorms through the afternoon (Thursday) and tonight and then on and off chances for thunderstorms are expected through the weekend and also through much of next week."
This weekend, western and central North Dakota are expected to see hail up to the size of a golf ball, damaging winds as high as 70 mph, heavy rainfall bringing flash flooding and frequent lightning.
"At least in the near term, so the next few hours or so, that threat is starting to trend a little bit farther to the east of Dickinson, but there are chances for severe thunderstorms on and off through the weekend," Hollan said.
As of Thursday, the threat of severe storms in Dickinson seems to be scattered and drops off into isolated chances by Saturday and Sunday. The greatest potential for storms is in the afternoon and evenings, according to the weather service.
"They should definitely be paying attention to the latest forecast, and if they have any outdoor activities planned, make sure to have a way to receive watches and warnings," Hollan said.
A severe thunderstorm watch indicated that large hail and/or high wind are possible. A severe thunderstorm warning means the threat is either occurring or imminent.
A slow-moving thunderstorm can produce torrential rain that leads to flash flooding. Just six inches of quickly flowing water can knock a person off their feet, and two feet of such water can carry away most vehicles. In the event of a flash flood warning, the weather service advises people in the warning area to move to higher ground.