Afternoon Update: Enhanced risk of severe weather in PA, NJ

Strong to severe thunderstorms remain a distinct possibility this afternoon and evening across much of Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As a low pressure system moves quickly through New York State today, southerly and southeasterly winds will draw in warmer, more moist and unstable air. The incoming atmospheric disturbance will act to touch off thunderstorms, and these storms will form in an environment featuring instability and favorable shear. Accordingly, they may organize to strong and severe levels. The main threat with these storms will be damaging wind gusts, but an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out given the aforementioned atmospheric shear.

The threat for storms is much less as one travels farther east. Marine air near the coast will make New York City the dividing line for strong storms and weak storms — with thunderstorm complexes expected to weaken as they approach New York City and move toward Long Island. Still, thunder/lightning and heavy rain are likely over these areas. Highlights from today are included below:

  • The Storm Prediction Center has placed Western NJ and Eastern PA in an “Enhanced Risk” for severe storms this afternoon. An Enhanced Risk is issued when organized thunderstorms are possible, with the potential to produce locally damaging winds, hail, or isolated tornadoes. The Enhanced Risk is meant to signify the area where more concentrated severe weather may occur relative to its surroundings.
  • The risk for severe weather decreases as you head farther east. More stable air will be in place near the coast, thanks to south/southeasterly winds off the water. Still, some thunderstorms and a period of heavy rain is expected in New York City later tonight.
  • The weather will dramatically improve Friday into the weekend. As this storm system slides off the coast, a high pressure will build in. Temperatures will remain warm, with lots of sun, and very little chance for any precipitation.

*This post will update throughout the afternoon with details and information on thunderstorms.