SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH: Strong to severe storms possible

Posted at 9:36 AM, Jul 18, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-18 13:22:21-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Scattered strong to severe thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and evening in most of Virginia. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 9 p.m. for north-central and west-central counties, and new watches farther into Virginia may be issued later. 

Any storms that form in the hot, humid, unstable air-mass will be capable of intensifying to severe strength (wind gusts 58 mph and stronger, large hail an inch in diameter and larger). Frequent lightning and torrential downpours are also likely, based on the vertical growth of the storms and the precipitable water values available for these storms to tap into and translate into downpours at the surface.

The Storm Prediction Center issued this Slight Risk area for much of the region as an upper-level trough begins to dig out of the Great Lakes.

Here is a closer look of the counties in Virginia included in this area:

A surface cold front linked to the upper trough is also advancing slowly southward, and will encourage storm intensification as the air-mass ahead of the front is very hot and humid, with drier, more stable air coming behind the front from Canada. Any storms that do develop this afternoon and evening in Virginia will be capable of rapid intensification in this hot and humid air-mass, and you can expect potentially damaging wind gusts from wet microbursts, heavy rainfall, some hail, and frequent lightning.

All of Virginia will have the potential for strong storms and widespread heavy downpours by Thursday and Friday once that cold front moves southward through the Commonwealth. There is the potential for as much as one to three inches of rainfall by Saturday morning as a result of this slow-moving storm system tapping into rich moisture in the Mid-Atlantic!

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