Our first snow flurries!!! This morning!!!

BREAKING NEWS!!!! I have spotted our first snow flurries of the season!!! November 10, 2018..mark the date! Picture8

Main Threats

Tonight: Hard freeze conditions

Monday night/Tuesday: wintry precipitation

Tuesday night: bitter cold temps

Summary

For today, we’ll see partly to mostly sunny skies but that sunshine will do little to warm us up. Highs today will struggle to get into the upper 30s, so bundle up if you’re heading out to any Veteran’s Day parades.

By Sunday, we’ll see clouds begin to increase during the evening and that will lead to rain for Monday. The second half of Monday is looking much wetter than the first half.

Then, things get interesting late Monday night, as very cold air filters onto the Cumberland Plateau. That cold air will likely change the rain to snow. Snow showers/flurries are expected to continue into the day Tuesday.

As far as accumulation goes, it looks to be very light. Confidence is high that we’ll see snow flakes, but confidence is quite low that we’ll see significant accumulation. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, to see things get a little white….. Stay tuned.

The bigger weather news story may be that bitter cold air coming in Tuesday night. You might want to think about your outdoor pets. This is early for this kind of cold. Normal lows this time of year are 38-40 degrees, so this is very below normal cold air.

Discussion

We had just enough moisture in the air to produce the season’s first snow flurries! We’re about on schedule for that, as we often do see our first flurries in November.

I’m still watching the Monday night/Tuesday system very closely. Any change in the timing of the arrival of the arctic air or any change in the track of the low pressure system in the South could have big impacts on the forecast. Stay tuned. I’ll update on Sunday and as needed.

Records

Today is the anniversary of the F-3 tornado that hit Tansi. The storm was part of a tornado outbreak that impacted Middle TN.  By the end of the outbreak, eight people had been killed across Middle TN alone, including four from Cumberland County. This is the deadliest tornado on record for Cumberland County.

The outbreak began for us later in the afternoon of November 10th. We had a record high that day of 75 degrees, setting the stage for a very warm and unstable airmass to interact with a strong storm system.  Numerous tornado warnings were issued that evening, with eight tornadoes being confirmed.

The severe weather outbreak was expected to be in the form of an intense squall line that would race across the state in the late evening. However, the atmosphere became so unstable that isolated thunderstorms began to pop up that afternoon. These storms formed in a highly sheared environment capable of supporting tornadoes.

Cumberland County had been placed under tornado warnings twice before the third and most serious one was issued. Baseball-sized hail also accompanied the storm, which is much larger than we’re accustomed to around here.

I’ll never forget watching the radar and seeing the squall line cross the plateau. I noticed a “kink” in the line (you all have heard me mention those before) west of Tansi and I immediately knew Tansi was in trouble. Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed when I started hearing calls for “all hands on deck” for emergency personnel.

Some of you may recall that Morgan County was hit hard by these storms, too. The community of Mossy Grove was devastated by a tornado that touched down as it descended the mountain they thought protected them from such violent storms. Seven people lost their lives in that little community that night. The next day I heard Paul Harvey say that an F-5 had hit Morgan County, Tennessee. He was wrong; it just looked like it had been hit by an F-5. The tornado was officially ranked F-3. The incredible, F5-like, destruction was a credit to poor housing.

News

I’m very excited to announce that I learned last evening that yet another newspaper will be picking up my weather stories! I already write for the Fentress Courier and the Livingston Enterprise. Now, I’ll be writing weather stories for the Scott County News, Scott County’s oldest newspaper! They just turned 116 years old. I am so proud to have been invited to be a part of a regional newspaper so steeped in history. So, now the folks in Overton, Fentress, and Scott counties will be reading my weather stories! I’m so excited!

Speaking of which….

This is the story that was printed in this week’s paper. I hope you enjoy!

Dust Bowl in Tennessee

Whenever you think of the Dust Bowl Era you probably think of the Great Plains and the impact that event had on those areas. You may not know that the Dust Bowl affected us here in Tennessee, too!

The Dust Bowl Era was a time period in the 1930s when poor farm practices and extreme drought combined to create one of the worst agricultural disasters in American history. A lot of lessons were learned from this disaster, but many families had to suffer the consequences of those lessons being learned too late.

The drought dried up the soil, but farming practices made the soil more vulnerable to the wind than it would have otherwise been. The result was enormous, ominous clouds of black dust blowing across the Plains with each new gust of wind.

The dust storms were made worse, in part, by demand for wheat in Europe after WWI. This led to vast amounts of real-estate being plowed and improperly farmed across the Plains states during the 1920s.

The dust began arriving in Tennessee in November of 1933. By the middle of the month, some locations across Middle Tennessee had visibilities reduced to less than one-half mile! Westerly winds that bring storm systems our way from the west were carrying dust storms our way during this time period.  

Dust from these storms even darkened skies as far east as New York City and Washington DC.

By 1939, rain began returning to the Plains, bringing an end to a decade of agricultural misery.

Thankfully, much of the Southern Plains and Southeast have received more than enough rainfall to avoid a drought this year. In fact, if we do not get another drop of rain from now until December 31st we would still end the year above average on precipitation.

 

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