Winter ain’t finished with us yet!

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SUMMARY

Remember back in February when I told you Old Man Winter would return? Well, guess who’s here? I sure hope you didn’t put away your winter clothes back when it was in the 70s in February. It’s going to be a while before we see temps like that again! We never got out of the 30s yesterday, and today we’ll finally be climbing into the 40s. Our low last night was a very chilly 18 degrees, which occurred at 4:56 a.m.

Yesterday it looked like we could see some sprinkles this afternoon, but I think our air is just too dry for that. However, light rain will move in tonight and we should be warm enough for mostly plain rain, as southerly winds pick up enough to bring in some warmer air. Folks to our north in Kentucky are under winter weather advisories for tonight for a mixed bag of precip. Rain showers continue tomorrow and on into Sunday. Rain may become heavy at times Saturday night. By Sunday night the low pulls to our east and any leftover moisture will turn to light snow. Light accumulations are possible. Flurries continue into Monday. We should see some sun Tuesday as we begin a very slow warming trend, with dry conditions, through the rest of the week.

DISCUSSION

As the rain moves in tonight, I wouldn’t be shocked if it started out with some sleet pellets mixed in. I don’t expect any problems, though, as we will stay above freezing. To our north, there will be just enough cold air for them to have problems.

Below is precip expected around 9:00 p.m.

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With some of that being snow to our north.

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Which has prompted the NWS to issue winter weather advisories for those counties for tonight for 1-2 inches of snow.

WARN_REG_SOUTHEAST-WINTER (1)

The heaviest rain from this system should fall during the overnight hours on Saturday, tapering off through the day Sunday. As the system pulls east, leftover moisture will turn to snow. So, how much snow will we get? That, of course, is a tough call. If I were to try to throw a number out there right now I’d say 1 inch, give or take an inch (ha). This could change, so stay tuned for more updates over the weekend on my Facebook page and at meteorologistmark.com.

You remember those record lows I was telling you about us breaking over the past several days back in 1960? If you’ll recall, at one point we dropped all the way down to two below zero! Well, on this day in 1960 a big storm system in the Gulf moved up this way and ran right smack dab into all that bitter cold air. And guess what? We were shoveling snow, folks! Crossville officially reported 8.5 inches, Clarksville (just northwest of Nashville) had 8″, Cookeville reported 7.5″ and Nashville had 5.5″. It’s unusual to see the entire Middle TN region buried under half a foot of snow or more. Usually, we’ll get it when Nashville doesn’t and vice versa. But in this storm, we were all shoveling snow!

And who can forget March 12, 1993? That anniversary is coming soon! Snowfall amounts of 1.5-2 FEET all across the plateau. I’ll have MUCH more on that next week. Interestingly, we may be waking up to some snow on the 24th anniversary of our blizzard this year. Can you believe it’s been 25 years!?

Looking at the records, it looks to me like the latest a big snowstorm has ever struck the Middle TN area was March 22 (1968). The plateau has seen significant snowfall as late as the first week of April, though (I need to find the date of that). I’ve seen temps cold enough for snow in the record books right on through the middle of April. After an unusually warm February, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of weather we get the rest of this month and next month. If thunder in February really does indicate frost in May, we’ll have two frosty mornings that month (May 12 and 19). I can’t wait to see if that actually happens! (ha) Heck, I’ll be impressed if we’re just really cool those mornings.

I’ll keep you all posted on Sunday night’s snow potential. I guess the good news is that, with this cooler weather, we’re not worrying about tornadoes. We’re definitely in that time of year.  My article this week for the Fentress Courier was all about the tornadoes that have affected that county since records have been kept. I’m including it below for those of you who may be interested. I’ll write a similar one for you all about Cumberland County here pretty soon.

You all have a great Friday!

Fentress County Tornadoes

The months of March, April, and May are considered tornado season for the Cumberland Plateau, since most of our tornadoes occur during this time period. Always keep in mind, however, that tornadoes can occur in any month of the year.

Since 1897, there have been 20 tornadoes recorded across Fentress County. Sadly, the tornadoes have claimed 11 lives within the county, with another 161 people having sustained injuries.

All of the tornadoes were rated F-0 to F-2, with the exception of one F-4 that hit Jamestown during the super outbreak of tornadoes on April 3, 1974. That violent tornado took the lives of seven people and injured 150 others in Jamestown. It cut a path 20 miles long across the county and remains one of the most powerful tornadoes to have ever struck the Cumberland Plateau.

F-scale ratings came along in the 1970s and were created by Dr. Ted Fujita. The scale was replaced with the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-scale) in 2007. The scale ranks tornadoes based on their damage, on a scale ranging from 0-5, with 5 being the strongest and most damaging. I’ll have more on the Fujita scale in another article this spring.

Of those 20 tornadoes, 14 of them occurred from March-May, with four occurring in February, one in July, and one in November.  While nearly half of Tennessee’s tornadoes occur after dark, only a third of Fentress County’s have occurred after dark. Most of our recorded tornadoes occurred between the hours of noon and 6:00 p.m.

The spring tornado season is upon us, so make sure you have a tornado plan in place for when bad weather hits again. Being prepared will make the storms less frightening and may give you the chance to help others who may not be as prepared.

 

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