Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.
By: Shaun Tanner , 5:42 PM GMT on February 24, 2012
Whenever I want to get a quick snapshot of what is going on in the weather, I take a look at Weather Underground's severe map.
Figure 1. Severe Weather Map.
This map shows you all of the watches and warnings currently issued for the United States. Without going into detail about what watches and warnings actually are, this map basically shows you where the interesting weather is. One look at the map today shows the interesting weather, and the most colorful warnings, in the East. This active weather is due to a strong, but not overly powerful, storm that is currently centered between Michigan and Pennsylvania.
You can see that in the following image, which is a surface map that shows the storm and associated cold front that stretches through the Southeast. That cold front may bring the most dangerous weather associated with the storm in the form of strong thunderstorms and possible tornadoes. Tornado Watches are set up from the Florida panhandle through western Virginia. This means that tornadoes are possible in this area, not that tornadoes are currently on the ground. Tornado Warnings are issued when there is confirmation of a tornado on the ground, or a tornado is imminent.
The blues in the severe map mean Wind Advisories has been posted for that area. The storm that is affecting the East will have the capability of producing wind gusts to 50 mph. Winds this strong could produce damage to trees and houses throughout the day. In fact, many areas of Ohio have already experienced wind gusts over 50 mph, like in Dayton where a 55 mph gust was observed.
And, of course, because it is still a Winter storm, expect a decent shot of snow from this storm. Weather Underground's powder predictor is calling for upwards of 10 inches of snow in Maine and up to 8 inches as far west as southern Michigan. Some of the higher elevations, such as the Adirondacks may receive up to a foot of new snow from this storm.
So, the bottom line is Winter is not over. Often times as we approach Spring, we see these types of storms that are capable of producing not only Winter conditions and heavy snow, but also severe weather such as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. So, be aware if you are in the East today.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.