UPDATE: As I mentioned this morning, I was concerned that the moderate risk area had shifted north, and now the new data from the Storm Prediction Center shows a moderate risk over most of the Tri-State. This means we have a good chance of seeing widespread wind damage and possible tornadoes. You can look at the picture below and see that the moderate covers a much larger area than it did earlier this morning. The timing still looks to be on track for a late evening-overnight event.
The next graphic shows the tornado risk...the probability of a tornado striking within 25 miles of any point in the shaded area. We are in the 10-15 % cross-hatched area, which is a relatively good chance for tornadoes this evening. With strong winds aloft (greater than 90 knots at about 5,000 feet off the surface, any t-storms that fire may quickly become rotating severe cells and produce damaging winds or tornadoes.
I still think our biggest threat will be damaging wind gusts of 60-70 mph or greater as a line of thunderstorms forms and moves through between 10pm and about 2am. Again, this worries me because of the late hour and the fact that many will be in bed when the storms roll through. You can see the likelihood of damaging winds within 25 miles of any point is at 30%.
Another thing I'll be watching today will be the winds and the transition with the cold front later tonight. These charts show the forecast winds and temperatures at 1000 mb (near the surface). Winds will blow out of the southwest at 15-25 mph all day with higher gusts. This will advect a huge amount of Gulf moisture our way, so that dew points will climb into the 60's...more typical of a spring storm scenario. We will get close to the record high of 70 today, and it will feel like spring.
This next map shows how the atmosphere should look by Wednesday evening...notice the winds have completely turned to the northwest, shutting off the Gulf moisture and sending our temperature down into the teens by Friday morning.
Tonight's severe outbreak certainly has the potential to cause widespread wind damage. Make sure your weather radio is working and that you have the 14 First Alert weather app on your phone in case you are away from a TV when warnings are issued. I'll have another update for you this afternoon after we get a new set of data.
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