All posts by Ryan

This is the type of thing you don’t want to see out your window

More from the deadly tornado that cut Mississippi in half on Saturday. CNN has a video of the looming EF4 tornado that eventually devastated Yazoo City and a large swath of Mississippi. It ended up having a path of almost 100 miles, at times wider than a mile and a half. Fortunately, a twister of this duration and intensity is rare, but is the reason meteorologists so intently monitor the weather, and why storm chasers are so important. Naturally, Victoria-Weather extends our condolences to those who lost friends and loved ones in last weekends storms.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

We’re headed out east to Allentown again with today’s forecast. For some reason, the Victoria-Weather Scheduletron 3000 likes to latch on to some cities over and over again for a couple of months. Allentown appears to be one of those cities early in 2010.

At 451PM, ET, Allentown was reporting cloudy skies and a temperature of 50 degrees. An east wind was indicative of the strong area of low pressure still found to the southwest of Allentown. The upper level low that has been the cause of so many problems over the center of the country of late is now centered south of the Great Lakes, extending an occluded front through Pennsylvania, where the fronts split at the occlusion point. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for western Pennsylvania, and Allentown happens to currently sit to the north of the warm front. In the warm sector, isolated thunderstorms are cropping up over Maryland’s Eastern Shore and parts of Delaware, all shifting to the northeast.
The jet aiding in the sustenance of the low will steer the system in a more typically winterlike pattern. The low will lose a lot of it’s organization and intensity and will stall over New England over the next two days. Overcast skies will continue for most of the next two days. Tomorrow will certainly see some rain for most of the day, though most of the day will be dry on Tuesday.
Tomorrow – Rain likely, High 59, Low 48
Tuesday – Early morning showers, then clearing slightly, High 57, Low 42 (Non Standard)

TWC: Tomorrow – Showers early becoming a steady light rain later in the day. Thunder possible. High 58, low 46
Tuesday – A few morning showers., High 61, Low 45

AW: Tomorrow – Rain High 56, Low 47
Tuesday – A blend of sunshine and clouds with a couple of showers, mainly early; breezy High 59, Low 44

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers. High 57, low 46
Tuesday – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 59, Low 44

WB: Tomorrow – Showers. High 57, Low 45
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy in the morning…then becoming partly sunny. High 59, Low 42

A look at the radar shows the thunderstorms entering from the south.

Catching the nasty weather

Johnson City didn’t see quite as much rain as we had called for, but between the two days of our forecast period they did receive over a half an inch of rain, which isn’t peanuts. Like Oklahoma City, the previous city in our forecast repertoire, Johnson City managed to avoid the severe weather, however, which is of course good news, considering the destruction off to their southeast. Weatherbug, who wrote a novel for their forecast, had the top forecast in Johnson City.
Actuals: Friday – .17 inches of rain High 76, Low 46
Saturday – .42 inches of rain, some in thunderstorms, High 77, Low 57

Grade: B

Severe weather steps it up

Yesterday, I highlighted the risk for severe weather in the Lower Mississippi Valley, and we did see widespread severe storms, especially along a line from north central Arkansas to eastern Texas. Most of this was because of wind, as the front rocketed east at 60mph, with thunderstorm gusts compounding the situation.
A merging of the cold and warm front (cold fronts move faster than warm fronts) happens at something called an occlusion, which is representative of the surface low, which works its way down the cold front and introduces an element of turning in the atmosphere that can turn those straight line wind events into widespread tornado outbreaks, as happened today (and the SPC correctly labeled a “high risk” day). A large wedge tornado was on the ground for 200 miles from northeastern Louisiana and across the state of Mississippi before finally lifting.
The long lived twister killed 10, with most of the hardest hit communities were near Vicksburg, Yazoo City and Holmes County. Another tornado dropped near Meridian, and the active pattern has also led to strong thunderstorms in and around Saint Louis, where funnel clouds were also reported. The energy associated with the storm system is still present, and will allow the continued development of strong thunderstorms overnight. Even now there are severe and tornado warnings in the Birmingham area, and any residents of the southeast should be aware that overnight, deadly tornadoes are a distinct possibility.

The Week Ahead 4/25/10-5/1/25

A pretty standard week coming up. With the spring thunderstorm season underway, we should have plenty to talk about!

Sunday – Allentown, Pennsylvania
Tuesday – Road Trip: Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Fayetteville, Arkansas
Friday – Bangor, Maine
Saturday – Kingsport, Tennessee; Road Trip: Bangor to Kingsport

Severe storms raking the Lower Mississippi Valley

A strong system is coming out of the Rockies is generating the southerly flow we expect out of a good Spring severe outbreak. The system doesn’t have the typical vorticity of a massive tornado outbreak, however the storm is strong enough and there is enough potential energy that the storm prediction center has put out a moderate risk for severe weather in the lower Mississippi Valley. It’s projected for where the front will intersect with the strongest inflow from the Gulf will intersect the boundary, which actually isn’t entraining a lot of cool air. Here is a look at where the SPC is most concerned.

