BLOG: One-Two Punch of Weekend Severe Weather?

It’s a beautiful Summer day today, but trouble may be on the horizon for the weekend. So lets get right to it. While we are enjoying unseasonably cool temperatures, high heat continues to bake the Plains: tempsnowThat dome of heat is going to start migrating east today. While it will not turn HOT here in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, it will turn warmer and more humid tonight into Saturday. Here’s Saturday morning’s surface map, showing the leading edge of that warmer air: satsfcAs that warm air runs into the cooler air, it will be forced to rise over it, since warm air is less dense than cool air. That rising air will create spotty shower and thunderstorm activity during the day Saturday. Here’s the midday simulated radar off of the NAM model: 11amsatNotice how “hit-or-miss” the activity will be.

The threat for severe weather will ramp up toward evening. By that time, the atmosphere will have gotten quite unstable across our region (especially to the west of Youngstown), as shown on this map displaying CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) values: capesateveA complex of thunderstorms is likely to form somewhere in that zone of very high instability. Last night’s NAM model placed it in Illinois and Indiana at 5pm: 5pmsaturdayThen, the model intensified the complex and took it into Ohio later in the evening: 11pmIf this model were to have EXACTLY the right idea (unlikely at this point), that would be a severe wind damage threat for southern Ohio particularly. That “bowing” shown on the simulated radar in SW Ohio is unsettling; that just screams “huge area of wind damage”.

The Storm Prediction Center outlook for Saturday and Saturday night has all of the region in the Elevated Risk (yellow): day2But, they also see that odds may favor the HIGHEST risk of severe weather being SW of Youngstown. This map shows the percent chance of severe weather within 25 mils of any location: day2catAll that said, let’s not dismiss the chance for severe weather across the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys. It’s still a period where the risk is elevated, even if the overall HIGHEST risk is to our southwest. The main threat from storms here will be damaging winds. Wind speeds aloft will be getting stronger and any hefty storm could pull some of that wind down to the surface. Winds at 5,000 feet will be up around 40-60 mph and tall thunderstorms can pull down winds from above that level easily: 850windsateveAdditionally, directional wind shear (the changing of wind direction with height) will be pretty significant: srhThis shear will help aid thunderstorm development and also means that an isolated tornado is something we cannot rule out. Here’s a look at the threats Saturday evening: risks

Ok what about Sunday???

On Sunday, a strong cold front will be pushing into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes. sfcsunAhead of the front, the atmosphere will be warm and unstable. The big complex of storms that likely rolled through southern and eastern Ohio overnight will keep pushing to the east and the atmosphere will get a chance to “reload”, especially if there is a long interval of sunshine.  Here’s a look at Sunday afternoon’s expected CAPE values: capesundayTHe Storm Prediction Center has us in the Elevated Risk again: day3

So, we expect scattered strong storms to fire along and ahead of that cold front. Much like Saturday, the highest risk will be from damaging winds….but some hail is also possible.

Meteorologist Mike Joyce will be in the Weather Center this weekend. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Have a good, safe weekend everyone.


BLOG: Has it REALLY Been a Cool, Wet Summer?

So, the Summer of 2014 has been unusually cool and wet, right?? Part of that statement is true, depending on where you live. In some parts of the Valley, it HAS been wetter than average since June 1. But temperatures? When we look at the average since June 1…it’s really not much of a story at all.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers. At the Youngstown-Warren Airport (the OFFICIAL reporting station for our area), the stats since June 1 look like this: junjul

Notice that at the airport, rainfall has been almost EXACTLY average since the 1st of June. Also notice, temperatures have been slightly ABOVE average for the 52 days as a whole.

On the subject of precipitation, amounts have been quite variable in the WFMJ viewing area…which is typical of Summer. Some places get a couple of soaking storms that drive up rain totals locally. In some communities is HAS been a wet Summer. A sampling of rain totals: raintotals

You can also see what areas have been wettest since early June on this map, which shows satellite-estimated totals:   preipmapNotice the wet spots in Mercer and Columbiana counties.

Temperature wise, the perception is certainly out there that this has been a “cool” Summer. I think this is mostly due to the lack of sustained hot periods and the lack of 90+ temperatures. AND, July has been a below average month: july

For the Summer (June 1-now) this has been the 41st coolest Summer since 1930. Not a stat that jumps out!


Another cool shot on the way next week. Thanks for reading!