JAMESTOWN-The NOAA Storm Prediction Center has placed all of Western and Central New York under a less-than-average “Marginal” risk for severe thunderstorms for Sunday afternoon. There is also a Wind Advisory in place for much of Western New York, effective Sunday afternoon through Sunday night.
The setup: A deep area of Low pressure located over the Midwestern US, will move across our region throughout the day on Sunday, bringing with it a chance for showers and thunderstorms, along with a gusty Southwest breeze. Storms have the potential to tap into those strong winds, elevating thunderstorm convection to strong or severe levels. Because of this, the Storm Prediction Center has outlined our entire region under a “Marginal” Risk of seeing a few strong to severe thunderstorms Sunday afternoon in isolated nature, with the primary threat being from damaging wind gusts.
Please keep in mind that the “Marginal” risk is the lowest-end severe threat as defined by the SPC. However, that does not mean the threat of seeing a severe storm or two is zero; yes the threat is relatively small, but the potential does exist.
In addition to this, the National Weather Service in Buffalo has posted a Wind Advisory for Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Genesee, and Wyoming Counties, which will be going into effect at 2:00 PM Sunday afternoon, and running through 11:00 PM Sunday night for the potential for wind gusts up to 55 MPH. Winds of this magnitude can cause minor property damage, along with a few isolated power outages from falling tree branches.
Also, please keep in mind that a thunderstorm is classified as “severe” if it is producing wind gusts of 58 MPH or higher, or hail one inch in diameter or larger, which is about the size of a Quarter. Lightning and rainfall do NOT make a thunderstorm severe, by definition.
Stay on top of the weather Sunday afternoon, and make sure you have a good way of getting warnings, should the Weather Service issue them. I personally recommend a good smartphone app that triggers warnings. Of course, the First Defense Weather team will be in the weather center keeping you updated on the web and via social media.