Seven Tornadoes Confirmed from April 6, 2017 Severe Storms in the Mid-Atlantic! (Photo Credit: National Weather Service, Baltimore/ DC)
Seven tornadoes have been confirmed in Virginia and Washington DC from the severe storms on April 6, 2017. After extensive investigation and interviews with the residents, the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia has confirmed that the seven tornadoes were rated as an EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
Five tornadoes touched down in Virginia including three in Fauquier County, one in Orange County, and another in Fairfax County. Trees were downed as well as metal roofing and siding being removed were among the damages. No deaths or injuries were reported from these tornadoes.
The tornadoes were hidden within the bigger storm system. The main threat with the bigger storm was straight-line winds which made the investigation difficult. When trees are downed in one direction, it signifies straight-line winds whereas if the trees appear twisted towards or away from each other, it’s evident that there was circulation involved. To read more about the exact locations and damaged involved, click on the link!
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ⓒ Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
Discussion: In contrast to the warm/sunny weekend, southeast Kansas and western Missouri may possibly see severe weather tonight. Relatively strong low-level winds today have pushed dewpoints into the low 60°’s Fahrenheit from Oklahoma to southeastern Kansas. With dewpoints gradually rising at the surface and cooling aloft in the atmosphere, this will help bolster the strength of thunderstorm updrafts as well as hail potential. A continued influx of low-level moisture will continue to destabilize the atmospheric environment across parts of eastern Oklahoma and southeast Kansas as storms begin to form in these areas. Due to these factors, storms which form may be capable of producing large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes across northeast Oklahoma, southeast Kansas, and western Missouri. People living in these areas are encouraged to stay alert for any updates on possible watches or warnings, especially those who may be driving this evening.
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©2017 Meteorologist Noah Hardy
On April 6, 2017, severe storms swept through northern Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Many reports of wind damage caused multiple roads to close for clearing. Widespread power outages caused schools to close early and halting bus routes. School officials sent out a message asking parents to pick up their children if they were able due to a possible delay from road closures. Trained weather spotters reported a funnel cloud in Gainesville, Virginia. A tree had fallen across a busy road never hitting the ground forcing vehicles to go underneath the tree in Fairfax, Virginia. Trees had fallen on power lines causing major power outages. Nickel-sized hail was reported in Stafford County.
These severe storms that ravaged the Mid-Atlantic came in three significant storms. The first storm was mainly rain which occurred around 8:00 AM Thursday morning. The second storm happened around 1:00 PM Thursday afternoon which is the storm that carried the strong winds and possible tornadoes. The third storm happened just after 3:00 PM which carried nickel-sized hail and another round of damaging winds.
The National Weather Service in Baltimore/ Washington will survey the damage in the coming days to determine if there were tornadoes or just straight-line winds. These storms hit during the after-lunch hour and caught many people on the road. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported.
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
Radars Down for Maintenance During a Severe Weather Outbreak! (Photo Credit: National Weather Service)
Today, April 5, 2017, three radars located in southern Georgia and southeastern Alabama are inoperable due to a lightning strike and regular maintenance. Unfortunately, with the severe weather outbreak already in place, forecasters response times will be delayed. Meteorologists are having to rely on their ground level support from law enforcement and trained weather spotters to report severe weather.
Meteorologists can handle one radar being down, however when three in the same region are down, they have to rely on other radars from a further distance. Other radars around the region can detect storms, but only from a certain radius. The signal leaves the radar at an incline, making further storms harder to see closer to the surface. When a storm is too far from a functioning radar, meteorologists cannot see surface features such as rotation and debris signatures. Forecasters will continue to convey warnings, but the warnings will not be radar indicated. Radar indication means the radar has picked up rotation and either a tornado is in progress or is imminent. Radars being inoperable makes sending out warnings challenging because forecasters cannot see the storm throughout its cycle.
During a severe weather outbreak, radars are essential and when they are not available, people need to stay alert so they know when to take cover. Given that there’s the potential for these radars to be down during the duration of this event, it’s imperative that people remain cognizant and aware of their immediate weather conditions to take cover when necessary.
