Friday, October 14, 2016

Strong Thunderstorms Possible This Weekend

Believe it or not, there is a threat for thunderstorms in the forecast this weekend. Not only that, but some of the storms could be strong or perhaps even severe in nature. A cold front will approach the region Saturday afternoon. Ahead of it we will warm into the lower 70's with dew points surging into the lower 60's by Saturday night. Our gusty southerly winds at 15-25mph will allow for those two things to occur. Once the front arrives later Saturday evening, showers and thunderstorms are likely going to fire ahead of it in Wisconsin, Iowa and northern Missouri. That activity will progress eastward towards the Stateline through the overnight hours. In all likelihood, there will be some thunderstorms holding their own as they cross the Mississippi River and enter Illinois. The golden question still remains: "Will severe weather occur?"

That question is difficult to answer with complete accuracy. However, forecast models are in good agreement with drawing in a thin ribbon of instability (CAPE) Saturday night. Strong low-level winds several thousand feet above the ground will allow the storms to maintain their intensity through the night. In addition, moisture will be drawn in from the Gulf of Mexico. These components are supportive of strong to marginally severe thunderstorms. That is why the Storm Prediction Center has placed half of the area under a "Marginal Risk" for severe weather late Saturday evening. The main threats will be gusty winds and marginally severe hail. Will everyone get in on the thunderstorm action? No. Is severe weather a guarantee? Definitely not. It is certainly possible, though, due to the variables we will have in place.

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