Saturday, November 16, 2013

Significant Severe Weather Episode Likely Sunday Across the OH/TN Valley Region...


Late fall is known for an occasional outbreak of severe weather, and unfortunately it looks like tomorrow will be just such a case.  While the threat of severe weather will exist generally along and East of the Mississippi River, the most widespread and potentially dangerous situation appears to be taking shape for much of the Ohio and Tennessee Valley region, as indicated in yellow on the above image.

By far, wind damage will be the primary threat from this event.  The potential exists for widespread, significant wind damage, particularly within the yellow shaded area on the image above.

A few tornadoes will also be possible, particularly early in the event when a few isolated storms may form along or ahead of the main line.  All storms, as well as any tornadoes, will be very fast moving, which will further increase the risk of people being caught off guard if they're not paying attention to the weather.  The primary risk will occur from afternoon into the evening, then spreading East overnight.

Below is the NAM forecast model depiction of what the radar may look like at 3:00 PM CST tomorrow:



As you can see, the model is already depicting a line of severe thunderstorms along the cold front by that time, but if you look closely toward the Southern end of the line, you'll see a few isolated cells, as well as a few isolated cells ahead of the line over Indiana and Kentucky.  While it's important not to focus on the exact locations of where storms are depicted by the model, it does give us a good idea as to the overall scenario that is likely to take shape.  Any isolated storms that form would need to be watched closely for tornado potential.

In addition to the "traditional" tornado threat associated with any isolated supercells that are able to form ahead of the main line, this is likely to be a situation where numerous "spin-ups" will occur along bowing segments within the overall line of storms throughout the event.  While any tornado touch downs with these line segments are likely to be brief, the associated wind damage potential will be intense.

If you live across the areas indicated above or have travel plans into this region on Sunday, especially from midday Sunday into the afternoon and evening, please stay aware of the weather and be ready to seek immediate shelter if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.  Storms will be very fast moving, so there will be little time to react in many cases, unfortunately.  Due to the potential for intense damaging winds, I also recommend treating a Severe Thunderstorm Warning as you would a Tornado Warning, especially in the yellow shaded area on the top image.

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