BLOG: Rain? Yes. Severe Weather? Maybe.

We have enjoyed some great weather this week, but things are about to change. THe radar looks pretty imposing this morning: current

That slug of rain will come through the Valley this afternoon and evening. Outdoor plans for after work/school are washed out today.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Super Outbreak of 1974, which included the devastating tornado in Xenia, about 4 hours southwest of Youngstown. outbreakmaplargeSo it seems somewhat appropriate to mention that severe weather season is starting to kick into high gear. Today will be a very busy day across the Mississippi Valley. Each of these maps shows the odds of an event (tornado, damaging wind gust, large hail) occurring within 25 miles of any point.

Tornadoes: torday1

Hail: day1hail

Damaging wind: day1wind

No severe weather is expected in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania today. But tomorrow brings somewhat higher odds. A well-defined cold front will slice into warm and rather humid air across the Buckeye State and western PA:   tomorrow


The Storm Prediction Center odds of severe weather of any kind within 25 miles of any location: day2

I am doubtful that there will be many thunderstorms capable of producing severe weather here tomorrow. Why? The instability in the atmosphere, needed to cause lots of rising motion, isn’t very high. One measure of instability is something we call CAPE, or Convective Available Potential Energy. We like to see CAPE values over 1,000 when looking for a widespread severe weather “event”…but values tomorrow are closer to 500: capeClouds are mostly to blame for the lack of instability. Clouds will prevent heating and destabilization of the lower atmosphere most of the day. By the time the sun tries to come out late in the afternoon, it may be too late for any storms to pop.

But, IF any storms do get going, there is lots of wind energy aloft for them to pull down. Winds at 5,000 feet will be screaming at 50-75 mph tomorrow afternoon: 850wind

So, bottom line: severe weather is not very likely tomorrow, BUT if any stray storms get going, they could produce hefty, and perhaps damaging winds.

Rainfall totals over the next 60 hours will average 1.0″-1.5″ across the Valley. This should not be enough to lead to flooding problems, even in flood prone areas. The Mahoning RIver at Leavittsburg will crest around 7 feet or so: leav

Notice that 2nd “rise” in the graph on the right hand side. More rain is coming Monday and that will lead to rising water levels. When you add up the 2 rain events (today/tomorrow and Monday), rainfall totals will likely exceed 2″ in our region: qpf

After this unsettled period, it looks to warm back up and Spring will kick into high gear with lots of things blooming!

Thanks for reading,