We will be watching the weather closely today as showers and thunderstorms develop and move across the Tri-County area on the southern flank of Tropical Depression Claudette. Heavy rain, damaging wind gusts, and even a tornado or two are all on the table. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect until 8am Monday, and it is conceivable that a tornado watch will be needed later today.
We in #chswx continue to monitor the risk for strong to severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening as a strong cold front driven by a highly amplified upper-air pattern makes its way to the coast.
Unfortunately, we’ll be needing to spend this Easter evening getting ready for a round of strong storms tomorrow morning. The severe weather threat for Monday is coming into focus, and there’s not been much change to the previous thinking: A line of strong to severe thunderstorms will push through the area during the morning hours. These thunderstorms will be moving into an atmosphere that is favorable for strong, damaging wind gusts (70 MPH possible, according to the National Weather Service), a few tornadoes (one or two of which could be fairly potent), and large hail.
What’s clear about Monday is that, at some point, there will be a squall line with strong thunderstorms coming through the area. These storms will be capable of producing wind damage and could spawn a tornado or two along the leading edge of the line.
The degree to which this threat will materialize is going to be highly dependent on timing, and that’s where it gets tricky — but I’ll do my best to demystify it.
A dry cold front will swing through tonight, bringing temperatures down well below normal for mid-April for Friday and Saturday, dipping into the low 40s by Saturday morning. High pressure will bring pleasant weather into the area to kick off Easter weekend, but that high pressure system will slide offshore Saturday evening, giving way to a potent storm system for Sunday and Monday.
We in the Charleston weather community continue to watch Thursday evening and overnight carefully for the potential for strong to severe thunderstorms with damaging straight-line winds and perhaps a tornado or two as a cold front pushes eastward.
We in #chswx continue to carefully watch a line of thunderstorms to our west as it presses toward the coast tonight. Satellite and radar reflectivity increasingly show the line weakening as it approaches the area, which is expected as the parent storm system lifts into the Northeast, taking the best dynamics with it. However, there is some elevated instability in place, and with strong winds a couple thousand feet off the deck, we could still see some showers produce some gusty winds if they hold up to the coast. Rumbles of thunder can’t be ruled out either, especially around I-95. While the severe weather threat is marginal, it is non-zero, so a couple downed trees cannot be totally ruled out.
Temperatures will remain rather warm tonight, only bottoming out in the mid-60s Sunday morning as strong southwesterly winds aloft continue to pump in warm air from the Gulf of Mexico.
We will need to keep an eye on the weather this weekend as a couple rounds of strong to severe storms will be possible, particularly Sunday, as the upper-level ridge which has been squelching a lot of thunderstorm activity slides offshore.
Charleston is under the gun for potentially strong to severe thunderstorms today as a strong cold front, aided by vigorous winds aloft, approaches the area.
Expect a squall line with damaging wind gusts, isolated embedded tornadoes, and hail to come through the area later this afternoon into early evening. Timing for this event will be a little later in the afternoon; suspect anytime after 2PM will be tricky if thunderstorms do not erupt ahead of the line. This will almost certainly have impacts on the evening commute, particularly for those of you trying to get a head start on Easter travel.
Friday is an important day to watch in the weather department as there is good model agreement that a storm system will be affecting the area during the day, driving a squall line into the area by afternoon. Gusty winds, hail, coastal flooding, heavy rain, and perhaps even a tornado will be possible. Let’s take a look at some of the issues we may encounter.