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Strong storm surprise

Jason Samenow @ 9:43 AM

vorticity maximumThe intensity of yesterday's storms took a lot of people by surprise -- although maybe it shouldn't have. Now some weather geek talk (see if you can follow it) and a 'hindcast': There was a strong vorticity maximum (or region of mid level spin in the atmosphere-->see the image on the left, the 'X' over SW Virginia was the vorticity maximum that helped energize the storms) moving through the area that served to help generate lift (i.e. upward vertical motion). Because we got some sun that served to destabilize the atmosphere (warm air at the surface, very cold air aloft) -- surface air parcels could rise (and rise quickly given the strong dynamics) and then condense at the very cold upper levels of the atmosphere.

The result -- thunderstorms with hail and strong winds that contributed to a major accident on I-95 near Baltimore (fortunately no one was killed). See these articles from the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and Associated Press.

Today will be much calmer with mostly sunny skies and highs in the low 60s. There will continue to be a bit of breeze...

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