Update - Risk of strong / severe storms today

As a front slowly sags into our region, we're going to get an extra tweak of forcing to set of storms. Given the instability that has persisted in the area, this will result in more storm tracking chores for the day.

Updates below (most recent 10:30am)

A good Thursday to one and all.

First thing's up... The risk of severe weather will be elevated today, though the nature of the threats will not be tornadic. During the past few days our storms have been firing up due to the heating of the day, but this time it will be a little different.

HPC - Surface Map - Thursday PM

Though this front has the 'stationary' designation, there are things going on here other than a non-moving lackluster scenario. This front is trying to sag southward into our area, but it trips up in the instability that exists, storms pop in clusters, and then essentially take over, moving about on the strength of their own dynamics rather than the front that birthed them. This front will continue to re-invent itself as it tries to push southward-- the classic clash between air masses. The Storm Prediction Center has us under a "slight risk" for severe weather today, something we'll break down soon enough when the updated maps come out for the day.

A couple other map products I'd like to share in this context:

GFS - Precipitable Water - Thursday PM GFS - Lifted Index - Thursday PM

The "precipitable water" creeps to 2.00" again today, and the "Lifted Index" hovers around -6. The higher the "precipitable water" is, the more likely any storm is going to be able to channel a spot-flooding downpour overhead (and 2" is a juicy number 'round these parts). The lower the "lifted index" number is, the more of a contrast that exists between warmer air at the surface and colder air aloft. In keeping with the example of a hot air balloon, the air inside the balloon needs to be hotter than its surroundings in order to lift-- the task is much easier if the air of the environment keeps getting colder as you go up.

So we'll be on storm patrol today, with the expectation that those closest to the actual front will be in the cross-hairs the most. This would be sections of Ohio in our area. Downpours and power-hits are going to be the main threat, though gusty winds can't be ruled out when a sheet of rain pushes down on the air below it, flinging it forward. The best way to gauge this will be on a storm-by-storm basis through the presence of 'gust fronts'-- something with which it appears our viewers and blog watchers have been getting a lot more practice :-)

Update (10:30am) - The Storm Prediction Center has placed us in a "slight risk" category for severe weather (which usually ends up as severe weather occuring at least somewhere. Here's the breakdown:

SPC - Hail Threat SPC - Wind Threat SPC - Tornado Threat

With the warm sunshine this morning, we'll definitely be looking at the downpours and the threat of gusty winds associated with it in individual storm cells. Hail is also a threat but marginally so (in terms of > 1" in diameter). It is interesting to note that we are in a 2% zone for tornadoes. That means we aren't expecting any, but we'll keep an eye on any supercell that may for out ahead of the main multicellular storm lines just in case. As with most storm scenarios like these, by far the biggest concern is for flash flooding.

As a case in point-- today is the anniversary of the utterly devastating flash flood that hit Charleston, WV back in 1961. 22 Deaths, and over 1000 homes damaged. Here's one story about the event:

 

Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking

Accuweather Radar

From the Storm Prediction Center (below): Click For a Larger Image

Activity Overview Storm Outlook Watches Potential Watches Storm Reports
Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active Warnings
Current Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active NWS Warnings
Click For Larger Click For Interactive Radar Click For Larger Click For Larger

Have a great day everyone!

-B

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