Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Severe Weather Potential

An extended period of severe weather potential and heavy rain is possible for much of the Deep South and Lower Mississippi Valley regions this week. Severe weather is possible Wednesday through Saturday in Alabama. Flooding is also a concern. Of greatest concern is that computer models have been strongly indicating for a several days now that there might be a significant tornado outbreak toward the end of the week, perhaps around Friday or Saturday.

There has been some very strong wording coming out of National Weather Service Offices, the Storm Prediction Center, and broadcast meteorologists.

In yesterday's forecast discussion, the Memphis NWS stated, "SUPERCELLS MAY DEVELOP AND PRODUCE TORNADOES AND VERY LARGE HAIL. THE HIGH INSTABILITY SUGGEST A POSSIBLE OUTBREAK WITH SIGNIFICANT TORNADOES..." (on Friday).

This morning, the Jackson NWS, in its Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO) stated, "AN EVEN MORE POWERFUL STORM STORM SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS THE AREA FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT. A VERY UNSTABLE AIRMASS COMBINED WITH STRONG WIND SHEAR COULD SET THE STAGE FOR A SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK...INCLUDING THE POSSIBILITY FOR VERY LARGE HAIL AND SEVERAL TORNADOES. "

Yesterday (Monday) morning the NWS Birmingham posted this statement at the end of it's HWO: "SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...ACTIVATION OF STORM SPOTTERS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WILL BE NEEDED...WEDNESDAY NIGHT...THURSDAY...FRIDAY...AND SATURDAY MORNING." It is unusual for the "spotter call to action statement" to mention activation may be necessary more than one day in advance. I cannot recall it ever using the term "will" as opposed to "may", especially several days in advance. It may happen more often but I haven't noticed it. They also posted a confidence level of 2 out of a possible 5 for Friday. Today that was bumped up to 3/5 for Wednesday through early Saturday.

I discussed the situation this morning with friends who are planning on chasing; John and Jennifer. Jennifer has a very good post about this potential event on her blog. I encourage everyone to check out her summary. I will be attending the SE Severe Weather Symposium Friday and Saturday which may (in a very cruel and ironic twist of fate) hinder or limit my opportunity to chase. Having said that, the main uncertainty with this system is timing.

I just read an excellent summary and description of how the event may unfold by WFSA's Josh Johnson at Alabamaskies.com. He provides a very good summary and an eduacational description of how all of the ingredients could evolve into a rough week of weather in Alabama.

Last but not least:
I am really hoping that all Alabamians (as well as our neighbors) take this system very seriously. We cannot control whether there will be tornadoes, how intense they may be, where they will strike, and when they will occur. But we can control our response. I pray for the NWS and media to have insight and for people to respond so that if a major event does occur, there will be absolutely no fatalities, regardless of how severe the weather becomes.

Stay tuned.......

...

1 comment:

Dewdrop said...

Thanks for the link, Mike!