Monday, June 13, 2011

6/13 - 10pm - Back from Bonnaroo, Storms This Week?

I'm back from a very hot (temperature and music-wise) weekend at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN. It only rained briefly on Saturday evening, but the rest of the event was hot and dry. The heat created a couple of notable dust devils at the festival, one of which shook up the crowd for a few seconds as it ripped through one of the main arteries of the event area. It picked up nothing more than small debris (paper, cardboard, etc) but it was very well-formed and unfortunately didn't last long enough to get pictures. Even though the air quality deteriorated greatly throughout the weekend as the dusty air thickened, the festival was fantastic and the weather cooperated fairly well given the time of year.

Storms are in the forecast for Kentucky and Tennessee this week as an area of low pressure moves through the Plains and Midwest. An accompanying cold front will help to provide lift for severe thunderstorm development on Tuesday for much of Tennessee and Western Kentucky, with that threat shifting slightly eastward and northward to include the Louisville area on Wednesday. A warm front extending to the east of this low pressure area will serve as the northward extent of this severe weather threat on both days. On Wednesday it should be on or near the Ohio River, so areas south of that boundary (possibly Louisville) will have to watch out for damaging winds, hail, and maybe even an isolated tornado or two. My gut tells me this will be a linear/straight-line wind event on Wednesday for Louisville due to the west-northwest winds aloft coupled with east-southeast winds at the surface, but supercells certainly aren't out of the question in places that get a more westerly wind vector aloft. Also, temperatures aloft will likely be too cold to support much of an isolated supercell threat in Kentucky, so my thinking is that the tornado threat for this whole event will remain fairly low in the northern portion of the storm area. A supercell or two would be a little more likely in Tennessee, but still remains a small risk. In any case, the Storm Prediction Center has highlighted Slight Risk areas for severe weather on Tuesday and Wednesday (pictured left). The placement of the warm front on Wednesday will be a key factor in determining exactly where severe storms will form on Wednesday, so it's something to definitely keep an eye on!

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