- Credit: Max Kruger
The past two days have seen some of the most powerful severe weather events of the year, with numerous tornadoes reported and large hail and damaging winds. (Here's a video of one twister near Jackson, Miss.) Just today alone, the Storm Prediction Center has received over 25 reports of tornadoes with the number expected to increase during the remainder of the day.
This severe threat will continue to move east through the evening and overnight hours and reach the eastern seaboard tomorrow. The highest likelihood for severe weather will exist in central and eastern North Carolina and for eastern portions of South Carolina, where a moderate risk (higher chance) for severe storms has been placed. In those areas, there could be long-tracked and strong tornadoes.
For the D.C. area, the threat still exists for severe weather, but would be more focused on a threat for damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. Looking at some of our forecasted soundings in the area, there is plenty of wind shear with winds both veering with height as well as increasing with speed with height. With winds around 1,500 feet above the surface moving around 60 knots or more, heavy rain could easily help bring those damaging winds to the surface. The directional shear will also add the possibility of rotating updrafts in thunderstorms, which in our environment would more than likely lead to the possibility of weak tornadoes within quasi-linear convective systems like we saw the past couple of weeks.
Heavy rain is also a likelihood, with 1 to 2 inches possible through the day tomorrow. A flash flood watch is in effect for the day tomorrow mainly west of the Blue Ridge where the heaviest rainfall is expected. Unfortunately for you fisherman out there, a gale warning is also in effect for the tidal Potomac and Chesapeake Bay where winds could gust over 40 knots. I say this is unfortunate as tomorrow is the start of rockfish season. Just wait until Sunday!
The timing of the storm should be in the afternoon, with the best chance between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., though it could continue later through the day. Be sure to check our watches and warnings often, watch our live streaming Doppler Radar and follow our new Interactive Radar to stay up to date. In addition, if a tornado warning goes into effect, we will more than likely break in live on TV to cover it, and you can also listen to our reports on WTOP radio.