May 15, 2022

Damaging Wind, Tornado Risk Targets East Coast States On Monday

A widespread threat for severe thunderstorms will cover much of the East Coast on Monday as a cold front plows into the heat and humidity that's parked over the region in recent days. The storms could bring damaging wind gusts, a few tornadoes, and some instances of large hail. Make sure you've got a way to receive warnings the moment they're issued.

A trough swinging over the Great Lakes will allow a low-pressure system to develop across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec during the day on Monday. A cold front extending off this budding low will set the stage for a broken line of thunderstorms to sweep across the eastern states.

There's enough instability and wind shear for these thunderstorms to turn severe. The Storm Prediction Center issued a wide-ranging risk for severe weather on Monday, covering everyone from southern Georgia to interior Maine.

The greatest risk for severe weather—an enhanced risk, or a three out of five on the scale—will stretch from central Virginia to northern New York, including the metro areas of Washington, Baltimore, Philly, Syracuse, and Albany. The severe risk extends west to the mountains and east to include the entire I-95 corridor from Savannah up to Portland.

For most folks, the risk for damaging wind gusts of 60+ mph will be the predominant threat. However, folks in and around the enhanced (orange) and slight (yellow) risk zones could see a few spin-up tornadoes along the leading edge of any squall lines that move through.

Keep an eye out for alerts and prepare to act quickly if your location goes under a tornado warning. Take a second to check your phone and make sure emergency alerts are activated for tornado warnings.

It's worth pointing out for our friends up north that the threat for damaging winds and a tornado or two will extend into portions of eastern Ontario and southern Quebec, as well. This risk includes the National Capital Region, Montreal, and the Eastern Townships on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Conditions will calm down behind the front. Folks in the northeast will see a couple of days of cooler-than-normal temperatures before the heat starts to build back in toward the end of the week. Folks south of the Mason-Dixon line are looking forward to daytime highs in the 90s beginning Wednesday and lasting into the weekend.

[Top image created using WSV3]

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May 7, 2022

Back To The 90s: Summerlike Heat To Build Across The Central U.S. This Week

Whew. The season's first solid burst of summerlike heat will build across the central United States this week. It's already pretty darn hot down in Texas on Saturday, where highs climbed into the triple-digits for western parts of the state. The heat will spread toward the Great Lakes as the week wears on.

Much of the weather across the United States this week will be dominated by an 'Omega Block,' a type of pattern that essentially creates a stagnant upper-level roadblock.

An Omega Block, earning its name from the resemblance to the Greek letter Omega Ω on weather maps, forms when a ridge of high pressure is bookended by two upper-level lows.

Meteorologists commonly describe these blocking patterns as "what you see is what you get," as conditions remain largely the same for days on end until the block wears off and things start moving again.

Source: Tropical Tidbits

The pattern we're stuck with this week will see calm and hot conditions build beneath the ridge parked in the center of the country, while both coasts deal with cool and dreary conditions courtesy of those stubborn upper-level lows.

In fact, the low off the southeast coast will retrograde and move back toward Florida this week, bringing the Sunshine State some showery weather, slightly lower humidity, and below-seasonal temperatures toward the middle and end of next week.

The big story, though, will be the hot weather building into the central U.S.

Temperatures already soared into the 100s for a large portion of Texas, where the National Weather Service issued widespread heat advisories to alert people to the potentially dangerous heat.

It's likely that these heat advisories will spread north toward the Midwest tomorrow and early this week as daytime highs soar into the 90s.

Here's an animation showing the National Weather Service's predicted highs between Saturday, May 7th, and Friday, May 13th. This .gif switches to the next map every two seconds before looping back at the end.

Highs in the 100s will push through much of northern and western Texas again on Sunday and Monday, with daytime temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s making their way into Oklahoma and Kansas.

We'll see upper 80s and low 90s creep toward the Midwest by the middle of the week, with a high of 89°F in Minneapolis by Thursday. This would be the city's warmest temperature since September 19, 2021.

As always, be mindful of the toll the heat can take. It's easy to overdo it without realizing you've overdone it until it's too late and you're feeling ill from heat exhaustion or worse. 

Meanwhile, you can see the influence of the meandering upper-level lows on each coast, with stubbornly cool temperatures bathing the coasts. It's especially pronounced across the east, where cold air damming will keep highs in the 50s into the Carolinas on Sunday, with the immediate shoreline from Cape Cod to the Outer Banks struggling to get out of the 60s until Thursday.

The good news with a pattern like this is that it minimizes the risk of widespread organized severe weather. We'll take any chance we can get to skip through a week in May without raucous severe storms raging somewhere.

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