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Baldwin’s LAUNCH DAY! Wednesday Wx Blog for May 27

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IT’S LAUNCH DAY!!!!  ….I hope!

Showers and storms continue to threaten the plateau this week

A cold front will move through this weekend

Hay cutting weather is looking good for next week!

Main threats

Strong storms are possible each afternoon but they become a bit more likely on Thursday. A damaging wind gust is the main threat. The Storm Prediction Center has placed our area in the MARGINAL RISK for severe storms for Thursday.

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Baldwin’s Severe Wx Concern

Due to the isolated, short-lived nature expected from any severe storm that should develop, my concern level remains low. My concern may go up a bit for tomorrow, but I’ll have to monitor data that comes in today before making that call. I wouldn’t expect my concern to leave the “Low” category and I don’t expect widespread severe weather.

The concern will drop to zero for Sunday through early next week!

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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

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Daily Forecast

Today: A chance for showers and storms, mainly in the afternoon and evening.

Thursday – Friday: Showers and storms likely. Some storms could be strong to severe.

Saturday: A chance for showers.

Sunday – Tuesday: Cooler, with lower humidity. Sunny.


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Yesterday’s National High and Low Temperature

High: 113 at Death Valley, California

Low: 21 at Toponas, Colorado

Difference of: 92 degrees


Wx Hazards Across the Nation

Tropical Storm Bertha will bring flooding rains to the Carolinas and western Virginia. Severe storms threaten the front range of the Rockies and western Texas. More heavy rainfall will threaten western Montana.



Wx Hazards Across the Nation

T.S. Bertha will continue to bring flooding rains to parts of the Carolinas and Virginia. Heavy rainfall and severe storms will threaten much of Kansas, central Nebraska, and the Panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas.



Wx Hazards Across the Nation

Heavy rainfall once again threatens portions of the southern plains. Notice that snow flakes are flying again across the northern Rockies.



In a bit of a sudden development, we now have Tropical Storm Bertha! The storm is centered just off the South Carolina coastline, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. The storm is drifting north, northwest. On this course, the system is expected to bring lots of moisture to the eastern side of the southern Appalachians, where they certainly don’t need the rain. If you’ll recall, they’ve been plagued by heavy rainfall for the past few weeks.

Since the storm is moving inland soon, no additional strengthening is expected. The system will not directly impact the weather of the Cumberland Plateau.



Weather. It’s all about the weather.

As you learned earlier this week, the number one reason for launch delays is the weather. You can complain about it all you want, but we can’t do a darn thing about it (ha).

Lightning, clouds, rainfall, visibility, humidity, winds, temperature, and so on. It’s a lot to keep up with! That’s why the 45th Weather Squadron of Cape Canaveral has their work cut out for them.

I had a wonderful opportunity to tour their facilities this past summer. It was mind blowing! There’s so much going on and so much to keep up with. If they make a mistake….well, let’s just say we ain’t got no time for that (ha).

Normally, the NWS sends up weather balloons from certain NWS offices across the country twice a day….once in the morning and once in the evening. On rocket launch days/nights the 45th releases a balloon four hours before a launch, and then every 20 minutes leading up to and during a launch. They then analyze that data for every 100 feet of altitude. They have to get it right and they have to get it right from here at the surface to alllllllll the way up there. Well, at least as high as we can forecast for.

The 45th Weather Squadron of Patrick Air Force Base has been in operation since 1991. Their mission is to, ” Exploit the weather to assure safe access to air and space.” Safe travel ideally requires calm winds and clear skies, or as close to each of those as possible!

Keep in mind that Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. This part of Florida is some of the hardest hit by that lightning. The 45th has to make sure there’s no chance for lightning. Even if there’s no lightning in the area, sending a craft up into a cloud deck can generate enough charge difference between the craft and the cloud to generate a spark. That’s not good. But don’t worry, the 45th has us covered.

The 45th provided forecasts for at least 35 space launch countdowns per year for the Department of Defense (DOD), NASA, USAF, and commercial launch customers.

During my tour of the 45th, I was taken to the original grounds of NASA by 45th Launch Weather Officer Mike McAleenan. It was one of the most amazing days of my entire life and I will never forget it. But, that’s a big story for another day!

This is the forecast issued this morning. I’ll be a bit surprised if the launch goes off on schedule.

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On this day in 2009, a rocket carrying three astronauts left earth with a crew destined for the International Space Station (ISS). That crew would dock with the ISS and stay. The capsule they rode in would become one of the emergency escape vehicles that would be permanently attached to the ISS. This marked the beginning of six-men crews on the ISS.

Weather Trivia 

Q: The pad of launch pad 39A is 50 feet tall and has lightning rods that extend over 500 feet into the air. Meanwhile, Florida is the lightning capital of the US. How many times a year, on average, does that pad get struck by lightning?

a. one     b. two    c. three   d. four    e. five

(Answer at the end of the blog!)

Long Range Outlook 

Temps are looking to stay in the “normal” range, while rainfall goes below normal. That means highs in the 70s and dry days for the first week of June. Fire up them tractors and get ready to cut some hay! 🙂





7-Day Projected Precip Totals

Tropical Storm Bertha will bring flooding rains to the Carolinas, which is the last thing they need. Heavy rainfall will also threaten the southern plains once again.


Baldwin’s View-of-the-Day

The Crew Dragon capsule sure looks good at sunrise, right?


(Photo above taken by Ben Cooper Tuesday morning)

Hay Weather Forecast

Your hay weather forecast for next week is looking pretty darn good! As I stated in Sunday’s video report, drier air is expected to come in behind Saturday’s cold front. That should set the stage for several days of dry, sunny days beginning on Sunday! I’ll have a full video update for you again soon!

Answer to Trivia Question

A: (e) The pad is directly impacted by lightning an average of five times a year. That’s surprising to me, considering how it towers above so much of the landscape.

You all have a great day!

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2 thoughts on “Baldwin’s LAUNCH DAY! Wednesday Wx Blog for May 27

  1. Is there a chance for a tornado tomorrow? I’m seeing a 2% chance?

    1. I’m honestly very skeptical of that tornado chance, Jenn. The shear is quite low and conditions just don’t seem good at all for a tornado. Never the less, a 2% chance isn’t zero. I’m waiting on data today before saying anything much about it. Thankfully, it’s only a 2% chance. Honestly, that’s a chance we have about every day with afternoon/evening storms. Any one of them could theoretically spin up a quick tornado with 80+ mph winds. We’re certainly not looking at violent tornadoes tomorrow or an outbreak.

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