Saturday, April 23, 2011

4/23 - 2:30pm - West Tennesse Weather / Last Week's Severe

The clouds that were supposed to hang around a bit longer today have actually burned off early across West Tennessee and that presents some issues in the forecast. This has lead to increased instability and the chance for some windy thunderstorms this afternoon in portions of West Tennessee that were not expected based on what data was available this morning. We'll see how this develops, but the SPC is considering posting a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for West Tennessee due to this possibility. Otherwise, expect a small chance for a storm tomorrow with most places seeing very nice weather for Easter-related activities.

Next week looks extremely active severe weather-wise for the region. A pair of disturbances will provide chances for severe weather on Monday and Wednesday, with Wednesday being the most concerning at the moment for widespread severe weather. Everyone from Louisville, Kentucky to Birmingham, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee needs to keep watch on this system. Check out the video below for your complete West Tennessee forecast and some early-morning shenanigans with Peeps Easter candy:

This is my last Saturday at WBBJ for a while since the semester at MSU is ending next week and my storm chasing trip begins the week after. I'll be back doing regular shows again in August once school starts back up. Speaking of severe weather, how about that outbreak last week in Mississippi? Check out this panoramic shot that I took of a supercell and it bore down on Mississippi State's campus on Wednesday:

This photo was shot on an iPhone and has received over 17,000 views on Twitter. Numerous local TV stations aired it on their newscasts and Jim Cantore even showed it on The Weather Channel for quite some time while explaining the cell's characteristics and talking a little bit about my enrollment as a meteorology student at Mississippi State (thanks Jim!). I just love when my storm pictures and videos get airtime since I work hard to capture them. Can't wait to get even more pictures when I start storm chasing in 14 days!

My storm chasing blog begins on May 7th right here and on As usual, I'll be posting daily updates with photos, HD videos, reports, and so much more. Don't forget to go ahead and follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you can be ready to receive my up-to-the-minute chase updates!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

4/18 - 5pm - MSU Video Weather Update

It's just plain HOT out there today around Starkville and North Mississippi. Storms are on the way for early tomorrow morning and into the afternoon hours, some of which could be severe. Main threats appear to be wind and hail at this point. Once we finally clear out that system, we'll be left with a very nice weekend with more warm conditions. Check out the video below, which will be the last one for this academic year since final exams start next week:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

4/16 - 1:30pm - West Tennessee Forecast Update

Calmer weather is on the way for your weekend as the cold front that passed through yesterday ushers in cooler temperatures and clearing skies. High temperatures today across West Tennessee will only reach into the upper 50's, so take that jacket with you as you head out the door. Breezy conditions with wind gusts up to 25 mph are possible as well.

Tomorrow looks to be much improved with temperatures reaching into the lower 70's and sunny skies. Upper 70's and clouds are expected for the beginning of your workweek, but stormy (maybe even severe) weather could be back in the picture by Tuesday. Check out the video below for your complete forecast:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

4/14 - 7pm - MS/TN/AL Tornado Outbreak Possible Tomorrow

Severe Weather Setup

A potential tornado outbreak is poised to affect Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee tomorrow as a rather potent low and associated trough swing through the central part of the nation. Once a warm front passes through the region tomorrow morning and moisture from the south begins to filter in, all forms of severe weather will be possible in North Mississippi, North Alabama, and West Tennessee. I want to place a particular emphasis on Northeast Mississippi and Northwest Alabama, where the greatest risk of tornadoes appears to be at this time. Large hail and damaging winds are possible across the entire region. The Storm Prediction Center has placed these areas under a 45% Moderate Risk of severe weather for tomorrow.

Keep up with my weather updates on my Twitter and Facebook page.


Timing is going to be difficult to pin down tomorrow as some computer models have slowed down the overall movement of the system. Areas near the Delta in Mississippi could see severe weather late tonight, but the remainder of the state shouldn't see any until the morning and afternoon hours. Here in Starkville it'll most likely be after 11am when we begin to see supercells pop up on the radar and the risk for severe weather could extend well into the early evening hours. West Tennessee will likely see the risk for severe weather develop after noon and extend to just after sunset. NWS Jackson's timeline on the left is a pretty good guess at when things will develop and where tomorrow.


