Friday, June 6, 2008

Invasion: Turning up the Heat and Ripping Down Houses

Storms Continue as Heat Builds
Damaging thunderstorms and some tornadoes will continue into this evening from the southern Plains through the Great Lakes.

A powerful storm moving across the Plains is being accompanied by line of thunderstorms draped from the upper Great Lakes to Oklahoma. These thunderstorms have the potential to cause damage as they move eastward today.

The majority of the severe thunderstorms will occur this afternoon once the atmosphere has a chance to warm and destabilize. These thunderstorms will be affecting a long swath of land today and could impact a number of major cities such as St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee.

The Severe Weather Center states the potential exists for some tornadoes to spawn, but the greatest threats will be damaging winds, hail and drenching downpours.

Thunderstorm- and tornado-related watches and warnings should not be taken lightly. Everyone in the path of today's dangerous storms should review safety procedures and be prepared to implement those procedures at a moment's notice.

This is the same system that tore through much of the central Plains and parts of the Midwest on Thursday. There were nearly 400 reports of severe weather-related damage Thursday, including 35 sightings of tornadoes.

Interstate 29 was especially hard hit on Thursday when three tornadoes were spotted along the highway. Two semi-trucks were blown off Interstate 29 near Craig, Mo., where rescue crews had to extricate one of the drivers. Farther north, a tornado was spotted on the same highway near Nebraska City, Neb. In addition, a tornado spread debris across Interstate 29 south of Baltic, S.D.

In addition to the tornado reports, hail was quite large and damaging with this system. Hail measuring 3 inches in diameter pounded an area near Radium, Kan., while 2-inch-diameter hail broke windows in Collyer, Kan. In Rushmore, Minn., half dollar-sized hail accumulated 2 to 3 inches thick on the ground.

The Midwest Regional News story states that the Upper Midwest will again be the target of severe weather Saturday afternoon. Another storm currently bringing unsettled weather to the Northwest will be the culprit behind this next round of potentially damaging thunderstorms.

Much of the severe weather that will spark into Saturday will fire along the rim of a surge of record-challenging heat flowing from the Southwest. This heat and humidity will charge northward, giving many cities in the Northeast their first taste of 90-degree temperatures.

An area of cool marine air will keep much of New England and the New Jersey shore from feeling the heat for one more day today. However, the strong surge of stifling heat will overwhelm the fading marine air and move in to make the entire Northeast hot and sticky on Saturday.

By the weekend, East Regional News reports temperatures in New England will rise into the 80s and close to 90 in some places. Highs in many of the major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor will soar well past 90°, with the high humidity helping to create triple-digit RealFeel temperatures.