Elevated risk for severe thunderstorms in the Finger Lakes Monday May 1

finger lakes weather forecast severe weather may 1 2017 damaging winds tornadoes
Severe thunderstorms are probably across the Finger Lakes late this afternoon with damaging winds and possibly tornadoes.

A tornado watch is in effect through this evening for dangerous severe thunderstorms.

2:30 PM Update

A tornado WATCH has been issued for the entire area. This is a large watch, covering the western half of upstate New York and much of Pennsylvania.

Severe thunderstorms are ongoing across western Pennsylvania and should continue to organize and intensify as they head towards the Finger Lakes.

Everything from the original post below remains the same.

I will be launching my live updates post and live video feed between 4-5 pm. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Severe Weather Set-Up

A significant severe weather event is possible across the Finger Lakes later this afternoon.

A warm and muggy air mass will set up across the Finger Lakes as south winds pump summery air northward ahead of a strong cold front.

This cold front will plow through the region later this afternoon and evening, acting as a strong forcing mechanism to initiate thunderstorm development.

With dewpoints climbing into the 60s and temperatures in the upper 70s, there should be plenty of fuel for thunderstorm development, even with clouds and showers in the area through the late morning and early afternoon hours.

The final piece in place for significant severe weather is strong winds above the surface. These very strong winds will help thunderstorms organize and produce severe weather across the region.

Severe Thunderstorm Details

Thunderstorm Areas & Timing

Thunderstorms are likely to develop across the area. The exact timing of the storms is less certain. Most models develop the storms by 3 pm over western New York and have the storms exiting the region to the east by 9 pm. This places the Finger Lakes under the gun from roughly 4-8 pm. There is a possibility that storms will move through quicker.

The entire Finger Lakes region is at threat from these storms. No one area seems particularly more or less at risk.

The thunderstorms will most likely develop into either small line segments 20-30 miles long, or a single squall line that will cross the entire area. Therefore, many areas may see strong to severe thunderstorms.

Damaging Winds and Tornadoes Primary Hazards

The main threat from these thunderstorms will be strong, damaging winds.

A few isolated areas could see winds in excess of 80 mph, which could cause slight structural damage in addition to significant tree damage and lengthy power outages. More widespread instances of downed branches and short term power outages are likely.

The environment seems ripe for the possibility of a few tornadoes. For our region, this is a rather significant setup and the tornado forecast parameters are quite impressive for our area. Tornadoes will be most likely in any single-cell thunderstorms or small line segments that remain separated from the main line of storms. Even within the main line of storms, however, an isolated tornado or two may be possible.

While it is certainly possible that no tornadoes actually touch down today, there is also the possibility for a stronger tornado. Please take ALL warnings seriously and seek shelter during both severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings!

Hail does not seem to be a significant threat today, though some isolated small hail reports are possible.

Forecast Confidence

Confidence in this event is rather high. The strong winds aloft and strong forcing from the cold front should overcome any deficiency in heating. Most models are in good agreement in the evolution of this event. At a minimum, I expect at least a few reports of severe weather with the potential for some significant damaging storms.

Update Schedule

After a successful test run of Facebook Live yesterday, I am expecting to broadcast live during this severe weather event. I will embed my Facebook Live stream in a post here on FLXWeather.com when it becomes available. I will also be tweeting updates during the storms, which will also be embedded within the same post.

I may also post one or two more updates to this post, depending on how the forecast evolves this morning and early afternoon.

Stick with Finger Lakes Weather for the most honest, accessible, and accurate weather for the Finger Lakes.

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Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:
Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.). Drew and his wife have four young boys. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.

2 Responses

  1. […] FLX Weather Meteorologist Drew Montreuil says that later this afternoon — around the evening rush hour commute, the region could see a some heavy thunderstorms push through accompanying a cold front. […]

  2. Stephen Jones

    OK, Drew, you’re the man and you’re usually right on with these things. will stay tuned with an eye to the sy during the day. hopefully, any real severe weather will miss us