Monday, May 24, 2010

Thunderstorms Developing

Thunderstorms are started to "pop" in the afternoon heat. It first started with a storm along the Kentucky/Tennessee border. As the thunderstorm got larger, a gush of cold air came rushing out of it on the north side. The cold air coming out of it is acting a small cold front.

As the leading edge of colder air moves away from the storm in an outward moving circular shape, similar to a pebble dropped in to a pond, it will help lift moisture at the surface and create thunderstorms. As the line bumps in to already developed thunderstorms, there is a chance some of the storms will quickly intensify.

The storms will be slow movers. The biggest threat from the storms will be damaging wind, large hail, and heavy rain.

Here is a three dimensional view of the storm that is moving through northwest Tennessee. It has already had a history of producing golfball size hail and damaging winds.

The top of the storm has climbed to over 45,000 feet. Most likely, if you go outside and look to the south, you will be able to see it from a pretty good distance.

Speaking of heat... Yesterday's 89° official high temperature at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport was the warmest day in 269 days. The last time we had been that warm was August 27, 2009.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Month of May

May is by far my favorite month.

When you are a kid in school, you look forward to May because that means the school year is quickly winding down and you have summer vacation just around the corner.

Since I am a fan of storms, and also a meteorologist, May is also a great month because I get to see/hear thunderstorms. This month produces more tornadoes than any other month. This is the time when storm chasers are in their element. Chasers spend the entire year getting ready for this month.

Finally, the month of May means a lot to Hoosiers. Yes, I am a Hoosier and proud to say it. haha Not the "hoosier" that people around Missouri like to call others, but I am originally from Indiana.

It doesn't get much better than May in Indiana. Temperatures are starting to warm up; flowers are blooming, and cars are zooming around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for "the greatest spectacle in racing", the Indianapolis 500.

The Indy 500 takes over central Indiana during the month of May. Drivers and teams move in to the track and spend the month fine tuning their cars for the big race. (In recent years the preparation time has been cut two just a couple of weeks.)

It is hard to describe to people what it is like in central Indiana around the Indy 500. There is just a vibe/energy that slowly builds.

Along with the Indianapolis 500, the end of May brings my official start to summer. No, it doesn't show it on the calendar. It isn't published in any books. Summer for me can start after I hear Jim Nabors sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" during the pre-race ceremonies at the Indianapolis 500.

I guess a big part of it for me is that ever since I can remember Jim Nabors has been singing that song before the start of the race. He has done it for over 30 years. (He missed one year due to illness.)

The countdown is on. The race is Sunday, May 29 at 12:00pm CT. "Back Home Again in Indiana" should be sung around 11:45am CT. So set your watches. Mark your calendars. "John Dissauer summer" begins in a little over a week.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Landspouts Spotted

Thanks to Clint Berry for sending in this picture of a landspout just west of Steele, Missouri.

Clint says he took the picture between 5:30pm and 5:35pm.

Several landspouts were reported across the Missouri bootheel this evening.

Landspouts aren't what most consider a "tornado". Landspout; a tornado that does not arise from organized storm-scale rotation and therefore is not associated with a wall cloud (visually) or a mesocyclone (on radar).

Here is a second picture of one of the landspouts spotted west of Steele, Missouri this evening.

Landspouts typically don't create a lot of damage. Minor damage could occur, but that is about it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Only Three Left

That's right, there are only three space shuttle launches left for NASA. (Boooooo!!!) NASA will be launching Atlantis on its 32nd flight at 1:20pm CT (2:20pm ET).

Atlantis has put up some staggering statistics in its lifetime.
  • 31 flights
  • 282 days in orbit
  • 116,000,000 miles traveled
  • 4,462 orbits
  • 185 crew members
This shuttle mission will add an additional 4-million miles to the odometer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Satellite Images

This is the time of year I enjoying looking at visible satellite imagery. You can see thunderstorms blowing up 50,000 - 60,000 feet in the atmosphere.

Here is a satellite image taken from earlier this afternoon. This is looking out over Kansas/Oklahoma.

