Friday, December 31, 2010

Severe possible along and south of I-72 today

Here's a snippet from my forecast for NIU this morning dealing with the severe weather chances:

A thin line of showers and thunderstorms is possible along the cold
front as it approaches the area early tonight, which should bring an
end to the precipitation. Minimal instability levels will limit the intensity
of any storms that enter the area, though some heavy downpours are
possible, and this coupled with rapid melting of a decent snow pack
will lead to flooding in some areas. Further south in central and
southern Illinois, somewhat higher instability will lead to a higher
chance at a couple severe weather reports. The best threat
appears to be damaging winds, but if enough instability is
present a tornado or two is possible over the southern half
of the state. Instability is much lower than that of winter severe weather
outbreaks of recent years (January 7th 2008 and December 27 2008
to name a couple) so while the potential exists, I'm not expecting
anything too substantial. Wind shear is very strong in the
southern half of the state however, so any pockets of increasing
instability will need to be watched. Tornadoes have already been
reported with the supercell thunderstorms located in southern
Missouri, that at their current track and speed would be entering
Illinois around the St. Louis area around noon. Instability
will be decreasing through the day with eastward extend, so
an atypical weakening trend though the afternoon hours is
certainly possible. Again, this does not pertain to the immediate
DeKalb area, but being a major holiday during a time when many
are not expecting severe weather it's worth mentioning. I would say
areas south of Interstate 72 in central and southern Illinois should
remain alert for changing weather conditions and the possibility
that the storms in Missouri do maintain their current strength, while
areas north of Interstate 72 can expect to experience only garden
variety, but still perhaps heavy rain producing thunderstorms.

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