After a couple of stormy days here in West Central Ohio on Sunday and Monday, a dry day today will likely be the last in the region for the remainder of the week. Temperatures and overall mugginess will really climb into Wednesday out ahead of a weak cold front expected to drop in out of the north. Highs on Wednesday have a very good chance to reach into the upper 80’s along with dew points into the upper 60’s that will make for quite the “sticky day” outdoors. Here is a look at projected highs and dew points tomorrow afternoon and evening.
A warm and humid air mass combined with a weak cold front edging into West Central Ohio Wednesday afternoon will set the stage for thunderstorms to potentially develop during the afternoon/evening hours. As of now West Central Ohio is under a “slight risk” for severe weather per the Storm Prediction Center.
When I look for severe weather outbreaks I generally look for three things. CAPE, Some sort of trigger and wind shear. In Wednesday’s case, two of these three elements appear to be available.
CAPE- You have probably heard me talk about CAPE before. The acronym stands for Convective Available Potential Energy. CAPE is a large product of temperature and dew point, if the temperatures are high along with dew points (or moisture in the air) CAPE generally rises. With such high temperatures and dew points Wednesday CAPE values across West Central Ohio should easily rise above 2,000 j/kg which is getting moderately high. This would be more than enough potential energy to spark off thunderstorms. Here is a look at CAPE values from both the NAM and GFS Wednesday evening.
A Trigger: In this case it’s a cold front. A weak cold front will drop in out of the north tomorrow afternoon providing just enough lift necessary to spark off thunderstorms in a very warm and moist environment. Here is a look at the front placement Wednesday afternoon and evening along with showers and storms developing along it.
Wind Shear: In this case there is VERY little wind shear available with this set up, which is a good thing if you don’t want long-lived severe thunderstorms. Wind shear can be best characterized by a change in wind speed or direction with height in the atmosphere. Without very good wind shear Wednesday storms will likely be confined to a very small area along the cold front where they can tap into the high CAPE. Because of the lack of wind shear these storms will likely die as quickly as they flare up. It’s the high wind shear that helps to maintain thunderstorms once they develop, and in Wednesday’s case there isn’t much at all.
So what do I think?
I definitely think scattered storms will develop somewhere in NW Ohio late Wednesday afternoon and evening. Once the storms develop they will likely grow very fast due to a pretty unstable atmosphere that’s in place thanks to high CAPE. These storms probably won’t be very long-lived with the window for these storms developing being between 4 to 9 PM. Because of the low wind shear I don’t foresee much of a tornado threat, but there will be the chance for some very gusty winds that could lead to some isolated damage. Hail will also be a possibility, but not so much as the wind in my opinion. Overall it’s a pretty low-end chance for severe weather, but something that I will definitely be keeping an eye on all day Wednesday!
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