A Stormy Night Ahead

(WTVQ-TV, LLC)
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Updated: 5/31/2012 10:17 am
Thursday, May 31, 2012: Quiet Month Ends With Stormy Night

Good Thursday morning, everybody.

We've had an unusually quiet April and May, in general, when it comes to severe weather.  The past 8 weeks have featured far more tranquil days than stormy.  Despite slightly drier-than-average weather, flowers are in bloom and things are looking great across the Bluegrass. 

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Courtesy: Renea Holman, Harrodsburg

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However, an aggressive cold front is approaching, and it will be here tonight.  The front will be so strong that tomorrow, we'll find ourselves 25° cooler than where we stood at the beginning of the week.  After a Memorial Day weekend in the lower 90s, we'll only peak near 67° on June 1st on the other side of this advancing cold front.  The transition will not come quietly.

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While a few isolated thunderstorms will be possible before sunset, the most widespread round of strong to severe thunderstorms will likely occur after 8 PM, and probably before 2 AM.  A more limited (but still legitimate) severe threat may linger after 2 AM, especially in eastern Kentucky, as storms wane in intensity.

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Instability will be sufficient to produce strong thunderstorms as far north as the Ohio River.  Here is the latest GFS forecast for Lifted Index at 8 PM.  The Lifted Index is a simplified way of looking at fuel for storm development.

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Courtesy: Penn State Univ. Dept. of Meteorology

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Along the northern egdge of the unstable air, the center of low pressure will track.  The strongest wind shear will be near the Ohio River.  Therefore, beyond the typical threat of strong straight-line winds and large hail, there is the possibility of a few isolated tornadoes in the Ohio Valley this evening and tonight, including in the Bluegrass Region.

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Beyond the severe potential, the lawns should get a pretty good drink out of this system.  Rainfall totals will average between 0.25" and 0.75" in most areas, with potential for more with the heaviest storms.  Here is the latest GFS forecast for rainfall through the next 36 hours or so.

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Courtesy: Penn State Univ. Dept. of Meteorology

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I'll leave you with a map that is interesting to look at, but doesn't have a whole lot of direct relevance to tonight's situation.  It's a map of tornado tracks from 1950 through 2006. 

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Courtesy: www.buzzfeed.com

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Be safe, and stay alert!  Keep it on ABC 36 for updates throughout the day and evening / tonight.  The best thing you can do to protect your family is have a NOAA Weather Radio on this evening and tonight.

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Geoff

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