Thursday, May 24, 2007

Severe threat: Friday, Sunday

A busy couple of days are coming up in the weather that may bring some severe thunderstorms to the area. Two separate systems will move through, one tomorrow and another Sunday, that could cause some problems around the region ranging from floods to hail to damaging winds.

Friday: Friday will be a lot like today was: hot and humid. The only differences will be it will be more humid and there will be a 'trigger' in the atmosphere to get some storms going. A weakening cold front that has been spawning severe weather across the central part of the country will work its way through here tomorrow afternoon. This will provide the spark, the heat and humidity the fuel. Thunderstorms tomorrow are not expected to be widespread. In fact, the majority of Central New York will probably stay dry. However, the storms that do pop up have the potential for some hail and gusty winds, not to mention torrential down pours. Winds in the atmosphere aloft will be weak tomorrow. This means that the storms that do form will be slow movers, if they move at all. As a result, flash flooding is a large concern for areas hit tomorrow. It is more than possible for someplace in the region to get 3-6" of rain tomorrow, while a few miles away gets nothing! Remember, flooding is the #1 weather killer in the nation. NEVER drive through a flooded roadway! There is no telling how deep the water may be, and just a foot of fast moving water can take a car away!

Sunday: Remember those weak winds aloft? The lack of these winds will cause Friday's front to stall to our south. While Saturday will be nice, Sunday that front will lift back north as a warm front. A second, more powerful cold front will make its way into the area. For a few days now, the Storm Prediction Center has been watching our area for a severe weather outbreak Sunday. The amount of severe weather depends on the timing of the front, which is still uncertain. The main concern Sunday is damaging, straight-line winds associated with a powerful line of thunderstorms. If the timing is right, this could be a very damaging event, so you will want to stay tuned as the weekend progresses!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Seems like summer!

A busy blog post for sure, all of it having to do with things more typical of the summer than early May! From fires to heat, severe storms to hurricanes, its being talked about:

If you have noticed, about a week or so ago I added a "Fire Threat" section to the thunderstorm forecast (for lack of a better place for it). I have been using this as a guide to how likely accidental brush fires are to occur based on a combination of recent rainfall, winds, humidity, and temperature. Lately, all things have been aligned for a "moderate" to "high" risk of fires. This threat became reality yesterday in Syracuse, when sparks from a welder's torch started a small brush fire. When the threat is high, extra caution must be used. One of the bigger risks is actually from people throwing cigarette butts without thinking. As is evident by yesterday's brush fire in Syracuse, when the threat is elevated, it doesn't take much to get a fire going!

After hitting 86 yesterday, I thought about maybe putting "near 90" for today's forecast, but thought I might be jumping the gun a bit too much. Since 2003 (when I started recording weather data), it has hit 90 in May only twice. Both times were last year, on the 30th and 31st. However, that record has now been broken. Just after 3PM, I got to 90 degrees at my house, topping out at 90.3! You can see my weather software above (click for a larger image). The high temperature is displayed about half way down on the left panel!

Severe Storm Threat:
There is a bit of a threat for severe storms Thursday afternoon as a disturbance aloft moves through. While widespread severe weather isn't anticipated....nor did it occur today over the Midwest....I do think a few of tomorrow's storms may become severe, with hail and gusty winds being the threat. I would anticipate between 2 and 10 severe weather reports, mostly wind, stretching from Western New York, into Central New York and Northern Pennsylvania and over to about Albany. East of that, there may be some additional severe weather.

Subtropical Storm Andrea:
The 2007 Atlantic Hurricane season got an early start today...or did it? The season officially starts June 1st. Today, a low pressure system was classified "subtropical" and was given the name "Andrea." First off, a subtropical low is basically a hybrid: its got some tropical characteristics, and some non-tropical characteristics. (If you want more details, that would make a great "Ask Drew" question for that section of my website (which isn't built yet...)). In years past, these systems did not receive names. However, during the past few years, they have been given names. So, in a way, the Hurricane Season is off to a running start....but in ways, nothing has yet happened.