It isn't unusual to have severe thunderstorms in late February, although they're certainly an anomoly. Today the right combination of ingredients will come together to warm air, cold air, and moisture to produce some thunderstorms. Some of them may even be severe.
In a way similar to making cookies, the proper ingredients in just the right amount are necessary to make very powerful thunderstorms. Currently in place is a warm, moist air mass that will send our afternoon highs into the mid to upper 70s. This warm air contains a lot of moisture. Moisture is important from the standpoint that it contains energy, evergy that will be released when it is lifted high into the sky and cooled. Doing the lifting today will be a cold front that continues its march across the Ohio Valley.
The time to watch for severe weather in central Virginia will be midday into early afternoon, maybe even into evening drive-time. My biggest concerns will be for both very gusty winds (up to 50 miles per hour or higher) and very heavy rain. A large amount of rain in a short period of time may lead to flash flooding of creeks, streams, and poor drainiage areas. While not the predominant concerns, small hail and isolated tornaodes cannot be completely ruled out, either.
Feel free to watch the action unfold on our Interactive Radar; that can be found by clicking here. The Weather Team and I will post updates on any watches, warnings, damage reports, and other critical information on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Please feel free to pass along anything weather-related, including pictures. They may even appear on air! Lastly, if you happen to have a NOAA Weather Radio, now might be a good time to check the batteries and set it on "Alert" mode.
More to follow through the day. Stay safe!
3, 2, 1, fade out...
Chief Meteorologist Travis Koshko
(This blog entry typed whlie listening to "Let My Baby Ride" by R.L. Burnside.)