Saturday, September 22, 2012

Timing The Showers & Storms Later

 We're under a slight risk for severe weather this afternoon and evening around the region as a cool front pushes in from the west.   There are a number of factors that suggest today's threat is not as significant as the severe potential from Tuesday; however, we'll have a lot more sunshine today compared to Tuesday...the result is that a few of the stronger storms that develop along the front this afternoon and evening have the potential to produce gusty winds.   Showers and storms will continue to fire along the front later today (as they have been so far this morning based on radar) as the front slowly marches east.  We won't have a terrible day out ahead of the front but we will get in on the front's shower and storm activity towards and after dinner.

Timing looks to be centered around the late afternoon and early evening (5-8 PM) west of the city, with the city's chances centered between 7 and 10 PM, and the Shore's chances centered between 9 PM and Midnight.   This event will likely not be anything like Tuesday's front -- although rains within the band of showers and storms may be briefly heavy as the front passes through, the potential for significant flooding or several inches of rain is remote.  Some spots might get over an inch of rain in the heaviest of storms but many locations will see much less than that.

The severe threat is wind-based...there will be better instability in the atmosphere today compared to Tuesday but the wind energy with this storm is lacking a bit (the best jet energy is in New England).  Some 40-50 mph winds at 5000' are showing up on the higher-resolution models so it's possible some strong gusts will be tapped into by these storms as they develop.  However, this looks to be more hit-and-miss and less of a widespread threat.

With the wind threat as it is, the small possibility of a "weak" tornado does exist -- if it were to happen, north and west of the city may be where that takes place late this afternoon.  Southerly surface winds vary in direction towards the southwest at 5000 feet and to the west by the higher levels of the atmosphere.  It's not a huge possibility but I wouldn't be shocked if a storm did try to drop a funnel cloud this afternoon in some portion of Pennsylvania or North Jersey.

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