June 3: Thunderstorms Approaching!

Jonathan Carr
By Jonathan Carr June 3, 2020 09:41

June 3: Thunderstorms Approaching!

Dan Mueller Financial Advisor

Discussion: We’ve had a warm front come through and that’s why today feels warmer and more humid. A cold front is expected to push through overnight tonight but that leaves a very warm and unstable environment today with the warm front still close by to our immediate NE.

Solar/diurnal instability should build between now and early afternoon allowing sufficient negative buoyancy of air parcels (how easy air can rise). Ever notice a blender filled with hot liquid has a better chance to make a mess than cold liquid? That’s because the warmer the liquid, the easier it is to move. Well, the warmer the lower-level air is (from surface solar heating), the easier it can rise and hoist humid air into the dryer mid-upper levels to form cumulonimbus thunderheads. Marginally sufficient wind shear parameters indicate there’s enough change in wind direction over altitude to support a severe thunderstorm event, especially with supercell potential as indicated by the following Skew-T diagram/sounding for 2pm today (from CNJ/SNJ area):

If you look at the central/NW PA radar you can already see the thunderstorm system well-formed and on its way to becoming a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS). This is the kind of system that produces damaging wind gusts and, in most cases, bowing echo segment signatures on radar. You can’t rule out a tornado in this setup, especially on the N and S sides of the massive bow echo I believe will form. However straight line wind damage is the most probable scenario. You will likely have a lot of lightning given the instability well mixed throughout the layers (MLCAPE).

These systems like to ride warm fronts from the W/NW to E/SE like a highway (just like the warm front that is slowly advancing through CNJ/NNJ right now from SW to NE. Therefore, they move very quickly but can pack a lot of punch. My guess is that this MCS will impact NNJ/CNJ primarily early this afternoon but possibly spare at least SWNJ, possibly most of SNJ aside from N coastal area of SNJ. This would then allow SWNJ/SNJ to see more thunderstorm action later this evening/overnight from the cold front.

In English: Expect a warm and humid build today from now until early afternoon. Strong, likely severe, thunderstorms should then pass through NJ from W/NW to E/SE sometime in the noon to 4pm time slot (very conservative window). The actual storm line should not be 4 hours though…likely only an hour or less and will probably scale all of NJ in 2-3 hours. Let’s just say that this afternoon looks stormy. Gusty/damaging winds, heavy downpours and frequent lightning are the most likely symptoms. A small chance of hail and or a tornado are not off the table but less likely than traditional straight line winds. I expect the afternoon thunderstorm system to primarily affect NNJ/CNJ/parts of SENJ. SWNJ and the rest of SNJ, that isn’t affected by this afternoon’s system, have a better chance of seeing storms later tonight/overnight. Everyone please be safe! JC

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Jonathan Carr
By Jonathan Carr June 3, 2020 09:41