More tropical downpours

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SUMMARY

We’ll see more of those showers and storms developing this afternoon and evening. And once again, some of those storms will put down some very heavy rainfall and frequent lightning. While some of the storms could become strong, just as they have the past couple of days, widespread severe weather is not anticipated. On Friday, the atmosphere will be just a little bit more supportive of some stronger storms, so we may see some of those strong storms produce some small hail. Warm, humid air is fuel for storms and the more of that we have around, the more robust storms can become, producing gusty winds, small hail, and frequent lightning.

By Saturday, storms will become much more isolated and contained to the afternoon. Storms will become a bit more numerous Sunday afternoon, as the atmosphere destabilizes once again. The same will be true for Monday and possibly for several more days into the new work week.

DISCUSSION

Yesterday we had some very heavy downpours for some folks across the plateau. At my house (Rinnie) we picked up a quarter of an inch of rain. Here at weatherTAP we picked up 0.42″, just short of half an inch. Other areas picked up much, much more! Below is a map of radar-estimated rainfall for Cumberland County yesterday. Radar estimated that some folks in the southwest part of our county picked up 2-4 inches of rain.

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There is a bit of concern today for flooding. The upper-level winds are quiet weak and that could lead to some very slow moving storms. We’ll have to be a bit mindful of that today.

I was looking at some records this morning and noticed a few for microburst winds. On this date in 2015, a microburst hit the town of Portland, TN (just north of Nashville) and produced a 2-mile long by 1-mile wide swath of destruction from 75-mph straight-line winds. Microburst can occur in just about any storm and they can hit with no warning.  Microbursts result from a storm’s updraft collapsing suddenly, sending strong, damaging winds to the surface. The strength of the microburst is determined by how much water/hail the updraft was suspending before it suddenly collapsed.  We could see some of those today, as we could with just about any summer storm.

A microburst on this date in 2002 hit Hickman County with 80-100 mph winds. In that instance, a strong storm developed within a line of storms and then suddenly collapsed. Damage was extensive, with folks swearing it was a tornado (they always do). However, all damage was from the straight-line winds (everything laying in the same direction). EF-1 tornadoes have winds of about 100 mph, so these straight-line winds were as powerful as a tornado and probably sounded like one, too.

Looking around the nation, on this date in 1988 a severe thunderstorm developed in northern Spartanburg County, South Carolina and produced hail for 45 minutes! The hail accumulated to a depth described as being “knee deep.” The storm was described as being a “thunderstorm of a lifetime.”

On this day in 1979 the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii recorded a morning low of 12 degrees*, establishing an all-time record low for the state of Hawaii. Hawaii is the only state whose all-time record low is above zero. Mauna Kea is near where the volcano you’ve seen in the news is occurring. The elevation of the mountain is 13,803 feet. It’s actually taller than Mount Everest but half of it is underwater and we only count elevation for everything above sea level.

*I tried to find out what caused this record cold temp to happen in the middle of May and I couldn’t find anything. I contacted the NWS there and I’ll let you know what they tell me.

Be sure and tune in tomorrow for that response and for an interesting blog about the anniversary of a weather event that occurred on May 18, 1995 on the Cumberland Plateau. On May 17, 1995 Cumberland County was just a day away from a natural disaster the likes of which we had never seen before.

Check out this pic I got this morning! We’re off to a beautiful start, but things will turn quiet wet by this afternoon.

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