OCTOBER — A Wild Month, Weatherwise!

October’s typically a topsy turvy month for temperatures, and this year it’s been no disappointment.  The mercury’s been all over the place!  This week felt more like late August/early September, with highs in the upper 80s!

heatwaveIn fact, every day this week (Monday – Friday), we hit 85 degrees or higher!

On the flip side, this past Saturday, Nashville only had a high of 55 — a blast of November-like air!

The records for this month are extreme…as you’d might expect.  The alltime high is 94 (set 10/1/53).  The alltime low is just 26 (set 10/22/87).  Here’s one more for ya:  the latest in the year we’ve ever hit 90 degrees happened during October — 10/10/80.

As we head into this weekend, the weather roller coaster will hit a stretch of level track.  We’ll have highs in the low-mid 70s and lows in the 50s (Saturday) and 40s (Sunday).  Here’s a quick preview of the weekend overall…..


Next week, temperature make a run at 80 degrees again, so ladies….don’t switch out those closets just yet!

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It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

It’s raining cats and dogs, well not really.  Who came up with that expression anyway? If you really want to know, I did some research. It could be explained by  a tornado picking up the little critters and then they fall out of the storm. Another explanation is even worse, originating in 17th/18th century England when heavy rain would occasionally carry dead animals and other debris down the streets.  Yuck! I don’t care for either of those explanations.  So let’s get back to raining water.

Blog raining cats and dogs

We have started off our weekend with several heavy downpours.  We will see more rain on and off throughout the night, but drier weather will be here for Saturday and especially Sunday.  The totals shouldn’t be very significant.  October does tend to be one of the drier months here in Middle Tennessee.  The average for Nashville is only 3.04″.

As you well know, averages are just that.  We can get rain anytime of the year.  So here’s a cool graph that shows heavy downpours (2″ or rain or more) by decades.  It looks like in the 1970s and the 2010s there were some really big rains.

Blog climmat rainfall

This graphic, using data for the entire state, shows the change in heavy downpours compared to average. There are spikes in the 1970s and 2010s again.  Overall, it looks there has been an increase in heavy downpours across the USA over the decades.

Blog climmat rainfall us

So what could these increases mean, if anything?  First off, anytime you have heavy rain come down for a prolonged period of time flash flooding can occur.  This leads to damage to property and often times deaths due to drowning.  We know this all too well from the floods of 2010.

WSM TowerLavergne4JPG

Some of my colleagues at Climate Central  have outlined that we could see the trend of more frequent heavy downpours continue. They point out that as the climate changes, the frequency of heavy precipitation will climb, and sea level will continue to rise. Between these two, the threats of both flash flooding and even coastal flooding will increase in the decades to come. That means an increase in the amounts of property and lives at risk.

The good news for us this weekend, after some needed rain, we can look forward to sunshine and mild fall temperatures.

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Take Your Umbrella on Friday!

We’ll cap off the week with a round or two of rain tomorrow (Friday).  The morning will be dry for most if not all, as clouds roll in.

DT 4 RPMb 4KM WxType Stationary

It’s midday when rain starts to appear in northwestern Middle TN.

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It quickly spreads down toward Nashville and expands throughout the afternoon.  Some of the rain will be accompanied by thunder and lightning, but the severe threat is very low.

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As we transition into Friday evening, the steadiest/heaviest rain is east of the Cumberland Plateau, but a few residual light showers will linger.

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That means for Friday night football and the Light the Night Walk at Nissan Stadium (7pm), be ready for a passing shower.  If one comes your way, it shouldn’t last long or amount to much.


A few more light showers will fall here and there through the overnight.  Then, on Saturday, after a cloudy start with a sprinkle here or there and a shower or two over easternmost Middle TN, clouds will break to make way for sunshine by afternoon…and much cooler weather (highs around 70 in Nashville).

DT 4 RPM 4KM WxType Stationary7DT 4 RPM 4KM WxType Stationary8


DT 4 RPM 4KM WxType Stationary9




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El Nino: The Strongest in Years!

It’s so hard to fathom that warm water thousands of miles away could have such an impact globally, but that is the case this year.  This is shaping up to be one of the strongest El Nino events since 1997-1998.  El Nino is the name given to the warming phenomenon that happens in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America.

Explanation of El Nino

A report released this week proclaims September the warmest in the tropics. Globally it was the fifth warmest September.  It was also the fourth warmest September in the Northern Hemisphere. These rankings use the satellite temperature record.  By the way, the “satellite record” is referring to a method where satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. 

Map of September Temperatures

Map of September Temperatures

I don’t want to bog you down with too many numbers, but the scientist working on this project say, “it is reasonable to expect the heat from the El Niño to continue to spread across more of the globe during the next three months.”

