Tall, slow moving storms can cause local flooding, strong downdraft winds this week in small areas


Storm that produced severe t-storm warning and flood warning near Williamson, WV

WILLIAMSON, WV (WOWK) – An extremely tall and slow moving thunderstorm dropped more than two inches of rain over parts of Mingo and Pike counties in West Virginia and Kentucky respectively in less than 90 minutes Monday evening prompting storm and flood warnings. More of those kinds of storms are in store for the region this week.

Rainfall estimates for the Williamson area for Monday evening which caused a flood advisory in Pike County, KY

With very little wind in the upper levels of the atmpshpere to push storms in any particular direction, storms that do form in the very hot and humid air tend to be isolated and confined to areas near the updraft. These are exactly the kind of storms that the StormTracker 13 meteorologists are calling for this week.

3D view of a storm formed on an updraft that collapsed upon itself in Kanawha County Monday evening

A great example of watching storms form based on the buoyant, hot and humid air is seen in the above video. A cell starts to grow but without any wind to push it in any particular direction, the cell grows and collapses upon itself. In this case, the slightly cooler air that rushed out of the bottom of the storm (the outflow) then showed up as a unique circular pattern on the radar. This signature can be caused by dust or other particulate matter in the air that moves thanks to the outflow winds. You can see other outflows showing up as the diagonal lines that are intersecting the circle. Sometimes storms form at the intersection of two outflows in these conditions.

Circular outflow boundary shown on VIPIR Real Time Radar

Be ready for more of the same over the next few days with very similar conditions between the heat, humidity and lazy upper level winds. This means small areas could have storm warnings. It’s a great time to have the StormTracker 13 app. You can download it free right here any time. Enable location services and notifications for the app and in the SafTNet alert section, enable all alerts. You’ll be ahead of the storm!

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