Thursday, May 26, 2011

Looking Back at Yesterday 5/26

What an amazing day yesterday. The Storm Prediction Center received 962 reports of severe weather from across the country. 82 reports of tornadoes. 396 reports of large hail. 484 reports of high winds.

I have several things things that I am happy about. In no particular order:

1) The forecast panned out just about how I expected it. The time frame forecast was pretty good. I was saying between 1pm and 7pm/8pm for the KFVS viewing area. In reality, I believe the storms started firing up over western Reynolds County, Missouri around 2:30pm. The worst of the storms was out of the KFVS viewing area around 8pm. All modes of severe weather happened. Strong tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

The forecast for Indiana worked out pretty well. I was calling for 4pm to 11pm. Most of the storms occurred during that time. A couple of tornadoes, hail and damaging wind hit central and south central Indiana.

2) After all of the deaths and destruction to our west Sunday and again Tuesday, I am EXTREMELY happy to say we got through yesterday without ANY deaths or major injuries. This is largely because you kept alert to the weather situation. You planned ahead. Thank you for being proactive and heeding warnings!

I have had some question the "over-hyping" of yesterday's storms. Both leading up to the storms and during the storms. I want to say I do not think we over-hyped the dangerous weather situation leading up to yesterday or during the event itself.

We were playing up the severe weather possibilities because we believed it could get bad. You will not hear me, on tv or online, talking up a storm that I do not believe could be a big deal.

We (meteorologists, KFVS-TV and the National Weather Service) were very concerned about what could happen yesterday. It was a very serious situation. I know for one, I did not want to have to hear about deaths occurring in our viewing area. This may sound weird, but I take that very personally. I never want to see anyone die, but especially when it happens on my watch.

Here are a couple of examples as to why we "hyped" the storms yesterday.

This is video of the tornado that moved through Greenville, Missouri:

This is a video of a tornado that moved through Silva, Missouri. The video was taken from Patterson, Missouri:

And here is a picture of the tornado that moved through Ellsinore, Missouri.

From the little bit of video I looked at last night, I am guessing it will be rated an EF-3. The National Weather Service is out in Carter County today surveying the damage and they will have their assessments out over the coming days.

The above image and videos should explain why we do what we do. Everyone in the weather community wants to keep people safe. We want to keep people alive.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"High Risk" for Today 5/25

As expected, the Storm Prediction Center has upgraded parts of the "Moderate Risk" area to a rare "High Risk" in their latest Day 1 Outlook. The outlook covers the time period from now through 7am Thursday.

Places especially in the "High Risk" and "Moderate Risk" should pay close attention to the weather today/tonight.

I still think the window for the "big show" in the KFVS viewing area is from 1pm through 7pm or 8pm.

The window for central Indiana is 4pm to 11pm.

All severe weather types will be possible with storms that develop including large, long tracked tornadoes and very large haul.

Take a couple of minutes and think about what you will do or where you should go if you are at work when a Tornado Warning is issued for your location. Also, make sure you have a way to be alerted to warnings.

We've had some horrible weather damage to our west the last couple of days and I definitely do not want to see that happen here. Let's keep our record clean!

Upgrade Likely 5/25

The Storm Prediction Center is likely to upgrade much of the KFVS viewing area from a "Moderate Risk" to a "High Risk" of severe weather for later today and tonight.

The new Day 1 Outlook is due out around 8:00am CT.

- Posted from my iPhone

6:25am Weather Update

Everything seems to be intact with the going forecast. There are a few storms moving just to the north and northwest of the KFVS viewing area (southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and northeast Arkansas). Most of this activity should remain over far northern counties of the area.

Right now we have a bit of a protective shield that has moved in to the area. The shield has moved in from down in Tennessee and Arkansas. The shield I am talking about is the "cap".

The cap is indicated in the blue shaded area in the above map. Basically, it is warm air aloft that is in place a few thousand feet in the air. The warm air limits vertical development of the storms/clouds.

In order to break the cap we need something to come along and upset the warm air aloft. That should happen a little later as the nose of a strong jet stream moves in from the southwest. Computer models have been suggesting that could happen between 12pm and 2pm. Once that happens we will start to see thunderstorms go up quickly.

The reason storms will go up quickly is due to the amount of instability we will have in place. We already have instability overhead. Look at the map above. The solid red lines indicates the CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) in place. The higher the number, the higher the instability. Give it a few hours to "percolate" and those should go up to the 3,000 range.

- Posted from my iPhone

1:00am Weather Update 5/25

I've been eyeing the south central Illinois area for the "prime spot" for Wednesday's storms. Tonight's 0z computer model data keeps my interest peeked for that area for early Wednesday afternoon through early evening.

The Storm Prediction Center keeps all of the KFVS viewing area (southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and northeast Arkansas) in a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather Wednesday.

The SPC forecasters have shifted the moderate risk area slightly north and northeast from Tuesday's forecasts.

