Today’s Severe Update:
Today is going to be one of those days where you’ll want to keep your eyes on the sky and stay up-to-date with the forecast. Per the morning update, the Storm Prediction Center has kept areas to the north and west of Rockford under an Enhanced Risk (level 3 of 5) for severe weather, with the remainder of the Stateline under a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5). While the morning hours remain tranquil, thunderstorm chances could arrive as early as 1PM-2PM. But for this particular scenario to occur, a few uncertainties that we have this morning would have to line up.
What Remains In Question?
This first thing we’ll have to monitor are the morning thunderstorms that are currently pushing into western/northwestern Iowa. From a severe weather standpoint, a round of showers and thunderstorms moving through a certain area can tarnish the atmosphere, resulting in a lesser chance for thunderstorms late in the day. But, here the thing. Not only can they help stabilize the atmosphere, but they can also produce indicators on where the actual risk for severe weather will be greatest. As this cluster of thunderstorms weakens, it will give off what we call an outflow boundary. These type of boundaries form when rain-cooled air higher up in the thunderstorms drops down to the surface, forming a boundary. It’s important to monitor these as fresh thunderstorms can develop if it interacts with other boundaries.
However, the bigger question is will the “cap” break this afternoon. Typically during the summertime months, warmer air just above the surface acts a lid in the atmosphere, which helps prevent thunderstorm growth.
Guidance this morning does show a pretty hefty “cap” in place this afternoon. If it breaks, thunderstorms will be possible throughout the afternoon and into the evening. If it doesn’t break, thunderstorm chance will hold off until the “cap” weakens near and after sunset. Locally, damaging straight-line winds and heavy rainfall/flash flooding will be the biggest concerns, with an isolated tornado or two possible. Yes, there is still enough “turn” in the atmosphere to provide a small tornado threat later today.Thunderstorm chances do remain with us overnight into Thursday as the associated cold front approaches from the northwest.
To be on the safe side, be sure to have multiple ways to get watches and warnings. Whether that be a NOAA weather radio, your cell phone, or by checking in with us here at Eyewitness News. All being great sources for any weather alerts that the National Weather Service puts out. Another thing to keep in mind is your safe place. Make sure that your safe place is updated so that it is prime if and when you need to take shelter.