COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A strong cold front crossing the Midwest will spark lines of gusty thunderstorms, some containing damaging wind and hail, later today across Indiana and western Ohio.
Instability driven by daytime heating and unseasonably humid air will interact with the front to increase the potential for a few severe storms.
Temperatures will soar into the low 80s this afternoon, warm enough to boil up some tall storm cells capable of mixing down strong mid-level winds that will energize any line segments coming into the Buckeye State before sunset. The greatest threat of severe storms will be along and west of the Interstate 71 corridor, outlined by the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
Expect a 20-degree drop on Friday following the overnight passage of the cold front responsible for an active weather evening across the northwestern half of Ohio. Storms will weaken in the eastern counties due to the time frame, with storms arriving there after nighttime cooling has set in.
This time of year is historically favorable for damaging wind and hail because the upper atmosphere is still quite chilly, and the jet stream has not retreated very far to the north, which supplies wind energy for storm organization.
The state of Ohio has already recorded 10 tornadoes this year, far above normal through mid-April, with seven funnels touching down on March 1 across the southern part of the state. The tornado threat with the system this evening is very low, though an isolated tornado is possible in northwestern Ohio and Lower Michigan closer to the track of low pressure (spin).
Remember to keep your NBC4 Weather App handy this evening to receive the latest storm updates, warnings and lightning notifications. The only safe place to be in a thunderstorm is indoors, away from plumbing and electrical devices. If caught outside, head for your car and keep hands away from metal door handles. Storms producing cloud-to-ground lightning are a real safety threat, if you are not sheltered.