Photo by National Weather Service
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Severe thunderstorms began and have continued early today with a high potential for dangerous weather throughout the next 24 hours. But this potential isn't here in Minnesota, it's in the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys.
The Storm Prediction Center, a government agency that provides information on storm potential for the entire country, is responsible for providing outlooks each day that highlight the greatest storm threats, if any. Severe storms are expected across a good chunk of the eastern United States. Today's high risk, issued for parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, is a rare occurrence. It isn't very often that a situation warrants this risk level. Here's the criteria the SPC sues for issuing a high risk:
"The HIGH risk implies that a major severe weather outbreak is expected, with large coverage of severe weather and the likelihood of extreme severe (i.e., violent tornadoes or very damaging convective wind events). The HIGH risk category is reserved for the most extreme events with the least forecast uncertainty, and is only used a few times each year."
The SPC predicts a 30% chance of tornadoes and a 45% risk for damaging winds and large hail in this area of the country. That's huge! A moderate risk isn't all that common either, but exists today for portions of 10 states today! For a timeframe, we'll be looking at midday through this evening to be the most dangerous.
This low pressure system is taking a familiar track to our south today, very similar to what we've seen happen all winter. But, this one has the energy of spring on its side. Pulling in moisture for the Gulf of Mexico with a large amount of atmospheric instability is fueling this risk today. The storms should form right along and ahead of the cold front as it swings across the southeastern U.S. today.
Here's to hoping everyone stays safe today...
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