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Atmosphere primed for potent storms across Northeast, mid-Atlantic

By Mary Gilbert, Accuweather.com
Atmosphere primed for potent storms across Northeast, mid-Atlantic
A man accidently drops a book in a puddle while crossing the street as rain falls in New York City on May 7. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

For some across the eastern United States, the end of the past week and the start of the weekend brought the first truly warm, humid and sticky conditions of the season. While this summery sneak preview will continue to help residents work up a sweat across the region, AccuWeather meteorologists say it will also set the stage for something far more troublesome.

After days of warm, humid air, the atmosphere is primed to set off a threat for feisty storms early this week across portions of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

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The same storm that is set to bring volatile weather to the central U.S. on Sunday will shift eastward for Monday.

"A cold front associated with this storm will dig across the Eastern states on Monday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said.

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Once this front comes head-to-head with the sticky swath of air already in place, strong-to-severe thunderstorms will quickly develop and race eastward. The timing of the most potent storms will be from Monday afternoon through Monday evening, according to forecasters.

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A considerable portion of the East will need to keep an eye to the sky for rapidly changing conditions on Monday. Areas from northern North Carolina, through portions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and northward into New York and much of New England all have the potential to experience potent storms.

"These thunderstorms will have the potential to produce a variety of hazards including torrential downpours, hail, damaging wind gusts and even isolated tornadoes," Richards cautioned.

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However, AccuWeather forecasters have pinpointed a tighter corridor where some of the most explosive storms of the day can develop.

"The area of greatest risk will be from Washington, D.C., all the way up into eastern Pennsylvania and to the north of New York City," Richards said.

Major metropolitan areas like Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as population-dense cities like Wilmington, Del., and Allentown, Pa., fall within this area of greatest risk.

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While any location within the area at risk for severe storms on Monday can experience heavy rainfall, damaging wind gusts and hail, it is within the area of greatest risk where widespread gusts of 60-70 mph are most likely to occur within storms, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax&trade of 80 mph.

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Winds of this magnitude can lead to downed trees and power lines and can also cause some trouble for high-profile vehicles traveling along area roadways.

The most likely arrival time for severe thunderstorms in Washington, D.C., will be in the afternoon, while in Philadelphia storms will hold off until later in the afternoon. In New York City, the storm threat is likely to arrive by the late afternoon or early evening hours. This means that for some parts of the Interstate-95 corridor, some of the strongest storms are set to arrive right around the evening rush hour.

Following a busy weather day on Monday, Tuesday will strike a different chord entirely for much of the Northeast and portions of the mid-Atlantic.

After the cold front exits much of the area on Tuesday, cooler, less humid air and breezy conditions will filter across the Northeast in its wake.

Temperatures on Tuesday will come crashing down in places like Binghamton, N.Y., and Burlington, Va., where temperatures are set to soar above average on Monday.

From Tuesday and continuing through the midweek, many locations across the northeastern U.S. will experience high temperatures climbing to near average or below-average levels with significantly less humidity.

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This easing of temperatures and humidity will certainly make conditions feel much more like spring again for a few days, rather than an early arrival of summer.

AccuWeather forecasters caution that this round of more comfortable weather may not be around to stay for very long as another pattern change is on the horizon. Late this week, a shift in the jet stream could bring a large upswing in temperatures back to the region once again.

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