By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
January 29, 2013
As a powerful front approaches from the Midwest, a strong southerly flow can lead to damaging wind gusts from the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes to the Appalachians and East Coast during the middle of the week.
The wind will develop Tuesday night in the Ohio Valley, lower Great Lakes and part of the Appalachians and will spread to much of the East Coast Wednesday.
While the upcoming wind event will drive away troublesome fog it will create another wave of travel problems.
There is the potential for wind gusts in the neighborhood of 40 to 60 mph with the strongest gusts along the southern New England coast and over the ridges in the Appalachians.
The winds could cause flight delays due to crosswinds at area airports, low-level turbulence for commuter flights and trouble for vehicles crossing high bridges on major highways including I-95 near the coast. The strong southerly winds will make for difficult travel for lightweight cars and high-profile vehicles on east-west highways like I-80. Sporadic power outages are possible from downed tree limbs. (Image and thumbnails by Photos.com)
Winds will line up very closely at the surface and aloft. What happens in this case is the strong wind from about 5,000 feet up can reach down to the surface in the form of powerful gusts.
This is most likely over the ridges and along the coast but can occur just about anywhere in which the unusual warmth has reached the surface.
As the front itself swings through, it can bring gusty thunderstorms and blinding downpours from west to east across the region. The downpours may be intense enough to cause flash and urban flooding. The rainfall, despite its problems will be beneficial for part of the Mississippi River Basin around St. Louis.
The timing for the storms and downpours would be Tuesday and Tuesday night in the Midwest, Wednesday afternoon in the central and southern Appalachians and Wednesday evening and night in the East Coast and New England.