The threat is enough for tornadoes that the region, from Nebraska to Missouri and south into Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi that tornado watches are littered about the area. Only a few tornadoes have been reported so far today, a far cry from yesterday when the low over the High Plains generated dozens of mercifully remote twisters. Today, the storms will likely be more of a wind and hail threat for the south central US than tornado, but the threat is enough that residents should be wary. We’ll see how this moderate risk forecast verifies tomorrow.

Dodging the severe weather

It’s been a rough couple of days for the southern US in terms of severe weather. In Oklahoma City, however, they got lucky. It didn’t rain or storm in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, and they avoided any severe storms yesterday. Temperatures were down, which may have prevented the genesis of strong storms in their immediate area, but the bigger deal was that storms developed further west than anticipated and began to die out overnight. Accuweather and The Weather Channel had the top forecasts for the better than expected weather.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 75, Low 57
Thursday – .17 inches of rain, High 75, Low 61

Grade: C

Ames, Iowa to Johnson City, Tennessee

We’re taking off for a 2 day journey from Ames to Johnson City, a journey that covers 931 miles. On the first day, we’ll try to cover about 500 miles on that first day. It’s not an easy, interstate heavy drive down to Johnson City, so we’ll move slowly at about 62mph. We’ll make it though, even though we will deal with quite a few showers and storms along the way.

DAY ONE

A system developing over the center of the country will be shifting into Iowa in the morning, bringing with it some heavy rain.for the beginning of our drive with some isolated thunderstorms embedded with it. Expect heavy rain from Ames to Des Moines as we travel south, then rain continuing, but not as intense as we head towards the Quad Cities. There will be redeveloping showers as the afternoon carries on, with heavy showers possible anytime through the afternoon. Don’t be surprised if we have to pull off the road due to visibilities near Peoria or Champaign. It will still be raining, with some thunder, as we sneak into Indianapolis at the end of the first day.

DAY TWO
Don’t be fooled by the weather at the beginning of the day. We’ll see wet weather to our east and some clearing skies in the morning in Indianapolis, and we’ll be able to enjoy some of it as we head south into Kentucky. The heavy rain will really pick up after we hit Louisville and start veering off towards Lexington then south to Johnson City. We’ll stay just ahead of the crushing rain that will eventually sneak into Johnson City, but we’ll definitely experience it. Have fun with THAT.

Johnson City, Tennessee

We’re headed into the Smokey Mountains and the eastern tip of Tennessee.

At 555PM, ET, Johnson City was reporting clear skies with a temperature of 68 degrees. Weak pressure gradient across the east belied the massive system developing over the High Plains, triggering the first real severe storm outbreak of the season. A warm front is extending into Tennessee is associated with this boundary, but is not developing much by way of precipitation. Even so, the presence of the boundary in Tennessee lends to power of the system in the Plains.
The cause of the system is a cut off upper level low over the western US. The subtropical jet over Mexico will lift north to intercept the low and transport it towards the Tennessee Valley. When the low pushes west it will tap into the Gulf and it’s moisture. The resulting rain and thunderstorms, which will arrive in Johnson City late Friday into Saturday will bring about torrential rains, with 1-2 inches of rain possible to begin the weekend.
Tomorrow – Late rain, High 74, High 51
Saturday – Torrential rain expected in the evening, with thunderstorms possible, High 75, Low 56

TWC: Tomorrow – Showers early then scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 74, Low 50
Saturday – Thundershowers. High 75, Low 55

AW: Tomorrow – Variable cloudiness with a shower High 71, Low 47
Saturday – Mostly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm around High 74, Low 53

NWS: Tomorrow – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 74, Low 48
Saturday – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 2pm. Mostly cloudy High 74, Low 55

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms High 74, Low 48
Saturday – Cloudy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms in the morning…then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. Some storms may be severe in the afternoon. Locally heavy rainfall possible in the afternoon. High 75, Low 55

So that’s it. Doom and gloom coming Saturday. Here you can keep an eye on it as it approaches off to the west.

Sunny south Florida

Our forecast for Naples called for some typically active Floridian weather. Fortunately for them, all the thunderstorms that Florida saw the past two days went up inland, away from Naples and then continued to drift off towards Orlando and Lake Okeechobee. Florida thunderstorms are always tough to pinpoint, but it’s never a good idea to beat against them, regardless of what today’s verification suggests. The top forecast went to Weatherbug.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 79, Low 64
Wednesday – High 78, Low 69

Grade: A