The synoptic setup is somewhat favorable for damaging winds and perhaps an isolated tornado or two tonight into early tomorrow in the southern Mid-Atlantic as storms ahead of a cold front push through the region. Poor lapse rates will likely prevent severe weather from occurring in DC, Baltimore and points north and west.
The storm system will be what we typically see for severe weather setups in the Mid-Atlantic during the winter and early spring… low CAPE/high shear. This system was looking fairly marginal for the region up to this morning due to the poor mid-level lapse rates, but it appears that the previously under-forecast dynamics will help introduce better lapse rates to the southern Mid-Atlantic. It is still fairly borderline, but with a strengthening low-level jet producing 50-60 kt. winds at 925mb it wouldn’t take much to bring those damaging winds to the surface.
925mb winds at 4am:
Forecast sounding for Richmond at 4am:
The sounding shows that there is enough directional shear for the anticipated storms to produce a tornado or two in the southern Mid-Atlantic tonight into tomorrow morning.
SPC’s outlooks for tonight into tomorrow morning:
I am mostly in agreement with them, but I would tone it down to a SEE TEXT instead of a Slight Risk north of the NC/VA border as the storms don’t look to be terribly organized, which is something you want to see for a Mid-Atlantic low CAPE/high shear system (at least for the damaging wind potential).