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Blog: Potentially strong thunderstorms Saturday afternoon

Read this for a thorough discussion on the potential for strong thunderstorms Saturday afternoon. This is a bit more insight into our thinking in the weather office.
Just wanted to bring you up to date on the weather for Saturday.  This is not meant to scare you, but some of the ingredients coming together Saturday afternoon are very impressive in terms of damaging wind potential.  Just to give you a little background on what I’m about to show you and the subsequent forecast...severe weather forecasting is anything but an exact science.  All the maps we look at throughout the day help us to locate areas where the weather could be potentially severe.  The map below is the Day 2 convective outlook from the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.  They’re the pros.  I see things coming together when I write up the forecast, and I look at their products for backup.

Notice how they forecast areas that are of moderate and slight risk for severe thunderstorms.  Occasionally you’ll see a high risk, but to see a moderate risk for CNY is rare, even in the Spring and summer.  This piqued my interest.

Here are the maps that came out Friday afternoon:

The map on the left indicates the areas that potentially could see severe weather Saturday afternoon.  The map on the right is the probability of severe weather.  The 45% area is the probability of severe weather within 25 miles of a point.  The hatched area indicates a 10% or greater chance of significant severe weather within 25 miles of a point.

The culprit causing this is an area of low pressure and its cold front which will move from near Toronto Saturday morning to north of New York State by 8 pm Saturday.


The map on the left is for 8 am Saturday.  The low pressure area is west of NYS.  South winds will begin to pick up during the morning.  It’ll be warm and a bit humid.  The second map is for 8 pm Saturday.  The low pressure area has gotten stronger (pressure has dropped from 1000mb Saturday morning, to 996mb by Saturday evening), and the cold front has moved east of New York State.  At some point Saturday afternoon, the cold front will be coming through our area, providing the trigger for the thunderstorms.  The problem is that with strengthening low pressure moving over our area, winds will become quite strong aloft over us.  IF THE STORMS DEVELOP OVER US, OR MOVE THROUGH OUR AREA WHILE ABLE TO TAP INTO THOSE STRONG WINDS ALOFT, THEN WE COULD HAVE DAMAGING WIND PRODUCING THUNDERSTORMS.

The most likely time for this to happen would be between 2 pm and 8 pm.

By no means is this a certainty.  The amount of sun we get in the morning Saturday will play a big role on where the storms will develop.  I don’t know at 8:30 Friday night whether the north-south line of thunderstorms will form west of Syracuse, around Syracuse, or east of Syracuse.  Unfortunately, we’re not going to know that until we see how things shake out Saturday morning.

At the very least, we all should get a period of rain and thunder Saturday afternoon.  The threat for severe weather will be over after 7 or 8 Saturday evening.  For about 6 hours, we need to be on guard as everything unfolds.

Julia will have the latest Saturday morning on TMN Weekend beginning at 7 am.  We’ll provide updates at 9wsyr.com and on our facebook page

Of course, being a Saturday, I’m sure you’ll be out and about.  If you have a smart phone, download the NewsChannel 9 Storm Team app, by searching WSYR in the app store or Google play store.  Live Doppler 9 will be just one tap away, and you’ll have access to any watches or warnings.

We’ll also have crawls on the bottom of News Channel 9 during the USC/SU game if need be.

Hopefully, nothing will happen, but I just want you to be prepared.


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