Strong to severe thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts are possible this evening and tonight, ahead of a strong cold front that is bearing down on the region.
The cold front is being dragged southeast by a low pressure system that is moving through the Great Lakes region today. Behind it, abnormally cool air will settle in, though it will quickly be scoured out by the returning summer heat.
In a Hazardous Weather Outlook, the National Weather Service warns that some strong-to-severe thunderstorms are possible today, with damaging winds as the primary hazard.
The setup: Warm air advection is occurring across East Tennessee this morning, which will push temperatures into the mid to upper 80s this afternoon. As the energy associated with the cold front nears and the atmosphere destabilizes, storm chances will gradually increase through the remainder of the day. Scattered storms are likely by mid-afternoon.
The threat: The greatest coverage of storms will be early this evening, when a line of storms is likely to bring rain to everyone just ahead of the cold front. That’s also where the greatest risk of severe weather exists, though any storm that forms today could pack a punch.
It’s worth noting that the NWS’s Storm Prediction Center only has us under a “marginal risk” for severe weather, with greater severe weather chances relegated to the northeastern Midwest region and New England, closer to the parent storm system.
Tomorrow: Behind the cold front, much cooler temperatures will move in. The forecast for Tuesday is for a high of only 72°, which is unusually cool for early summer. We’ll be back to near 80° by Wednesday with sunny skies, but lower humidity will make the temperature feel pleasant.
The heat and humidity will return by the end of the work week, with another cold front progged to impact our region over the weekend. There could be a chance of flooding rains with this next system, but there’s plenty of time for the forecast to be fine-tuned between now and then.
In a nutshell: Storm chances will increase today ahead of a strong cold front, with scattered storms likely by 4 p.m. at the latest, then becoming more widespread in coverage through the evening hours as the cold front approaches. Some damaging wind gusts are possible with the storms. Much cooler weather will follow the cold front, with high temps struggling to get out of the 60s on Tuesday and flirting with the 40s Tuesday night. Heat and humidity will gradually return through the rest of the week before the next cold front approaches the region over the weekend.