A beautiful day to early vote!



Fri-Sat: Heat and humidity

Sun-Tues: Possible strong storms


Well, you sure can’t use weather as an excuse not to early vote today or tomorrow. If you’ve made up your mind and you’re ready to cast your ballot you sure have some nice weather to do that in! Just be careful in this July heat the next few afternoons.  Early voting is 8-5:00 Monday through Friday and 8-noon on Saturday (July 13-28).

Rain chances are slim today and tomorrow but they will pick up by Sunday. Those scattered storm chances will stay with us right on into next week. Some of those storms could be on the strong to severe side, so we’ll have to be mindful of that. Not all of us will see rain each day but there will certainly be storms around the area.

The unsettled pattern looks to stick around through the end of next week.


The main thing we’ll have to watch for next week is storm complexes that may drop down on us from the Midwest. Those can pack a punch if they get going, so I’ll watch for that. Other than that, it just looks like typical, scattered summer storms.


What was Hurricane Chris is now just an area of low pressure swirling harmlessly off into the north Atlantic. The remnants of Beryl are not organizing at all this morning and it now looks like those remnants will not reform into a tropical storm.  Other than that, the tropics are quiet this morning.


Today is the anniversary of the big derecho wind event we had in 2004. Supercells developed earlier in the day in northern Illinois. Those storms produced huge hail and strong tornadoes. It’s a bit unusual to see supercells of this caliber in the middle of July in Illinois, but that is exactly what happened on this day.

One supercell produced a tornado that aimed for Parsons, Illinois. The Parsons’ Plant was right in the path of the storm. The plant owner, a tornado survivor himself, made sure the plant had an impeccable tornado plan. Whenever  a severe thunderstorm warning was issued, he would have someone be a lookout to make sure the storm wasn’t producing a tornado. When a severe thunderstorm warning was issued on this day, the designated lookout person took to their assigned task.

And, off in the distance, was an enormous, powerful tornado moving right toward the plant. Pictured below is what was seen coming toward the plant, with only a severe thunderstorm warning in effect.


The tornado alert was issued and everyone calmly, and as they had practiced a million times, proceeded to the restrooms located at the center of the plant.  All 140 employees did just as they had been trained to do.

And then the tornado hit with winds of up to 180 mph. This made the tornado an F-4 on the Fugita scale.  The plant was obliterated and employee’s vehicles were tossed up to a half a mile away from the plant. All that remained were the four walls of each restroom that had been designated a tornado shelter for the plant. All 140 employees emerged from the wreckage alive and only a handful of employees had minor injuries.  A tornado warning was issued at the same time the F-4 was hitting the plant, which would have given the employees no time to react.

The failure to issue a tornado warning was blamed on the radar not seeing the twister. The Parsons Plant is located too far away from the radar for it to detect low-level rotation. While the radar did detect rotation, it didn’t judge it strong enough to be producing a tornado. Plus, radar updates every few minutes. Within the few minutes between radar scans, the storm violently and quickly strengthened.

The supercells that afternoon eventually organized into a squall line that screamed toward Kentucky and Tennessee. We call this wind-damage producing squall line a  derecho. Every single county in Middle Tennessee had wind damage, some of which was significant. The storm left some folks here in Cumberland County without electricity for days. The wind damage hit in swaths throughout the county, downing trees and powerlines.

Let’s be glad we have calmer weather today!

Again, don’t forget to early vote. Those of us in my family know this day to be the 26th anniversary of the passing of my Paw-Paw Lowe. He’s the grandfather I have mentioned in my campaign and who owned the pallet shop and sawmill that I had my first job in at the age of 13. I’d give anything if he could see my name on that ballot today.  Although unnoticed at the time ( I was only a teenager, after all) the impact he had on my life seems to become more apparent the older I get.

I often wonder if those we have lost know about the bigger events in our lives? Perhaps a “messenger” angel excitably gathers them around to share good news from here and then they all celebrate and cheer us on? It’s not so crazy of an idea…..

You all be sure and have a great day.

Leave a Reply