The images are taken from geostationary satellites 22,000 feet in space.

Volunteers Needed

The Cape Girardeau Air Festival is in need of volunteers to help with the 2010 Cape Girardeau Air Festival (June 19/20). We need YOU!

You might be amazed at everything it takes to put on a large air show. This year's show is even bigger than usual because the US Navy Blue Angels will be performing. The Blue Angels alone have 60 personell that will be on site.

We are also hoping to get over 13,000 people for both days of the air show. That is a lot of people to move, feed, and a lot of cars to park.

As I said at the beginning of this post, we are in need of volunteers to help! Here are some of the areas that we could use help:
  • Airfield Layout - Assist with set up of "static" aircraft displays, concessions, crowd fencing, VIP tents, etc.
  • Parking - Assist with setting up VIP, volunteer, and performer parking
  • Accommodations - Pick-up and delivery of courtesy cars for air show performers
  • Security - Securing military aircraft during and after hours of the air show
  • Food - Preparation and distribution of food in VIP, performers', volunteers', and veterans', tents
  • Tickets - Assist with ticket sales at main gate entrance
There are many more things you can do as well.

There is an all volunteer meeting this evening at 5:30pm in Sandy's Place in the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport terminal. If you can't make that meeting, the next upcoming meeting will be June 9 at 5:30pm.

If you would be interested in volunteering please call the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport at (573) 334-6230. You can also email me at or send me a message through Facebook.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

4:25pm Weather Update

We are in a holding pattern in the Weather Center.

The atmosphere is becoming unstable in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. The bullseye of instability is over southern/southeast Missouri.

Here is a look at the CAPE's (Convective Available Potential Energy). CAPE is an instability index that we use when forecasting thunderstorms.

The one lacking ingredient appears to be the spark plug to get the thunderstorms going.

A Few Booms

A cold front is stalling out around the Midwest. This front will act as a lifting mechanism to help generate showers and thunderstorms over the next couple of days.

You might have noticed the jump in temperatures today compared with Monday. The front has warm front has lifted north and we are now in the "warm sector". Temperatures at 1:00pm CT range from 73° in Harrsiburg, Il to 79° in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

The humidity has also jumped. Dew points have climbed in to the middle to upper 60°'s across the KFVS viewing area.

With moisture in place (dew points), warmer temperatures, a lifting mechanism (cold front), and some upper level energy, showers and thunderstorms could develop. I think today's will be more of a hit/miss variety. In fact, the computer models are hinting and shower/thunderstorm development to our northeast and to our southwest.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is indicating we should keep an eye out for severe weather. They have southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky in their Day 1 Outlook "Slight Risk" area for severe weather.

The Day 1 Outlook covers from now until 7am CT Wednesday.

Here is a look at the probability forecast from SPC for the type of severe threats.




I am pretty sure we won't be seeing a severe weather outbreak around here, but it isn't out of the question we could get a "hailer" or two this evening/tonight.

On the "FREAK OUT" scale (1-nothing to worry about to 10-run for your lives!!!) I would put this on the around a 2.

Side Note: My new "FREAK OUT" scale is something new. Have a better name for it? Leave your ideas in my comments section.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Severe Thunderstorm Watch #144

The Storm Prediction Center has issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch #144. The watch is in effect until 1:00am CT Saturday morning.

The watch covers portions of southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, and all of western Kentucky.

The main threat from storms appears to be damaging winds, however large hail isn't out of the question. Storms are expected to move northeast at 40 mph.

I would be surprised if the watch remains in effect for any of the KFVS viewing area beyond 9:00pm Friday night.

Tornado Watch in Indiana

To my friends and family back in Indiana....

The Storm Prediction Center has issued Tornado Watch #143 for parts of eastern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and southern Michigan. The watch is in effect until 11:00pm ET.

The main threat will be damaging wind, hail up to 2" in diameter, and tornadoes. Storm are expected to move slightly north of east at 45 mph.

