Saturday, March 27, 2010

5pm Weather Update

A line of showers and thunderstorms have developed across southwest Missouri and western Arkansas. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 10:00pm for south central Missouri and central Arkansas. (Clay County, Arkansas is included in the watch.)

Here is a view of radar imagery from the Springfield, Missouri radar site.

I have drawn in the distance as to how far the rain is from the far western counties of the KFVS viewing area (Carter, Reynolds, Ripley counties in Missouri). The storms are moving at approximate 45mph so the storms/rain should arrive around 7:00pm CT plus or minus 15-20 minutes.

I expect the storms to begin to weaken as they push further east. However, it is possible for some large hail or some damaging winds to usher out ahead of the storms as they move in to the Ozarks of southeast Missouri or northeastern Arkansas.

I am not anticipating a watch to be issued for any other parts of the KFVS viewing area.

1:00pm Weather Update

At 1:00pm CT dew points have climbed in to the upper 30°'s to middle 40°'s. Winds are starting to increase out of the south/southeast.

The Storm Prediction Center has made a few modifications to their Day 1 Outlook for severe weather today/tonight. Here is their 11:30am forecast:

They have adjusted the "Slight Risk" area further north on the western side of the outlook.

It still remains to be seen if we can get enough low level moisture (dew points) in to the area to support severe storm development.

Storms Possible Tonight

The Storm Prediction Center has included parts of southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas in their "Slight Risk" area for severe thunderstorms on their latest Day 1 Outlook.

SPC forecasters mention in their discussion that the biggest risk will be damaging wind within a line of thunderstorms pushing towards the Mississippi River later this evening/tonight.

Here is the probabilistic graphic for damaging winds put out by the SPC.

What that means is that there is a 15% chance of damaging wind (in excess of 58mph) within 25 miles of any point within the blue area.

As previously mentioned we are still a little moisture starved. Dew points this morning are only in the 30°'s. Winds this morning are out of the southeast so we can look to see what dew points are like to our east to see what kind of moisture there is to tap in to. Dew points are in the middle 30°'s down across central Tennessee. Eventually we will see our winds turn around to the south this afternoon and start to draw up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The question is how much moisture.

Last night's run of the forecast models are trying to draw in more moisture. Here is a look at the NAM model's run of the dew point forecast for later this afternoon.

You can see how the model brings an axis of 50° dew points up through eastern Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel, and southeast Missouri. I think we need to see our dew points at least in the lower 50°'s to sustain big thunderstorms.

Finally, here is a look at the NAM's depiction of what the radar might look like at 1am CT Sunday morning.

You can see how the model tries to bring the line of storms to the Mississippi River by 1:00am CT.

If you have recently purchased a NOAA Weather Radio you might get a chance this evening to test it out if a watch or warning is issued for your county. Stay tuned...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Saturday Looks Intriguing

After all the rain from Thursday, we are in for a treat today. 100% sunshine should be overhead. Although temperatures will be a little cooler. High temperatures will top out in the 50°'s this afternoon.

Looking ahead to the weekend... The rain is coming back. Saturday morning and early afternoon should be fine, but I am watching a storm developing over the Rockies this morning along with upper level energy just coming on-shore over the west coast.

The upper-level portion of the storm looks intriguing to me for Saturday evening. Here is a look at the NAM models' 500mb chart.

Ahead of the upper low you can see the nose of the faster winds moving in to northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. This is "energy" coming to aid thunderstorms that develop.

The problem is the development part of the equation. The atmosphere has been scoured out after yesterday's rain. With high pressure keeping things cool and dry (dew point) today the atmosphere over the area isn't primed for severe thunderstorms.

We should see our winds turn around to the south tomorrow and start to draw up some moisture. I would like to see dew points in the lower to middle 50°'s this time of year for severe thunderstorms (if not a little higher). Today our dew points are in the upper 20°'s to lower 30°'s so we need to pump a lot of moisture up this way.

Here is the forecast dew points for Saturday afternoon.

This model brings dew points in to the upper 40's to near 50° in the Missouri Bootheel. This might be one of the things that ends up limiting severe thunderstorms from developing.

The Storm Prediction Center doesn't have anyone outlooked for severe weather tomorrow. However, they said they are monitoring the Arkansas, southern Missouri, western Tennessee, northern Louisiana, and northern Mississippi area.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Storms Down South

We are in for another "yucko" day. Cloudy skies and rain. There could be some stronger storms just to the south and southeast of the KFVS viewing area.

Take a look at this visible satellite image taken at 10:32am CT.

You can see some clearing taking place over eastern Arkansas and northwest Mississippi. This is going to allow for some warming up and some "juicing up" of the atmosphere. I would expect to see some thunderstorm development in that region later this afternoon.

The question becomes "Could we get some clearing over the Missouri Bootheel?". I don't think we have to worry too much about severe storms around here.
That being said, some of the forecast models are bringing some instability through extreme northeast Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel, and northwest Tennessee between 1pm CT and 5pm CT. However, there are a few ingredients missing that I would like to see be available for us to be talking about severe weather.

