Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 18-21 Severe Weather Reports

The NWS Huntsville has posted a summary of the amazing 4 days of hailstorms in North Alabama last week.

Note that my report is listed at 6:17 p.m. on Thursday 4/20 under "trained spotter".

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hail Photos From Vinemont







Severe Weather Photos










Severe Thunderstorm in Vinemont

Here in Vinemont, across from the school, we had 1.38" of rain in less than an hour, 1" size hail, and flash flooding. Water was a little over two feet deep in one low spot. There was no sign of high wind or cloud rotation from my vantage point in here in Vinemont. The heavy rain and fog from the hail made it impossible to see the sky, though. The worst of the storm was between 6:15 and 6:30.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 7, 2006 Severe Weather Forecast and Preparedness Issues

Was the High Risk Forecast a Bust?In hindsight, the high risk area might have been centered a little too far south. Nevertheless, the facts will bear out that this event met the criteria for a high risk. One of the problems was that this was the first time the SPC issued the high risk that far in advance. That, in itself, made many people think this might be the worst outbreak ever. I'm not saying it should have had that effect, but it did. I am amazed at the accuracy of the SPC. They do an amazing job of predicting large areas of severe weather. The problem remains pinpointing where that weather will be. That is the biggest challenge in forecasting tornadoes and severe weather and probably always will be. I remember back on 4/8/98, the Oak Grove tornado was in the south portion of the high risk area, and much less severe weather was reported further north in the bulk of the high risk area. That didn't make it a bust. We need to look at is what is meant by "bust". To me, it would have been a bust if there were a couple of F0-F1 tornadoes and very little damage. I'd like to here other opinions. There have been at least three F3's reported. According to the SPC, a "High Risk" is defined, in part, as, "a major severe weather outbreak is expected, with great coverage of severe weather and enhanced likelihood of extreme severe (i.e., violent tornadoes or extreme convective wind events over a large area). Within a high risk area, expect at least 20 tornadoes with at least 2 of them rated F3+". When all the surveys are completed, I have no doubt that this event exceeds those criteria. Read the attached from Huntsville NWS, Nashville NWS, and the NSV NWS Blog before jumping to conclusions about the accuracy of the SPC. Nine lives were lost in Gallatin, TN and three were lost in McMinnville, TN. I would grade the SPC at least an "A-" on this forecast. I think the high risk was issued too soon and that it would have been better if it was centered 50-100 miles further north. Nevertheless, it was an amazingly accurate forecast, several days in advance. I think the SPC has set such a high standard of success that we are a bit spoiled.Was it a mistake or an overreaction for Alabama school administrators to dismiss school early?I for one agree with the schools closing early. Schools are not the safest place in the world to be during a tornado, but the real danger was in children travelling home from school during severe weather. Where I work, my director closed our office early at 1:30 because she did not want any of us to be on the road in our cars while there was a PDS tornado watch and a high risk of severe weather. The Tennessee storms began forming around 10 a.m. between Pine Bluff, AR, Memphis, TN, and Clarksville, TN. I think that's where the cap was able to break first. What if conditions were slightly different and the first wave formed 50-100 miles further south, as predicted by the SPC? The tornadoes would have been much more intense and numerous in Alabama. Not only that, but they would have been on the ground while children were travelling home from school between 3 and 4 p.m. No one knew exactly where and when these tornadoes would be until about 10-20 minutes before they hit. Therefore I support and applaud school administrators for "erring on the side of caution" and "taking the course of least regret". They followed the forecast of the SPC and I cannot fault them for that. I think we should all be thankful that things were not much worse in Alabama this time. Our time will come, though, and I hope we all learn some lessons from this experience, so that when our time does come, we have no loss of life. Alabama WILL have more F3-F5 tornadoes. My hope is that when those occur that no lives are lost.

New Blog...

Due to the active weather, my personal blog, http://mikewx.blogspot.com/, has become a little too dominated with weather posts. I decided that I should begin a new blog, completely dedicated to weather, especially Alabama weather. I hope that you find it as interesting to read as I find it to put together. I am open to any comments or suggestions that you may have. Thanks for reading!

