The Friday Calm Before Saturday’s Storms

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SUMMARY

It’s a beautiful day today but we’ll be watching the radar for showers and storms on our Saturday. Some of the storms Saturday evening could be strong or even severe. The Storm Prediction Center has placed most of our area in the slight risk for severe storms (level 2 out of three). The greater risk for severe weather will be down in Alabama. I think this event will be very similar to the last one we had, with a squall line of strong to severe storms moving in during the evening. The greatest threat would be from straight-line winds. The tornado threat for the plateau looks low at this time.

If you have anything to do outdoors, the morning is your best bet to get that done.

Heavy rainfall is something else we’ll have to watch for, with rainfall totals of 1.5″ being common. You folks who end up under stronger storms could see a half inch or so more than that.  Sunday looks like it will be plagued with showers and cooler temps, with leftover showers turning to snow flurries Sunday night, as even colder air moves in.

But, spring returns on Tuesday and the weekend’s bad weather will be a memory.

I’ll be monitoring our storm threat all day today and I’ll be posting updates, as needed, on my Facebook page and at https://meteorologistmark.com/.

The NWS Nashville issued this graphic this morning. The yellow-shaded area is the slight risk.

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DISCUSSION

Like I’ve said, I think this severe wx event will be quite similar to the last one we had, with a squall line of strong to severe storms crossing the plateau. The main threat should hold off until after 5:00, but showers will be scattered across the area throughout the day.  Stay tuned for adjustments to timing.

You’ll probably hear about the severe wx that is going to occur to our west today. Those storms will be much worse than the ones we will have, so keep that in mind. The greatest threat for severe wx today is across Arkansas.

The snow chances for Sunday look a bit slimmer this morning, but the models never do well with predicting wintry precip for us in April. Never the less, we certainly won’t have any problems from it, but it will be odd having a chance of flurries in the middle of April.

Speaking of cold spells in April, we all know that we like to name these cold snaps around here. That’s actually something unique to the South. I wrote an article for the Fentress Courier this week that discusses these winters. You may recall a similar article I wrote for TapTalk on this subject. I hope you enjoy!

The Winters in Spring

Spring has finally arrived! The flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and folk’s minds are turning to gardening.

But not so fast! Keep in mind that the average last frost for the plateau is around the second week of May. I recommend planting frost-sensitive plants after May 15th, and even then I would check the weather forecast!

It would be nice if Ma Nature recognized the calendar and we could simply jump right into the new seasons. But, that is definitely not the case. Winter fights to hold on and sometimes makes some very uncomfortable comebacks that we call “cold spells.”

A southern tradition is to name our spring cold spells. These names often correspond with certain blooming vegetation.

In Tennessee, we have five “winters” that you may be familiar with. The first is usually Redbud Winter and, as you might suspect, corresponds to the blooming of the Redbud trees. Next is Dogwood Winter, a time of chilly weather when those beautiful Dogwoods are in bloom. Native Americans looked for this winter as a sign to begin planting corn. Then there’s Locust Winter, which coincides with the blooming Locust trees, followed by Blackberry Winter. A frost on the blackberry bushes signals the blackberry canes to start growing.

There’s also a lesser known type of winter known as Cotton Britches Winter. This is usually the last of the winters. Folklore says that, ‘When this little cold spell is over, you can put on your cotton britches because winter is over.”

Other folks believe the last winter is called Whippoorwill Winter. This cold snap is the least harsh of them all and coincides with the time when Whippoorwills are calling for a mate.

So keep a watch out for blooms and a listen for those Whippoorwills! They just might clue you in on the next cold spell!

**Keep in mind that I’ll be watching the storm threat for Saturday. As always, I’ll let you know on Facebook and at https://meteorologistmark.com/ when the storm threat is greatest and when the storm threat has passed. 

You all have a great day and enjoy this beautiful weather today!

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