National Weather Service
What better time to think about the safety and security of your loved ones than the holidays.
And we have the perfect gift…a weather radio!
For a small investment of around $30 (depending on the model) and a few batteries, you can have a programmable, alert-ready weather radio to warn a friend or family member wherever they may be!
For the past 7 years, WBKO and the First Alert Storm Team has been in partnership with Midland Radio – the leading manufacturer of all-hazards radios – to bring the significance of having a NOAA Weather Radio as part of an overall personal preparedness plan.
This Saturday, me, Shane and Stephanie will be at the new Walgreens in Leitchfield from 10am to Noon. If you’re in Leitchfield, Grayson County or surrounding areas, this will be your best opportunity to purchase either the desktop model or new portable hand-held radio and have them programmed by us on the spot!
We will be hitting some other newer Walgreens locations in the coming weeks such as the one in Russellville on November 12th and the new Bowling Green store on Scottsville Road at Shive Lane on November 19th.
November is thought of as a “second season” for tornadoes in our part of the country so it not only pays to have a NOAA Weather Radio as a gift to give someone this holiday season but to have ready at your home or office…not “if”, but “when” severe weather strikes.
These radios are programmable so you are only warned for the county or counties that you select. We will be there Saturday from 10am to Noon to assist you with the programming process.
We hope to see you Saturday in Leitchfield!
We’re tracking rain, along with a few thunderstorms on WBKO’s StormTracker Interactive Radar (available at WBKO.com/weather).
While severe storms are not anticipated, a few of these storms may contain some gusty wind and brief heavy downpours of rain. The greatest concentration of lightning appears to be north of Bowling Green from Owensboro eastward to Elizabethtown. Individual clusters of showers and thunderstorms are moving in a northeast fashion and will impact the drive home this afternoon and evening.
All of this activity is ahead of a cold front that will be slipping through the state overnight and into Thursday morning. Some of the rainfall overnight could be heavier with some locations picking up one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain before ending Thursday morning.
Notice on the StormTracker Radar image the drop off in temperatures behind this system. Get ready for much cooler air starting tomorrow with highs reaching only into the 50s during the day and dipping into the 30s the next few nights.
For those of you wondering…I will be back on AM Kentucky and Midday tomorrow morning. Many thanks to Stephanie Midgett for filling in so I could take advantage of the National Weather Association Conference in Birmingham and for a few days extra just to chill.
See you in the AM!
A huge congratulations to John Gordon, the Meteorologist in Charge at the Louisville National Weather Service office for being awarded the “Public Education Award” at the National Weather Association Conference in Birmingham last week for his “Beat The Heat, Check The Backseat” campaign. In addition, students from Western Kentucky University presented a poster of “A Synoptic Hydroclimatology within the Green River Watershed in Kentucky”.
You can click the link above and see picture and video highlights of these presentations. It’s great to do weather in a state where all facets of meteorology are well represented on a national level!
My head hurts.
It could be from the abrupt change in the temperature from Birmingham to Bowling Green but it’s probably more from the depth of information my brain soaked in this week at the 36th Annual National Weather Association Conference.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts from this week, this has been a week of learning from Mother Nature. We all agree that no matter how much we think we know, there is still much to learn. Mysteries remain from the incredible tornado outbreaks of April and May. However, the data that was gathered will go a long way in helping those of us in broadcast meteorology better prepare you for the next outbreak.
The compelling videos, the detailed PowerPoint slides and the chilling recount from those that lived through those killer tornadoes all got to me. And I can attest that TV doesn’t do it justice. Even six months later, there are parts of Alabama…not just Tuscaloosa and Birmingham…that remain in ruin from the EF4 and EF5 tornadoes.
Many of us who do TV weather took time from the comfort of the hotel meeting rooms to venture out to places such as Tuscaloosa, Bessemer, Fultondale and Cullman. When you stand amidst the rubble and easily visualize the path of the tornadoes, you get a cold chill. In some places, only slabs of homes and businesses remain while others either stand condemned or just a shell of what they once were.
