I-80 Pennsylvania Targeted by Severe Thunderstorms Monday

October 11, 2010; 5:02 PM ET
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October is far from the heart of severe weather season, but the Interstate 80 corridor from Pennsylvania to New York City will be in the heart of gusty thunderstorms Monday evening.

Severe weather season has two parts: primary and secondary.

While the primary severe weather season occurs in the spring, the secondary severe weather season occurs in the fall and peaks in November.

Travel could be rough for some commuters along I-80 in Pennsylvania and New Jersey this evening. Photo courtesy of New Jersey DOT. Image at Elmwood Park, N.J., Monday morning, Oct. 11, 2010.

Look for locally disruptive and even damaging thunderstorms to occur from Monday afternoon into Monday evening from parts of Ohio to much of Pennsylvania, the southern tier of New York, New Jersey, Long Island and southern Connecticut.

The storms have the potential to bring high winds, blinding downpours and hail.

If you are in or near the red area on this map you could be hit by a severe thunderstorm into Monday evening.

Sporadic power outages, downed trees and damage to roofs and vehicles may occur, along with travel slow-downs and foiled outdoor activities.

The storms have had a history of producing downed trees in central Pennsylvania as of the mid-afternoon Monday.

Cities in the path of these storms include Williamsport, Scranton, Harrisburg and Allentown, Pa.; and Newark, N.J.; Bridgeport and New Haven, Conn.; and New York City.

Quite simply, it is the clash of two seasons, winter and summer, but more specifically big temperature contrasts that set the stage.

Any low pressure area ranging from a weak disturbance to a powerful large-scale storm system can bring thunderstorms out from their slumber, tapping into that stored-up energy.

In the case of the severe thunderstorm threat in the I-80 Northeast corridor into Monday evening, thunderstorms will fire in response to a disturbance moving eastward along a pronounced north-south temperature contrast, or what meteorologists call a front.

Temperatures were being held to the 50s north of the boundary while readings to the south surged into the 70s and 80s.

All you need is a mechanism to lift the warm air violently over the cool air. The disturbance is doing that today along the stationary front.

Related to the Story:

Northeast Radar

Severe Weather Center

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