Update - Severe weather rumbles well to our west-- and we bake in the heat

Updated Below

A good Tuesday morning everyone.

I need to start off this blog with some comments about the severe weather outbreak yesterday in the Central Plains, particularly Oklahoma. This will certainly be front and center in the headlines for a few days to come. The Storm Prediction Center does a great job of highlighting the threats ahead of time, but it is always hard to completely prepare for things like a tornado-- even if you know it's coming and/or live in the very place it happens so often.

SPC - Storm Potential From Monday SPC - Reports As of Monday Evening

When the Storm Prediction Center posts either a "moderate" or "high" risk for our area (or any area) that is "go-time" for all hands on deck as far as our storm coverage is concerned, and for your own preparations. As you can see, the accuracy rate on these broad-brush contours are often pretty good.

Unfortunately in this case, the accuracy was also very good and just about all meteorologists in the area were on this from the beginning. As folks who experienced both the West Liberty and Salyersville tornadoes know all too well, it doesn't matter how much advanced knowledge you have-- sometimes there just isn't a place to be safe unless you're underground or out of the area completely. Typical storm shelters include school buildings, and in cases like these the strategy is often to keep the kids sheltered in place during a tornado warning to give them the best cover. The town of Moore, OK might well have been hit the hardest, with 2 elementary schools destroyed with children inside (a two-mile wide twister at times). As a father of four children ages nine and under, this story simply wounds me painfully. I'm certain we'll be talking about this on the air during the morning news shows, but know that the schools are still often the safest place to be in a storm like this-- but there are natural limits to what you can do. Always find the most interior room with the stablest (shortest) walls, no windows, etc. (bathrooms are often the best). The teachers in this situation were downright heroic, trying to keep all the children calm in the midst of such horrific terror. And these are people who theoretically live in a place that experiences tornadoes quite frequently.

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The question for us obviously becomes, what does this mean for us. This storm system will be taking its time to get across the Ohio Valley, so it's not on our plate today. Temperatures will be approaching 90 in the rush of hot, humid air out ahead of this storm. This will be perhaps the driest day until the weekend.

NAM - Tuesday Morning NAM - Tuesday Evening

Later in the day we'll see the initial salvo of this broad system off to our west, but this won't be a big deal (garden variety stuff). This would be associated with the lift of warmth and humidity the storm sytem is generating, but not with the actual cold front clash that often contains the strongest storms.

For our purposes we'll be watching Wednesday afternoon for our greatest storm potential.

NAM - Wednesday Evening SPC - Storm Potential - Wednesday

The good news is that the indications are that the threat is notably lesser with this system by the time it gets here, but the cautionary tale is that the "slight" risk is issued a few days ahead of time-- no doubt merited on sheer respect for what this system is already on record for having done.

Whatever that we need to do to get through this mid-week period (and I trust that it ends up anticlimatic and mundane locally), we'll be set up pretty well for the Memorial Day weekend. Ironically, this is often the case behind really strong storms. Cooler air filters in, and skies clear. Expect highs nearer to 70.

GFS - Friday Afternoon GFS - Saturday Afternoon GFS - Sunday Afternoon

So far the models are advertising a consistent respite with beautiful weather. High pressure will be well-appreciated and just in time.

Update (7:45pm) - Strong thunderstorms have made use of the 85-90 degree temperatures and the energy it has provided. We're seeing them cross the Big Sandy and Tug Fork Rivers now and heading into West Virginia. Most of the storm reports (below) are of the wind gust variety, but some can exceed 50mph. Severe Thunderstorm warnings have popped up on the southern-half of this line. Though the Severe Thunderstorm Watch continues until 10pm, it is expected these storms will start losing their edge after sunset.

Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking

Accuweather Radar

From the Storm Prediction Center (below): Click For a Larger Image

Activity Overview Storm Outlook Watches Potential Watches Storm Reports
Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active Warnings
Current Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active NWS Warnings
Click For Larger Click For Interactive Radar Click For Larger Click For Larger

Have a great day everyone!

-B

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