The SPC's Moderate Risk verifies quite well on the computer model forecasts. Ahead of a surface low in Missouri tomorrow, surface winds will become southeasterly in East Mississippi and West Alabama while upper-level winds (500mb) will be quite strong out of the southwest. This will cause quite a bit of directional and speed shear from the lower levels to the upper levels of the atmosphere that will aid in the creation of rotating supercell thunderstorms. These individual cells will most definitely carry a tornado risk as they develop and roll through tomorrow after the noon hour. Dew points in the mid to upper 60's will aid in the creation of these storms and send instability (CAPE) values well over 1500 J/kg in places.

The SREF model's Significant Tornado Parameter will be at a 4 for most of Mississippi tomorrow, but again the ingredients for tornado creation will most likely be at their prime in the eastern half of the state in the afternoon. West Tennessee won't be at quite the high level of risk that Northeast Mississippi/Northwest Alabama will be in tomorrow due to a lessening of moisture and instability as you head northward, but tornadoes, wind, and large hail are still in play tomorrow afternoon.

I will be driving from Starkville to Jackson, TN tomorrow afternoon in preparation for my Saturday morning show at WBBJ-TV. I am going to try and time my departure so that I can possibly intercept a supercell from its southern side as I drive northward. Storm motions of over 40 mph and the poor road network in Northeast Mississippi aren't good for storm chasing, so that's off the table unless something extraordinary happens.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

4/12 - 4:15pm - MSU Weather Forecast Video

It's been a great day across North Mississippi and we're set to repeat that performance again tomorrow with clear skies and temperatures in the upper 70's. Storms are in the forecast on Thursday through Friday, but the weekend should be clear with slightly cooler temperatures. Check out the video below for all the details!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

4/10 - 1pm - Busy Weekend at WBBJ!

Besides doing weather during my normal morning shift yesterday, I also filled-in for the 6pm and 10pm shows at WBBJ. The weather in Jackson was absolutely gorgeous yesterday and the same goes for today. These record-breaking temperatures won't be around for long though because a cold front will make its way through tomorrow morning. Severe thunderstorms are a good bet as this front makes its way through, and some of these storms could have damaging winds and hail. Get all the details below in my Good Morning West Tennessee and 10pm newscast videos:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4/5 - 5:15pm - MSU Forecast Video

After over a thousand reports of severe weather yesterday we're settling into a very nice week. It may be a little chilly out there right now, but conditions are downright gorgeous across the Southeast today! We'll gradually warm up this week into the 80's and clouds could begin to set in a little bit by the start of the weekend. Another cold front will be on the way for Sunday night, and this time of year that usually means a chance of severe weather. Keep it tuned here for the latest updates as we get closer to the end of this weekend.

(FYI: In the video below I incorrectly identified hail reports as flood reports in Northeast Mississippi. While we did have flooding in the region, the green dots on the graphic are actually reports of hail that fell. That's what happens when you do weather with a nasty head cold!)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

4/3 - 5:40pm - Severe Weather Tomorrow Across the South

The Bottom Line

Central/North Mississippi: Severe weather will be possible starting in the late morning hours tomorrow and extend until likely just after 7pm. Supercell thunderstorms could form in front of a main squall line in the early afternoon and produce some tornadoes, but this will be highly dependent on some "iffy" factors like the cap and surface winds. Straight line wind damage, large hail, and some embedded brief tornadoes will be possible with an approaching squall line of storms as we get closer to sunset.

West Tennessee: A squall line of storms will travel from west to east tomorrow between the late morning and middle afternoon hours. This line will strengthen due to daytime heating as it travels eastward, so be especially on the lookout if you live east of Jackson, TN. There's also a possibility for the development of a supercell or two in the southern portions of West Tennessee before the passage of the main line of storms. Straight line winds, hail, a few brief tornadoes, and flash flooding will be possible as the squall line passes through.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for updates on tomorrow's severe weather.


