Anyone who plans an outdoor event should be concerned about severe weather. Rain all day can bring the event inside from the start but a severe thunderstorm that develops and moves in quickly, that can send you running for cover immediately. Here is what you can look for and “terms” you should pay attention to starting a week before your event.
Event minus 4 to 7 days
Most likely you will hear terms like chance for storms or showers and storms in the forecast should there be a chance for severe weather. One exception is in tornado alley or even other parts of the country where the large scale weather pattern would indicate the chance for severe weather. Even if this is the case it is tough to pin point the exact location and timing of where the severe weather will occur if at all. The Storm Prediction Center recently added a day 4 to 8 outlook given the improving accuracy of forecast models. So in general if you hear about a chance or showers or storms during this time period don’t panic, but pay attention to future forecasts.
Event minus 2 to 3 days
A weekend party you will be looking at the Wednesday and Thursday forecasts. Along with the increased accuracy given the shorter time there is also the additional forecast products that your favorite weather forecaster (Weatherboy) will be relaying to you. The Storm Prediction Center will issue convective outlooks for each day (day 2 and day 3). Terms like marginal, slight, enhanced, and moderate risk are applied to areas that may see severe weather. These are thunderstorms with damaging wind and/or hail. If you find yourself in a risk area during this time then you may want to have an alternative plan, but could also start to get an ideal of the timing of the storms to possibly plan aro und them.
Event minus 1 day to the morning of
Timing becomes the biggest forecast improvement here. If you have found yourself in the severe weather risk of previous days and still want to be outside, then your latest forecast should give you an idea on when the storms will occur in your area. The forecasts may indicate a line of storms or pop up storms developing at a specific time. The line is easier to predict time-wise with a general range of times given for pop up storms. Be on the look out for severe thunderstorm or tornado watches to develop. These should be taken seriously and are issued when the conditions are favorable for severe weather in and around the watch area.
Event minus a few hours to the start
So you have been in a risk area for a convective outlook, a severe weather watch is issued, and your still setting up for an outdoor event. The weather may look clear but hopefully you have paid attention to the previous forecasts and know to look for any warnings that may be issued. The difference between the watch an warning? A watch is for the possibility and is issued over a wide area, the warning means the severe weather is happening and is issued for a specific area. Even if you want to be outside given the severe weather threat then make sure you have shelter nearby.
We hope this helps in giving you an idea on what to look for if have have something planned (big or small) outdoors. Make sure you stay up to date with Weatherboy since all of this information listed above we relay to you immediately. Remember that these products focus on severe weather, you can still have lightning even if a storm is not severe. So “When Thunder Roars, head Indoors!”