I am still holding pretty steady with what I mentioned in my previous post. All modes of severe weather (hail, wind an tornadoes) will be possible. I still think the general time frame of the "main event" will be from 1pm until 7pm or 8pm.

I need some sleep. It's likely to be a busy day tomorrow.

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All Eyes Focused on Wednesday 5/24

There has been a lot of severe weather around the region in the last couple of days and the biggest headline has been the Joplin, Missouri tornado. As of the time I am writing this, 117 people have been killed. My thoughts go out to the people of Joplin.

Somehow the national media (CNN, Associated Press, etc) have been calling this the deadliest tornado in U.S. history. That is incorrect. The deadliest tornado in U.S. history was the 1925 Tri-State tornado which killed 695 people. It killed 234 people in Murphysboro, Illinois. The tornado was on the ground for 219 miles and produced 3.5 hours of continuous destruction. The National Weather Service in Paducah, Kentucky has a nice web page with additional information on the Tri-State Tornado.

The correct information regarding the Joplin tornado is it is currently tied for #8 all time in deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history. It is also the deadliest tornado since 1947.

Now, regarding the Wednesday severe weather threat. The Storm Prediction Center has a large swath of the midwest in a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather from 7am Wednesday through 7am Thursday.

(Click the image to see a larger version.)

The Moderate Risk area includes all of the KFVS viewing area (southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and northeast Arkansas).

Here is a wider view of the outlook for 7am Wednesday - 7am Thursday. The "Moderate Risk" area includes places like Indianapolis, Columbus (IN), Bloomington (IN), Evansville.

(Click the image to see a larger version.)

There are a lot of elements in play for tomorrow. We've got a surface low that will be tracking through Missouri. We've got a strong jet stream that is going to rotate through bringing strong winds aloft. Computer models are also suggesting there will be diverging winds as you go higher in the atmosphere. (The diverging winds are something I pay special attention to when it comes to determining a storm chase forecast.)

All modes of severe weather will be possible tomorrow. The main threat appears to be tornadoes, damaging wind and large hail. In particular, some of the tornadoes could be strong and long-tracked meaning they have the potential to stay on the ground for a while.

The main time frame I am most concerned about is from 1pm CT through 8pm CT in the KFVS viewing area. Times will be a little later for central Indiana (maybe 4pm ET to 11pm ET).

Also, there will likely be some morning storms. These will be the "leftovers" from storms that develop in Oklahoma, Kansas and western Missouri this afternoon/evening.

I know everyone's senses are heightened after we went through in April and the Joplin tornado. What I said above is not meant to scare anyone. It is meant to present information, as I see it, so you can stay informed. It is important to know what could be coming.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you do not have a NOAA weather radio PLEASE pick one up. They really can be lifesavers. I strongly believe that every home, business and school should have one. They are just as important as smoke detectors.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

8am Weather Update 5/21

I have had rain in the weekend forecast all week. I don't think it's going to be a widespread wash out. There will be periods of dry and then a period or two of rain.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and northeast Arkansas in a "Slight Risk" are for severe thunderstorms.

The main threat appears to be wind.

SPC also has the area in a "Slight Risk" for severe thunderstorms 7am Sunday through 7am Monday.

We are going to get in to an unsettled weather pattern for the next several days.

As of right now, I still think Memorial Day weekend is looking fine weather wise. *That is subject to change. Haha

I am back in this afternoon. Hopefully you won't have to see me on tv too much interrupting programs.

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wet Pattern Shaping Up Again 5/18

Yes, I'm still alive. It has been a little while since I last updated the site. I have been taking a slight breather after all the craziness in April.

I wanted to get out in front of something that looks to be coming our way. I have been mentioning on the air for the last couple of days that we could be turning back in to a wet pattern again. Computer forecast models are continuing to indicate that. Generally speaking, the pattern shift would begin late Friday night or more likely Saturday and continue through Thursday.

Forecast models are hinting at anywhere from 2" to as much as 4.5" of rain Saturday through Wednesday. Oftentimes the models have a hard time of narrowing down the specifics of "how much" will fall but the key is looking for trends in the forecast models. If there is an indication of 4" of rain, it peeks my interest.

I'm not saying we are going to see what we had in April. I don't think we'll see that again anytime soon. However, everyone is still a little on edge from all of the rain and the ground still remains fairly saturated. I can't imagine 4" of rain, if we get that, will help that situation.

The good news: As of right now Memorial Day Weekend looks to be dry.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Severe Thunderstorm Watch #298

The Storm Prediction Center has issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch #298 for parts of southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and northeast Arkansas.

The watch is in effect until 7:00pm CT Friday evening.

The main threat from thunderstorms will be large hail and some gusty winds.

- Posted from my iPhone

7:00am Weather Update 5/13

The Storm Prediction Center keeps the majority of the KFVS viewing area in a "Slight Risk" for severe weather through 7am Saturday. Main risk is large hail.

- Posted from my iPhone