High Wind Warning issued, strong wind gusts likely Sunday

A powerful arctic front, associated with a strong mid and upper level atmospheric disturbance, will approach the area late Saturday Night into Sunday morning. Along with a rapid drop in temperature will come the possibility of showers and thunderstorms, followed by rapidly increasing northwesterly winds. As a strong low pressure area develops over New England, snow is possible for a period of time in our area on Sunday morning (generally non-accumulating), especially over Long Island and Connecticut.

The main story, however, will be the powerful wind gusts which will accompany both the arctic frontal passage on Sunday morning, and the developing storm system on Sunday afternoon. These wind gusts, tapping into very strong atmospheric dynamics and a powerful jet stream aloft, may approach and exceed 60 miles per hour at times both during the morning and afternoon hours on Sunday. This will be especially true nearer to the coast.

HRRR model showing thunderstorms associated wtih the frontal boundary moving through the area late Saturday Night/Early Sunday AM (Weatherbell).

HRRR model showing thunderstorms associated with the frontal boundary moving through the area late Saturday Night/Early Sunday AM (Weatherbell).

The initial burst of wind is likely to come early on Sunday morning, as the aforementioned arctic front approaches the region. A powerful disturbance, currently analyzed in Wisconsin, will surge southeastward toward the Northeast states later on Saturday evening. As it does so, a strongly forced (strong atmospheric lift) band of showers and thunderstorms will approach the area from west to east. These storms will be associated with the frontal boundary, with a strong temperature gradient directly along and behind it.

Just a few hundred feet above our heads, as these showers and storms move through, will be very strong winds. Forecast models are in good agreement that these winds may approach and exceed 60 knots in many places. Concern exists that with a lack of any atmospheric/low level inversion to prevent these winds from mixing to the surface, the frontal passage and northwest winds directly behind it may mix down to the surface in the form of strong wind gusts approaching 60 miles per hour.

GFS model showing strong winds aloft (5000 feet above the surface) that may mix down in the form of strong wind gusts.

GFS model showing strong winds aloft (5000 feet above the surface) that may mix down in the form of strong wind gusts.

Atmospheric conditions don’t improve any further as Sunday draws on. Strong northwest winds will continue as a rapidly deepening low pressure area forms over New England. Our area will be juxtaposed between a tightening pressure gradient and very strong winds aloft — suggesting the potential for wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour as the storm system strengthens and high pressure builds in behind it.

In addition to the wind, the strengthening storm system may provide a period of snow to the area on Sunday morning. Forecast models agree that most snow should be non-accumulating, but flakes may certainly be flying during the morning hours on Sunday. Short term and high resolution models continue to suggest this as we get closer to the event.

Preparedness information and tips:

Strong/damaging wind events in our area are not all that common. While not everyone will experience damage or prolific wind gusts, there are a few suggested safety tips to ensure that things go smoothly on Sunday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for our entire area through 2pm on Sunday.

  • Tie down any loose objects and secure any that need to stay outdoors. I.e: Chairs, decorations, etc.
  • Trim any branches that you know are loose or weak. These may easily break or become projectiles in strong winds.
  • Do not operate any equipment that is subject to adverse effects from the wind on Sunday. I.e: Construction equipment.
  • Have a backup plan for power outages that may occur as a result of strong wind gusts.

Stay tuned for updates over the next few hours and information through Sunday. For detailed technical discussions, videos, and live blogs, subscribe to our Premium Membership.