Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Massive storm, and we're on the edge

Weather geeks are really in a frenzy about the deep storm system that is crossing the northern part of the United States today and Wednesday.

Although the Charlotte region will be 600 to 700 miles south of the storm's center, we'll get a bit of the action from this massive system that will make news headlines for the next day or two.

First of all, the worst of the storm will be felt in the Great Lakes -- Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. And the storm will be multi-faceted, with tornadoes on the southeast side, some snow on the western (cold) side, and strong winds on all sides.

The barometric pressure in this system is really low, if you can believe some of the numbers we're seeing today from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

I've seen a number of barometric pressure readings today in the lower 28's. That's the equivalent of about 955 millibars -- similar to a Category 2 hurricane.

Few of the hurricanes we've seen this year have had lower barometric pressures than the storm system crossing the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

As you might imagine, winds are whipping around this storm, because it's tightly wound.

What will it mean in the Charlotte region?

Today will be rather calm, actually. The clouds and fog this morning probably will break for some partial sunshine this afternoon, and temperatures will climb into the lower 80s. Dewpoint temperatures are in the 60s, as the southerly flow around the southeast side of the deep storm system drags warm air northward.

There'll be 70-degree readings up to the Canadian border today, east of the storm.

But severe weather will break out today, and the National Weather Service expects squall lines of thunderstorms to reach the mountains by tonight. Some of those storms probably will move into the Charlotte area by Wednesday morning.

The best chance for severe weather in our area probably will be Wednesday morning. Some showers will remain after a cold front pushes across the area sometime Wednesday, but look for partial clearing Thursday.

Next will come the cold air, dragged southward by the counter-clockwise flow around the back side of the storm system. Temperatures on Saturday morning probably will reach the middle 30s in some places around Charlotte, and that should mean the first frost of the season in parts of the Piedmont.

UP NORTH: The Storm Prediction Center has taken the unusual step of putting parts of Indiana and Ohio in the "high risk" category for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes today.

Sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph, with gusts to 70 mph, are expected today across the Great Lakes. Thousands of power outages already are being reported in Kentucky and Illinois, and you can look for those to spread eastward and northward during today and tonight.

One other thing to consider ... if you're planning to fly today to Chicago, Minneapolis or Detroit, plan on delays. Strong winds and severe storms could play havoc with aviation schedules up there.


marcusclarkus said...

Great story and insight. This system seems to be a fluke. Glad I was in Chicago last week, although being a non-trained weather geek, it's always fun to be part of a good storm now and then.

Bob! said...

That storm should be named "Miss Jackson". 'Cuz its NASTY!

Anonymous said...

Check out a national radar. Really impressive storm...

Anonymous said...


Good commentary from my favorite climate site.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't look like much of a fluke now there does it marcus.