(Severe Risk was updated around 12:30pm. See new graphic below). As mentioned a couple of times recently…it seems that we are in a pattern where we have a weekly chance for severe storms. Normally, this time of year we’ll have partly cloudy skies with a chance for pop-up afternoon storms almost every day. Once in a while a bigger area of storms will fire up. However, lately we’ve had wide areas of storms and severe weather.
I think this has been from a re-occurring large trough over the eastern U.S. and ridging in the west. So here we go again today with another round of strong storms and possibly some severe weather.
The recent severe weather episodes that we’ve had have occurred mainly while we had a slight risk for severe (category 2 out of 5). Well…today there is an enhanced risk for severe for areas north/northwest of the metro. This includes the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula. That is level 3 out of 5.
(Update: The Storm Prediction center has updated the severe risk. They have taken out the “enhanced risk” as of 12:30pm. Remember, we were in a slight risk for severe weather during many of our recent severe events. Regardless..here is the new graphic):
We are covered by a slight risk for severe weather for the majority of the area. The surface map from today shows that a cool front is way off to our west. However, there is a cluster of showers and storms between Ohio and West Virginia.
This cluster is associated with a short-wave trough (a smaller dip in the jetstream compared to the bigger dip). This same type of feature caused our severe weather last week as it moved over a highly unstable air mass.
The same is expected today.
So the theory for the forecast is pretty sound. However, for some reason, the models are disagreeing on the timing and coverage. The HRRR model shows an increasing chance for rain during the late afternoon into the evening.
Meanwhile the RPM model shows one round of showers and storms during the mid afternoon. Then it has a second batch of showers and storms later tonight.
It has been going back and forth on the coverage during that time. In fact, the models have been almost flip-flopping on the timing and coverage. Yesterday, the models had the bulk of the rain between 8 p.m. and until after midnight. Maybe they are trying to figure out if there will be a split.
Having said that…at this time, I think we will have a decent sized batch of showers and storms this afternoon. That area of rain over West Virginia is pretty solid. There will probably be a second round. However, its strength will depend on the strength and coverage of the first batch.
Regardless of the differences between the models, the main threat is going to be strong (possibly damaging) wind gusts. There will be some heavy downpours. Large hail is possible. This time there is also a low-end threat for localized flooding and isolated tornadoes.
We will heat up quite a bit before the storms arrive. High temps will be in the low 90s. Dew points are in the low-mid 70s. So the heat index this afternoon will be in the upper 90s to around 100.
If the morning clouds don’t break up as much as expected, then highs will be closer to 90 and the heat index will be more in the mid-upper 90s. There will be a decent breeze out of the south/southwest. This should stop any sea breezes from forming.
However, it will also help to push in the higher heat and humidity.
The storms should weaken after 11 p.m. There could be a few showers overnight into tomorrow morning. We’ll have a mix of sun and clouds Wednesday. There will be some more showers and storms forming late in the day. They will drop south between the mid afternoon and the evening.
We could see a few strong storms again during that time, but I think the risk for severe will be lower. High temps will be in the upper 80s. The cool front will be approaching from the northwest late Wednesday. It will slowly trudge through the region on Thursday. This will bring us some more scattered rain showers with a few storms.
Hopefully, we’ll be more stable on Thursday. There will be more clouds overall. Highs will be in the mid-80s on Thursday. The rain chances will drop on Friday. We should see a quieter weekend overall. I’ll have more updates on that part of the forecast tomorrow and Thursday.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler