Thursday, January 21, 2010

Severe weather threat for Thursday afternoon

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has their meteorological spectacles focused on the Mid-South this morning as low pressure north of Little Rock moves east. Temperatures aloft are very cold with this system, surface temperatures are warm (headed for the 60s), moisture is in place (high humidity values), and wind at all levels of the atmosphere are favorable -- all of the ingredients for possible severe weather.

The region has been under a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for this afternoon since yesterday. Just before 10am, a Mesoscale Discussion was issued by SPC indicating conditions becoming favorable for large hail and possible tornadoes as the low moves into our area. They expect, and I concur, that scattered to numerous storms will develop ahead of the low in the warm sector, some of which could become supercellular and severe. The most likely timeframe for severe weather appears to be between noon and 4pm in the metro area.
It is also important to note that, as of this month, the severe weather criteria (which would prompt warnings to be issued and verified) now includes any of the following: 1"+ hail (quarter or larger), 58+ mph wind, or a tornado. The hail threshold was raised from 3/4" on January 5. Torrential downpours and constant lightning do not necessarily make a thunderstorm severe.

Stay with for the latest on the developing scenario, including the latest watches and warnings and regional and metro StormView Radar. Make sure your NOAA Weather Radios are ready for action or sign up to receive severe weather alerts from MWN by e-mail or on Twitter.

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