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Dodging showers and storms

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MAIN THREATS

Today: Possibility of strong thunderstorms

SUMMARY

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted the Cumberland Plateau in the marginal risk for severe storms today. This is the lowest of the five severe weather threat categories. Just be mindful that any storm we see today could contain frequent lightning, heavy rainfall, and gusty winds.

The scattered rain and storms will stick with us on Wednesday, as well. It won’t be raining all the time, but there is certainly the potential for widespread showers and storms.

Rain chances drop off a bit Thursday and Friday, but there will continue to be scattered showers and storms, mainly in the afternoon and evening.

Rain chances may drop a bit more for the weekend, before we enter a warmer, drier pattern next week.

DISCUSSION

There continues to be no indication of widespread severe weather, but any storm we get this time of year can always be strong, maybe even briefly severe. If you’re out yardsailing, always be mindful of the lightning these storms contain. And seeking shelter under a yard sale tent might not be your best move. Try to find shelter that is more substantial, especially if a strong/severe storm is in the area.

Can you imaging a storm with strong winds hitting Highway 127 during all these yard sales? Yikes…

Rain chances may drop off substantially by Sunday, as we begin a hotter/drier period of time. Models have suggested patterns like this earlier in the summer and then changed their minds. So, stay tuned (ha).

TROPICS

Nope.

RECORDS

When I went into grad school for meteorology, I originally wanted to study tornadoes. Then, I found out everyone else does too. What fun is it to do what everyone else is doing, right?

After long conversations with my adviser, I decided to study flash flooding. It was a very rewarding experience and I learned more than I could have ever imagined. When you begin a Masters thesis you have to research everything that has ever been done on what you’re about to study. For me, it was flash floods.

One of the more notorious flash floods that I read about was the Thompson Canyon flood that took place in Colorado on this day in 1976. There have been numerous newspaper articles and scientific studies written about this flood.

The most dangerous aspect of this flood is that the water was funneled into a narrow canyon. A thunderstorm that, in all honesty, was no different than most any other thunderstorm became stationary over a small portion of the canyon. The storm dropped 10 inches of rain.

The result was a wall of water that was sent racing down the canyon. At times, the water was 20 feet higher than normal stream levels. By the time all was said and done, a path of destruction measuring 25 miles had been carved through the canyon. Ten miles of Highway 34 were completely washed away.

After learning of this incredible flood, the thing that has always bothered me is wondering what the last thoughts of the folks caught in the canyon were? All 156  of them. Some were kids camping with their families on a summer outing. Others were simply hiking that afternoon along the beautiful canyon river. Some of them never knew what hit them, others tried to outrun the water. Like a tsunami, you’re only hope is to move vertically, not horizontally, when water is coming after you.

After this horrific event, sirens were placed in many areas to warn of flash flooding. Most of the folks killed in Thompson Canyon were so far away from the storm that caused the flood that they had no idea there was a possible flash flood coming.  Plus, after this happened an extensive education campaign took place that demonstrated to hikers, campers, etc how to best survive a wall of water racing toward you. Move vertically, not horizontally, In other words, move to your side and go up the canyon. Running in front of the water, and in the same direction the water is moving, will send you straight to your death.

If you’re ever out camping, check your weather forecast before you and go and then check it multiple times while you’re there. And keep an eye on the radar, just in case. You don’t want a fun family summer outing to end in disaster.

I guess you could always just take Meteorologist Mark with you on your trip. That’s especially true if you decide to vacation in the Caribbean. I mean, you sure don’t want a hurricane sneaking up on you, right? And the weather in all of Europe can be especially tricky, too, so you probably want to take Meteorologist Mark with you there, as well. Or to Yosemite. Or Glacier National Park. Hawaii. The list is long, folks. Yeah, taking me along is definitely your best plan of action.

So, when we leaving?? 🙂

You all have a great day!

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