Monday, June 30, 2008
It looks like Independence Day will be a little cooler than previously thought. Some of the new model runs coming out suggest that the high will only top out in the low 80's. The National Weather Service says it will be 83. It will be nice temperature wise, but there is a chance for some storms. There is a possibility of severe weather, so I'll keep working on this as we get closer. Hopefully it turns out to be nothing.
Don't forget, WAVE-TV's first HD broadcast happens tonight at 5pm. To read more about WAVE's transition to HD, click here. It will be a treat to see Louisville's first High Definition weather forecast, almost comparable to Louisville's first color TV weather forecast (although I wasn't around for that one).
Sunday, June 29, 2008
A big announcement (at least for techno-junkies) was made on John Belski's blog this morning:
WAVE 3 News goes HD starting tomorrow. WAVE will be the first station in Louisville to broadcast local news in high definition so check it out if you have an HDTV.That's awesome. I had a hunch this might happen in Louisville this year since all the cities around us were going HD (Nashville, Indianapolis, Lexington). It is just amazing that video technology has progressed enough for local TV stations to broadcast in HD. It'll be interesting to see how it looks tomorrow, as far as graphics and how many cameras they have. I guess I know what I'll be watching tomorrow... Go WAVE!
We'll see a few scattered storms around here today, with highs only topping out in the low 80's. As I said in the video forecast yesterday, there will be a gradual increase in temperatures this week with some minor storm chances in there.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
They're saying that instability has strengthened even though our cloud cover is still a problem. It is clearing out a little though, so maybe the atmosphere will have just enough time to recover and build up some energy. In any case, the tornado threat is still very very low. We'll see some linear storms this afternoon, possibly with some bowing segments harboring damaging winds. We're now under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9pm as well.
I'm sorry that the story is changing so much, but that's how it goes with severe weather. You really never know for sure until just hours (or even minutes) before.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Taking this into play, we're going to see multiple lines of storms come through tomorrow. Our primary threat is heavy rain and high wind. The SPC says there is a possibility for some super cells, but I'm not going to put all my cards in that pile. I don't think there will be quite enough shear to make a great deal of super cells, but a couple are certainly possible. Instability is about where it was in yesterday's blog post, so no big problems there (although it would be better if the CAPE was in the 3000 J/KG range, but the morning storms will not make that possible). I think we're just about out of the woods from a tornado threat due to some of these limitations, but one or two around the region are not out of the question if we do get a few super cells. Overall, this is just a normal early Summer severe weather event for Kentuckiana.
For today, we'll see a small chance for some afternoon thunderstorms and a high around 90. I sound like a broken record because the forecast has been like this for just about every day in the past week!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
That's about what I thought. The area with the 30% outline is roughly where I saw instability the highest and the cap blowing off in the afternoon. It's pretty much the same story today, except the SREF model is now pushing CAPE values past 2000 J/KG, which means these storms will have a little more instability to work with. I just took a look at the NAM wind shear product (I didn't know one existed until today!) and it looks like we'll have a pretty decent dose of shear here as these storms are coming through. The best shear will be in place at around 5pm according to the NAM, which makes me a little concerned. 2000 J/KG CAPE + Late day shear = a mess.
Still uncertain about the actual storm structure and formation at this time, but it seems that we'll be in the zone of prime development in the mid to late afternoon. Usually we get storms that form in the Midwest and they roar through here in the early to mid evening, after they've done they're worst to our West. I'm a little more concerned this time since they will be forming here, possibly starting out as super cells before merging into a squall or MCS line of thunderstorms. If this does happen this way, then we do have a small tornado threat. I smell a MODERATE risk coming down the tubes in the next 36 hours. Guess I'm going to have to fire up the live severe streaming (don't forget, you can sign up for alert e-mails about when I'm streaming at ryanweather.org)!
