Severe Weather Threat Moves To The Great Lakes On Saturday
As we head through the week and as we approach the weekend, particularly, Saturday, all the buzz in the weather world has been centered on the threat for severe weather across parts of the Great Lakes. It’s received a good deal of attention since the forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center had outlined a Day 5 risk two days ago and a Day 4 risk remains in place much of eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, western New York and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. We also note a risk in place across the High Plains.
Here is the convective risk for Saturday coming from the Storm Prediction Center…
WHAT WE KNOW: Model guidance has continued to indicate a dynamic environment supportive of such a severe weather threat. All modes of severe weather is possible: hail, damaging winds and perhaps even isolated, embedded tornadoes. Early indications are hinting at more of a damaging wind event, with the threat for bowing storm complex development. But, with any severe weather threat, dynamics and variables can change with time. We are still several days out, and this is plenty of time for this threat to change, either by decreasing or increasing.
*CAPE values are lofty at 2-3,000 joules/kg (not screaming, but ample for this time of the year and location). This is a measure of the convective energy in the atmosphere that can fuel storms.
*Energy-Helicity values are greater than 2 over a large part of the Great Lakes. This is a composite measure that combines CAPE and Helicity and is a very good indicator for supercell and tornado development.
These are Energy-Helicity values valid on Saturday at 7:00 pm
*There is a good amount of wind shear also across the region… this is the changing wind speed and direction over height and results in turbulent wind profiles through the various levels of the atmosphere.
With any severe weather event, there is always room for the set up to bust or foil. The term “derecho” has resurfaced for the year. Please understand that bow echoes ARE NOT the same as derechos. While bow echos can pack strong, damaging winds, derechos pack an exponentially larger punch and with a wider wind damage field and greater coverage over. The width of a derecho can span 200+ miles while traveling hundreds of miles more. Derechos can produce as much damage as a tornado.
BOTTOM LINE: Be weather aware, keep a watchful on the latest information and be prepared. Most importantly, there is no need to panic or get scared. If you respect the storm and take the necessary safety measures in advance of the storm, you will be fine.
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