tornado

MiddayUpdate 11/21/11: More Heavy Rain Coming

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Kentucky Mesonet Rainfall Amounts since Midnight (through 11:30am)

The rain continues to fall over Southern Kentucky.  Even though we’re seeing a little break in the action at Midday there will be more heavy rain potential tonight and again Tuesday.

We’ve seen nearly 8-tenths of an inch of rain in Bowling Green since midnight with many other locations already over an inch.

Flooding has not been an issue in Southern Kentucky thus far thanks to the various “waves” the rains have moved.  If these heavy rains had been continuously steady it might be a different story.

A cold front is stalled over the region and will continue to sit still tonight as another wave of low pressure moves along the front.  This will bring back more heavy rainfall overnight along with a few thunderstorms.

WBKO's StormCondition Index

The front is stationary now but will begin to move eastward tomorrow evening.  Ahead of the front, instability will increase as we go from one round of storms tomorrow morning – followed by a break – then a second, stronger round of storms into the late afternoon and evening.

During the break between tomorrow morning and tomorrow evening we could see some sunshine break through which could destabilize the atmosphere even more.  Should this happen, the threat for severe storms is almost a sure bet as the cold front moves through.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed almost all of Kentucky under a SLIGHT RISK for severe storms tomorrow with a 30% risk of those storms becoming severe over Southern Kentucky.  We have issued a StormCon Index of 3 for tomorrow afternoon and evening for this threat.  The possible impacts from these storms would be damaging winds, large hail, heavy rains and even some isolated tornadoes.

Continue to monitor changing weather conditions the next 24 hours and prepare now for the possibility we could be in for strong to severe storms by Tuesday afternoon.

Monday’s Severe Weather Potential

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WBKO's Storm Condition Index is a 2 out of 10 today.

It’s been a while but we could see strong to severe storms in portions of the WBKO viewing area late this afternoon and into this evening.

A slow moving cold front is parked to our west while a surge of Gulf moisture and strong, shearing winds are providing the necessary ingredients for rain and thunderstorms…some of which could become rotating storms with the potential for damaging winds.

For that reason, we’re going to issue a StormCon Index of 2 for late this afternoon and evening across much of South Central Kentucky.  This means there is a 2-in-10 chance that any thunderstorm that develops could produce damaging winds and possibly even a weak tornado.

Storm Prediction Center Tornado Probabilities

While the tornado threat is lowest here in Southern Kentucky, there is a 10% chance of tornadoes mainly along and north of the Ohio River into Southern Indiana and Southwest Ohio.

As you can see from the SPC graphic above, the areas from near Dayton, OH southwest into Indianapolis to near Evansville are in that 10% probability zone.

While all the ingredients necessary for severe storms are available, it’s all a matter of timing and if any surface instability can come into play during the afternoon and evening hours.  If we see a lot of sun breaking through the clouds today, our severe weather probabilities will be elevated a little higher.  However, if we can keep the sky mostly cloudy with very little sunshine, our severe weather threat will be lower.

Stay connected to WBKO and WBKO.com on your PC and smartphone with text alerts, interactive radar and further updates on this potential severe weather situation.

 

Lessons Learned from the National Weather Association Conference

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A room filled with big screens, iPads, tablets, laptops and smartphones during one of the weather sessions in Birmingham

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.

Twisted metal beams remain buried in debris in parts of Tuscaloosa

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.

Part of a Cullman, AL neighborhood - from this past Thursday

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.

A shell of a structure in Cullman in the midst of rebuilding

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.

A strip of University Blvd. in Tuscaloosa - untouched ruin from April 27th next to a recently installed street light

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.

Sunday Update: Lee will bring us more rain

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Tropical Storm Lee - latest National Hurricane Center Forecast

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.

5-day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) through Friday

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.

Monday Evening Forecast Map

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.

 
Tuesday Evening Forecast Map

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.

 

SEVERE TSTORM WATCH until 8pm CDT

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WBKO Watch/Warning map

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH until 8:00pm CDT for Adair, Allen, Barren, Breckinridge, Butler, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Hopkins, Larue, Logan, McLean, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Russell, Simpson, Taylor, Todd and Warren in KY…Clay, Macon, Robertson and Sumner in TN.

The complex of thunderstorms (mentioned in my previous post) is moving into Western Kentucky now and is moving southeast at 50 mph.  This means it could impact the Bowling Green area around 1:30pm with gusty winds, intense lightning and even large hail.

A couple of Tornado Warnings have been issued as of 12:30pm for Livingston County, KY and Pope County, IL with reports of trees down and wind gusts to 70mph but no confirmed tornadoes as of this posting.  There are also a number of power outages with trees down in Paducah area.

