Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Afternoon's Severe Weather Outlook for 7/11

I spent the morning and early afternoon down at the National Weather Service in Binghamton, where I am an intern this summer, and used some of their in-house tools to try to get a better handle on the severe weather threat tomorrow. I will mention that the meteorologists there this morning believe tomorrow will be an active day and seem to have a high confidence level.

One of the tools I used this morning was a form called the 'severe weather checklist'. This form has you enter in forecasted values for a variety of severe weather parameters. After doing so, it returns the 5 most similar severe weather days in recent Central New York history. When completing this checklist this morning, it returned 4 days of 'isolated supercells', including May 16th, 2009, which had 3 tornadoes in the area, and May 31, 2002, which had 4 tornadoes. The fifth day was classified as a 'broken line'. Hail was the primary threat from the five days collectively. That tells me that not everywhere tomorrow will see a strong thunderstorm....some areas may barely even get any rain. However, there is certainly potential for some severe weather, and someone will likely have to deal with a damaging storm.

Here is a glance at where I have my threat levels, and an in depth look at exactly what I mean by each threat level, as well as what would need to happen for an upgraded risk:

Thunderstorms: moderate-
Thunderstorms are likely across much of the area. A few places, however, will be missed and get little to no rain. Frequent lightning will accompany some of the storms.

High Winds: slight-
Some storms may contain strong winds. Wind damage will be isolated to scattered, with 3 to 10 reports in Central New York. Sunshine in the morning would increase the chances of wind damage, and could get this bumped up to a moderate risk.

Hail: slight-
Small hail will be possible with stronger storms tomorrow, but most hail should remain uner 1" in diameter. The strongest storms may produce up to 1.5" hail. 5-12 Severe hail (over 0.75") events can be expected in Central New York. This is still rather uncertain, and could be upgraded to a moderate risk should the models show a bit better conditions for hail tomorrow morning.

Tornadoes: slight-
Conditions are favorable for rotating storms, and tornadoes could form. My best current guess is that somewhere in Western, Central and Southern New York will see a weak tornado, but as many as 2 or 3 wouldn't surprise me. This would most likely not be upgraded to moderate unless numerous storms that have already developed are showing signs of becoming tornadic.

Expect the next website update to occur between 9 and 11 am tomorrow. A blog update should occur within 30 minutes of that. There also could be a quick blog update tonight. During the afternoon tomorrow, I plan to have the weather chat open and will be updating th blog and website as needed. Stay tuned!

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