Here we are almost to the Christmas holiday and I’m writing a blog post about severe weather and NOT snow! But with VERY warm temperatures expected Wednesday, along with the passing of a cold front, there is a low-end threat for isolated severe thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Here is what you need to know.
Set up To even see low chances for severe weather reaching up into Northwest Ohio for this time of year is pretty remarkable. Tuesdays outlook from the National Weather Service has West Central Ohio right on the northern edge of that low risk.
And a closer look
The threat for severe weather will be present thanks to unusually warm temperatures in the mid 60’s along with the approach of a frontal system that will draw up a lot of moisture from the Gulf. This front and area of low pressure will have a lot of support from the jet stream which means very high wind shear will be in place, especially late afternoon and evening. The warm temperatures and high moisture will also allow for low but (still significant for this time of year) CAPE values that will allow for just enough instability to produce thunderstorms. Here is a look at those CAPE values by about 2 PM Wednesday afternoon. They are definitely low, but really any CAPE this time of year is a bonus for potential severe weather.
Notice in the picture above that the higher CAPE values are off to the west in Missouri and Southern Illinois. As the day progresses I’ll be watching to see if that area of higher instability can make it this far east. If it does, it appears the best chance for isolated severe storms will be late in the evening as the cold front nears West Central Ohio.
Timing- As of now the window for our storms appears to be between about 3 PM and 11 PM Wednesday. The threat for strong to severe storms will come in two waves, the first being with a prefrontal area of showers and thunderstorms that will take advantage of increasing moisture and temperatures already in the low to mid 60’s.
The second line of potential thunderstorms will move in between about 7 PM and 11 PM and it’s this line that I think has the better chance for isolated damaging winds, and to a much lesser extent, perhaps an isolated/brief tornado.
Summary- My confidence in severe weather Wednesday isn’t very high. There will certainly be high wind shear in the atmosphere along with a small amount of CAPE, but I just have a hard time believing we’ll see much more than some isolated damaging winds this time of year. Between 3 and 11 PM on Wednesday my biggest concern is isolated winds from 50 to 60 mph and to a lesser extent the chance for a brief/isolated tornado.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated as the system moves in! In the meantime you can always track any incoming weather on our weather app!