Monday, July 4, 2011

A Severe T-Storm Watch is in effect until 8PM for part of Virginia

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 8PM for southwest Virginia into Buckingham, Appomattox, and Charlotte Counties. Thunderstorms are already developing in southwest Virginia as of 1PM Monday, and more storms are expected into the rest of central Virginia through the afternoon and evening. As a result, this Watch may be expanded later to include more of the Commonwealth.

The severe storms will be capable of damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph and large hail up to 2.0" in diameter, although wind damage and constant lightning will likely be the main threats. Even if storms do not technically reach severe limits, they will still be capable of locally heavy downpours, gusty winds of 40-50 mph, and prolific lightning. Please move indoors to shelter if a storm threatens your location and wait 30 minutes after hearing the last rumble of thunder before resuming any outdoor activities this 4th of July. We'll continue to provide updates on air and online as necessary. Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm!

Severe storms possible on the 4th of July

Nature may provide her own fireworks on the 4th of July in central Virginia as strong to severe thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon and evening in the area. The atmosphere in the region will be very warm, moist, and unstable atmosphere during the time-frame of 1PM-10PM Monday. The threats from these storms are expected to be the same as on Sunday: damaging wind gusts in excess of 65 mph and incessant lightning.

Sunday's thunderstorms produced primarily wind and lightning damage in central Virginia, but not much in the way of precipitation totals. At Richmond International Airport on the east side of town, only 0.18" was recorded last night as the severe storm swept through the Metro. However, those storms produced tremendous amounts of lightning, splintering trees and knocking out power. You can check the latest progress on Dominion's power outage restoration by clicking here.

As storms develop and track through the region this afternoon and evening, you can also check today's lightning strikes in Virginia and across the U.S. by clicking here. But the most important safety rule to remember is that if you are outdoors and you can hear thunder, an approaching storm is already close enough to you to produce lightning at your location. Move indoors to safe shelter immediately. If you are outdoors and there is no fully enclosed building to enter, a hard-top vehicle will suffice to protect you from a lightning strike (but soft-top vehicles will not protect you!). I know a lot of you will be outside today celebrating the 4th of July holiday. Please plan now for a safe, indoors back-up plan: somewhere you can quickly move into if a storm threatens your outdoor festivities. To learn more about lightning and how to remain safe from this weather risk, click here.

Although these storms will be scattered across the Commonwealth this afternoon and evening, it appears that Metro Richmond's most likely time-frame to experience thunderstorms will be between 4-8PM.

Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm!
--Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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