Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Severe Weather Likely Plains through Mid-Atlantic Later Today...

A threat of severe weather will exist today across a broad area extending from much of Nebraska and Iowa, Eastward through portions of the Midwest, the Ohio Valley and into the Delmarva region.

A stationary frontal boundary extends nearly West-East through much of the outlook area.  In addition, a dryline is located near the Western most border of the outlook area.  Numerous outflow boundaries from thunderstorm activity on Tuesday are also scattered throughout particularly the central and eastern portions of the outlook area.  All of these surface features will focus new thunderstorm development later today and into tonight. 

Severe storms are expected to be numerous throughout the entire severe weather outlook area as shown in yellow on the image above.  Large hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes are possible with the severe storms that form in the severe weather outlook area.

Severe storms may become particularly widespread by late this afternoon and into this evening within the red shaded area from central Nebraska into central Iowa.  An elevated risk of each of the severe weather types (large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes) will exist within this region.  This includes the cities of Grand Island, Lincoln, Norfolk, Omaha and Des Moines.

An elevated risk of very large hail, perhaps exceeding 2 inches in diameter at times, will exist within the red shaded and black hatched area on the image below:

Meanwhile, an elevated risk of damaging wind gusts will exist within the red and lavender shaded areas on the image below:

I am usually hesitant to show the following image because folks tend to focus too much on the percent chance that is indicated, but with the overall severe weather risk area being so large today (geographically), I feel that it is warranted.  Don't pay too much attention to the "5% chance" notation, but rather focus on the brown shaded area on the image below, which indicates where the greatest chance of a tornado is likely to exist later today:

This does not mean that tornadoes won't occur in other areas within the overall severe weather outlook area shown in yellow at the top image.  This just means that conditions are more favorable within the brown shaded area on the above image as compared to the other regions.

Folks living across the severe weather threat areas for today and tonight should remain alert, especially this afternoon into this evening as activity initially develops.  Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or another trusted source for later watches, warnings and information.  Please take a few moments to identify your best sheltering option and be able to move there quickly if threatening weather is observed or a warning issued.

Watch for an updated post as to this situation by mid to late morning.

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