The storm prediction center has added Central New York to an enhanced risk for severe weather on Thursday. The greatest risk in our local area is in and south of the Mohawk Valley, especially Madison, Chenango, and Otsego Counties. The most likely time for severe weather looks to be in the afternoon. The risk for severe weather includes damaging winds, large hail, locally heavy rain, and the possibility of a tornado.
The setup is unusual for summer. A strong warm front is separating mid summer heat in the midwest from the early taste of fall weather in the northeast. As this front lifts north into Central New York, it brings widespread showers and thunderstorms. In addition, strong jet stream energy, or winds higher in the atmosphere, is expected to cause wind shear, or changing winds with height in the atmosphere. This favors rotating storms, which can sometimes produce tornadoes.
If you plan on being outside tomorrow, have a plan to get to a safe place when the weather turns. Most smart phones will alert you to a tornado or flash flood warning, but not all of them will give you severe thunderstorm warnings. The WKTV weather app is free to download and will give you custom alerts on the go. Also, a weather radio is an easy way of staying ontop of the latest warnings from the National Weather Service.