Severe weather will be an issue tomorrow around the South as a sharp trough and accompanying cold front advance eastward. The Storm Prediction Center has already put a large portion of the Southeast US under a Slight Risk for severe weather tomorrow, putting particular emphasis on an enhanced severe threat in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee with a 30% outlined area. The SPC's outlook calls for the chance of discrete superecells in front of a main squall line, or QLCS, of storms that could bring damaging winds and some embedded tornadoes.

Here in Mississippi and West Tennessee we'll be watching for a particular area where the most favorable wind shear and instability will come together to create the greatest threat for severe weather. Wind profiles will be most favorable for severe weather as you go northward into Tennessee and Kentucky, but instability will be strongest over Central and North Mississippi as we head into the afternoon hours tomorrow. The meeting of these two "peak" areas of winds and instability will likely be North Mississippi into North Alabama and extreme Southwest Tennessee. The SREF computer model's Significant Tornado Ingredients parameter on the image to the right shows a pretty good estimate of where this area will be during the afternoon tomorrow in the 20 and 30 outlined areas.

To the north of this area straight line winds and brief embedded tornadoes will be the greatest threat as the squall line pushes through during the afternoon. Inside and slightly south of this area is where the best chance for front-running discrete supercells could be. These supercells, should they form, will have a risk of producing tornadoes and large hail. Surface winds from the south or southeast will be needed to produce these tornadoes, so that's certainly something to watch for. Sunlight during the late morning and early afternoon will be the fuel for these supercell storms and the "cap" (warm layer of air above the surface that blocks air parcels from rising and creating thunderstorms) will be crucial. The NAM model indicates that the cap will break and allow for storm development sometime in Central and North Mississippi between 10am and 1pm tomorrow as you'll see on the left. Forecasting when and if a cap will break is extremely tricky, so don't be surprised if we get lucky and supercells don't form due to a stronger than anticipated cap.

Instability in general will be quite adequate tomorrow across Central and North Mississippi as dry air aloft will allow rising moist air parcels from the surface to continue upward, which is the main mechanism for building thunderstorms. The NAM model sounding at 7am tomorrow on the right indicates where this dry air is in relation to the moist air at the surface.

The timing of when the main line of storms will come through has been an issue on some of the computer models. The SREF and NAM models seem to be in agreement that the severe weather threat will begin sometime after 10am in North Mississippi with the potential for front-running supercells and then having the main line of storms come through Northeast Mississippi near the 7pm hour. The GFS has been a little quicker with this, but it seems the last couple of runs have put it more in agreement with the NAM/SREF and the ~7pm timing of the main line coming through Northeast Mississippi.

With the threat of supercells in the early afternoon and the squall line near nightfall, this will be a fairly long event. There isn't one particular parameter that sticks out as being "historic" or much above average for any severe weather event. The significance here is that each of these parameters (instability, shear, moisture, etc) will meet the required criteria for severe weather and converge over a good chunk of Mississippi, extreme Southwest Tennessee, and Alabama. I don't think there will be a large tornado outbreak of any sort, but tornadoes could be possible in both the front-running supercells and main squall line.

Be sure to keep those NOAA weather alert radios in "alert" mode tomorrow if you live within the SPC's 15% or 30% risk areas. Even though this severe weather event will not break any records, it has the potential to affect a large population and cause damage.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

4/2 - 2pm - West Tennessee Weather Update

A very nice weekend is in progress across West Tennessee as sunshine and temperatures around 70 make an appearance. Tomorrow's high of 80 in Jackson will be summer-like for sure, but severe weather looms as we start the workweek.

A cold front and associated trough will approach from the west and trigger an outbreak of severe weather on Monday afternoon and evening. Timing of the frontal passage will be key here... if it comes through quicker we could have an afternoon event and a later passage would lead to a night of storms. It's unclear exactly how this will play out since we don't know what kind of surface winds we'll be dealing with for sure. Right now I'm thinking there's a possibility for a few supercells with a tornado risk in the afternoon on Monday with a squall line of severe storms and possibly embedded tornadoes later on in the day. Check out your full forecast below: