February 29th Severe Weather

By: Buckey2745 , 7:55 PM GMT on February 29, 2012

I originally didn't plan on writing about today's severe weather threat because of the marginal instability and overall weak setup. But the more I look at it, and the longer the day plays out, we should have a slight chance for a tornado.

Speaking of that... Tornado Watch. That's right, our first of the season. With temperatures right around 70 this afternoon, some slight breaks in the clouds in the warm sector out ahead of the cold front, some slight instability is possible.

This watch lasts until 9pm and covers much of Ohio, West Virginia and Northern Kentucky:

First Tornado Watch of the season

Later this afternoon with the approach of the cold front we should see yet another line of convection form out ahead of it, bringing us our chance for severe weather. At first the storms could be individual supercells before eventually forming in to a squall line. Where we may be in the target area depends on where the convection begins. If the supercells spawn in western Indiana, a squall line with strong winds will be our threat. If they form closer to home, that may be where the tornado threat comes in.

While the possibility does exist for tornadoes, I still feel like the tornado risk should stay further south. The reason being we're not in a favorable area for spin in the atmosphere. Winds aloft will be strong, in the 55-60kts range, but unidirectional. But because of those strong winds, and slight change in direction could allow a meso to spin.

What we've seen the past couple days with this very strong system is bowing line segments that produce breaks in the line that can allow tornadoes to spin up. If we're going to get tornadoes today, that's probably where we'll see it.

While it is rare to see a Tornado Watch this early in the season, it's not that rare to see such a dynamic and strong system like we're seeing today. Blizzard conditions in Minnesota and tornadoes in the Ohio Valley. This is the unofficial start to Spring, folks.

I'll update as the evening goes on and storms spawn.

UPDATE: 9:55pm
Here's a rule of thumb for anyone that wants to do their own forecasting love figuring out what'll happen next with the weather:

Always go with your insticts.

I didn't today and I really shouldn't have. Not one storm developed near the front. Moisture and forcing was pushed well ahead by the strong low level jet.

Now it's time to look ahead to Friday, when yet another severe weather outbreak is forecasted. I'll write more about that next time.

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 0
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 0
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 0
Flood Watches: 1
Flood Warnings: 1
Heat Advisories: 0
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About Buckey2745

I'm a 31 year old weather enthusiast from Central Ohio. Certified SKYWARN storm spotter.

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