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Major weather stuff happening today

 

UPDATE 12:44 pm:  Couple of things to note:

- We are now under a tornado watch until 7 pm.  This DOES NOT mean tornadoes are occurring in the area; what it DOES mean is that conditions are ripe for tornadoes to form.  If a tornado in your area is imminent the National Weather Service will issue a Tornado Warning.  If that happens then you should take action and get to shelter.

- The Storm Prediction Center has upped our severe risk to Moderate, which is highly unusual for autumn.  This is based on a 45% probability (within 25 miles of any point) of severe straightline winds (defined as winds gusting over 50 knots, or 58 mph) generated by thunderstorms.  The tornado probability is still holding at 10% (within 25 miles of any point.)

 

STORM WATCH: Track the storm with other Fredericksburg residents on our facebook page.

FORECAST: Click here for the latest

UPDATE 10:42 a.m.:  Based on radar and forecast trends I need to revise the timeframe given below for severe weather.  Things may start happening by the noon hour around the ‘Burg, so take heed.

With a title like that this post should be interesting… The approaching weather system(s) – including a strong cold front and a surface low pressure center – are gathering their energies as they head toward Fredericksburg.  While the rain is not quite yet over the city it is definitely on the glidepath toward this region.

What is even more worthy of note are the winds.  The surface winds are currently out of the southeast gusting over 20 mph with the windspeed increasing greatly as the altitude increases.  The winds at 5000 feet are over 50 mph from the south, the winds at 10,000 feet are just as strong out of the south-southwest, and the winds at 18,000 feet are even stronger out of the southwest.  Why do I bring up all this usually uninteresting data?  Because this wind profile provides a very favorable setup for both damaging winds and tornadoes if convective updrafts tap into that energy.  This is what has prompted the Storm Prediction Center to issue the following severe weather graphics for today:

SPC probabilities for severe wind

SPC probabilities for tornadoes today

The tornado probabilities of 10% indicated over the Fredericksburg area may not seem like much but that is a VERY significant figure for the Mid-Atlantic.  The National Weather Service in Sterling has mentioned the possibility of a few tornadoes along with damaging winds from a squall line in its forecast discussion for this afternoon as well.

So, to sum up:  watch the skies today.  If you have a weather radio or a severe weather warning service this would be a good day to pay close attention, especially this afternoon between roughly 2:00 and 7:00 pm.   Is there any good news? Yes, in that once this front clears the area our weather will be back to tranquil autumn conditions for the rest of this week.  Until then listen up!!!

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/weather/2012/09/18/major-weather-stuff-happening-today/