Monday, June 22, 2015

Today's Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Risk

If you live in the Midwest, or are flying through Chicago, Milwaukee or Detroit, it is a good idea to keep up on the weather for the rest of the day and tonight.

Let's break it down, using forecasts from the NWS Storm Prediction Center.

Tornado Threat

Five percent (brown) is the significant threshold. Note that a broad band from Ottawa to Chicago to Detroit has double that risk. Note: 10% means there is a ten percent change of a tornado within 25 mi. of any give point in the risk area.

Damaging Wind Threat

Here, 15% (yellow) is the significant threshold. In addition to the 30% area, the hatching means
means that wind gusts of 75 mph or stronger are possible. That means it is a good idea to bring items that might be blown about (i.e., lawn furniture) indoors.

Large Hail Threat

There is a significant risk (yellow or red) of large (≥1") all the way from Kansas City to Syracuse.
In this region, you'll want to put your car in the garage.

Air Travel

O'Hare has average 3 hour delays that will only get worse. Delays are also reported from Midway. The best idea would be to see if your airline will re-route you around the storms (e.g., if you are traveling from Salt Lake City to Richmond via Chicago on United, see if they will route you through Houston).

Here is the radar at 11:55am. It is a mess! Airline conditions in the region will only get worse today.

Given the recent wet conditions, high winds will be able to topple trees more readily than in average conditions. This may resort in power failures given the forecast of very high winds. If you have a generator, make sure it has adequate fuel. If you don't, make sure your flashlights, cell phone and computer are fully charged before the storms approach. Of course, you'll want to unplug sensitive electrical items as the storms approach due to the possibility of power surge damage.

Good luck.

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