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Thursday’s severe weather update

WEATHER HAZARD: Warm and humid conditions are expected today ahead of a strong cold front that will bring showers and thunderstorms to east-central Ohio late this afternoon through this evening. There is a threat for severe thunderstorms late this afternoon through this evening. Damaging wind gusts of 58 mph or greater is the primary threat. Large hail is also possible in the strongest thunderstorm cells.

Good morning!

The weak cold front that brought showers and a few thunderstorms across mainly the northern portion of Tuscarawas County last evening remained fairly stationary overnight and is still hanging around just to our north this morning. This boundary will begin to lift north by mid morning as a warm front putting the east-central Ohio region solidly in the warm sector this afternoon. With a strong southerly flow setting up, warm and humid conditions will replace this morning’s tranquil air mass.

Temperatures this afternoon across the region will soar to the low 80s today. And with dew points already in the upper 50s to near 60 degrees it’s going to feel more like early July with summerlike warmth and humidity.

04-20-ndfd-day1-temps

With a warm, humid, and unstable atmosphere in place this afternoon, the only thing missing for thunderstorms to get going today is a trigger mechanism. That trigger is off to our west this morning in the form of a strong cold front. As the cold front travels east and into western Ohio showers and thunderstorms will move east ahead and along the front.

04-20-gfs-12hr-ptype

Although the day looks to remain mostly dry across the region, a few random showers and/or thunderstorms may pop up just about anywhere today. The chances are pretty low that anyone spot gets wet, but a popup shower or storm can’t be completely ruled out. If you work or have outdoor activities planned today you’ll need to watch for one of these renegade showers or storms.

Our focus for severe weather will be later this evening and tonight and quite frankly, the odds don’t look all that promising for severe thunderstorms here in east-central Ohio and the Tuscarawas Valley area. The main reason is timing – storms will arrive after peak daytime heating and peak instability.

Although a strong to severe thunderstorm tonight can’t be completely ruled out, the morning Storm Prediction Center Outlook clearly indicates that the best chances for severe thunderstorms will occur earlier in the afternoon and in northwestern portions of Ohio.

04-20-spc-day1-outlook

I don’t want to discount that there is a threat for severe thunderstorms here later this evening, but both of our high-resolution models do show a definite weakening of thunderstorms this evening as they approach our area.

Here is how the HRRR (High Resolution Rapid Refresh) model ‘thinks’ things will play out through 2:00 am Friday:

04-20-hrrr_2017042012_ref_cleveland

SEVERE THREATS
Should this evening’s storms maintain themselves as they approach and cross east-central Ohio this evening, the largest threat will come from damaging wind gusts. Hail is also a possibility, although it will be less of a threat.

04-20-tuscrisk

TIMING
Exact timing is difficult to nail down early this morning yet. Some modeling has slowed up the advancing cold front a bit but I’m not one-hundred percent sold on that idea this early in the game. We have a lot of day left and things will likely change somewhat. The amount of sunshine we manage to end up getting today will also be a factor – the more sun, the greater amount of instability and the longer that instability will persist into the evening.

That being said, I think the threat for strong/severe thunderstorms here in the Valley will be highest after 5:00 pm this afternoon and continue through to around 8 or 9 pm this evening.

AFTER THE STORMS
Showers and thunderstorms will wind down after midnight and our cold front crosses early Friday morning. Cooler and dryer air will rush in behind the front on Friday knocking our temperatures back to around average.

04-20-ndfd-day2-temps

Yea. It’ll be a big change from today’s 80s. But, high pressure will bring a mostly sunny day tomorrow.

WEEKEND? NOT SO NICE
Saturday will be downright chilly with plenty of cloudiness around. An afternoon shower will also be possible. Don’t expect temperatures to do much better than the mid 50s in the afternoon.

Sunday will end up being a little warmer, but not by much – low 60s at best. It also looks a bit less cloudy, so maybe some peaks of sun in the afternoon. Still, a spotty shower or two may spoil things for us.

STAY WITH US FOR UPDATES As I mentioned earlier, the threat for severe thunderstorms later today is less in the Valley. It is not zero. There are still some issues that need to be worked out as the day progresses and those issues will determine if severe storms manage to affect us here in east-central Ohio. There will be changes as more information comes in and the severe threat comes into better focus. Be prepared, not scared.

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