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.


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.

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

The “Weather” Channel

The other day, The Weather Channel had a nice little clip talking about the New Madrid Fault Zone, which is an active earthquake zone in the Mid-Mississippi Valley region. Most of the earthquakes are too small to be felt, with perhaps 1 a year being noticeable to most people. Check out the video here: New Madrid Fault Zone.  Overall, it is pretty informative, a very large quake nowadays would devastate Memphis and cause damage to St. Louis, Evansville, Louisville, and even Cincinnati. The main reason an earthquake here would so damaging is because the ground under the region is mostly loose silt and soft earth, whereas a large earthquake in say, Los Angeles, would be less ranging b/c of the mountain ranges and mostly rocky base throughout the region. While a powerful earthquake, especially the ones of 1811-1812 that reversed the flow of the Mississippi for roughly 3 days and was even felt in New York City, is unlikely anytime soon, retrofitting buildings isn’t such a bad idea.

However, WTF does this have to do with weather!!?!  Last time I checked, there aren’t Earthquakes on the Eights or Seismic Stories on the programming, so why bother even reporting about this? Granted, more people probably know somebody who’s a meteorologist than seismologist or geologist, but for some reason being a meteorologist is layman’s terms for “all-knowing scientist”. While “The Geology Channel” doesn’t quite have that ring to it, perhaps TWC should stick to what’s going on above the ground rather than below it. Then again, if there’s anything going on in the Atlanta area, you wouldn’t be hearing about your own weather anyways.


Zimbabwe is located in southern Africa, landlocked west of Mozambique. As it happens, they are also north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and experience a tropical climate. The heat and humidity are tempered by their elevation, which is predominantly high plateau. Their rainy and dry season correlate with our winter and summer, respectively, as the ITCZ pivots north and south during the year. Every once in a while, the western parts of the country get a little bit cooler as a cold front associated with a low over the south Atlantic will actually break the heat in their winter.
Zimbabwe has a meteorological services division, however their site is flagged by the internet as being an attack site, so so much for that.

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