The Storm Prediction Center is keeping an eye to our southeast today. Here is this morning's Day 1 Outlook:

Note that the area is "just" to our southeast. It will be worth keeping an eye on their next update which should be around 11:30am CT.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Elite Storm Spotter Workshop

Storm spotters are a valuable part of forecasting severe weather. Doppler radar technology is getting better, but it is still not as good as a set of eyeballs. The National Weather Service (and tv meteorologists) use storm spotters to be the "eyes" out in the field.

The NWS holds "Basic" and "Advanced" storm spotter training classes every spring. The classes are free to the public.

This spring the Paducah NWS office is offering a new "Elite Spotter Workshop". The class will last up to four hours. To be eligible to take the class you must have taken the Beginner and Advanced class first. You also must register for the class online at

Below are the list of all Elite Spotter Workshops scheduled for this spring.

Monday, March 29
Time: 6pm
Where: Hopkinsville Community College - Hopkinsville, KY
Contact: David Powell - (270) 839-0109

Tuesday, March 30
Time: 6pm
Where: Fairfield Police Dept - Fairfield, IL
Contact: Galen Esmon - (618) 847-8169

Monday, April 5
Time: 6pm
Where: Western Kentucky Community & Tech College - Paducah, KY
Contact: Katherine Thomasson - (270) 331-8517

Tuesday, April 6
Time: 6pm
Where: John A. Logan College - Carterville, IL
Contact: Alan Gower - (618) 993-2323

Wednesday, April 7
Time: 6pm
Where: Show Me Center - Cape Girardeau, MO
Contact: Dick Knaupp - (573) 204-2941

Monday, April 12
Time: 6pm
Where: American Red Cross - Evansville, IN
Contact: Terry Brooks - (812) 401-9632

Tuesday, April 13
Time: 6pm
Where: Black River Coliseum - Poplar Bluff, MO
Contact: Ricky Sliger - (573) 686-8686

Thursday, April 15
Time: 6pm
Where: First Baptist Church - Owensboro, KY
Contact: Walter Atherton - (270) 685-8448

For additional information on the Skywarn Spotter Program you can contact Rick Shankling, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Paducah, at (270) 744-6440 ext. 726 or via email:

I will most likely be attending the Elite Spotter Workshop in Cape Girardeau. It is always good to get a refresher before things start getting really active around here.

Clouds and Snow

What a "yucko" day yesterday. Yes, "yucko" is a meteorological term. (kidding) Lots of clouds and rain yesterday.

It could have been worse as some areas of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana saw snow. Some locations in southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas saw upwards of 8"-12" of snow.

You can see where the snow fell on a visible satellite image. The below image was taken at 11:15am CT.

Here is a more detailed image of where the heavy snow fell in Missouri and Kansas.

(Image courtesy: National Weather Service Springfield, MO office)

You can also see how we are stuck under a cloud shield. Eventually we should start to see the clouds move off to the east although it might take a while.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Snow Not Far Away

That's right, snow isn't far away. Heartland Sports anchor Chad Fryman took this picture earlier today in Columbia, Missouri.

The colder air is taking a little while to move further east as the front has stalled. At 4:00pm CT temperatures range from 67° in Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, and Paducah to 59° in Mt. Vernon, IL to 48° in Farmington, MO to 38° in Rolla, MO to 34° in Columbia, MO to 32° in Sedalia, MO. By the way, the airport in Columbia is reporting moderate snow and heavy snow in Sedalia, Missouri with 1/2 mile visibility.

Temps about to Crash

Today is starting out pretty nice around the KFVS viewing area. There is plenty of sunshine and temperatures are warming in to the 50°'s and 60°'s. However, it isn't going to last long.

At 10am CT, there is a cold front marching across Missouri. Temperatures range from 62° in Paducahy, KY --> 60° in Poplar Bluff, MO --> 46° in Farmington, MO --> 44° in West Plains, MO --> 38° in Rolla, MO --> 33° in Columbia, MO.

The cold front started to pass Farmington, MO at 10:00am CT. Although, I think the speed of the front is going to stall over the next couple of hours. That means that we have several more hours of good/nice weather today for the area.

Here is a look at this morning's run of the NAM forecast model for Cape Girardeau.

This model warms Cape Girardeau to the upper 60°'s by afternoon but then the temperatures crash. It appears that the model is forecasting the front to pass the area around 3:00pm or 4:00pm this afternoon.

The model also brings the rain in overnight. In fact, it holds off the rain until 5:00am Sunday. Through the weekend the model is putting down 0.9" of rain.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cloudy Skies Ahead

You can probably keep your sunglasses at home this week. It looks like we are going to have a lot of clouds around this week. Here is a look at the week going forward. This is the morning run of NOAA's global forecast model for Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Time goes from right to left. Red line = surface temperature. Green line = dew point temperature. Green vertical bars = rain. Blue vertical bars = snow. Grey blotchy areas = clouds.