Granted, the majority of the affected towns are untouched and life goes on as usual. But the lines of destruction are clearly marked…as if crossing into another dimension…the look of everything changes. You begin to see signs of promise like “We’re Coming Back!” and “You Can’t Keep Us Down”. Driving through some of the neighborhoods in Tuscaloosa you peer through the windows where families are repainting and repairing all they can. I tried putting myself in their position and I can’t even begin to imagine all they’ve been through. Six months later, the storm is still very real.
Being there – where the tornadoes struck – taught me more than any class ever could. Still, there are so many things I still don’t know…we still don’t know. This gathering was more than a bunch of weather geeks getting together and talking shop. It was a learning experience.
Probably the most compelling day of the National Weather Association Conference was the public Town Hall meeting which put those affected by the April 27th tornadoes in the same room with first responders, National Weather Service meteorologists and TV broadcasters.
A cross-section of those living in the path of the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado which killed 238 Alabamians (52 of those in Tuscaloosa) were invited to take part in this special Town Hall to answer questions and offer insight about how they responded to the high risk of weather dangers that unfolded that day.
Using a unique direct-response electronic device, the respondents were asked several questions including “how seriously did you take the tornado warnings that were issued” to “what was your number one source of getting word of the warnings”. The responses showed within seconds on large screens at the Wynfrey Hotel meeting room for all of us to see.
For instance, the respondents said that NOAA weather radio and local TV was their number one source for learning of the severe weather threat and to monitor for warnings.
A few others went on to comment that they trust “the sound of the voice of their local TV weather person” in severe weather situations. Further, the “tone of urgency” in their voice compels people to take further action.
Another question posed to the panel “can there be too much time between the issuance of a warning and the actual storm?” 56% said “No”.
As a member and sealholder of the National Weather Association, I will receive a copy of the entire questionnaire and results of tonight’s Town Hall in the coming weeks. In fact, I think it might be good to hold a version of this meeting in Southern Kentucky. It would be interesting to see if responses to the questions would be answered differently in our area.
I’ll grant you this, tonight’s Town Hall was both enlightening and educational. It was also humbling to hear from some of the actual victims of the tornadoes describe how they watched TV, heard the warnings, lost power and then sought shelter as best they could.
It certainly gives me a whole new perspective on how we cover the weather and I look forward to bringing some of what I’ve learned back home to you.
I’ve got another full day tomorrow including a presentation that I will give to my fellow meteorologists who use WeatherCentral products as we do at WBKO. I will be showing other stations how to use live webcam images with Mesonet data. Apparently, WBKO is one of the few stations in the country that does this on a regular basis!
Day 3 of the National Weather Association Conference in Birmingham was filled with reviews of the April and May tornado outbreaks. Many of the talks centered on the atmospheric setup for each event and how the National Weather Service handled the issuance of warnings on those days.
There was much discussion about the warning polygons themselves. Those are the boxes you see on top of the radar images that show where the potential tornado is located and the direction the storm is moving. One of the NWS mets from the Birmingham office suggested the possibility of extending the length of the polygon from the usual 30 minute warning time to 60 minutes. His thinking is by the time a 30-minute warning is issued, it’s already time to issue another warning after a 10 minute period in order to adequately warn the folks down the line. Therein lies the confusion to those watching TV or trying to keep up with “who” is under the current warning.
In the future, there is some discussion of issuing warnings by zip code. Who doesn’t know their zip code? Many have stated…even to me…that they just don’t understand things like “Northwestern Barren County” or “Eastern Hart County”. Just where are those places and is it going to affect me? Maybe if we started saying “the tornado will hit 42210, 42104 and 42221 in the next 20 minutes that would better grab the attention of those in danger? I don’t know.
The most compelling part of this day was my trip over to Tuscaloosa. My friend Brandon Robinson who does the weather at our sister-station WYMT in Hazard decided to take the 45-minute drive Monday afternoon and asked me to go with him. We were curious to see how much progress in recovery had taken place since the killer tornado struck there on April 27th.
It was eerie to still see the path the EF4 tornado took through one of the main business and residential districts of Tuscaloosa…just missing the hospital and the University. And while I saw damaged homes being rebuilt and a spirit of pride and strength of the people there, there were many homes still in ruin, businesses that will not return and 238 lives that cannot be replaced.
