Spring???? We are beginning to see it a little bit outside today with full sunshine heating us up to near 40 degrees! As our temperatures begin to climb toward the end of the week, a storm system will begin to build out West that will bring rain and thunderstorms to the region on Thursday. Here is a quick look at the placement of the front by about 5 PM on Thursday.
Notice the warm front to our north at this time, this front will likely bring us some early day rain, but it’s not until later in the evening when the main cold front will arrive bringing a chance for strong thunderstorms.
As this front approaches I’ll be watching some key ingredients.
1) How warm and how moist will the atmosphere get?
Temperatures are forecasted to warm into the low 50’s here in West Central Ohio on Thursday. While that sounds warm compared to where we have been this isn’t very ideal for severe weather. Here is a look at the bubble of warm air expected to build in later in the evening Thursday.
Along with the warming temperatures, we’ll also see more moisture/higher dew points moving in ahead of the cold front. The dew point is a measure of moisture in the atmosphere, the higher the dew point, the more moisture storms can work with. For severe weather I like to see dew points above 55 or 60 degrees. What we’re looking at on Thursday are dew points in the upper 40’s, this is also less than ideal for potential severe weather.
As you can see, higher dew point into the 50’s will likely remain to our South. That’s where I would expect the better chance for severe weather to be Thursday evening.
2) What’s up with the wind shear?
Wind shear is either a change in wind direction OR wind speed with height in the atmosphere. For example, if you have a wind of 20 mph at the surface and 130 mph at the jet stream level you have HIGH wind shear. High wind shear creates a lifting mechanism in the atmosphere that allows storms to grow and maintain themselves. We do indeed have some impressive wind shear on Thursday! Here is a look at the jet stream level by late Thursday evening that is predicting jet stream winds over the region at about 110 knots or 125 mph!
So, what am I thinking?
Bottom line, there is a small threat for severe weather on Thursday evening, but a pretty limited one with a very small timeframe Thursday evening. As of now, my biggest concern would be isolated damaging winds here in West Central Ohio. If temperatures warm up closer to 60 with dew point nearing the mid 50’s I might change my tune a bit, but for now, I’m not overly concerned. You know I will be watching though 🙂
What I AM concerned with is once all this moves through we’ll very likely have a flooding concern on our hands into Friday. Latest forecast models how about .50″ to .75″ of rain on Thursday with some higher totals possible where heavier downpours occur with thunderstorms. Couple that, with A LOT of snow melting and Thursday night into Friday rivers and streams around the region will begin to swell. Just something to be aware of if you live in a flood prone area!