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A beautiful weekend is on the way

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SUMMARY

We have a lot of rain coming, folks, but hang in there! The weekend is looking cool and dry. As of this morning, it looks like the heaviest rain will fall across southern Middle TN, but we could still see 2-3 inches across the plateau, especially for folks south of I-40. For those of you north of I-40, amounts should be less, with 1-2 inches when you get up to Jamestown and communities north of there. Just be aware that we could have some flooding, especially in areas that typically flood. The most severe flooding looks to occur along the TN counties that border Alabama. More than half a foot of rain may fall down there tonight. With soils already saturated, that could be a real problem for those folks. Thank goodness we live on this mountain!

I will mention that it could be quite breezy Thursday afternoon and evening. With this saturated ground, we’ll need to be mindful of shallow-rooted trees sitting in saturated soils.

The weekend continues to look nice. It will be cool, especially compared to the warmth we’ve had, but the sun will be shining. I can’t remember the last time we had a weekend that was sunny from the beginning to the end. Those cooler nights are just what we need to slow the budding of the trees and flowers down. It’s still just February, after all.

DISCUSSION

Yesterday I made a boo-boo and thought that the severe weather awareness week topic was tornadoes. It wasn’t . That’s today. I guess with the excitement of my birthday I got carried away (ha). There will be statewide tornado drills this morning at 9:30, so if you hear those sirens going off that’s what it’s for.

Yesterday’s topic was lightning, so that’s what we’ll talk about today. About 50 people a year are killed by lightning. If you hear thunder roar, go indoors! Even if you see dark clouds gathering, you should move indoors. We suspect that some lightning fatalities are from people getting struck by the first lightning strike and didn’t have the opportunity to hear the warning sound of thunder. Lightning strikes are up to 50,000 degrees hot, which is hotter than the surface of the sun. One bolt has enough electricity to power a small community for at least a day. No one has ever survived a direct strike by such a force of nature. No one. Ever. Many folks think they’ve survived a strike, because it hit so close to them. Who could blame them? If I had something that powerful hit within a few yards of me I’d probably get a glimpse of Jesus too!

Stay away from taller objects. Lightning is electricity. Air is an insulator. Therefore, in order for lightning to make it to the earth, it wants to find the shortest path to have to cut through that inhibiting air. That being said, we have seen lightning strike the shortest objects too, it’s just less common. And lightning can strike the same place twice, as well. The Empire State Building in New York as been struck multiple times in the same storm. Seek shelter in a building, away from windows. Cars do protect you, but they do so by the metal sheath that directs the bolt away in all directions. Contrary to popular myth, the rubber tires offer no protection. If in a car, make sure you’re not in contact with anything that conducts electricity, or else you’ll get zapped.

Here on the plateau, folks injured by lightning are usually working construction sites outside, playing golf, fishing, or horseback riding. All three of these activities put folks right in the danger zone for lightning. If you’re outside a lot, it might be wise to invest in a pocket lightning detector. It looks like a beeper and has an alert for when lightning is close enough to be a threat. I have one for storm chasing. Lightning is the greatest threat associated with storm chasing. It about drives us nuts! ha

The good news with this storm system is that there shouldn’t be much lightning at all (if any!). There’s just not enough instability for robust thunderstorms. We will, however, have some heavy rainfall and that is always something to be aware of.

You all have the best day! I fly out for the Space Coast this evening and I am so excited! I’ll have lots of pics and videos, for sure! And check out the story about me in yesterday’s Crossville Chronicle when you get a chance! It’s on the second or third page.

See you from the Space Coast!!!!

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