It was chilling to see up close even six months later.
Scenes like these not only motivate me to do my job better but leads me to pray we never have devastation like this in Southern Kentucky…or anywhere for that matter.
Well, I’ve got another full day of training ahead of me.
God bless y’all!
There are a record number of attendees for this year’s National Weather Association Conference in Birmingham.
No doubt this correlates with the record number of tornadoes in 2011.
Today was dedicated to the Broadcasters Workshop. The room was filled with TV weathercasters…from local affiliates to those who work for the major networks including The Weather Channel. In fact, Nick Walker, on-air meteorologist from The Weather Channel welcomed the broadcasters to today’s session.
James Spann, Chief Meteorologist of Birmingham’s ABC 33/40 addressed the broadcasters next talking about the April 27th killer tornadoes that raked through his coverage area. While James was thrown into the national spotlight for his incredible live TV and internet coverage, he reluctantly refrained from getting into specifics stating “the incredible loss of life leaves me speechless”.
Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel then spoke about the year of incredible weather and introduced Dr. Greg Forbes, his colleague on TV during times of severe weather and tornado outbreaks.
Dr. Forbes spoke of the severe weather parameters that led to the incredible tornado outbreak that started Easter weekend and progressed through April 27th. Dr. Forbes was a student of Dr. Ted Fujita during the Super Outbreak of 1974 and made some interesting comparisons to that outbreak and the one from this year.
Not long after Dr. Forbes’ talk, my good friend Davis Nolan of WKRN Channel 2 in Nashville had a great presentation of the incredible flood of May 2010. He showed video of I-24 with cars and buildings floating down the interstate. He also spoke of miscommunication that happened between the National Weather Service and the Corps of Engineers on the release of water from Old Hickory Dam and how this led to much higher water levels in downtown Nashville than was forecast.
One of the more interesting presentations of the day came from Michael Brown of Mississippi State University. His staff surveyed the people of Smithville, MS that was struck by an EF5 tornado of April 27th. There was so much severe weather there that day, their outdoor warning sirens sounded an incredible 4 times…with the last sounding being the killer tornado. Even though the town had 45 minutes of lead time, many thought the tornado warning and the sounding of the outdoor sirens was another false alarm. 24% of those surveyed said when they heard the siren, they took no action. Not only that, many said they wanted to see “proof” the tornado was coming before they would seek shelter.
Not long after this presentation, Jason Senkbeil of the University of Alabama talked about how many people actually sought out shelter from the EF4 tornado that struck Tuscaloosa. When surveyed, an incredible 51% said they did not have a shelter plan!
One of the most moving presentations today was from Brian Davis, meteorologist from KOAM-TV in Joplin, Missouri. He spoke of the May 22nd twister that devastated a huge part of the city and became overwhelmed with emotion as he spoke of the destruction he witnessed. He credited early warning and the use of social media to saving many lives that day.
All in all, it was a great day of presentations, fellowship and learning. I feel very privileged to be in the same room with other TV broadcasters and meteorologists from across the country. I look up to them and regard them as the best in the business.
Tomorrow, more learning and some training on new software that will enhance the weather you see on WBKO!
The forecast for Lee just got a little more interesting.
As you can see from the latest National Hurricane Center map, forecast models now take the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee and send it almost due north into Central Alabama Tuesday evening…Northern Alabama Wednesday evening and into the Nashville area by Thursday evening.
By then, Lee will have been downgraded to a post-tropical depression but will still pack some decent rain with it.
While the heaviest rains will be further east, much of South Central Kentucky looks to receive at least 2-4 inches of rain between now and Friday evening. East of I-65 and into Central/Eastern Kentucky, amounts of 4-6 inches of rain may be realized. The slow movement of the remnants of Lee will certainly cause a few flooded areas – especially in the hillier terrain of Eastern Kentucky where there will be lots of runoff.
