Severe weather threat in FLX today

Western and Central New York are under the gun today for severe weather. Only the June 17 wind event last month compares with the set up with have today, but today’s set up exceeds even that. While it is impossible to tell what the rest of the summer holds, this could be the biggest severe weather day of 2014.A strong cold front will interact with impressive winds throughout the atmosphere and plenty of rich, moist air. The result will be numerous thunderstorms throughout the afternoon and evening hours, a number of which will likely be severe.All modes of severe weather are possible today. Severe, damaging winds are the primary threat, but it is *possible* (but NOT a guarantee) that multiple tornadoes could touch down as well. Hail is a threat as well, in addition to intense lightning and heavy rain. Let’s break things down a bit.Tornado Threat:The tornado threat today is higher than anything we have seen so far in 2014 and is possibly higher than it has been in quite some time. Winds at the surface will be out of the south throughout the afternoon and evening. However, less than a mile above the surface, winds will increase in strength and turn to a more westerly direction. This turning in the winds with height is a key in tornado development. Tornado forecasting parameters today reach local thresholds that indicated isolated tornadoes are possible.I think the tornado threat has potential to especially be realized over southwest New York and northwest Pennsylvania. When looking at the last 60 years of tornado data in our region, this area seems to get an abnormally high number of tornadoes, likely due to influences from the terrain and Lake Erie. It could be considered a mini-tornado alley. Thunderstorms are likely to develop in this area early this afternoon as individual supercells at a time when the turning of the winds is maximized in these areas.The tornado threat elsewhere may be slightly less, but is still impressive nonetheless. Tornadoes may be possible early on with any supercells that develop, but could also be possible embedded in a squall line should one develop in the late afternoon and evening hours. Even though the conditions I describe certainly seem favorable for a tornado or two, it is impossible to tell where, when or even if any tornadoes will actually touch down.Wind Threat:Any storm that develops today will have the potential for severe and damaging winds. These winds should remain scattered as long as a squall line does not develop. However, it seems favorable that at least some line segments should form, if not a bigger line of storms. These could bring more widespread severe winds.Hail Threat:The hail threat is not overly huge today and will primarily be in the early and mid afternoon hours. I think that any storms that develop across the Finger Lakes will have a slightly higher hail threat than those over western New York.

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