Possible strong storms today and your Sunday Story

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We’ll see cloudy skies today and widespread showers and storms. Some of the storms could be on the stronger side, with gusty winds to 50 mph and heavy rainfall. As with any thunderstorm, there is always the hazard of lightning to watch out for, too.

We’ll also experience a very breezy day, with winds picking up later this evening. A wind advisory may be issued by the National Weather Service. High wind watches are in effect for the Smoky Mountains, for wind gusts to 60 mph tonight.

The greater risk for severe weather is to our west. Portions of Middle and West TN are in the slight risk for severe weather (yellow-shaded area). That is risk level 2 out of 5. Here on the plateau, we are in the marginal risk, which is level 1 of 5 in the severe weather risk categories. In other words, we are in the lowest risk level.

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So, don’t plan on any outdoor activities today. By the time all is said and done, we should all have 1-2 inches of rain in our rain buckets. The good news is that widespread severe weather is not expected for anyone, nor are there any major flooding concerns.

After this system clears out tonight, we’ll be left with much better weather and a return to seasonal temperatures. The next rain-maker arrives Thursday.

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And now, for your Sunday Story!

 

Diamond Dust

This is the time of year when folks on the plateau really start looking out for snow. Some look for it with excitement, others look for it with dread. 

The basic ingredients necessary for snow include cold air and moisture. That part of the equation is pretty easy to understand. 

What you may not realize is that you don’t need clouds to get snow. One fact about Earth is that there is always water vapor in the air. It’s part of the reason life exists on this planet. That moisture content may get very low, such as in the dry desert heat, or it can be quite high, such as in the tropics. Regardless of location, there is always water vapor in the air. 

If temperatures get cold enough, that water vapor will crystallize and fall out of the air. You may have noticed this on bitter cold mornings. If you look across the landscape you can see the tiny flakes of snow falling, even with crystal clear skies. It looks like glitter falling through the air. Many people refer to this type of snow as “diamond dust.” 

In order to get diamond dust, temperatures have to be close to or below zero. 

Since the technical definition of snow is “atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals” this form of snow counts as real snow, even in the absence of clouds.  

At most, you can get a dusting of snow from this type of snowfall, so it’s not an impactful snow. Still, it’s interesting to see precipitation fall from clear air. 

Diamond dust is commonly observed in arctic regions, where temperatures often fall well below zero. This type of snow also proves that it never gets too cold to snow. 

You all have a great Sunday!

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