Second Severe Season:
When we think about the fall season, we normally associate it with cooler temperatures, trick or treating, and fall colors. But the one component of fall that sometimes gets underestimated is the potential for severe weather. In fact, fall is considered the Midwest’s “second” severe weather season, and we could see our first dose of that later today as a strong disturbance swings into Illinois.
When it comes to dissecting today’s severe weather potential, today can go two ways. The first scenario involves having too much wind shear and not enough instability. If that would be the case, thunderstorms would have a very difficult time becoming mature, giving them less of a chance to acquire severe characteristics. However, if the sun were to make an appearance, this would help allow instability to climb, giving us a better shot at seeing severe weather.
As of this morning, hi-res models do keep cloud-filled skies into the afternoon hours, as well as a decent chance for the Stateline to see a round of scattered showers and thunderstorms. Severe potential with the first round remains low. However, a few of the stronger updrafts may be capable of producing small-sized hail. Storms may become a little more organized as the afternoon carries on, especially if we do see some sunshine peek through.
The latest day 1 outlook from the Storm Prediction Center has placed not only much of the Stateline, but much of the Stateline of Illinois under a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) for severe weather. The primary concern with today’s thunderstorm threat (if one were to materialize) will be gusty straight-line winds, with an isolated tornado or two possible.
I think with the placement of the low to our southwest, areas across western and central Illinois will see a higher potential for tornadic activity. The severe risk will quickly decrease once the sun goes down and the atmosphere stabilizes. Regardless, it’s always important to have multiple ways to receive watches and warnings. Whether it’s your weather radio, your cell phone, or by watching the First Warn Weather Team.