Watching Wicked Midwest Weather Closely
A Wild and wicked night of radar watching had many Midwesterners on pins and needles on Monday. A DERECHO wind storm packing gusts to 80 miles per hour, intense lightning and torrential rains inundated parts of 7 states including much of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Feeding on the energy of a near 90 degree day, these storms were “thermodynamic” in nature. From the Greek, “thermo” means heat and “dynamic” means energy. On Monday there was ample “thermodynamic” energy for severe thunderstorm development in the upper Corn Belt of America.
While those storms are sure to weaken overnight, there is evidence that a new surge in storms will form east into the Ohio Valley on Tuesday as a thermodynamically scorching mid 90s day unfolds.
Now the wind speeds in the heavens above often lend a booster shot of energy to these thermodynamically driven storms. Using last night’s storms as a proxy for determining severe weather, balloon launches suggest the winds in Chicago were in the 40-50 mile per hour range in the key 10 to 20,000 feet height layer.
Now contrast our winds which are expected later today to be a more muted 20-30 miles per hour range.
So our air will be hotter than Chicago’s today allowing for more thermodynamic energy for storms to feed on. The trade-off is the winds aloft will not be nearly as strong over our heads from which to drive storms.
Add it up and we will be watching radar closely this afternoon and night for what is likely a muted form of severe weather compared to Monday night’s action.
Localized power hits from strong winds and lightning strikes seem to be the most likely scenario in the late afternoon-evening with Southern Ohio and Central WV (north of I-64) more likely to see intense action compared to points south.