Baldwin’s Stormy Tuesday Wx Blog for May 5

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Weather Headlines

A strong cold front moves through today.

Frost likely multiple nights this week and into the weekend.

Main threats

TODAY: Any storm that develops could be severe, with hail up to one inch in diameter and damaging winds being the main threats. The Storm Prediction Center has placed the plateau in the MARGINAL RISK for severe storms.

The latest guidance this morning shows the cold front has slowed down. That will allow our atmosphere to destabilize just enough to possibly support a strong to severe storm with that frontal passage. The more sun we get this morning the more unstable the atmosphere will become. The threat increases into East TN (esp around Knoxville). The timeframe for the threat for the plateau will be mainly from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 pm. I’ll keep an eye on things.

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WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Scattered frost is possible.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHTS: Frost is likely. Temps may even drop below freezing Saturday morning and could lead to a light freeze.

Baldwin’s Severe Wx Concern

My level of concern is on the low end of the scale. The threat is a bit higher the farther east you go. For instance, you folks in Crab Orchard have a better chance for storms than folks in Monterey. Never the less, we all stand the risk for strong to severe storm when this front passes.

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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

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Daily Forecast

Today: Rain and storms with a cold frontal passage. Some storms could be severe.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with drizzle and a chance for showers. Much cooler. Frost overnight.

Thursday: Mostly sunny but clouds may begin increasing in the evening. Showers develop overnight.

Friday: Rain, possibly a rumble of thunder. Skies clear overnight with frost.

Saturday: Much cooler. Frost likely overnight, possibly even a light freeze.

Sunday – Monday: Partly cloudy and a bit warmer. Still unseasonably cool.

Almanac

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Yesterday’s National High and Low Temperature

High: 110 at Rio Grande Village, Texas

Low: 14  at Foster Flat, Oregon

Difference of: 96 degrees

Wx Hazards Across the Nation

The greatest risk for severe storms can be found across East TN and the Upstate of South Carolina today. Light snows are expected across parts of New England and the Pacific Northwest. Elsewhere, just numerous showers for the South and plains.

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Records

On this day in 2003 two waves of severe weather dropped a total of 14 twisters across Middle Tennessee during the late evening of May 4 into the early morning of May 5, then again from late morning through early afternoon on May 5. This is the 7th largest tornado outbreak in Midstate history.

In addition, there were reports of baseball-sized hail and lots of flooding across the Midstate.

Weather Trivia 

Q: Which US state has the most hail storms every year?

a. Colorado   b. Kansas    c. Oklahoma   d. Texas    e. Alabama

(Answer at the bottom of the blog!)

NASA Knowledge

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming pre-launch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. These activities are a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 4:32 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 27, for the launch of the Demo-2 flight, which will be the first time a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft will carry humans to the space station. The launch, as well as other activities leading up to the launch, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

I booked a hotel but it just felt wrong. This pandemic has changed so much. I’m not sure whether to go down there or not. I’m just not sure watching this on NASA TV is going to cut it for me. (ha) I’m so torn.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are pictured below. They look ready to fly to me! ha

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Long Range Outlook 

As we head toward the middle of May, the pattern favors much below normal temps and below to much-below normal rainfall. If you don’t like storms, this is the pattern you love to see this time of year!

Temperature

Tuesday

Precipitation 

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Baldwin’s View-of-the-Day

I took this picture yesterday afternoon from the farm. You can see moisture increasing in that southern sky, associated with the warm front that was coming. You can see the division between the dry air ahead of the front (clear, blue skies) and the moisture along and behind the warm front (hazy, moist skies). A pretty good view!

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Weather News

A very unusual situation evolved last evening in the Nashville area. As the big area of light rain moved east across the Midstate last evening around 10:00 pm, a “wake low” developed in the Nashville area.

As a big shield of rainfall comes to an end, air sinks on the backside of the precip shield. Normally, this just causes some breezes but sometimes the winds get intense, especially if skies suddenly clear. The downward moving air gains speed and then a meso-low (localized are of low pressure) forms and that sinking air rushes into that little low pressure area. This causes big pressure differences over a short distance.

Last night’s wake low generated winds of 60 mph and greater through the Nashville area. At one point, 75% of area residents were without power. The winds of a wake low can last more than an hour. With saturated soils, many trees are no match for the winds.

Normally, the winds of a wake low are about 35 mph or so. Last night’s were unusually strong. Another odd weather event for a spring that has been no stranger to odd weather across Middle Tennessee.

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I was storm chasing in Missouri one spring when one of these lows developed behind a big rain shield. We had to drive through it to get back home. It was crazy! Skies were crystal clear but the wind was absolutely howling. We just kept seeing trees that had just blown down. Those wake lows are nothing to mess around with!

Answer to Trivia Question

A: (a) Of these state, Colorado has more days with hail than the others. In fact, an area known as “hail alley” exists where the state of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas meet. This area is where you need to be if you want to see hail!

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You all have a great day!

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