An extremely dangerous storm system will approach the Mid-Atlantic Region late tonight into Monday. There will be multiple severe hazards, with high winds widespread across much of the region. The tornado threat will be mainly east of the Blue Ridge, with the potential for a few long-track tornadoes across Central and Southern Virginia.
There will be a ton of energy and wind shear. This model shows wind speeds at 700 mb heights 70 to 90 knots, or 80 to 100+ mph several thousand feet up. These winds will also mix to the surface and produce strong winds. In this kind of unstable environment, there will likely be several, brief spin-up tornadoes. However, some supercells have the potential to produce tornadoes that could be on the ground for several miles — with Central and Southern Virginia having the highest risk. Another possible scenario that may play out is that we could have “too much” wind shear, which prevents some storms from developing. Even if we don’t see many individual, discrete cells, we would still see clusters of severe storms and a few squall lines, which would still produce damaging winds.
8:00 PM Sunday – Rain will move in this evening. Some of the rain may be heavy at times. A few thunderstorms could produce a few, brief tornadoes, especially along or near the Blue Ridge mountains. Locally heavy rain may produce flooding in the Blue Ridge. Creeks and creeks could rise in a short amount of time.
Midnight Tonight – Some breaks in the activity will occur late tonight. However, along the Blue Ridge and higher elevations, periods of moderate to heavy rain will still be occurring. As the system continues to crank, additional moisture will move ahead of the thunderstorms in Kentucky and West Virginia and begin to create a very unstable environment.
3 AM Monday – The next round moves into Southwest and Western Virginia with the potential for a few tornadoes as the environment continues to become unstable. Strong gusty winds will also be likely, gusting anywhere from 45 to 60 MPH at times.
5 AM Monday – Just before sunrise Monday morning, we’ll start to see two scenarios unfold, 1) clusters or lines of thunderstorms, capable of producing tornadoes, or individual cells that have the potential of producing stronger tornadoes. Regardless, this looks like a dangerous situation unfolding with numerous strong to severe storms. The flooding threat will also continue along and near the Blue Ridge Mountains.
8 AM Monday – As the CAPE (cape convective potential energy) begins to rise, these storms will likely continue to develop, with a tornado threat continuing and large hail coming into play. Some storms could produce quarter to half-dollar size hail. Any severe storm could produce damaging wind gusts over 70 mph.
Late Morning / Early Afternoon Monday – Storms will move east of I-95 corridor into Eastern Virginia and Eastern North Carolina. Large hail, isolated tornadoes, and strong winds are likely in any storm.
As we’ve been preaching for the past several days, now is the time to have your plan in place. Build a safety kit with things you need, in case there is a tornado or damage. These items include a phone charger, radio, flashlights, water, non-perishable foods, blankets, and medications. Also, don’t forget your pets and move them into shelter BEFORE the storm arrives. Keep your dogs on a leash and your cats in a carrier. Remember, they sense things well before we do, and most animals do not like thunderstorms. Having them in a safe place before the storm arrives gives you additional time to get yourself and your family prepared and ready to shelter.
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