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Another stormy day

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MAIN THREATS

This Morning: Flooding rains

This Afternoon: Strong to severe storms (large hail/damaging winds)

SUMMARY

Well, if you’re going to miss a forecast you better find yourself in good company, I always say. Our atmosphere is far more unstable than any of us thought. I forecasted a storm-free night and for many of us, we made it through the better part of the night quietly. But, for some of you it was anything but quiet. I was up at 3:00 a.m. watching that darn radar (ha). None of the models forecast this and all indications were that yesterday’s storms and rain had stabilized our atmosphere for the night. Everything looked to be calm for the night. The Storm Prediction Center said we would be fine. The National Weather Service said we would be fine. In other words, the best of the best said we’d be fine. But, Ma Nature said, “Eh, I don’t think so.” She does that sometimes.

Thankfully, none of the storms in our neck of the woods reached severe limits. That lightning is what has been so incredible, though. Some folks had some small hail this morning and that can happen with any storm that develops today. More storms will come today and they will be capable of becoming severe, especially if we get sunshine.

Our next big concern will come from a complex of storms that are developing now in Missouri. This was supposed to be all we had to worry about today. We will have to watch and see how those evolve through the morning and get an idea of how bad they will be when they get here. Right now, the Storm Prediction Center does not have us in the slight risk but, frankly, their outlooks the past couple of days have not been the best in the world. They think this morning’s storms have stabilized us but that’s what we all thought for last night too. So, we’ll just go ahead and stay weather aware today, just in case.

Below is our lightning detection map. The yellow-circled area in Missouri is what we’ll watch for this afternoon. You can already see another complex behind that. As long as we have this northwest flow aloft, we’ll have the chance for storms. Notice how all that lightning is clustered on East TN this morning. We’re so lucky to be the only ones in the Southeast with these pesky storms :/

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The good news is that this northwest flow will lift out of here after today and that should bring us some hot, drier weather. We still won’t be able to completely rule out an afternoon shower or storm, but those chances will drop off.

DISCUSSION

We never learn our lesson with these northwest flow events. When the wind aloft is from the northwest, we should never let our guard down. The thing that is making our atmosphere especially unstable is the amount of cold air in that northwest flow. That is really destabilizing things and makes storms possible day or night. This northwest flow is also how we get surprise snows in the winter. Models don’t handle this scenario well and it’s hard to figure out how our weather will respond to these patterns.

All the cold air in this northwest flow will increase the chance of hail in any storm that develops, so be aware of that. Any storm that develops, severe or not, will also be more than capable of torrential rainfall and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning.

Thankfully, our tornado threat is practically zero. Such was not the case on this day in 1928. On that day, a severe weather outbreak spawned five tornadoes across Middle Tennessee. All five tornadoes were rated F-2. One person was killed in Davidson County, the home county of Nashville. Another 38 people were injured.

Also on this day in 1923, a massive tornado hit Sandusky, Ohio. The storm then swept across Lake Erie and hit the town of Lorain. The twister killed 86 people and caused 12 million dollars in damage. This tornado was part of the worst outbreak the state of Ohio had seen up until that date.

Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about a tornado outbreak today!

You all be careful if you’re out and about today. I’ll keep an eye on the radar.

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