I just glanced at the radar and saw a cell going up in SE Louisville where I live. Sure enough, there's a towering cloud and a rain shaft just a couple miles from my house as I went to check. We'll see more pop-up storm cells throughout the day, but the chance of any one place getting hit by one is pretty small. Tomorrow looks to be the same, with the same old hot and humid temperatures. Stay cool!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
(Day 4 is Saturday)
I just got some numbers in on instability for Saturday's hyped-up severe weather outbreak. Even though they're preliminary at this point, I'm already a little concerned. CAPE values (measures instability) are forecast to get near the 2000 J/KG mark, which is pretty unstable. Anything over 1000-1500 J/KG is high enough to support a severe weather outbreak, just as long as all the other elements come into place. The cap (layer of warm air just above the surface that acts as a "pressure cooker" to build up energy) looks like it will be around here until after noon on Saturday before completely getting blown off. This will allow sunlight to heat the surface and energy to build throughout the morning. During the afternoon when the cap disappears, this energy will allow air to rapidly lift upward (instability) and condense at high altitudes. The condensation of this air is what will form our severe storms.
We'll also have to see what happens with shear and surface winds as well on Saturday. I think shear will be adequate for an outbreak, but winds are still a question at the surface. Those will pretty much determine if we'll see a line of storms or separate super cells.
My best guess is that we'll see our standard setup: a few super cells in front of a MCS (mesoscale convective system) line of storms. It just doesn't seem likely that we'd have a tornado mess since we're pushing into July. Stranger things have happened though. Nobody, not even the SPC, can really tell you exactly what's going to happen until just hours before the outbreak. It's simply too far out to tell right now.
Until the rabble-rousing on Saturday, we'll see a small daily chance of thunderstorms and temperatures holding around 90. South winds will bring up moist air and push our humidity up quite a bit, with dew points in the mid to upper 60's (uncomfortable).
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Until this weekend, we should see a small daily chance for a thunderstorm. With the exception of today, temperatures will hover near the 90 degree mark for the rest of the week and into the weekend. We should top out in the mid 80's today with any rain staying to our west. Get out there and enjoy it!
Monday, June 23, 2008
Looks like we won't see any rain until Wednesday afternoon, with more possible on Thursday. We'll most likely see some rain this weekend, which may be the heaviest this week. While we won't be measuring rain in whole inches, it will at least perk up some of the plants and grass.
You can watch my storm chasing documentary in the previous blog post or in the video section of my website.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I just finished editing all the video from my storm chasing trip, so here it is!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
What is surprising me is the low temperatures we're seeing here! We won't go above the upper 80's next week at all, and nighttime lows will hold from the lower 60's to around 70. A small daily chance of thunderstorms exists just about everyday next week, which is typical for this time of year. The cause of this unseasonably cool weather is a strong trough that's rooted in the Great Lakes area. This is channeling north winds down to us, and with that some really nice weather!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Now, back to our weather back home. The remainder of the week will see highs only topping out in the low 80's with just a tiny chance of rain on Wednesday night. That's quite nice, considering it was blistering hot just a couple of days before I left last week. I might squeeze out a forecast video tomorrow, since I might be spending some time in New Orleans this week. Summer vacation rages on!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A question was raised about the relationship between humidity and dew points and I'd like to clear that up since we're heading into the time when this is pretty crucial for heat index. The dew point is the temperature where the air is completely saturated. For instance... If the temperature is 90 degrees and the dew point is 90 degrees, then the air is completely saturated... no more water can be added or else the water in the air will condense (that's why its the DEW point, the temperature where dew forms on the grass). This also means that the humidity is 100%, which does make the air feel heavy and sweat on your body cannot evaporate, thus making it feel hotter than it really is. The higher the humidity, the less sweat can evaporate from your skin into the surrounding air. If the temperature is 100 degrees, but the dew point is 80, then the humidity is at 80%. To give you an idea how dew point feels, 65-69 feels oppressive, but anything over 70 is just unbearable.
So... Humidity is just a ratio of temperature and dew point. Humidity influences heat index (how it really feels outside), and you can find charts relating heat index and humidity on the web. That's my weather sermon for today...
I'll be at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN this weekend, so this will be my last post until Monday or Tuesday. Stay cool!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Not much else going on here weather wise!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Looks like we're going to be spared from any severe weather this week, but unfortunately some could make the flooding problems in Indiana go from bad to worse....