If you want to be real nerdy, check out their research…

Click here for research details

With this El Nino being one of the strongest on record, it will likely play an major role in weather patterns across the United States this winter. Generally speaking it increases the chances of a milder winter across the northern tier states, a colder one across the southern states and a wetter winter in Southern California. The winter forecast from the Climate Prediction Center will be out in a week.  I am working on my winter outlook for our area.  I hope to have that together in a couple of weeks.

Climate Matters El Nino Global Impacts

Interesting to note, my friends at Climate Central  point out that as the planet warms from the buildup of greenhouse gases.  there may be a change in the atmospheric circulations over the Pacific Ocean near the equator. One possible result of that change is an increase in the number of extreme El Nino.

Climate Matters Sea Level Temp

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Fall break’s here.  Hey…have you heard?  There are some UNBELIEVABLE last minute cruise deals out there right now!!  Should you and your family/friend/significant other jump on one?


“Hmmmmm….”  you pause.  “It IS still hurricane season, isn’t it?  But these deals are sooo good!!”


From the 4WARN Weather Center, my response to this would be…”Absolutely!  Go for it!  It IS a bit of a gamble though.”


Here’s why it’s a good bet you’d be fine:

  1. Hurricane season peaked just a few weeks ago, and the deeper we get into the hurricane season, the more quickly and sharply it drops off.
  2. It’s an El Nino year, which is notorious for limiting the number of tropical systems we have in the Atlantic basin.
  3. Even during a busy hurricane season, chances are small a storm would visit you during the one week or so you choose for your vacation, in the area you’ll be.
  4. The area of greatest risk for a hurricane is shifting away from the eastern Caribbean and up the east coast (since we’re now in October).


Here’s why it’s a risk:

  1. Even though hurricane season has peaked, chances are good there will be at least 2-3 more storms.
  2. Physical energy (like wind) applied to water is transferred via waves…and waves can radiate outward thousands of miles (away from storms), making you guard your Dramamine supply with your life!
  3. The stress.  Vacation is obviously about fun and reducing stress….but if you’re a worry wart, you might totally miss out on the latter.

SO…it all boils down to whether or not you personally are a risk taker, and what level of risk you’re comfortable with.  Once you figure that out, the decision will likely be a quick one for you!

Don’t forget the sunscreen :)!!


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It’s Hot and We Need Coats!!!

It’s hard to think about winter weather when it’s in the 80s outside, but it’s time to donate coats for Warm Coats from Warm Hearts.  We are hoping to collect 5000 coats to give away to folks who need one this winter.

LS Warm Coats 2

It’s easy to participate, just clean out your closet, and drop out any gently used coats at one of the drop off sights. They include any Middle Tennessee location of Ascend Federal Credit Union and Firestone Complete Auto Care or Granny White Pike Church of Christ or Channel 4. Donations will be taken through November 11.

If you are a part of group, club or class looking for a community activity, this could be a great project for you.  Simply collect the coats and bring them to the church or arrange a pick up.

LS Warm Coats

I became associated with this project 14 years ago.  The past several years I have been at the church when the coats are given away.  It is such a rewarding experience.  I’ve seen parents come in able to outfit each of their children with coats for the winter.  They are so grateful and appreciative of the kindness of others.

LS Warm Coats 1

This project is one of the easiest ways I know help someone in need.  If you know someone who could use a winter coat this year, please let them know about the give away coming up Saturday, November 14 at Granny White Pike Church of Christ. All are welcomed.

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4WARN Weather Alert Tour’s Back!

It’s that time of year again!  The 4WARN Weather Alert Tour is back!


For those of you new to the area or just unfamiliar with it, the 4WARN Weather Alert Tour is WSMV-TV Channel 4’s traveling severe weather road show.  We do it each spring and fall….and have been doing so since just after the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak of 2008!

During the show, which is always free and lasts just over one hour, we spend time meeting and speaking with any and all who are interested in saying hello to us.


We explain the unique severe weather threat to Middle Tennesseans.  We conduct weather experiments, take your questions live on stage, play interactive weather games with the audience, and most importantly explain in an easy to understand way what you and your family should do during various types of severe weather to stay ahead of the storm and remain safe!







Our first show of this season is next Thursday, October 15th, in Hendersonville, at the Long Hollow Baptist Church.  The doors open at 6pm and the show starts at 7pm.  As always, the first 50 people through the doors get a free Snowbird giveaway.  Door prizes are given away at the end of the show, too, so be sure to hold on to the red raffle ticket you’re given upon entry.

Come out and join us…and pack the house!


For a list of our complete schedule, be sure to visit the Weather tab of http://www.wsmv.com.


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