Pull out the umbrellas and rain jackets because Mother Nature has a monster storm system brewing just in time to spook you on Halloween with a risk for severe weather.
Clouds were on the increase this afternoon across much of the Ohio Valley. A warm front extends across the Ohio River as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday. South of that front some sunshine is peaking through the clouds and southwest winds are picking up warm, moist air. Even north of the main warm front, southeast winds have been bringing a slight increase to the temperature and humidity this afternoon to central Ohio.
If you have plans outside this evening, expect mainly dry weather. Temperatures will fall very slowly through the 60s so it will feel quite comfortable. The warm front will move north through the region between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. tonight. A few showers may accompany this but the bulk of the rain will remain west and northwest of Columbus.
Central Ohio will be in a dry slot on Thursday morning. A tightening surface pressure gradient will cause winds to be on the increase throughout the day tomorrow. An extremely strong low level jet (around 2,500 to 4,000 feet) will pick up speed and increase to between 50 and 80 mph! Some of this turbulent energy could mix down to the surface by the afternoon and evening leading to wind gusts as high as 40 mph.
In addition, a large swath of rain will begin to push in after 1 p.m. from the southwest and will linger through much of the afternoon and early evening hours. It appears as though the rain will become more scattered than steady after 7 p.m. This may be good news to trick-or-treaters out there, but it will still be damp and very windy. There is a slight risk for some of the showers or isolated thunderstorms to pull down even stronger damaging wind gusts from the low level jet above that could reach over 60 mph. Therefore, anyone heading out Thursday evening will need to stay alert for rapidly changing weather conditions.
A strong cold front will plow into Columbus between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. A thin line of showers (and possibly low topped thunderstorms) could develop along the front. If this occurs, the risk for damaging winds will be greatest with this line. It is possible that the line of rain may not produce lightning, but very strong winds over 50 mph will still be possible. Because of the extreme level of wind shear in the atmosphere , a brief tornado cannot be ruled out either.
**You can follow me @mikegroenke on twitter for the latest severe weather watches and warnings that are issued for Columbus.**
Behind the cold front, the rain will end quickly before you wake up Friday morning. Highs on Friday will still reach the lower 60s under partly to mostly cloudy skies. Cooler weather filters in for the weekend as highs drop back down into the 50s. Expect scattered showers to develop underneath an upper level low that will move in on Saturday.
The full 7-day graphic is attached to the article!
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