Friday, July 1, 2016

Tornado Watch Up For NY, Southern Vermont, Western N. England

Areas in orange are most at risk for severe thunderstorms
 and possible tornadoes today. Areas in yellow and dark
green also are at risk for severe weather.  
UPDATE: 2 p.m.:

The threat for severe weather is growing in the Northeast as thunderstorms are developing.

The big new is that there is now a tornado watch in effect until 10 p.m. for the southernmost two counties in Vermont, (Bennington and Windham); most of eastern New York south of the Adirondacks, including Albany and New York City, and far western parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Those areas are most prone to supercells which could produce tornadoes.

Weather radar as of 2 p.m. showed thunderstorms rapidly developing in central New York and Pennsylvania. Some seem to be developing into individual cells, which would be more likely to produce tornadoes.

Others are lines of storms, which would not contain as much of a tornado threat, but have a big risk of very dangerous strong straight line winds.

Severe thunderstorms are possible anywhere in the Northeast today, as is obvious.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center picks the most likely areas for severe storms bordered to the north around Burlington, Vermont, to the south around Philadelphia, and west to east betwee Utica, New York and Worcester, Mass.

However, if you live anywhere in New York, New England, and most of the mid-Atlantic states, be ready to take shelter in a sturdy building any time you hear a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.

These storms are moving pretty fast, so you won't have a lot of time to get out of the way.

And for heaven's sake, get off the water, or the high elevation hiking trails or anyplace like that now if not sooner. Those are risky places.

Again, not everyone will get a severe storm. But some of us will, and you will need to be ready the rest of the day.


Another day, another chance of severe weather here in Vermont and other parts of the northeastern United States.

As of early this Friday morning, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has a slight risk of severe storms extending through pretty much all of Vermont, the eastern half of New York, through pretty much all of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and on into the Washington DC metro area.

Yesterday morning, up here in Vermont, the thinking was severe weather was pretty unlikely today, partly because of anticipated cloud cover before the storms, which would limit instability.   But now the thinking has changed somewhat.

But did you notice those crystal clear skies when you got up this morning? It'll be a sunny morning, and that will tend to get the atmosphere primed as a strong disturbance approaches from the west.

Still, it didn't "feel" like a severe weather day early this morning. The humidity was delightfully low, so the start of the day looked like we'd have a perfect dry, beautiful summer day like yesterday. Not so.

The wind has swung into the south. Although it wasn't humid in the North Country, it is muggy not far to the south. So you'll feel the humidity rising right before the storms start popping in New York state around noon.

Up in Vermont, the risk from these storms will be short bowing lines of storms Bowing lines of storms resemble a backwards "C" on radar. Where the backwards "C" juts out the most is where the damaging winds are most likely to occur.

There's even a miniscule chance of a tornado with this system in parts of the Northeast, including Vermont. The chances are low: In most places, including Vermont, there is a 2 percent chance there will be tornado within 25 miles of where you're sitting, says the Storm Prediction Center.

Which means your house is almost certainly not going to blow away in a twister today. Still, it's always good to have your weather radio handy in case there's a warning so you can take cover.

If by chance ou do get a tornado warning, go to your basement, or failing that, an interior room in your house without windows. A closet would do.

Areas in green and especially brown have a very
slight, but real risk of tornadoes today.  
Down in New York's Hudson Valley, the chances of a tornado today are slightly higher at 5 percent  chance of one happening within 25 miles of any specific location.

Not that this fact would cause one, but Vermont is overdue for a tornado. We average one every year, and we haven't had one since 2013.

Some of the storms will be heavy rainers, so watch out for local flash floods.

Very few areas will have flash flooding, but we'll have to watch in particular parts of the Adirondacks and Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, which really got dumped on with rain during the big storms earlier this week.

As always with days with a risk of severe thunderstorms, most of us won't experience severe weather. Just a handful of spots will experience things like downed trees and power lines. A lot of us might get a decent thunderstorm, but not a damaging one.

Still, keep an alert out, keep the weather radio handy and go inside of it looks nasty.  Besides, even "normal" non-severe storm have lightning, which as we know can be dangerous.

By the way, the rest of the holiday weekend after today is looking pretty damn good. Up here in Vermont and the rest of the North Country, Saturday is going to be partly sunny and cool for this time of year, with a few scattered showers.

More sun arrives Sunday and Monday with a warming trend. But not hot. I'd say 70s on Sunday, with a few spot 80 degree readings in the warmer valleys and near 80 in pretty much the whole region on the Fourth of July, with plenty of sun.

By the way, the weather will be decidely not nice, and possibly dangerous in a large belt through the middle of the country. A wide stripe from Colorado, through Kansas and Missouri, through the Ohio Valley to the Middle Atlantic area will see several rounds of showers and storms the entire Fourth of July weekend.

Flash flooding is a good bet in many of these regions, so that will probably be in the news.

Unfortunately, one of the places under threat from flash flooding this weekend is West Virginia, where devastating flash floods last week killed at least 23 people and wrecked thousands of homes.

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