Potentially record high temperatures and severe storms are all on the menu for some people in the Eastern United States today.

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As we discussed in Wednesday’s blog, a trench dug in the northwestern United States is forcing an amplified peak to the east. This resulted in record or near-record heat levels for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions today.

In an area where the ridge meets the trench, roughly running from the Mexico/U.S. border in southern Texas to the Canada/U.S. border in Maine (about 2000 miles long), major storms are possible as the front moves in East.

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As always, the steam image gives us the best visualization of our current situation. We can clearly see the dip trough along with the convection currents shooting forward. As this pushes eastward later in the day with air warmed and moistened by weak southwesterly currents under the ridge, severe weather is possible.

For most, damaging winds and/or some larger hail will be the main threats these storms have to offer. However, one or two isolated cyclones can also occur where lift, shear, instability, and surface convergence better meet.

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These components are forecast to be maximized along the Ohio Valley and the Ozarks before the cold front and then into western Maine along the Canadian border.

Elsewhere in the Eastern US, pop-up showers are expected this afternoon as daytime heating reaches its peak in the Southeast.

These will be thunderstorms – the kind that come on quickly and the rain that goes away quickly. However, if there is a possibility of short-term strengthening, damaging winds in the form of flare-ups are possible – particularly during landfall.

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They will be distributed widely and randomly, controlled by the best heating and humidity systems. Convergence along a boundary such as a sea breeze will also help focus on where these storms form. Orographic lift also helps here because warm, moist air is forced over the Appalachians and is given an impetus to strengthen into a hurricane.

Not everyone will see a storm today. If you’ve lived in the southeast long enough, you know the pop-ups are truly random. They soaked a part of town but 2 or 3 miles away from its bones. Since it’s the weekend and everyone is definitely outside enjoying the warmth, keep an eye on the weather and go indoors if you see something coming your way. Remember that if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Don’t take the risk!

Enjoy your weekend – keep an eye on the weather, stay cool and drink plenty of water if you go out today!

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