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                   Friday, July 10, 2009 - 1:52AM

Storms stay in the mountains Thursday

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A big thanks to Rick Steelhammer and the Charleston Gazette for the story in today's paper!

In the somewhat stagnant upper air pattern than characterizes summertime in our region, thunderstorms can sometimes get going in the mountains thanks to orographics (air flowing up over the terrain features). Such was the case Thursday, when numerous storms fired up and down nearly the entire stretch of the Appalachian spine. The activity stayed confined to the higher elevations - Charleston saw little more than a few cumulus clouds in the late afternoon. As the storms collapsed later in the evening, a gust front developed and moved westward over Charleston just before sunset - providing a burst of cool easterly winds along with thicker clouds. Saturday and Sunday will likely see some more widespread and stronger thunderstorms in the state as a cold front approaches from the northwest.

This image shows the top of one of the cumulonimbus cells to the east of Charleston late in the afternoon:

click to enlarge

The skies over Charleston remained storm-free throughout the day, though building cumulus to the east was one sign that storms were not far away.

click to enlarge

I held off pursuing any of Thursday's activity due to a busy work week here in the office. This weekend may bring some local observing opportunities.

Beautiful clouds! And great article!! Congrats!
- Posted by Katie from Melrose, MA

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