A 50/50 weekend

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SUMMARY

If we see any sun today at all, it will be this morning. Otherwise, it will be mostly cloudy, with showers and t-showers moving in from the west. The best chance of rain will hold off until after noon. If you have plans to travel west, rain will be more widespread and a bit heavier. The risk for severe storms today is extremely low and highly unlikely.

This weak cold front clears out of here tonight and that will leave us with a pleasant Sunday. The clouds may be a bit stubborn to leave (typical with slow-moving fronts this time of year) but we should stay dry and mild.

A series of disturbances will affect us next week with isolated to scattered showers and storms each day. A very June-like pattern. The best chance of rain may come Thursday with a cold front. With it being May and temps being so mild, we’ll have to be on the watch for strong storms with that front. Until then, there are no indications of widespread hazardous weather of any kind, with the exception of any lightning that may come with any t-storm.

This morning’s radar (9:00 a.m.) shows plenty of showers to our west, gradually creeping eastward. More isolated showers could develop ahead of this at any moment. I expect the plateau to pick up around an inch of rainfall.

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Looking back at records for today, and frankly any day this week, it’s all about tornadoes. Big tornadoes. Yesterday was the anniversary of the Greensburg, KS EF-5 (2007) that practically wiped out that town. Storms late in the evening of the 4th developed south of town and moved due north. Surface winds were from the east, which gave the winds a 90-degree turn with height. Tornadoes love those kinds of environments. Throw in some heat and humidity and strong upper-level winds and you have yourself a disaster.

The tornado ripped through town with winds over 200 mph. The mobile Doppler crew was out chasing that evening but opted to not pursue that particular supercell. So, we’ll never know what the Doppler would have measured. This is the same crew that clocked the 300 mph winds in the Bridge Creek to Moore, OK tornado on May 3, 1999. Many of us feel very strongly that the Doppler would have measured winds higher than what was measured on May 3, but we’ll never know.

Today is the anniversary of many tornadoes associated with the big May 2003 outbreak of tornadoes across the Midwest and South. This outbreak stretched for several days and on this day, really impacted West TN. In fact, Jackson, TN was hit by an EF-4 that destroyed the Pringles potato chip plant. We went a whole summer without Pringles chips. Such widespread suffering, right? (ha)

Anyway, this outbreak really impacted me. First of all, it was quite historic in the number of tornadoes and the duration of the outbreak, especially back across Missouri and Arkansas and West Tennessee. Plus, this all happened during finals week for me at Tech. I was trying my best to study for finals but Weather Channel coverage of the outbreaks was so incredible I really, really struggled that week. This was back when the Weather Channel covered weather (ouch).

Anyway.

I had a final one of those mornings but I was up so late watching tornado coverage that I overslept and nearly missed the final. Close call. And in my History of the Middle East class I had managed to stay on the A-B line all semester, but I was so sleep deprived on my final that I made a C on it, giving me a B average for the class. In my defense, it was a a tough class and a 400-level course at that. Plus, during the final our professor told us tornadoes were in Middle TN and that if we hear the tornado siren to turn over our finals and follow him into the hallway. What!? How on earth could I focus after that?!!

I was a journalism major at that time and these were my last finals before graduation. After this, I KNEW I had to pursue a meteorology degree, even if it meant leaving my state. Tennessee had no meteorology programs at that time (still doesn’t), and I really didn’t want to move out of state.

But, you do what you gotta do.

I graduate that Saturday, with a storm-riddled campus. We had a really bad storm the night before my graduation and a lot of the Bradford Pears on Campus were uprooted or broken. I thought campus had never looked better (ha). It was a good graduation.

So, that’s another weather story from yours truly. Until this big outbreak, I had planned on getting a journalism job writing weather news and/or articles for some publication. But, these storms helped steer me in a better direction. In 2007 I graduated with my Masters in Meteorology from Western Kentucky and I’ve been doing what I love ever since.

You all have a great weekend and stay dry this afternoon and evening!

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