When you get highs well into the 60's in February, eventually the atmosphere is going to respond to bring things back closer to normal. For us, the response is coming in the form of a cold front that will plow into Kentucky tomorrow bringing locally heavy rain and thunderstorms as well as the first significant risk of severe weather since the first of the year. As expected, the Storm Prediction Center as upped our risk of seeing severe storms to the Slight level. It simply means that there's a slight chance of seeing some form of severe weather within 25 miles of any given spot.
However, we can go more in-depth into the numbers and break it down more for you. There is going to be a small risk of tornadoes in the highly sheared environment tomorrow. For most of our area it comes in as a 2% chance, which please remember is still a very small chance, of a tornado within 25 miles of a given spot. However, west of US 127 and south of the Bluegrass Parkway that rises to a 5% chance of a tornado nearby. All these numbers tell you is stay Weather Aware late tomorrow afternoon and evening. The threat is higher to our south in Tennessee where it rises to a 10% risk, plus the risk of a significant (EF2 or higher) tornado. That's why in the overall threat assessment they're in the Enhanced Risk area.
The other piece of data we can pull is the threat for Damaging Winds. This is our greatest threat for Thursday. The threshold used is 57 mph or greater, but of course you can see damage at lesser wind speeds. For comparison, the top speeds we've seen today have been around 45 mph. We have a 15% chance of a damaging wind gust within 25 miles of any given point. It's a 1 in 3 shot in Tennessee.
We'll continue to monitor this first strong spring low pressure, and if the track slides more to the north, the greater enhancement of the severe weather risk could shift with it. This is why we say to stay Weather Aware and be prepared with updated forecasts and by keeping an information source, like the StormTracker Weather app, handy.
Regardless of the severe weather threat, we'll continue to see strong ambient winds that can still gust to 45 mph without any aid from thunderstorms. A Wind Advisory will remain through the day tomorrow.
For most, this will still just be a line of rain and thunderstorms. Our job will be to talk about this AND to let you know the areas that are under the greatest risk of potentially dangerous weather as it develops.