Storms are weakening and will be confined to east of I-95 the next hour or so. They will still produce some gusty winds, small hail & heavy downpours. Storm threat will end east of I-95 by about 7 pm. Drying out, cooler and staying windy this evening.
5:30 PM UPDATE:
Richmond has been removed from tornado watch. It is currently still active east of I-95, plus Dinwiddie, Brunswick & Greensville counties.
4 PM UPDATE:
Areas well west of I-95 have been trimmed out of the tornado watch.
3 PM UPDATE:
2:30 PM UPDATE:
Storm speed has increased — they are now tracking to the ENE at 50-70 mph.
1:30 PM UPDATE:
Tornado watch extended to include most of the area until 8 pm.
Storms are in western Virginia and have prompted severe thunderstorm warnings for winds in excess of 60 mph. No tornadoes included with the storms as of yet.
Thunderstorms are moving 50-55 mph.
A tornado watch has been issued for SW VA. Counties included: Amherst, Appomatox, Buckingham, Charlotte & Rockbridge counties…and points west
A strong storm system will sweep through the region today, bringing the threat for severe thunderstorms capable of damaging wind gusts in excess of 58 mph and potentially a few tornadoes.
A warm front lifted northward through central Virginia overnight, bringing a surge of moisture and unseasonable warmth into the Commonwealth. This warm, moist environment will set the stage for strong storms and potentially severe weather once we reach peak heating this afternoon at the same time as a strong cold front moves into central Virginia. CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) values look like they will rise to about 1000 (that’s pretty robust for Virginia) this afternoon in central Virginia ahead of the cold front in the warm, humid, unstable air-mass.
The cold front at the surface will serve as a forcing mechanism for storm development in this moist, unseasonably warm, unstable air-mass. Highs this afternoon will climb into the upper 70s to around 80 degrees ahead of the front! The most likely time-frame for thunderstorms in central Virginia will be between 1PM and 6PM. In the Richmond Metro, the worst storms look like they’ll occur between 3PM and 5PM.
Because of the strong wind shear being created by this storm system from the surface and aloft, there will be turning of the storms forming rotating updrafts that can lead to tornadoes, as well as damaging winds. The greatest threat will be in the southeast half of Virginia in the “Moderate Risk” area highlighted on the map. This is a heightened risk for Virginia, and is unusual for us to often be in the cross hairs of such a strong alert for severe weather, especially in Winter. However, severe weather (and tornadoes) can happen any month of the year in Virginia, and have happened before. Click here to learn about tornado safety precautions.
The entire day will be windy, as well, with sustained winds from the southwest to west at 20 to 30 mph, with higher gusts. High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories are in effect until Midnight for the higher terrain of the western Piedmont and the mountains. Ridge-tops could experience gusts up to 60 mph. These strong winds will be the result of a tight pressure gradient, where large pressure changes occur over a short distance and time-frame. This is as a result of the approaching cold front, which will sweep through Virginia this afternoon. However, winds will remain gusty behind the front as pressure rises behind the frontal passage.
Stay with CBS 6, we’ll keep you ahead of the storm.
–Meteorologist Carrie Rose