Severe Weather Info 4/7/06

I saw two amazing hail events...one near Hartselle and a few minutes later, at 10:49, I saw tennis ball sized hail one mile north of Falkville...---Tornado on the ground at hwy 150/400 just north of Courtland in Lawrence Co 9:07...---No new damage reports lately, but numerous reports of large hail. At about 8:50, there were reports of funnels and tornadoes sigted north of Hamilton near Hackelburg.---WAFF storm spotter Jeff Gray getting pelted by golfball sized hail on tha AL/TN line at 7:50 p.m.---"Major wall cloud" spotted by Spencer with WHNT, SW of Athens at 7:32......Spotter reports tornado in Ardmore... 7:36 p.m....---Debris near I-65 McDonalds at Athens exit, per WHNT TV---WHNT 19 is showing video of two possible funnel clouds...one on the Morgan/Lawrence line and one in northern Limestone...---Funnel Cloud near Coxey, Limestone Co, at 6:52, reported by amateur radio spotters.---Storms appear to be clustering in NW AL and rainfall area increasing...that would be encouraging news that instability might be decreasing in that area...---Power outages and large oak trees down in Colbert Co...per WAFF---Colbert EMA reports that people are trapped in the home in Colbert Heights, Underwood Mt Road, but they are ok. The New Bethel FD was on the way to help but were delayed by trees down on the road...---Damage Report: Colbert EMA reports barn damage 5835 Underwood Mt Rd, south of Tuscumbia...---Funnel Cloud forming out of the wall cloud near Florence on WAFF Shoals Tower Cam.---Things have blown up like crazy in MS since I last wrote. I travelled back to Cullman from Huntsville. There are now numerous tornado warnings in N MS and NW AL at this time (5:54 p.m.) WAFF reports that NWS reported a tornado on the ground in Lauderdale Co.---Death toll is now up to 7 in TN---Latest from the SPC...here is an exerpt from the latest convective outlook...There is a 60% probability of F2 or greater tornadoes within 25 miles of any given point in North AL. I've never seen an outlook with that high of a value, ever.1930Z VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS AN EXPANDING CUMULUS FIELDOVER NRN LA...SERN AR AND NW MS. AS LARGE-SCALE ASCENT INCREASESAHEAD OF THE APPROACHING TROUGH...RAPID SUPERCELL INITIATION SHOULDTAKE PLACE JUST AHEAD OF A LOW TO MID-LEVEL JET PUNCHING INTO THEAREA. AS THE JET PUNCHES EWD ACROSS NRN MS AND NRN AL...SHEARPROFILES WILL BECOME VERY FAVORABLE FOR LONG-LIVED STRONG TORNADICSUPERCELLS. AN OUTBREAK OF STRONG TORNADOES SHOULD OCCUR ACROSS NRNAND CNTRL MS...NRN AL AND SCNTRL TN. AS THE STORMS TRACKENEWD...SEVERAL LONG-LIVED VIOLENT TORNADOES NOW APPEAR INCREASINGLYLIKELY AS A 50 KT LOW-LEVEL JET FEEDS NWD INTO THE TORNADIC STORMSACROSS NRN MS...NRN AL AND SCNTRL TN. THE THREAT OF STRONG TOVIOLENT TORNADOES WILL CONTINUE AS INTENSE TORNADIC SUPERCELLS MOVEENEWD THIS AFTERNOON ACROSS SRN TN...NRN AL AND POSSIBLE AS FAR EASTAS NWRN GA.---People just south of Nashville need to take cover as a monster supercell is headed up I40 towards Davidson County.---From Jackson, MS...BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED TORNADO WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS 348 PM CDT FRI APR 7 2006 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON HAS ISSUED A * TORNADO WARNING FOR... NORTHERN MOREHOUSE PARISH IN NORTHEAST LOUISIANA THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF BASTROP * UNTIL 445 PM CDT * AT 348 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 12 MILES WEST OF BASTROP...MOVING EAST AT 55 MPH. * THE TORNADO IS EXPECTED TO BE NEAR... BASTROP BY 355 PM CDT... IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING BASEBALL OR LARGER SIZE HAIL AND DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS. SPOTTERS HAVE REPORTED A FUNNEL CLOUD WITH THIS STORM OVER UNION PARISH.---Monster Supercell west of Nashville now on I40 at 3:52. This cell was a small, thin east-west mini-line when it developed east of Memphis. Once it moved into a more favorable environment it exploded into a huge supercel. There are now tornado warnings with this cell.---Tornado emergency for SE Williamson and Maury Co., TN according to WTVF, Nashville. 3:43 p.m.---Check this out from NSV NWS...BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED TORNADO WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NASHVILLE TN ISSUED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MORRISTOWN TN 325 PM CDT FRI APR 7 2006 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NASHVILLE HAS ISSUED A * TORNADO WARNING FOR... BEDFORD COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE MARSHALL COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE MAURY COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF COLUMBIA RUTHERFORD COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE WILLIAMSON COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE * UNTIL 415 PM CDT * AT 321 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO NEAR COLUMBIA...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION. TAKE COVER NOW!!---Storms now firing in north MS 3:15 pm ...---AT 304 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO 11 MILES SOUTHWEST OF EDMONTON, KY...MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH.---Tornado on the ground near CincinnatiTornado on the ground I65 Near Louisville, KY near Sellersville...Tornadoes are on the ground now as far north as Indiana.---Storms are now firing in NE Louisiana. These will later blossom into supercells and roll through MS and AL. These storms will increase in severity and coverage. I expect that these can spawn large long track tornadoes.---Damage in Gallatin and people trapped in the Volunteer State Community College. Minor injuries reported at this time. Another possible headed toward Gallatin.---Tornado on the ground just north of Nashville, near exit 97, Goodletsville. Damage in Charlotte, TN

