It’s not that thunderstorms like the one that swept through the region overnight Tuesday are more likely to hit Saratoga County. It just seems that way, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.
“Part of that is perception,” Joe Villani said Wednesday. “The real reason we’ve seen more reports in some areas is more population. This was a pretty solid line of thunderstorms that pretty much swept across the state.”
The storm that hit Tuesday night into Wednesday morning damaged a house on Saratoga Lake, knocked a barn into a home in Herkimer County and caused scattered power outages.
NewsChannel 13 meteorologist Jason Gough agrees no given community in this region is more likely than the rest to be hit by a violent thunderstorm.
“There are microclimates around here, but in a smaller-scale place like Saratoga or Malta there is nothing that is going to make it more or less severe,” Gough said. “Everybody got whacked [Tuesday] night. In any given storm setup ... there isn’t going to be any one place that is going to have more storms.”
The storms cut a wide swath across the region.
“It was a fairly extensive area, all the way from the Adirondacks all the way down to Herkimer County and Fulton County, Washington County and Saratoga County, including the Stillwater area,” Villani said. “The worst of it was north and west of the Capital Region. There were reports of trees and wires down.”
Villani said unlike snowstorms or tornadoes, topography plays only a small role in the localized intensity of thunderstorms, which form high in the atmosphere. He also said unlike other long-range forecasts for, say hurricane season, meteorologists are hard-pressed to predict how violent a particular summer storm season will be in advance.
“Thunderstorms can really be difficult to predict — even hours before,” Villani said.
And Tuesday’s storm was a surprise in at least one respect.
“What was a little bit unusual last night is we normally see that thunderstorms are not able to produce strong winds after dark,” he said. “This one did. We had wind damage reports up to 1 o’clock.”
Gough said humid air and the front that came through the region allowed the storms to retain energy and power.
“The instability stayed up,” he said. “The storms were being fed.”
Call it the storm before the calm. The rest of the week is expected to be dry if a little humid through Thursday, with highs in the 80s.
“We are looking at a four- to five-day stretch of nice weather,” Villani said.