Severe Thunderstorm Overview (4 PM)
The first severe weather event of the season is possible this evening across the Finger Lakes.
It may seem very odd to have a severe weather threat tonight after a cool, rainy day. However, this afternoon’s rain is being caused by a warm front which will make its way into, but not all the way through our region this evening.
Temperatures will be split this evening with 40s near Lake Ontario and low 60s across the southern two-thirds of the region. Accompanying the low 60s will be just enough moisture and instability to allow thunderstorms to develop.
The wind fields in the atmosphere are extremely favorable for severe weather and should be able to work with the small amounts of fuel available. Being near the warm front will also add an extra element with northeast winds across the north and south winds to the south.
Thunderstorms should move into Western New York, and then Finger Lakes after 8 or 9 pm tonight. These storms will organize as a broken line with intense segments embedded within the line. It is these individual segments that will be capable of producing scattered areas of wind damage. The severe threat should end after 1 AM.
Given the intensity of the wind fields, the proximity to the warm front, and past similar cases, I do believe there is a threat for isolated, brief tornado spin ups within these intense segments. This may especially be the case over the Southern Tier, where the intersection of favorable temperatures, moisture, and winds will be greatest.
I want to stress two points with the tornado threat:
- Any tornadoes that form would likely do so rather quickly, possibly even before a warning could be issued.
- Severe thunderstorms can produce just as much damage as a tornado with straight-line winds
Therefore, please take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously tonight, regardless of any tornado threat.
Most areas will not see significant severe weather tonight. But, a few localized areas may. It is better to be prepared and take shelter and have nothing happen than to be caught off guard.
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