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Weather Aware: Strong-to-severe thunderstorms possible tonight

Heavy rain and high winds are the main threats.
Credit: WHAS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Active weather returns to the Ohio Valley Tuesday evening and overnight with a potential for severe weather. 

This is close to the one-year anniversary of the December 10-11, 2021 tornado outbreak, but thankfully we do not anticipate an event like last year.

Forecast at-a-glance:

  • Rain and thunderstorms expected starting as early as Tuesday evening
  • Severe weather is possible in Kentuckiana, but the overall threat is on the low end
  • Heavy rain, high winds main threat; lower risk for hail and tornadoes
  • Temperatures crash Wednesday

Download the free WHAS11 app to get the latest weather alerts. For Apple or Android users.

Weather Setup

A very strong late-autumn storm system in the Midwest is expected to bring significant weather to the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and South Tuesday. 

For the Ohio Valley region, rain and thunderstorms will be the main event, in addition to high wind gusts before storms begin (wind speeds gusting 35+ mph) with the potential for damaging wind gusts during peak activity.

Credit: WHAS
Most of Kentucky and Indiana under risk level 1 of 5 for severe weather Tuesday night.

The entire WHAS11 viewing area is currently under risk level 1 of 5 for severe weather Tuesday night. Parts of western Kentucky are under risk level 2 of 5. 

This comes almost one year after the devastating tornado outbreak of December 10-11, 2021, but thankfully we do NOT expect an event like last year to occur this time. The greatest risk of storms will be well to our south in central Mississippi.

Temperatures Tuesday will surge into the middle, possibly even upper, 60s thanks to those strong winds from the south. 

Sunshine will try to add fuel for later thunderstorms to use, but a layer of warmer air aloft will make it harder for thunderstorms to tap this fuel source. That would also keep storms from getting as strong s they otherwise could. 

A very strong cold front to the west will sweep in before sunrise Wednesday. As it does, it may provide enough gusto to amplify storms some. After the front passes the rain will end and temperatures will tumble.

Weather threats

The main weather threats tonight include heavy rain and a potential for high damaging wind gusts. The hail and tornado threat, while low, is not zero. 

A line of thunderstorms approaching from the west in the middle of the night may be the time for an isolated tornado spin up. That said, the greatest tornado risk will likely be south of the Cumberland Parkway.

Credit: WHAS

Hourly breakdown 

Models early Tuesday indicate the first areas of showers should be entering our southern counties around 3-5 PM EST. There will then be a break for a few hours as activity to the south gets going and the cold front slowly moves east.

Credit: WHAS

During the 9 p.m. hour we should see more isolated showers and downpours popping up and growing in coverage by 11 p.m. This is the time when we might see the heaviest rain and gustiest winds, especially if any storms take on a bow shape. 

Watch the WHAS11 Night Team for the latest radar and forecast.

Credit: WHAS

Temperatures around midnight should still be unusually warm for late November in the upper 50s to low 60s. That will quickly change when the cold front moves through Louisville between 2 and 3 a.m. EST Wednesday. 

Credit: WHAS

When it does, temperatures will drop like a heavy rock! Notice how we’ll go from the upper 50s and low 60s at 2 a.m. to the 20s and 30s by sunrise! 

Winds will still be gusty from the northwest 15-30 mph Wednesday, so expect those wind chills to be in the 20s for a good portion of the day.

How much rain? We’re still in a severe drought and nearly 5” below normal for the year – the rain tonight will be very beneficial with amounts generally between ½” and ¾”, locally higher in some spots. 

Flooding is of low concern given how quickly these storms should be moving and how overall dry the ground is, meaning it should handle the rain easily. While this rain won’t be enough to end our drought, it’ll certainly bring some added relief.

Severe weather at night: As we saw with the Mayfield tornado last year, severe weather at night can be particularly dangerous. 

It’s dark, so it’s harder to see any potential tornadoes or hail, and since most people are asleep it’s much more difficult to be alerted to the threat. 

Have a way to be informed! Download the free WHAS11 app for alerts to your phone, have a NOAA Weather Radio to alert you if you’re sleeping, and have a plan for shelter in the unlikely event that you need it.

Credit: WHAS

Meteorologist Alden German
Facebook: Facebook.com/AldenGermanWX | Twitter: @WXAlden

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