Meteorologist Mark’s Sunday Wx Blog for Mar 28

Headlines 

Frost and freeze conditions expected several nights this week

Multiple windy days this week (it’s the windy month!)

No severe storms expected this week at this time

Note: A few items are missing in today’s blog. I’m tired. (ha!)

48-Hour WX

Five-Day Forecast

Daily Forecast Summary

Today: Skies gradually clear, becoming sunny by afternoon. Breezy.

Monday: Mostly sunny and pleasant.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with some clouds by evening. Breezy.

Wednesday: Shower and thunderstorms.

Thursday: Mostly sunny and breezy. Much cooler.

48-Hour Precip Forecast

Meteorologist Mark’s 5-Day Wx Concerns

Meteorologist Mark’s Wx Discussion

This week is looking much quieter than last week. The storms on Wednesday are not expected to be strong or severe. Let’s hope that stays true. The big news this week will be the freezing cold nights coming at the end of the week.

On This Day in Wx History

1920 – The worst tornado disaster of record occurred in Chicago, Illinois. The violent tornado killed 28 people and caused three million dollars damage. 

Almanac

Solar/Lunar Data 

A Year Ago (New!)

Yesterday’s National Temperature Extremes

High:  102° at Zapata, Texas

Low:   -10° at Peter Sinks, Utah 

Today’s National Wx Hazards

Severe weather pushes east, with all severe hazards possible. To the northwest, a wildfire danger can be found across much of eastern Montana, while snow falls in the mountains to the west.

Tomorrow’s National Wx Hazards

Aside from accumulating snow in the northern Rockies, and a wildfire danger across southeast Colorado and the Panhandle regions of Texas and Oklahoma, it’s a quiet day.

Sunday Story

The Sunday Story is a reprint of the weekly articles I write for the Fentress Courier and Livingston Enterprise. See the story there first by subscribing to their papers!

Wind Shear

When a thunderstorm acquires rotation, it is then called a supercell. In other words, a supercell is a storm with a rotating updraft.

All storms have updrafts and downdrafts. In fact, a storm begins as an updraft, as warm air rises into the colder atmosphere above. An updraft is basically a column of rising air. 

As the clouds grow with the updraft, the raindrops become too numerous for the cloud to support and they begin to fall. As the raindrops fall, they drag rain-cooled air down to the surface of the Earth. That is a downdraft. A downdraft is basically sinking air that falls with the rain.

To understand how storms may rotate, we must understand how winds behave in our atmosphere. For instance, the winds above us often move more swiftly than the air here at the surface. Friction from trees, buildings, and other obstacles slows the flow of air here at the surface. This causes the air to develop a rolling motion, with faster winds atop slower winds.

When a thunderstorm’s updraft ingests this horizontally rolling air, it may stand the horizontal tube of rolling air up vertically, leading to a rotating updraft. Most of the time, that updraft rotates without causing any problems. But sometimes that rotation tightens up and extends toward the ground. 

Even after decades of tornado research, we’re still not sure why most storms don’t produce tornadoes while others do.  

Thankfully, tornado detection has improved by leaps and bounds. Doppler radar can “see” the winds inside a storm, revealing whether they are spinning or blowing in a straight line. Better tornado detection has saved countless lives.  

Let’s hope the Doppler gets to rest this spring and not have any spinning winds to detect! 

You all have a great day and keep lookin’ up!

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