Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Monday's Historic Thunderstorms

Story originally published on by Drew Montreuil.

I wanted to take a couple moments and point out some pretty amazing things that happened Monday across the eastern half of the nation. A huge severe weather outbreak blasted across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and into the southeast. Severe weather was reported from Texas to Florida, northward into Pennsylvania. Even here in Central New York, we had a few strong thunderstorms. Three-quarter inch hail was reported Monday morning near Ithaca and in Norwich. Hail must measure one inch in diameter before it is considered "severe".

While the National Weather Service continues to do surveys of the damage, the number of reports will continue to increase. But here are some numbers that are just mind blowing:

As of 10AM Wednesday, there were 1377 total reports of wind damage, 1"+ hail or tornadoes from Monday. Since 2000, there has not been a single day with this many severe weather reports. Of the nearly 1400 reports, 1245 were damaging wind reports. The squall line responsible for this outbreak did not stop producing severe weather because it died; it simply moved off shore over the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, there were a number of fatalities associated with these storms as tornadoes destroyed homes and trees were downed onto houses. The image above, from the Storm Prediction Center, shows the severe weather reports from Monday's historic outbreak. Blue dots represent wind damage, while red dots are tornado reports and green dots are hail an inch in diameter or greater. Click the image for a larger view.

More spring-like weather will be on the way for the East, including Central New York. Another powerful storm system will form over the Great Plains this weekend and head up into Canada. A cold front will blast across the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast, with more severe weather possible. Currently the Storm Prediction Center is highlighting areas from Minnesota and Wisconsin south to Texas and Louisiana and eastward to Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee as the highest potential for severe weather. As we get closer to the weekend though, I would not be surprised to see that threat shifted further to the east. Whether or not we get into the thunderstorms once more is still a bit questionable, but at the very least, our temperatures will shoot into the 60s, maybe even near 70 Sunday and Monday.

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