Updated: August 31, 2020 03:33 PM
Created: August 31, 2020 03:04 PM
Ahead of the severe weather on Saturday, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued their convective outlook forecast. This forecast issued on Friday, August 28th placed our viewing area under a marginal risk for severe weather and a 2% chance of a tornado forming. On Saturday morning an updated forecast was issued by the SPC for the time period of 6AM Saturday to 6AM Sunday. In the second forecast provided by the SPC, they upgraded our viewing area to a slight risk and brought the tornado percentage up to 5% for a part of our viewing area. If you are curious about the different categories within these forecasts, check out this article here!
On Saturday morning, ahead of a warm front that was starting to push into the region from the southwest, there were widespread rain showers. None of these rain showers were severe at any point in the morning. By afternoon (about 1PM EST) the warm front had advanced through the region, exiting to our northeast. Behind this warm front was a moist air-mass which increased the humidity throughout the region. The skies started to clear which made the surface temperatures rise.
The main ingredients for thunderstorm development are:
The warmer temperatures and humid conditions created a moist and unstable atmosphere. The only thing needed for thunderstorms to form was a lifting mechanism. Lifting mechanisms help air rise in the atmosphere and there are four different ways that it could happen. There are orographic lifting, convective lifting, convergence and frontal lifting.
Wrapping this back to Saturday’s severe weather event, the lifting mechanism that helped create the thunderstorms was a frontal lift. Since cold air is denser than warm air, the warm air is rapidly pushed up into the atmosphere, making the leading edge of the cold front have a steep slope. Thunderstorms are more likely to form with cold front compared to warm fronts. A cold front started to push into the region from the west by early afternoon, which gave the atmosphere all the ingredients to form a thunderstorm. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albany, NY was keeping a close eye on these conditions. At 1:30PM EST there were showers and a few thunderstorms popping up on the radar. At about 2:40 PM EST the NWS issued a severe thunderstorm warning for a cell in Fulton, Herkimer and Hamilton counties. Shortly thereafter, the NWS issued a severe thunderstorm watch.
The SPC creates verification maps to highlight where they forecasted a chance for severe weather and where severe weather was reported. This was the verification map from the SPC of Saturday’s severe weather event.
Copyright 2020 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company