RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Multiple clusters of severe storms affected parts of the Midwest Wednesday afternoon. One squall line this morning will move into far northern and west-central Virginia before Noon, bringing frequent lightning, heavy rain, strong wind gusts and hail.
The threat for severe weather is significant in Virginia Thursday afternoon over a large part of our region. Strong wind gusts remain our primary threat, but there could be isolated tornadoes as well. A relatively rare “Moderate Risk” for severe weather is mapped for much of central and eastern Virginia Thursday from around mid-day through dinner-time.
A potent upper-level short-wave will dive out of the Upper Midwest into the Mid-Atlantic on Thursday. That disturbance will ride around a heat ridge parked over Oklahoma and the Southern Plains states.
The disturbance will have a surface cold front associated with it. Ahead of that front, I expect a line of showers and thunderstorms to track into western Virginia by late morning into Noon.
That line should intensify as it advances south-southeast through central Virginia Thursday afternoon. The cold front should push all storms south of Virginia by sunset. It will be a blustery day anyway as this storm system moves through, with non-thunderstorm wind gusts around 30 to 40 mph.
Severe threats that are possible Thursday afternoon include damaging straight-line winds in excess of 60-70 mph and large hail.
The set-up for this storm looks like the line could feature “bowing segments,” which can produce locally destructive winds of 70-80 mph. Brief, isolated tornadoes are also possible within the line of storms, especially in northeast Virginia.
Stay weather-aware Thursday, especially if you have outdoor plans. Winds like this will require you seeking shelter inside a sturdy building on the lowest level and in the most interior room. Remember, straight-line winds can do just as much damage as an EF0 or EF1 tornado!
If we get these severe winds, there will likely be tree damage, which can then in turn hit buildings and vehicles. Plan your day to remain off the roads during the worst of the storm. You do not want to be driving through this severe weather.
Treat severe thunderstorm warnings just as seriously as you do a tornado warning. Seek shelter indoors, away from windows, on the lowest level of the most interior room.
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