It looks like we are going to be in a cloudy and cool pattern. Our "normal" temperature should be around 57° for this time of year. It looks like we will get above that bar later in the week. By the end of the week temperatures will climb in to the 60°'s before our next storm system comes through the region. Thunderstorms will be possible with that system. It is a little too early to tell if we are talking about severe storms or not.

Notice the end of the week. Temperatures drop! This run of the model is indicating high temperatures in the upper 30°'s to around 40° for Sunday. This model has been pointing at a period of cold weather for later in March. It will be interesting to see if that will be the case.

You might have noticed a lack of posts over the last week or so. I took a little time off for some R&R. I needed to get my batteries recharged. I took a couple of days to travel down to Tampa, Florida to visit a friend I have known since 5th grade. It was a good trip. Got a little bit of beach time on Siesta Key and took in a spring training baseball game in Brandenton, Florida.

The trip to Tampa was nice and I'm back and ready to go for severe weather season.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

GOES Goes Up

NASA successfully launched NOAA's GOES-P satellite on the back of a Delta IV rocket. The rocket lifted off from the launch pad at 5:57pm CT.

GOES-P is the third and final spacecraft to be launched in the GOES N Series of geostationary environmental weather satellites. The GOES satellites continuously provide observations of more than 50 percent of the Earth, including the continental United States, providing weather monitoring and forecast operations and a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information and severe weather warnings.

In addition to weather forecasting on Earth, a key instrument onboard GOES-P, the Solar X-Ray Imager (SXI), will help NOAA continue monitoring solar conditions.

“The SXI is improving our forecasts and warnings for solar disturbances, protecting billions of dollars worth of commercial and government assets in space and on the ground, and lessening the brunt of power surges for the satellite-based electronics and communications industry,” said Tom Bodgan, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colo.

GOES-P joins a system of weather satellites that provide timely environmental information to meteorologists and the public. The GOES system provides data used to graphically display the intensity, path and size of storms. Early warning of impending severe weather enhances the public’s ability to take shelter and protect property.

Currently, NOAA operates GOES-12, (GOES East) and GOES-11 (GOES-West.) In late April, NOAA will activate GOES-13 to replace GOES-12 and will drift eastward from 105 degrees West longitude to 75 degrees West longitude. NOAA plans to move GOES-12 to 60 degrees West longitude to provide coverage for South America as part of the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS). NASA handed over GOES-14, launched last June, to NOAA on December 14, 2009. It will remain in normal mode at the 105W storage longitude to provide operational X-ray Sensor coverage to NOAA’s SWPC.

Once in orbit GOES-P will be designated GOES-15, checked out and then stored on-orbit and ready for activation should one of the operational GOES satellites degrade or exhaust their fuel.

NOAA manages the GOES program, establishes requirements, provides all funding and distributes environmental satellite data for the United States. NASA Goddard procures and manages the design, development and launch of the satellites for NOAA on a cost reimbursable basis. Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems built GOES-P.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Earthquake Gets National Interest

Earthquakes always generate a little bit of interest. Today's earthquake story, centered in southeast Missouri (near East Prairie, Missouri), was picked up by several Raycom Media (KFVS parent company) stations across the country this afternoon on the internet and on the air.

Below is a live shot I did for Raycom Media News partner KOLD-TV in Tucson, Arizona for their 5pm newscast. KOLD Chief Meteorologist Chuck George interviewed me before his weather segment.

We were using technology to get the video/audio signal to Arizona. We used Skype to conduct the interview.

The Ground is a Shakin'

Did you feel today's earthquake? I didn't. According to the USGS the earthquake happened at 1:37pm CT and was centered around East Prairie, Missouri.

Here is the shake map from the USGS where they compile "I felt it" reports submitted through the internet.

Earthquakes around here aren't too uncommon but when you combine today's earthquake with the Chile and Haiti quakes people start talking.

I wanted to find out how common or uncommon a 3.7 magnitude earthquake is in the KFVS viewing area (southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and northwest Tennessee). It turns out that since 1974 we have had 12 earthquakes of a 3.7 or greater magnitude.

Below is the map with the location/intensity of the quakes in the area since 1974.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Severe Weather Season

We are about 45 minutes away from the start of a new season. The start of "Meteorological Spring".

In meteorology we have slightly different start and end times for seasons compared to the calendar.

Meteorological Seasons:
  • Spring: March - May
  • Summer: June - August
  • Fall: September - November
  • Winter: December - February
Now that we are getting in to spring we can put all of the snow, ice, and sleet behind us. Right? So lets start to turn our attention to severe weather season. I am sure we aren't too terribly far away from some good thunderstorms rumbling through.

Now I have two questions for you that I want YOU to answer.
  1. When will the first Day 1 Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center include a portion of the KFVS viewing area? (Month/Day)
  2. When will the first watch (severe thunderstorm or tornado watch) be in effect for a portion of the KFVS viewing area? (Month/Day)
Leave your answers in the comment sections for this post.