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
Taking a Closer Look at the April 5-6 Severe Weather Outbreak! (credit: Meteorologist Sheldon Kusselson)
DISCUSSION: As is noted in the above in-depth analysis of the April 5-6 severe weather event (courtesy of retired NOAA/NESDIS satellite analyst Sheldon Kusselson), depicts the deep complexity associated the latest large-scale severe weather event of the Spring 2017 severe weather season. Going from the primary moisture source emanating from the Gulf of Mexico the large warm-front sector associated with this low pressure system, this is a truly multi-faceted severe weather event with several different preceding components. To learn more about the different aspects to this early April severe weather event, feel free to download the file above to see the full discussion provided by Meteorologist Sheldon Kusselson!
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©2017 Meteorologist Sheldon Kusselson
The Storm Prediction Center (or SPC) has put together a map of the severe risk today into tonight for the Mid-Atlantic states. For Wednesday, April 5, 2017 the SPC has forecasted a slight chance for severe weather from southern Virginia into northern North Carolina. An enhanced risk of severe weather has been forecasted for southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina. A high risk has been forecasted for southwestern South Carolina and northeastern Georgia. The main threats for this event are wind damage, large hail and long-lived tornadoes. The severe threat will transition into tonight/ early Thursday morning for eastern Virginia and North Carolina. The threats remain the same with damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.
Eastern North Carolina and Virginia had recently experienced severe weather with three tornadoes touching down in the Virginia Beach area. On March 31, 2017 an EF-2 tornado touched down and left damage in its path.
If you are in the path of these storms, please stay weather alert and know your action plan. The full discussion from the Storm Prediction Center regarding the Mid-Atlantic’s risk for severe weather is as follows:
Organized severe storm development is possible across parts of the
Mid Atlantic Coast region Thursday, mainly prior to the 2-4 pm EDT
time frame. This includes a risk for supercells with potential for
tornadoes, and perhaps a narrow evolving squall line accompanied by
potential for damaging surface gusts.
An amplification within the westerlies is forecast to continue
translating across the central into eastern U.S. during this period,
with large-scale ridging gradually shifting east of the U.S. Rockies
and Canadian Prairies, and downstream troughing progressing across
the Appalachians into the Atlantic Seaboard. The center of a broad
and deep lower/mid tropospheric cyclone embedded within the
troughing is still expected to migrate northeastward, near or just
east of the lower Great Lakes region, with a trailing cold front
surging eastward and southward, off much of the Atlantic coast,
including much of the Florida peninsula, and through much of the
Gulf of Mexico.
Stable conditions associated with cooling and/or drying in the wake
of the front will result in low to negligible convective potential
across much of the nation. However, prior to the frontal passage,
models continue to indicate a window of opportunity for organized
severe storm development across parts of the Mid Atlantic Coast
Low probabilities for thunderstorm activity may also accompany a
couple of short wave perturbations emanating from a strong
mid-latitude Pacific jet, which may continue to nose inland across
northern California toward the northern intermountain region.
...Mid Atlantic Coast region...
Models continue to indicate that the exit region of a 90-110+ kt
cyclonic 500 mb jet streak will nose northeast of the southern
Appalachians through Mid Atlantic coastal areas early Thursday. And
guidance remains suggestive that associated strong forcing for
ascent will provide support for renewed significant surface
cyclogenesis to the east of the central Appalachians. Rapid
deepening of the surface low may be underway by 12Z Thursday near
the Blue Ridge, and strengthening southerly low-level flow within
its warm sector (including up to 50-70+ kt at 850 mb) is expected to
result in the northward advection of moisture characterized by
lower/mid 60s surface dew points within a plume across eastern
Virginia into the vicinity of the low center. Guidance indicates
that rapid deepening of the low will continue into midday and
beyond, with the center possibly tracking across northern Virginia
and central Maryland before frontal occlusion takes place.
Given this environment, including thermodynamic profiles initially
characterized by modestly steep mid-level lapse rates that may
support CAPE of 500-1000 J/kg, there still appears considerable
potential for organized severe storm development. This may include
discrete supercells capable of producing large hail and tornadoes,
and perhaps an evolving convective line accompanied by the risk for
damaging surface gusts, with precipitation loading enhancing the
downward transfer of higher momentum to the surface.
Due to the uncertain influence of the cooler/stable marine layer
near the Chesapeake, greatest confidence in severe weather potential
still appears focused along/east of the Interstate 95 corridor of
southeastern Virginia into northeastern North Carolina during the
late morning through midday hours. However, given the current
forecast of the track and rate of deepening of the surface low, this
threat could develop northward into the Washington D.C and Baltimore
metro areas, and across the Delmarva peninsula/adjacent southern New
Jersey, before the front advances offshore by late afternoon.