We’re just now beginning to see the heaviest rainfall moving into South Central Kentucky this evening as a cold front has now made its way east of Bowling Green and the most northern rain bands around Tropical Storm Lee are converging with the front. This convergence did cause a few severe storms to pop over the area with reports of wind damage early this morning in the Lewisburg area of Logan County. It also caused at least one Tornado Warning in Green County this afternoon but an actual tornado could not be confirmed.
For Labor Day may see a break from the steadier rains and thunderstorms. We’ll keep a 20% chance of a few isolated showers until better moisture from Lee begins to move into the region. So, while there will be a chance of a shower here and there, it should not be enough to dampen your outdoor Labor Day plans.
By Tuesday evening, the remnants of Lee will move into Central Alabama while a big ridge of high pressure will build over the upper Great Lakes down into Texas. This will continue to filter much cooler air into the region while Lee pumps more moisture into the the Tennessee Valley.
The dry ground should be able to soak up most of the rain that falls which will keep us from seeing any serious flooding issues.
Friday we reached 101°.
Today we reached 100°.
Big changes are coming to South Central Kentucky thanks to a season-changing cold front and remnants of what is currently Tropical Storm Lee.
As the latest Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) graphic above shows you, we’re finally looking at some decent rainfall amounts moving in thanks to both the cold front and the tropical system. Already, we are seeing the outer cloud bands of Tropical Storm Lee – along with a few isolated showers – moving through this afternoon. If you check the radar, you’ll notice these showers are moving in a southeast to northwest fashion. It’s a bit unusual but typical on the north side of any tropical system.
Our first best chance for rain will actually come with a cold front…a real COLD front this time…that will begin to influence our weather later tonight. Rain chances start at 20% tonight with a few showers expected mainly west of Bowling Green but will overspread the area during the day on Sunday. We’ll increase the chance of rain to 50% Sunday and up to 70% Sunday night as the front begins moving across South Central Kentucky. There will be a few thunderstorms but we’re not expecting severe weather. Rainfall amounts on Sunday are expected to be around 1/2 inch to 3/4 of an inch.
By Sunday evening the cold front slowly pushes through South Central Kentucky with a 70% chance of rain and thunderstorms while Tropical Storm Lee barely moves just north of New Orleans into southern Mississippi.
By Labor Day morning the cold front begins to slow down even more thanks to the energy from Tropical Storm Lee. We could pick up another 1/2 inch to one inch of rain from the combination of systems. In addition, cooler winds from the north behind the front will make for a breezy day with high temperatures only in the low to mid 70s. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lee will get caught up in the front and begin to pick up some forward momentum as it moves into Central Mississippi.
By Tuesday, Tropical Storm Lee may downgrade to a Tropical Depression but will still throw down some heavy rains and occasionally gusty winds to Eastern Mississippi and Central Alabama. We will continue to see a 40-50% chance of rain here in South Central Kentucky along with a cool and breezy north wind.
By Wednesday afternoon, the depression will move to near Chattanooga and then to near Pikeville by Thursday. We will hang on to a 20-40% chance of showers as long as the remnants of Lee are near us.
All in all, we’re looking at a total of 1.75 to 2.50″ inches of rain from the combination of the cold front and Lee. The combination of clouds, rainfall and a north wind behind the cold front will bring us some of the coolest temperatures we’ve felt around here in a long while. We’ll go from around 89° for a high on Sunday to the mid 70s Labor Day and mid to upper 70s for much of next week. Overnight lows will drop from the low 70s into the 50s.
This holiday weekend is going to be one to remember for those living along the Gulf Coast.
As you can see, millions living in the southern parishes of Louisiana through southern Mississippi into the tip of southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle look to be affected by flooding rains of at least 8-10 inches. Some areas in the southernmost reaches of Louisiana…including the greater New Orleans area may see 15 inches or more of rain as the tropical depression slowly crawls across the region.
You will also notice with this latest update we’re beginning to see better chances for rain as the system moves slowly into central Alabama by Wednesday morning and possibly into middle Tennessee by Wednesday night and Thursday. Should this track hold true, Southern Kentucky may finally see some beneficial soaking rains as we close out next week.
Again, this is all still very preliminary but we’ll continue to track this over the coming days.