ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The threat is growing for rain and storm activity Thursday the 16th as a large storm complex moves into the Great Lakes. The ingredients are starting to come together for what could be a line of strong storms to bring gusty winds, frequent lightning, and the potential for hail across the region.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: As of Wednesday evening the forecast continues to lay out a period of showers and thunderstorms to move through the region Thursday from a period of about 11am through 8pm with hints at a line of storms later in the day that could produce gusty winds and cause damage to homes, trees, and powerlines among other outside objects. Remember to stay weather aware and check here for radar updates.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: As of Tuesday evening the surface low pressure system sits in northern Texas. That low and associated energy will ride along the jet stream toward the Great Lakes. With it we can expect a rise in heat and humidity that will set the stage for an unstable atmosphere. Dew points are forecast to be around 70° which would create a very muggy feel and give any storm that forms plenty of ‘juice’ to tap into should they develop.
Instability can be measured by the Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) in Joules/Kg, a value that can mean tall and strong storms once the number gets past 1000 j/kg. Some models indicating it will push this value and maybe even higher.
This is also when timing comes into play. As the sun heats the ground, CAPE values naturally increase as instability increases once the ground warms. If the frontal boundary that helps trigger the storms arrives during peak heating as temperatures crest near 90°, some of the storms could turn severe. If the frontal boundary arrives a bit later in the day, say after 7pm, they may not be as potent. Below is one model run from Tuesday evening indicating a later arrival of the frontal boundary.
PREPARATION: If you’ve read this far, you are prepared. Just know that there will be the potential for storms that could bring an isolated strong wind gust that may knock out power. Make sure to check on your friends and family to make sure they have a plan. Have a place to go inside if you are spending Thursday evening outside.