|Storm clouds over Chicago Monday. The severe|
weather is now heading toward the East Coast.
Tropical Storm Arthur is likely to form later today off the coast of Florida and bug much of the East Coast through Friday.
Meanwhile, a cold front and lots of tropical moisture are going to cause their own mischief.
The biggest storm threat today (Tuesday), extends from Arkansas and Kentucky, up through Ohio, West Virginia, the western halves of Pennsylvania and New York, and maybe tonight in the northwestern tip of Vermont.
Any thunderstorms that develop in and near this zone today could crank out some really damaging winds, and some hail. Since it's so humid and ther's so much moisture to work with, some of these storms will dump incredible amounts of rain in a short period of time, so there's definitely the risk of flash flooding.
I saw a lot of news footage of people driving into deep water and stalling during storms in the Midwest yesterday. I know streets can flood suddenly, but really, try not to drive into water. You don't know how deep it is. You might like a refreshing swim in this humid weather, but trust me, your car won't.
The weather system causing today's expected wild thunderstorms is the same one that caused those incredible thunderstorms in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin yesterday. At least one person was killed as a building collapsed. There were reports of eight tornadoes, 417 reports of damaging winds, and 72 reports of large hail.
Winds gusted to over 80 mph in several communities in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana and a few places reported baseball sized hail. More than 540,000 homes and businesses had no power this morning in the Midwest.
Today's severe weather won't be as bad or widespread as yesterday's but it still will be a force to be reckoned with.
Wednesday, the cold front will edge closer to the East Coast, and the favored severe weather zone will cover pretty much all of western New England, eastern New York and down into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Again, watch for damaging winds and flash floods with this.
Then there's Arthur. It's a tropical depression now, off the East Coast of Florida. Most forecasts take it up toward North Carolina by Friday morning. By then it could reach hurricane strength. Those planning summer getaways around Cape Hattaras and the Outer Banks maybe ought to think twice about it this week.
From there, Arthur, at least at this point, looks like it will move off the East Coast, passing southeast of Cape Cod.
That doesn't mean the Northeast is out of the woods. The storm would pass far enough east so wind could be gusty, but not extreme along the coast, but rain could be a HUGE problem, even if it doesn't come directly from Arthur.
Remember that cold front causing the severe weather today and tomorrow in the eastern third of the nation? Arthur will tend to stall out that front near the coastline. Moisture streaming northward from Arthur could easily interact with the cold front to cause an area of very intense, flooding rains.
This kind of scenario is pretty common when there's a tropical system near the East Coast. The problem is, it's awfully hard to forecast well in advance where, and even if, the zone of heaviest rain will set up along the weather front as Arthur approaches.
So keep an eye to the skies later this week, especially from Washington DC to southern New England. There's been a lot of flooding in the Mid-Atlantic states this spring and early summer and there's a chance of another round with this.
I don't think the entire Fourth of July weekend will be a washout. The actual Fourth, on Friday, is problematic, but it looks like better weather will slowly move into the Northeast Saturday and Sunday.