From the ABC 7 Weather team

Thunderstorms and gusty winds possible in D.C. area Friday

February 20, 2014 - 11:12 AM
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A strong frontal boundary will push through the region Friday late morning through the afternoon. Be sure to check live doppler radar before heading to lunch Friday.

A potent cold front will push through the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys today bringing with it the chance for severe thunderstorms with damaging winds as the primary threat. A few tornadoes will also be possible. Severe storms a possible in those areas late this afternoon through the early overnight hours.

The front will reach the D.C. area by tomorrow morning, but we're not expecting storms to be quite as intense since instability will be lower in the morning hours. Regardless, the wind field above the surface will still be very intense, with winds screaming up to 70 or 75 mph only a few thousand feet above the surface.

12Z GFS 850mb temperatures and winds (Courstesy: NEXLAB Models)

Above is a look at the bigger picture with the 850mb temperatures and wind speeds. The strong southerly winds ahead of the front should bring very mild air into the region tomorrow morning with temperatures likely to reach the lower 60s.

12Z 4KM NAM 900mb winds and MSLP at 10am Friday (Courtesy: WeatherBell Models)

Wind speeds at 900mb (~3000ft) are expected to be in the 70 mph range ahead of the front. This graphic depicts tomorrow morning at 10am with everything in orange above 60 mph. Remember, these winds are above the surface, but as the cold front moves through the region, areas of heavy rain may help push a few damaging wind gusts to the surface. This would be in the form of straight-lined winds which may down a few trees.

The threat doesn't only exist in the D.C. area, but also along much of the east coast south of D.C. including the Carolinas, Georgia and Northern Florida.

Slight Risk for severe storms in the area shaded in yellow (Storm Prediction Center)

What about the timing? The western suburbs may see rain and possible storms as early as 10am and the D.C. Metro by 11am-Noon. Storms should move east rather quickly and exit the region by 2pm-3pm. Winds should turn westerly and skies should clear rather quickly behind the front. Temperatures should dip back into the 50s and 40s behind the front tomorrow afternoon.

12Z 4km NAM forecast surface reflectivity Noon Friday (Courtesy: WeatherBell Models)

 

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