Don't panic, for the end is nigh. New York City is right on the edge of a severe thunderstorm watch, and strong storms are moving east as they bubble up across New York and Pennsylvania. Here's what you can expect through the afternoon and evening.
What it means
A severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms — which produce damaging winds in excess of 60 MPH or hail the size of quarters or larger — in and around the watch area.
What to expect
Winds exceeding 70 MPH and hail larger than golf balls (2.00" in diameter) are a possibility in the strongest storms, but thankfully that will be the exception rather than the norm today. Tornadoes are not a particular concern this afternoon, but as always, it's good to keep a watchful eye just in case.
Where it'll happen
Here's a look at the radar around 1:45PM EDT. The blue outline shows the counties covered by the severe thunderstorm watch. Thunderstorms are developing where the skies are clearing out and daytime heating is maximized. The Storm Prediction Center expects the storms in Pennsylvania and New York to continue to develop and turn severe as they move into the watch area.
Philadelphia, Newark, Trenton, Albany, Binghamton, Utica...all the fun places, you're included in the watch, as well.
Here's a closer look at the NYC area to give you a better look at where the watch is and isn't in effect. The watch stops at the Hudson River — everyone west of the Hudson is under the watch.
In addition to the watch that's already in effect, the Storm Prediction Center is about to extend the watch further towards the south to include cities along I-95 south through Richmond, including D.C.. Baltimore, and the Delmarva Peninsula.
What will happen this evening
As the storms move east through the afternoon hours, I fully expect the severe thunderstorm watch to be extended towards the east, including the NYC area and probably some of southeastern New England.
Here's a look at the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model, which, as its name suggests, is a high resolution model run every hour.
The HRRR shows that the storms will continue to push east, sometime between 5:00PM and 6:00PM EDT. That's something to keep in mind, since that's also when most people get off of work.
The high resolution NAM model, for what it's worth, shows the storms pushing into the I-95 corridor a little bit later, between 6:00PM and 7:00PM EDT.
Remember to keep an eye out for watches and warnings no matter where you are today, and stay alert if you have to go out. The last place you want to be in a severe thunderstorm is a vehicle or, even worse, on foot.
Here are some links to help you stay up-to-date today.
- The Storm Prediction Center is the official agency in charge of predicting severe thunderstorms in the United States.
- The National Weather Service issues local forecasts, as well as severe thunderstorm/tornado warnings across the U.S.
- Wunderground provides excellent weather radar imagery — click on the + closest to your location.
- NASA's website provides excellent satellite imagery from the GOES weather satellites.
- Dr. Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel is a world-class meteorologist who developed the accurate TOR:CON index that evaluates the threat for tornadoes on a 0-10 scale. Dr. Forbes' TOR:CON forecasts are found on weather.com.
[Images via AP / SimuAWIPS / NWS / NOAA / ATMOGRAPH]