First Defense: Strong To Severe Thunderstorms Possible Sunday

JAMESTOWN – Western New York is gearing up for another round of showers and thunderstorms that will come our way on Sunday and some of them could pack a punch.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center has outlined all of Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania under a standard “Slight Risk” (2/5) for severe thunderstorms Sunday afternoon and Sunday night.

The setup: A Warm front with a deep upper Low that is currently near Cleveland will be moving its way through the region overnight tonight and through the early part of the day on Sunday.

Temperatures will rapidly rise early on Sunday with model guidance suggesting some spots around the Southern Tier will already be in the lower 80’s by Noon hour Sunday.

That Warm front will also have a lot of tropical-like humidity with it, spiking Dew Point levels into the lower to mid 60’s. There will be a noticeable “stick” in the air throughout the day in Sunday as “feels like” temperatures will likely range between the lower to mid 80’s.

The majority of the day on Sunday will be mainly rain-free with partly to mostly sunny skies. With the heating of the day and the amount of moisture to work with, we will quickly destabilize the atmosphere, providing a good environment for thunderstorms to develop.

Below is the output of a rather neat product on our exclusive high resolution computer model called “Storm Potential”. This product analyzes forecast instability values and plots where the greatest chance for thunderstorm development will be. The darker colors indicate the higher instability values, thus the higher the thunderstorm potential.

Already by 12 p.m. Sunday, the model is suggesting enough atmospheric instability to allow thunderstorms to pop through the afternoon.

As showers and storms pop up throughout the afternoon, any one of them are capable of intensifying to strong or severe limits. The main timing window for this activity will be between 1 and 6 p.m.

Below is the same high resolution modeling suggesting several pop up storms across the Southern Tier just after 2 p.m.

As the actual Low pressure area tracks to the northwest of the region, that will allow a Cold front to sweep through Sunday night and trigger off another round of showers and thunderstorms with the timing window of this round between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Monday morning.

These storms are being depicted as more of a cluster-type event, unlike the relatively scattered nature of the afternoon popups.

While this cluster of storms also has the potential to become severe, some parts of the atmosphere across the Southern Tier will not be as unstable, thanks to the afternoon round helping to stabilize the air.

However, if we can get more sunshine to break out after the afternoon round is done before nightfall, that easily could work the air over again and provide just enough fuel to back these storms.

Damaging winds will be the primary severe threat from both rounds of storms but a touch of large hail cannot be ruled out. There could also be some torrential downpours at times as well.

Stay weather aware and have a plan for you and your family should you need to take shelter. Be sure to have a way of getting weather warnings. A good way to receive warnings is via a NOAA Weather Radio. These receivers can be picked up quite easy and normally cost around $25.

Beyond the weather radio, have a good smartphone app that pushes vital info. We recommend:

While not expected, you should know where you are going if a Tornado Warning is issued for your area. A basement or storm cellar works best. However, if you don’t have one, the basics are:

  • Small interior room (a hall closet, bathroom etc)
  • Lowest floor of the house
  • Stay away from windows
  • No cars
  • No mobile homes – If you live in a mobile home, you must exit and find more substantial shelter. You should already have worked out a plan before hand so you know where you’re going when Watches are issued.

Within your safe place, everyone should have a readiness kit of certain items. These include:

  • Helmets to protect your head from flying debris
  • Hard-sole shoes for walking through a possible debris path
  • A whistle or an air horn in case you become injured and you cannot vocalize your need for help
  • Batteries/Portable radios
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged
  • Have ID with you

WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.

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