Thursday, May 6, 2010

Friday's Forecast *Severe Weather Likely*

Before I give a forecast, I first need to touch on the topic of chaser/spotters and severe weather.  It is sometimes hard to understand how chasers/spotters can get so excited over storms which can cause death and destruction.  Other than a few chasers/spotters who must not be human, nobody wishes for worst.  However mother nature will give both good and bad weather and should bad weather happen, a weather enthusiast will want to witness it and hopefully use their skills to alert and warn others and save lives.

I think also there is a bit of man vs. nature and if we can see the severe weather (tornado) and not be harmed by it, then we can feel like we maybe won a little bit.  I guess it is like those who chose to climb Mount Everest or run with the bulls.  And of course like those adventures, we can also feel disappointment is we are unable to compete.  Sometimes we are hyped and ready and like has happened recently, nothing materializes.  Never take chasers/spotters excitement or disappointments over severe weather events out of context thinking we want or wanted to see your house destroyed or people dying in anyone's community.

With that said, I can say I have mixture of excitement and a bit of dread with tomorrow's forecast. 

The event for Friday has been on the minds of forecasters and chasers for more than a week.  This event has been pretty well advertised by all of the weather models and while there have been some minor adjustments/tweaks as we draw closer to the event, the forecast area and intensity of the event has been pretty stable.

Overall we remain under a slight risk for severe weather for Friday.  We are just on the western edge of the highest probability for severe weather.  I think that unless there is widespread ongoing rain across the area, I suspect that an upgrade to a moderate risk will occur with us remaining on the western edge.  I even think there is a small potential for an afternoon upgrade to high risk to our east. 

Looking at the plans of other chasers who target specific locations in anticipation of severe weather happening, I have seen Marion Indiana/Gas City listed as a starting point.  That does make sense given the group thinking is the action will be best in northwest Ohio.  Others are going directly to the northwest Ohio directly.

There has been some question if there will be tornadic development  this far west.  Some have downplayed the idea while others remain bullish.  I won't make a call either way but will only say stay alert.  I am confident there could be a fair amount of wind damage from the severe weather and we may see a lot of hail reports.  While it is not all that rare to see hail in Indiana, there does look to be a good chance for severe 2+ inch hail.  Now that will leave both a mark on you and your car.

The storms look to have good height.  Normally we think 30,000 to 35,000 ft tops in Indiana.  Tops of 50,000 ft look likely.  The storms should start going just after lunch and then wind down by late evening.  Minimal threats after dark are the thoughts for now.

Both discrete supercells and linear (squall) line convection are both likely and bow echos on with the linear stuff.  Here is a 4 PM map showing warm temps, nice cape, wind, and isolated supercells. 

I cannot stress the need to be alert tomorrow.  Much of this action will be during work and school hours so think about what you need to do to protect yourself when you are not at home.  If your workplace doesn't have a severe weather radio, it might be wise to get one today in preparation.

Edit to add: here are some other thoughts on the Friday... 

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