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Gusty Storms Target Mid-Atlantic Later Today

8:30 AM EDT, October 18, 2012

UPDATED By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, James West

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A cold front will move through the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast today, sliding to the Eastern Seaboard and producing showers and thunderstorms during this evening and tonight. Some of these storms may produce damaging winds and heavy rain.

The front is the same one that rocked the U.S. midsection on Wednesday, producing a tornado in Louise, Miss., that injured five, and wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph. The front is attached to a potent low pressure spinning southward across the Upper Midwest from central Canada. Southerly winds ahead of the front are drawing warm and humid air northward. As the cooler and drier air behind the front clashes with this muggy and unstable air mass, storms have been exploding. The front is also tapping into fast winds aloft, dragging them down to the surface.

As the front marches across the Appalachians today, it will feed off of a secondary pool of warm air along the East Coast, setting the stage for another round of thunderstorms in the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas near sunset. The greatest threat with any of these storms will be gusty winds, with isolated wind gusts of 60 mph or higher expected. A few tornadoes can`t be ruled out, either given the shear, or turning of winds with height, present in the atmosphere tonight.

The threat will develop across West Virginia and western Pennsylvania this evening, buzzing Pittsburgh and Parkersburg, W.Va., around dinnertime before advancing across the Appalachians toward Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Va., and Raleigh, N.C.

A few storms may stick around the Delmarva Peninsula during the early part of Friday morning`s rush hour, but as the cold front races in later Friday morning, drier air will bring the storm threat to the end. After the front passes, high pressure will build into the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, making for a pleasant and sunny weekend.

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