Severe storms possible Wednesday

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

Summertime heat and humidity returned to Western Massachusetts today as high temperatures touched 90 degrees and the heat index climbed into the lower-90s this afternoon.  Fortunately, an area of high pressure is in control this evening and keeping our weather quiet.  This will not be the case tomorrow.  Here is this afternoon’s surface map, click for a larger view:

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An approaching cold front will be slicing into this hot, humid air mass on Wednesday, providing the trigger needed for some thunderstorms to develop.  (Notice how the dewpoints are high all across the Northeast ahead of the front, indicated by the little green numbers on the map)  The National Weather Service’s Storms Prediction Center in Oklahoma, put Western Massachusetts and northern New England under the slight risk category for severe thunderstorms to develop beginning late tomorrow afternoon.

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Given that the center of this targeted area seems to be off to the north of Springfield, it is reasonable to assume that the best chance for stronger storms on Wednesday will be areas north of the Mass Pike.  Futurecast is depicting this possible scenario for Franklin County early tomorrow evening.

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However, it should also be noted that the entire viewing area could see a thunderstorm tomorrow.  Below is another raw computer model run (18Z NAM) that shows thunderstorm development from Maine all the way down into Maryland.  The Storms Prediction Center has cited that the *deep level wind shear needed for severe weather will be much weaker to the south compared to northern New England.  Either way, keep an eye to the sky and watch out for a bumpy ride across Western Massachusetts on Wednesday evening.

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*deep level wind shear – wind shear is defined as the change of wind speed and direction with height.  Thunderstorms typically become more organized and persistent as vertical shear increases

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