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Severe weather outbreak likely across Ohio Valley today

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A potent storm system will track northwest of Ohio today placing the entire Ohio Valley in a very favorable region for severe weather. The Storm Prediction Center has placed parts of Ohio under a "High Risk" for severe weather today which is only used a handful of times per year across the country. In addition, strong gusty winds will be possible throughout much of the day.

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An initial surge of moisture is bringing scattered showers and even thunderstorms to central Ohio this morning. This rain will be scattered but stick around through much of the afternoon. Winds will pick up out of the south this afternoon ahead of the approaching storm system. Expect gusts over 30 mph and even a few isolated gusts topping 40 mph later this afternoon. For that reason, a Wind Advisory is in effect.

A very strong cold front will surge eastward and spark a line of potentially severe thunderstorms later this evening. This could be a similar setup to the one that occurred on Halloween when a line of showers brought strong winds to the area. Strong wind shear (change of wind speed/direction with height) will couple with an unseasonably moist atmosphere to produce a threat for severe weather.

The key variable still slightly in question is the degree to which the atmosphere destabilizes late this afternoon. This time of year, strong forcing from the cold front and high levels of wind shear are enough to yield a risk for damaging winds. Any instability that is built up from potential peaks of sun would only make the atmosphere that more volatile. You will want to stay on top of the weather situation throughout the daytime hours.

Severe weather will be possible anytime between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. this evening, although the highest likelihood will be along a line of storms between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. The main threat will be widespread damaging wind gusts exceeding 60 mph along the squall line. However, isolated tornadoes will be a distinct possibility as well due to the large amount of turning winds in the lower atmosphere.

If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your area, take cover immediately. This type of setup can produce brief “spin up” tornadoes with little or no warning at all.

Any storms that form ahead of the main line this evening after 4 p.m. will need to be watched as they will have an enhanced threat for isolated tornadoes and even large hail.

**Follow me on twitter @mikegroenke for the latest Columbus severe weather alerts**

The full 7-day graphic is attached to the article!

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