Tornado Warning, Carroll Co. TN - First Report of a tornado so far today.

---PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOKNWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK1217 PM CDT FRI APR 07 2006...OUTBREAK OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND TORNADOES EXPECTED OVERPARTS OF THE LOWER/MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY....TENNESSEE/OHIOVALLEYS AND SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT...THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER IN NORMAN OK IS FORECASTING THEDEVELOPMENT OF WIDESPREAD SEVERE STORMS INCLUDING A FEWSTRONG...LONG-TRACK TORNADOES OVER PARTS OF MISSISSIPPI...ALABAMA...AND TENNESSEE.THE AREAS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE THIS ACTIVITY INCLUDENORTHERN ALABAMANORTHERN MISSISSIPPIWESTERN AND MIDDLE TENNESSEESURROUNDING THE HIGH RISK AREA...THERE IS A MODERATE RISK OF SEVERETHUNDERSTORMS FROM THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY NORTHEASTWARD INTOTHE OHIO VALLEY AND SOUTHERN APPALACHIANSAN UPPER STORM SYSTEM OVER THE CENTRAL PLAINS WILL MOVE SEWD TOWARDSTHE LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY TODAY AND TONIGHT. IN ADVANCE OF THISSYSTEM...BROAD LOW LEVEL LIFT COMBINED WITH INCREASING LOW LEVELMOISTURE AND INSTABILITY WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OFSCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS FROM THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI AND TENNESSEEVALLEYS NORTHEASTWARD INTO THE OHIO VALLEY AND SOUTHERN APPALACHIANSTHIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT. STRONG LOW-MID LEVEL WIND FIELDSCOMBINED WITH MODERATE TO VERY STRONG INSTABILITY WILL SUPPORTSUPERCELL STORMS WITH THE LIKELIHOOD FOR TORNADOES /SOME POTENTIALLYVIOLENT/...VERY LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS.ONGOING SEVERE SUPERCELL STORMS ACROSS WESTERN TENNESSEE AND WESTERNKENTUCKY WILL REMAIN CAPABLE OF PRODUCING TORNADOES...VERY LARGEHAIL AND STRONG...DAMAGING WINDS.EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG LOW LEVEL WIND SHEAR OVER PORTIONS OF THETENNESSEE AND LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEYS WILL AID IN THE POTENTIALFOR A FEW LONG-TRACK STRONG TORNADOES WITH THE SUPERCELLTHUNDERSTORMS. THE HIGHEST RISK OF STRONG LONG-TRACK TORNADOES WILLBE FROM NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI/WESTERN TENNESSEE EASTWARD THROUGHMIDDLE TENNESSEE AND NORTHERN ALABAMA THIS AFTERNOON INTO THEEVENING.THIS IS POTENTIALLY A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. THOSE IN THETHREATENED AREA ARE URGED TO REVIEW SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY RULES ANDTO LISTEN TO RADIO...TELEVISION...AND NOAA WEATHER RADIO FORPOSSIBLE WATCHES...WARNINGS...AND STATEMENTS LATER TODAY...PETERS/HALES.. 04/07/2006

SPC Latest Outlook - High Risk ExpandedPDS Tornado Watch #163PDS Tornado Watch Issued for Alabama MESOSCALE DISCUSSION #454

Storms are firing rapidly between Pine Bluff, AR and Memphis and especially between Memphis and Clarksville, TN at 10:43.It has been mostly sunny in Decatur all morning. I walked at 10-10:15 and it was also very muggy and very windy. It feels like the humidity has really increased.First Tornado Watch of the DayTornado Outlook, SPC, 7:16 a.m. 4/7/06Storms are already firing in northwest MS and western TN. by 8 am.

MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0453 Here is one of the best sites to stay weather aware throughout the day.