Storm Watch Issued
It’s the primary duty of the finest Weather Service in the world, and this Thursday afternoon our National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for mountainous West Virginia. This includes all counties on the Virginia border. So from beautiful Canaan Valley to the state’s summit at Spruce Knob to ski country at Snowshoe to the beautiful Greenbrier, conditions are more favorable for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening compared to say the Kanawha, Big Sandy and Ohio Valleys.
Of course, beauty or in this case severity, is in the eyes of the beholder. You see at 3:30, showers and heavy thunderstorms surrounded the River Cities of Ashland-Ironton-Huntington where no such watch was in effect, yet in the high country, only a few scrawny showers existed. But the watch refers to the area most likely for storms to develop and produce high winds (58 miles per hour or more), hail (diameter of at least ¾”) and/or an isolated tornado.
To the average homeowner or little league baseball fan, umpire or player, last night’s storm that crossed the River Cities was indeed severe. It had strong winds (but less than 58mph) and torrential rains (up to 1” in a half hour) as well as vivid lightning strikes. Technically, not severe by strict meteorological standards, but don’t tell that to people who went running for cover at the neighborhood ball field.
For this afternoon and evening then, thunderstorms with a localized cloudburst can produce street flooding and power hits, but the risk of damaging winds is higher in the WV mountains. Todd and I will keep you posted as drought “relieving” downpours pass thru our region.