Still editing my storm chasing video!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
As promised, here's some of the panoramas I stitched together from the last couple of weeks (click on any of the images for a larger view):
Big "mothership" updraft base from Sunday
Grapefruit size hail-maker from Monday
A restaurant that was damaged by the Greensburg, KS tornado from last May
I'm still working on getting video edited, and it could take up to a week to get it all sorted out. I'll put out a nice compilation of all the video I took with hopefully some sort of coherent chronological story line. I won't be able to do a forecast video this weekend due to all the triage I'm performing on the photos and video. Next week won't have a forecast video either since I'm attending the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN. I have a weather website for that event at weatheroo.info.
Friday, June 6, 2008
This morning we visited Ashfall State Historic Park just south of Yankton. It had some incredible fossils from that resulted from various wildlife being covered by over a foot of ash from an eruption of a supervolcano in Idaho many millions of years ago. There was a building that covered some of the best fossils that were dug up about 30 years ago:
So now we're on the road to Denver so that the guests from tour 5 can fly back home tomorrow. This is my day to fly home as well, so I'll be back in Louisville tomorrow evening. It's been a great week meeting everyone and seeing some awesome weather!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Tomorrow's risk shifts east, so we're going to head back to Denver so all of us can fly out Saturday. It's sad that we didn't see anything good today, but at least Sunday and Monday had some remarkable weather.
You can track our position later this afternoon at:
Just look for the "stormchasing.com" vehicle icon on the map.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
So we motored as fast as we could to Woodward, OK so we could get there before Mazzio's Pizza closed. Dinner was a pleasant reward for waiting so long without any storms. Some linear storms did form in Northern Kansas, but there was little chance of a tornado and they wouldn't be fun to chase due to all the rainy mess and wind-driven gust fronts.
There's quite a bit of hype surounding tomorrow's storm situation. Various sources like the Stormtrack.org forum and Norman, OK NWS office indicated that this outbreak tomorrow could be an earth-shaker. The SPC has a MODERATE risk out for most of the Plains tomorrow, but we'll take that with a grain of salt. It's difficult to forecast severe weather even the night before and even harder to pinpoint a general location of the storms. Hopefully we can get in some adrenaline-fueled chasing tomorrow...
In the mean time, we're going to visit the town where Twister was filmed, Wakita, OK. We already saw the lake where the dual tornadoes and flying cows happened in the movie yesterday. It was odd as we drove over Kaw Lake since that scene was so memorable. One of our drivers shouted over the radio, "We've got cows!"
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
A fast moving line of wind-driven storms moved toward us from Western Oklahoma as we moved east towards our hotel in Blackwell, OK. The sky turned black and frequent lightning ensued as we pulled into the parking lot and wind gusts really got going. Just as the last tour guests got in the building, the bulk of the storm came through. The rain was nearly horizontal!
I'm not too optimistic about tomorrow due to a lot of rain cooled air around the Plains, but it is still too early to tell. In any case, I think our target area will be somewhere in either Central or Eastern Nebraska. Maybe tomorrow will be the day...
It would be great if we could go 3 for 3 in the days that we've seen super cells. We've yet to see a tornado, but the cells we've seen are even better than seeing a tornado in some cases. You can't go into a trip like this with the mindset that you'll see a tornado. Just seeing some of the storm structure is worth the whole trip!
Monday, June 2, 2008
We chased it from Eastern Colorado into Western Kansas where it died out due to interference from surrounding clouds and cooler air seeping into the surface levels, which killed any instability the atmosphere had. We got hit with pea sized hail during the beginning, but according to spotters, this cell had up to grapefruit sized hail in its later stages. Thank goodness we didn't get hit with that!
Since today's severe potential is pretty much wiped out, we're on our way to WaKeeney, KS. We'll settle in to our hotel there and watch tonight's lightning show that is expected as a cold front sags south into the area.
So we're on our way to Eastern Colorado to make the best of what looks like a not-so-great severe weather day. There are too many clouds from morning storms over Kansas and Nebraska to really support a good outbreak, but we'll see what we can find.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
In the meantime we'll find a Wal-Mart and stock up on supplies like we did on last week's tour.