Chris’ Monday Morning Weather Briefing 6/27/11

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Doppler Radar showing a complex of storms and strong winds over Illinois

SHORT TERM:
A series of thunderstorm complexes will move through the area starting this morning as a warm front slowly continues to slide across the Commonwealth. The leading edge of these complexes will produce gusty winds of up to 40-50mph, lightning, heavy rainfall and some hail. This will be followed by a couple hours of steady rains.

SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK:
A SLIGHT RISK of severe storms exists over Kentucky today with the primary threats being damaging winds. Some hail and even a brief tornado is possible. For that reason, we’re showing a level 3 Storm Condition Index for today.

REST OF THE WORK WEEK:
Wednesday begins the stretch of nice weather for our area. High pressure will mean mainly sunny skies, and afternoon highs will return to the low 90s by Friday.

4TH OF JULY WEEKEND PREVIEW:
Saturday will start nice but will end up hot and muggy as high temperatures soar into the mid 90s. A disturbance will move in for Sunday with a slight chance of thunderstorms with highs cooling a bit into the upper 80s. There may also be a chance of showers on Independence Day, Monday.

TODAY:
StormCon Index: 3
Partly Sunny, Chance of Thunderstorms…High 88, winds S-13

TONIGHT:
Showers and Thunderstorms…Low 72, winds SW-6

TUESDAY:
Mostly Cloudy, Chance of Thunderstorms…High 88, winds NW-9

NEW Tornado Watch until 8pm CDT

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Tornado Watch until 8:00pm CDT general outline area

The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO WATCH until 8:00pm CDT for Adair, Allen, Barren, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Green, Hart, Larue, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Russell, Simpson, Taylor and Warren counties in Kentucky…Clay, Macon, Robertson and Sumner counties in Tennessee.

Already, severe storms are breaking out along a moisture axis that is just east of the Bowling Green area stretching down into Middle Tennessee northeastward toward the Lexington area.  A few of these discrete supercellular storms that have formed around the Lexington area have turned tornadic with several warnings but no confirmed touchdowns.

The primary threat for severe storms and possible tornadoes will be mainly east of I-65 this afternoon in the Lake Cumberland region northeastward toward Green River Lake and into Central Kentucky.

NEW Tornado Watch until Midnight

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New Tornado Watch (in bright red) from Bowling Green southeast into Tennessee

A new tornado watch has been issued for Allen, Barren, Clinton, Cumberland, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson and Warren counties in Kentucky.  This watch also includes Clay, Macon, Robertson and Sumner counties in Tennessee until 12 midnight.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued this watch because of new thunderstorm development to our west where several severe thunderstorm warnings are being issued and will be running into an environment where storm strengthening is possible and some rotation.

Tornado Watch until 10am CDT

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Current Tornado Watch until 10am CDT

TORNADO WATCH until 10AM CDT for: Adair, Allen, Barren, Breckinridge, Butler, Christian, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Hopkins, Larue, Logan, McLean, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Simpson, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Warren Counties.

The thunderstorms we’re seeing right now over Southern Kentucky are not severe (as of 3:30am CDT) but are rather strong with lots of lightning and thunder and heavy downpours.  The main threat for tornadoes may come with a developing large bow echo of thunderstorms now in Missouri but will arrive in Southern Kentucky sometime after sunrise.

This Weekend: StormCon Index 3

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WBKO's Storm Condition Index - Level 3 Friday, Saturday and Sunday

WBKO’s exclusive StormCon (Storm Condition) Index will stay at a level 3 today, Saturday and Sunday.

This means there is a 3-in-10, or 30% chance that any storm could become severe with the main threats being the potential for large hail (quarter size or larger), damaging winds of 50-60 mph (possibly higher), intense lightning and very heavy rainfall.

This afternoon we will likely see new thunderstorms develop west of I-65.  Some of the storms may form into a cluster of stronger storms which could produce drenching downpours and hail.  We’re also watching a complex of thunderstorms dropping out of Missouri and Illinois which could affect our area later today or this evening.

WBKO’s StormCon Index was developed over two years ago to provide viewers with a better understanding of the overall threat for severe storms – not just the tornado threat.  In Southern Kentucky, many other elements of severe weather (besides tornadoes) impact our lives and property on a more frequent basis such as lightning, flash flooding and damaging winds.  The “level” is based on a scale of 1 to10 (1 being the lowest threat, 10 being the highest) which hopefully gives viewers of WBKO a better idea how to plan their day.

This weekend’s “level 3″ SCI is on the low end of the scale and means there is a 30% chance that any thunderstorm could become severe and produce large hail, damaging winds, intense lightning and heavy rains.