Thursday, July 31, 2014

Even MORE Severe Weather: Today, NY, VT. NH Are The Targets

This hailstone, about the size of a tennis ball, fell
on Charlotte, Vermont Sunday. More big hail
is possible in Vermont today. Photo byTom Gardner
via NWS/Burlington  
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Northeast just can't catch a break from severe weather this summer.

A couple days ago, a cold front passed off the coast, ending a bout of severe storms that brought tornadoes from Tennessee to Massachusetts and Maine, and flash flooding from places as diverse as Ohio and Vermont.

You'd think in the cool air that followed the front we'd be free of the bad storms for awhile.


An unsually strong upper level disturbance was coming out of Ontario and headed into New York, and then on into Vermont and New Hampshire today.

It's not hot or humid out there, so that's a couple ingredients we don't have for severe weather. But this disturbance is so strong it doesn't matter there isn't much heat for the storms to feed off of.

The disturbance is an area of higher upper level winds, which would be brought down to the surface by thunderstorms. So damaging winds are a threat with these storms.

An even bigger threat today across eastern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire is giant hail. This disturbance is essentially a pool of very chilly air several thousand feet overhead.

Since the freezing level isn't that high above us, hailstones can easily form. The violent updrafts within the storms can keep sending hail back up into the cold air, where they'll get bigger and bigger.

The hailstones won't have as big a layer of warm air to fall through than they typically do during the summer, they won't melt as much as they often do. So when they land, some of the hailstones will be pretty damn big.

Not everybody will get big, damaging hail, of course. Most towns won't get any hail at all.  Most of the storms that do produce hail will only bring pea to dime sized hail, which really isn't THAT big a deal. But a few towns could get much larger hailstones than that.

Vermont has not had a good year in the hail department. A supercell in late May brought bucket loads of damaging hail to Rutland County, especially around Proctor and Pittsford.

Another hailstorm caused damage in the Rutland area on July 3. And just last Sunday, hail as big as tennis balls pelted Charlotte, Vermont.

I'm really hoping today's hail avoids the apple growing regions of New York, Vermont and surrounding areas. The fruit is especially vulnerable now.

The thunderstorms will quickly end this evening. More daily shows and thunderstorms are possible every day, Friday through Wednesday, though at this point, it doesn't look like they'll be severe.

Then again, you never know.

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