Everything is in place for strong storms with the potential for damaging wind gusts. High heat and humidity has led to very high levels of instability but it has been capped through the day with such a warm layer above the surface. One thing that can act to break that cap is a lifting mechanism, and there is a big one in the form of an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) heading our way from the Ohio Valley.
- Severe Weather Threat for Tonight from the Storm Prediction Center
Timing of the Storms: As of 4pm, our team of meteorologists thinks this system will reach the western suburbs by 9pm and move into the D.C. Metro around 10pm. This is a dangerous line of storms, with wind gusts reported up to 70 mph common. There was even a report of a 91 mph wind gust in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Storm Prediction Center even upgraded the Outlook for severe weather to Moderate for the Ohio Valley where widespread wind damage is possible.
What to watch out for: The biggest threat in these storms will be damaging wind gusts. The secondary threat appears to be heavy rainfall and lightning, with an extremely minimal tornado threat. Severe thunderstorm watches are already in effect and I wouldn't be suprised if the threat continued east into our area tonight.
Saturday's Severe Weather Threat: Nearly the same scenario is anticipated for tomorrow with another slight risk for severe storms in the D.C. area. The biggest threat for severe weather will be in the afternoon we think after 4pm and lasting through the evening. The hashed yellow area below over D.C. means there is potential for a significant severe wind event. Don't take Saturday's storms lightly.
- Saturday's Severe Weather Threat from the Storm Prediction Center
Damaging winds will again be the primary threat in storms which could knock over trees and power lines. One thing you have to think about is if you lose power, it will still be close to 100 degrees on Sunday. Have a place to go in the back of your mind in case you need to escape the heat. We'll go ahead and hope that it doesn't come to that but be prepared just in case.