The first week of summer started very stormy, as severe weather rolled across a large section of the country. More storms today could briefly slow down drivers and freight flows at times, with hail, heavy rainfall and gusty winds getting in the way.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC), part of the National Weather Service (NWS), received 224 reports of damaging winds and 40 reports of large hail in more than a dozen states Monday. Trees and power lines were blown down from the Plains to the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast. The highest concentration of wind damage occurred from eastern North Carolina to Virginia and Maryland, as well as northern Texas.
A trough of low pressure – an elongated area of relatively low atmospheric pressure – sparked the Northeast storms. Meanwhile, a slow-moving cold front helped produce the storms across the Plains and Midwest, with bubbling heat and humidity leading to the storms in the Southeast.
While the atmosphere may not be as energized today as it was yesterday, thunderstorms will fire up again in many of the same areas.
In all probability, fewer of those storms Tuesday will become severe, mostly confined to portions of the Rockies, Gulf Coast states and the Northeast. The SPC has put the severe risk levels as “marginal” to “slight,” meaning they will be isolated to scattered, and tornadoes are unlikely. Drivers will mostly run into periods of blinding rainfall, which could cause flash flooding, as well as spots of large hail and sudden wind gusts.
The National Weather Service (NWS) classifies a thunderstorm as severe if it produces any of the following based on radar or eyewitness reports:
• Winds of at least 58 mph (50 knots).
• Hail at least 1 inch in diameter.
• A tornado.
The chance for severe storms on Wednesday decreases even more, but even strong storms that stay below severe limits can be dangerous, producing winds of 40 to 50 mph that may cause a driver who is deadheading to sway or roll over.
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