7 September 2012

Severe Storms Threaten College Football Saturday In The Northeast (updated)

Posted by Dan Satterfield

There is a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms, with a few tornadoes, over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states beginning Saturday afternoon. A moderate risk is a big deal anytime, but this event will happen on a busy Saturday with hundreds of thousands of people in college football stadiums across the region. The timing could not be worse either.

As it looks now, the line of severe storms will be moving into the region around 2 PM and moving across major population centers like Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia between 4 PM and 8 PM. This moderate risk covers New York city and much of Long Island ,as well as State College PA and all of Connecticut. A significant threat also will cover the Delmarva Peninsula where thousands of beach goers will be enjoying beaches and Chesapeake Bay. Besides tornadoes there is a threat of damaging winds as well, along with some torrential rains and vivid lightning.

Whether or not you are going to the games, be weather aware Saturday, especially if you’re in this region. You should also check to make sure your NOAA weather radio is plugged in, and  that the batteries are new, if your radio uses them. If by chance you do not have a NOAA radio, then this would be a really good time to invest in one.

The image below is the high resolution 4 km grid spaced WRF model for 18 GMT (2 PM EDT) Saturday afternoon. The storms will be moving northeast at 45-50 mph and the overall line will be moving eastward at around 30-40 mph.

There is a possibility that the moderate risk area may be expanded later tonight, so catch your local weather-cast tomorrow morning. Strong storms in early fall are not that rare in the Northeast U.S., but tornadic weather is. The wind shear in the atmosphere will be unusually strong however and this is the reason for the threat of tornadoes on Saturday.

Update Saturday 8 Sep.:

Joey Mure captured this pic of a tornado in Queens New York. The rare Big Apple tornado caused significant structural damage to several homes.