Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tornado Watch Until 8PM Wednesday

A Tornado Watch is in effect until 8PM for all of the counties highlighted in red, which includes much of central and western Virginia.

Isolated tornadoes, damaging winds to 70 mph, and large hail up to 2" in diameter (larger than golf balls) are all possible this afternoon and early evening with any thunderstorms that become severe.

Instability is rapidly increasing in the area as a result of ample moisture, wind shear aloft, and peak afternoon temperatures rising into the low to mid 80s. Scattered thunderstorms are developing across the area, producing heavy downpours, frequent lightning, and gusty winds. We'll be tracking the severe threat today. For the latest information, please go to the Storm Room here. Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm!

Severe Threat Again Today For Many States Including Virginia

Significant severe weather is likely again today through the Deep South and Ohio Valley region ahead of a potent storm system that has a history of producing tornadoes, hail and wind damage, and flooding through the Plains and Midwest. Here is today's Severe Weather Outlook for the eastern half of the U.S.:

In Virginia this afternoon, a few of our scattered heavy thunderstorms that should develop during the peak afternoon heating in a moist environment (just like on Tuesday afternoon) could be severe. Our primary threats in central Virginia include damaging wind gusts and hail, but southwest Virginia will have the additional threat for isolated tornadoes.

The cold front associated with this potent upper storm system will finally sweep through the East Coast Thursday, with a squall line likely advancing through central Virginia Thursday morning ahead of it. As a result, we'll have the slight risk for damaging wind gusts from that line Thursday:

Here's the time-line based on our data this morning for Thursday's squall line and cold frontal passage:

After sunrise Thursday, the squall line should be nearing I-95:

I expect strong wind gusts, heavy downpours, frequent lightning, and hail out of this line Thursday morning as it sweeps through our area:

It looks like the rain and storms will be forced out of the Commonwealth to the east by mid-afternoon as the cold front sweeps through, ushering in drier air.
This is great news for those of you with outdoor plans Thursday evening!

Rainfall accumulations look like they will range from half an inch to an inch in most of central Virginia from the squall line, with isolated higher totals possible from the embedded strongest storms. Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm.
--Meteorologist Carrie Rose ("Like" Carrie on Facebook by clicking here)