A severe weather event is unfolding in portions of the Northeast and Mid Atlantic today, prompting the National Weather Service to issue Severe Thunderstorm Watches.
While thunderstorms can produce isolated tornadoes and large, damaging hail, the greatest threat from today’s storms will be in the form of strong, straight-line winds which could gust 50-65+ mph this afternoon and evening. According to the National Weather Service, the greatest severe-thunderstorm threat today appears to be for damaging thunderstorm winds over portions of the Mid-Atlantic.
Atmospheric ingredients are coming together to “bake” an environment ideal for severe thunderstorm formation this afternoon. Strengthening low and mid-level wind fields will develop as an upper-level trough amplifies slightly while moving east, and an increase in large-scale ascent associated with the upper trough should aid in thunderstorm development or re-intensification this afternoon. Clusters or line segments capable of damaging winds will be the primary risk as storms move southeast through this evening.
While not everyone in featured in today’s Convective Outlook yellow and orange areas will see a thunderstorm, those that do could experience severe wind gusts which could cause damage, such as blow-out windows, knock-down trees and tree limbs, and snap electrical wires or poles. Before the storms arrive, people should take care to secure and/or bring in any items that may blow about as the gusty storms approach.
While the risk of isolated tornadoes is very low in this type of atmospheric set-up, there is a slight chance that some of these storms will have large hail. However, the primary threat will remain the strong, damaging wind gusts that’ll be possible as these storms move through.