WSAZ - Blogs - Brandon Butcher

Tracking Storms As If It Were Summer ... Day Two

More roaming showers and storms in the forecast. Attention turns to flooding as well as the potential for severe weather.

We've made it to Friday... (yay)

Showers and storms will once again be a large part of the forecast, as we're still in the same weather pattern of the southwest-to-northeast conveyor belt of moisture streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico. HPC was "a little off" shall we say with regard to the sheer intensity of rainfall that came from the first round of storms, so we'll have to keep that in mind when looking at what's anticipated from the next round. Here's a side-by-side comparison of two precipitation outlooks for the coming days:

HAS Precipitation Forecast HPC Precipitation Forecast

A consensus pick would still put tributaries to the Big Sandy and the rivers of the coalfield mountains at risk if the entire basin gets triggered for spot flooding like we saw yesterday.

---Wonkish Tangent (skip over if uninterested)---

This is usually only reserved for summertime weather forecasting, when there are no large scale forcing patterns (like cold fronts, warm fronts, and mountains), but lots of general heat and humidity wafting around. The "K - index" was developed for just such occasions, when the potential for high-precipitation thunderstorms (a soupy atmosphere) exists despite traditional modeling tools not picking up on it very well. According to the metrics of the index, a value greater than 32 or so is reasonably correlated to thunderstorms popping up and roaming around in a qualifying environment. As I've said before, meteorologists have a ton of different model variables and outputs they can start at to try to figure out what the weather is going to be like (kind of like using an x-ray vs. an mri vs. an ultrasound, etc.) Here is the K-Index rendering coming up:

NAM - K-Index - 8am Fri NAM - K-Index - 8am Sat

Perhaps the most important thing this particular model is advertising is that we might catch a little break on Saturday :-) We'd certainly deserve it -- the luck of the Irish maybe? (Now I have to wonder one of these days down the road when one of y'all will ask me, "Well, why didn't you check the K-Index?" ;-)

---End Wonkish Tangent---

In the short-term, the risk for localized flash flooding will be great in any one of these thunderstorms that may pop in our area. If there are enough, the smaller rivers and tributaries will need to be monitored. The basin that received the most rain yesterday was that of the Guyandotte River, so we can keep an eye on how this river is doing here:

Guyandotte River at Branchland Ohio River at Huntington

Unfortunately there isn't an 'official' river gauge on the Guyandotte that reports to the Hydrology Office in Charleston, WV downstream of Branchland, but some of the tributaries have gauges on them. Perhaps more importantly, if the Ohio River gets high enough, the Guyandotte will back up because there's no more room for this river to 'empty' into the Ohio when the Ohio is already too full.

---A Look Ahead---

I see that many of you are interested in the forward-looking aspects of the forecast too, so I want to offer up something in this category as well. Our morass of the 'scattered afternoon storm' helped out by our direct-from-the-Gulf-of-Mexico wind flow will be continuing for a few days to come, broken up in bits by the law of averages (eventually the places that haven't gotten anything will be much more unstable and attractive to storms, and the places that have gotten it a lot will be tapped out for a while). Ironically, the trick to change things up will be a large-scale weather-maker-- like a strong storm system that has the cold fronts and warm fronts. It just so happens one of these babies is heading in next week:

GFS - Humidity (moisture/wind flow) - 8pm Thurs (3/22) GFS - Precipitation - 8pm Thurs (3/22)

As with all the maps, you should be able to click on the image to get a pop-up of a larger image (must have pop-up blocker turned off). I want to let you know that I'm cognizant of the large number of maps I've been putting up on these posts. I'm still trying to find the right mix of maps to accompany what I want to say, and the right amount of 'things to explain' per blog post without being overwhelming. The whole point of this blog is to be of use to the reader, so I take a lot from the comments you've been leaving. I have found them all to be very helpful, and I'm sure one day I'll get better at this :-)

Since today is certainly another storm day, you'll get the full suite of tracking tools...

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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