Sunday Storm Watch


An expected unusual contortion in the winds aloft working in tandem with a hot and tropical air mass has our area on watch for severe weather on Sunday.

This late into the season, a normal severe weather day in late July would focus on street flooding downpours, lightning strikes creating localized power hits and a few pockets of strong winds.

In this case however, it appears there will be abnormally high wind speeds in the heavens from 5,000 ft all the way to 25,000 ft. This faster air reminds one of a set-up in May when severe thunderstorms are capable of forming into squall lines or derechoes and even of spawning tornadoes.

While it is not possible to predict beyond a few hours the nature of Sunday’s winds (when, where, how widespread or isolated and how intense storms will be), we should all take a tip from the campers who were blindsided by tornadic high winds in Northampton Virginia; namely, violent summer storms often form instantaneously and can become so fast moving that the amount of warning given before a cell hits can be very small.

So somewhere in the Ohio Valley and Central Appalachian mountains a rare spring set up in the heavens may conspire with a summer air mass at ground level to support abnormally strong thunderstorms.

Until these storms form, it will be a regular run-of-the-mill summer weekend. Let’s hope it stays that way.

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