Some of the cities in the watch include: Columbus (IN & OH), Bloomington, IN, Ft. Wayne, Indianapolis, Muncie, Lafayette, and Terre Haute.

Remember that a watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Time to Fill the Swimming Pool

There is a lot of water dumping feeding in to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. This is due to the torrential rains in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee.

Look at some of the staggering numbers from yesterday.

Lake Barkley dam was releasing 300,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs). One cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons. That means that the dam was releasing:
  • 2.24-million gallons per second
  • 134.6-million gallons per second
  • 8.07-billion (with a b) gallons per second
According to Tri-State Pools in Cape Girardeau, the average in ground pool holds 25,000-30,000 gallons of water. This means that 75-90 pools could be filled every second.

The numbers for Kentucky Lake dam are even higher. The dam was releasing 350,000 cfs. That means the dam was releasing:
  • 2.61-million gallons per second
  • 157-million gallons per minute
  • 9.42-billion gallons per hour.
That would fill 90-105 in ground (25,000-30,000 gallon) pools per second.

In comparison, Niagra Falls releases 100,000 cfs.

According to the National Weather Service, the release flow will back down over the next couple of days. By the weekend, TVA plans to have it down to 100,000 cfs.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thunderstorm Watch Possible

The Storm Prediction Center is monitoring parts of southeast Missouri and southern Illinois for severe thunderstorms developing this afternoon/evening. My guess is SPC will issue a Severe Thunderstorm Watch in the next hour or two.

It appears that the main threat will be large hail.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Live from the StormTeam Weather Center

Live coverage is over from the Saturday night storms. Thank you to everyone that logged on to "New at Dis Hour" to check it out. Hopefully, when we have more storms at night I will try to set up the live stream again.

4:00pm Weather Update

The Storm Prediction Center has published their Day 1 Outlook. They have shifted the "High Risk" area a little to the north and northwest. It now includes more of southeast Missouri. The remainder of the KFVS viewing area (southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, northwest Tennessee, and western Kentucky) is in a "Moderate Risk".

The Day 1 Outlook covers the time period from now through 7am CT Sunday.

Here is a look at the probabilities for specific weather type:




The tornado probability forecast is a little concerning. The 30% area covers much of southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas. What the 30% area means is that there is a 30% chance that 25 miles within any given point could see a tornado. The blue hashed area means that there is at least a 10% chance of a strong tornado (EF2-EF5).

If you have been outside you might have noticed the sun coming out from behind the clouds. Sunshine today is not a good thing as it will quickly aid in destabilizing the atmosphere.

Currently there aren't any watches up for any of the KFVS viewing area, but that could change in the next couple of hours. The trigger for the storms later today is just moving through eastern Texas in the upper levels of the atmosphere. It should slide northeast through Arkansas and spark storms by evening.

I should note that I just heard The Weather Channels' Dr. Greg Forbes just announce that he has put a Tor:Con of 7/10 for southern Missouri and eastern Arkansas. That basically means that he thinks there is a 7 out of 10 chance a tornado will touchdown within 50 miles of any given point in that area.

I don't mean to scare people by putting up all of these graphics, however, I do think it is important for you to know what the risks are.

Not Out of the Woods Yet

Usually you would think after last night's round of thunderstorms we would be in the clear today. That isn't the case.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed parts of western Kentucky, southeast Missouri, and all of northeast Arkansas and northwest Tennessee in a "High Risk" for seeing severe weather in the latest Day 1 Outlook. The "High Risk" is surrounded by a "Moderate Risk" which includes the remainder of southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky.

Here are is a look at the specific weather type probabilities.




The front that helped trigger the thunderstorms yesterday has stalled out over the top of the KFVS viewing area. The front is going to be the trigger again today as warm, moist air comes up on southerly winds from the Gulf of Mexico. As it hits the front the moisture will be lifted in to the atmosphere.

Energy in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere will ride up along a 140 mph jet stream that is moving just to our north. The fact that the jet stream isn't moving directly over head is a key. The winds are diverging over the top of western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee, and the Missouri bootheel. The diverging winds actually aids in lifting air.