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
On the night of June 29, 2012, people of the Mid-Atlantic experienced a very strong and intense storm system called a derecho. The storm caught many people off-guard because it passed through the area very quickly. The derecho started as a small cluster of thunderstorms in Iowa and created a path of destruction all the way to the East Coast during the following twelve to fourteen hours.
A derecho is a continuous, massive storm with strong, damaging winds that stretches across many states. To be classified as a derecho
, a storm must travel a minimum of 240 miles, and have sustained winds of at least 58 miles per hour. The derecho that hit the Mid-Atlantic states on the night of June 29, 2012 affected 8 states. The strongest wind speed of 91 mph was recorded at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Thousands of people were left without power, and 20 people lost their lives. Local grocery stores lost refrigerated items because of the inability to keep the items at a safe temperature during the extended power outages.
Many people in the Mid-Atlantic hadn’t heard the term derecho before this event occurred, even though the last significant derecho was June 4, 2008. This wasn’t an ordinary storm because storms like these do not hit this area very often; in fact, a derecho is recorded about once every two to four years. This means, the Mid-Atlantic region is overdue for its next derecho.
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ⓒ2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
DISCUSSION: In light of the currently developing low pressure system currently positioned across the South-Central United States, there are growing concerns for a more-than-likely severe threat to unfold across many parts of the southeastern United States over the next 12 to 24 hours. As discussed in the graphic attached above (courtesy of Meteorologist Sheldon Kusselson), there is a formidable threat for more widespread severe weather during the day on Saturday. This be primarily due to the aforementioned low pressure system gradually making its way eastward and bringing in a plethora of Gulf of Mexico moisture. Therefore, the combination of the warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air and the turning of the wind speed as well as direction with height will create a particularly conducive pre-convective environment.
Be sure to read the article above for details on this developing situation or download the file above as well.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: As we look back to this past Tuesday, there was quite an impressive severe weather break across several states across the Central Plains as well as points to the east. As discussed in the text excerpt below (courtesy of KNWA and FOX24 Meteorologist Dan Skoff), there were quite favorable conditions in place for much of the day which allowed for the occurrence of severe thunderstorms capable of generating tornadoes.
"Prepare to have your mind blown! THIS IS TRULY INCREDIBLE! Yesterday the environment was ripe for tornadoes across a good portion of the central US and ONE supercell thunderstorm in particular utilized those ingredients and became a prolific tornado producer.
The deadly supercell first initially formed right over Northwest Arkansas in northern Benton co, crossed through nearly 5 states (almost to the Ohio border) and lasted for nearly 12 hours. You will notice once the storm split in NE Barry county... the right mover took over and it made a b-line right for #Perryville producing a strong to violent tornado. The storm merged with a few other small storms as the monster absorbed them easily in southern IL and then just kept on truckin' through Indiana. Talk about a long track tornadic supercell thunderstorm."
As is referenced in the text above, the concept of right-movers involves the reality of in-storm dynamics allowing for storms to either split over the course of some period of time. This storm splitting occurs due to a complex collection of processes which are discussed in far more detail within the following link!
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: As a strengthening low pressure system continues to slowly shift eastward across parts of the Central Plains, many densely populated across Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, and Indiana will be "under the gun" through the evening and overnight hours. Due to fairly high dew point temperatures as well as consistently strong southwesterly flow coming into the Central Plains since overnight Monday, the areas highlighted in the graphic above (courtesy of forecasters at NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma) will be under the greatest threat. More specifically, due to the relatively warm air temperatures in place at the surface, this has already and will continue to facilitate a fairly buoyant environment for air parcels to ascend with little to no adverse factors affecting their ascension.
These factors combined with the relatively large amount of localized rotation of the wind direction with height across these states will make for an enhanced tornado threat as day moves on and through much of the evening as well. It is for this reason that if you or someone you know is or will be within the confines of the yellow-, orange-, and/or red-shaded regions above, that they remain vigilant tonight and keep a weather radio, cell phone, or alternative device (and with a full charge) nearby to remain updated on this evolving severe weather threat through the evening and overnight hours. Be sure to stay tuned right here at the Global Weather and Climate Center for updates on this latest severe weather threat!
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz