May 11: More Storms, Daily Links

WEATHER

Last night’s severe weather threat certainly lived up to its billing: we had numerous damaging wind, hail and flooding reports in the Midstate, and even a couple of brief tornado touchdowns in southern Kentucky.  Each icon on this map represents a separate severe report (hail, wind, tornado, or flooding):
DAMAGE

The heaviest rain fell in Todd, Logan, Simpson, Wilson, Sumner, Macon, Trousdale, Smith and Jackson counties, where flash flooding caused significant issues.  The radar-estimated rainfall amounts (these numbers as of 8am) were impressive:
RAINFALL
Some of the official numbers, via NWS-Nashville:
4.27″ 6 miles SE of Hartsville
3.69″ 4 miles SE of Mt Juliet
5.28″ 7 miles WSW of Westmoreland
But this was an all-or-nothing event — the official rainfall in Nashville overnight was just 0.02″.

The National Weather Service has even issued a rarely-seen Flash Flood Emergency for northern Sumner county, western Macon county, and Trousdale county.  Areas along Bledsoe Creek and Goose Creek are particularly at-risk.  Numerous road closures and water rescues have been reported from each county — travel is strongly discouraged, unless it involves traveling to higher ground to get away from rising floodwaters.

This morning’s storms will gradually push northeastward and dissipate, but it’s a slow process.  The storms are firing along a warm front (the dividing line between warm air to the south and cooler air to the north) that’s basically “stuck” along the TN/KY state line.  That front should ease northward today, but warm fronts are fickle — we’re just in wait-and-see mode regarding the dissipation of this morning’s rain.  The rest of the Midstate is in the “warm sector” of the storm system that’s dominating the weather over the middle of the country.  Muggy conditions will combine with above-average temperatures to re-charge the atmosphere by this afternoon:
WEDNESDAY HIGHS

Despite that re-charging, this afternoon’s storm threat isn’t as high, and the severe threat isn’t nearly as impressive.  The amount of energy in the atmosphere will be similar to what built up yesterday, but we’ll lack a “trigger” to get widespread storms started, and we’ll lack sufficient wind shear to organize the storms that do form.  That doesn’t mean we’ll be completely dry, though — Futurecast (using the RPM model) shows the best chance of scattered storms along and east of I-24 this afternoon — and notice that it does shut down the rain NE of Nashville by midday…let’s hope it’s right!
RPM 12P WED RPM 2P WED RPM 4P WED RPM 6P WED

The best chance of widespread and severe thunderstorms later today and into this evening will be to our west and northwest:
WEDNESDAY STORMS
Some of those storms could hold together and roll into the Midstate late tonight and early Thursday morning:
RPM 3A THU RPM 5A THU RPM 7A THU

One last ripple in the atmosphere (at least in this current pattern) will give the storm system an eastward kick on Thursday, which means we can expect numerous showers and thunderstorms to develop in the afternoon and evening:
RPM 1P THU RPM 3P THU RPM 5P THU RPM 7P THU RPM 9P THU
The Storm Prediction Center has only outlined us in a “Marginal Risk” (level 1 of 5) of severe weather on Thursday:
THURSDAY STORMS
Considering we’ll warm up into the mid 80s between the morning rain and the afternoon storms, and considering the approaching cold front will be an adequate trigger to get the storms started, I believe that part of that Marginal Risk will have to be upgraded (“Slight Risk” is the next rung up the severe weather ladder).  We’ll keep you posted.

We’ll finally dry out Friday, and the forecast looks dry Saturday and most of Sunday as well.  Back to an unsettled weather pattern next week, but the details about that are still very uncertain — we need to get the storm chances today and tomorrow out of the way before we can focus on the next system.
WSMV 7 Day AM

LINKS

Even on a stormy morning, let’s make time for some other nerdiness…

  • Every weather nerd’s dream — taking a prom picture with a tornado in the background.
  • A kid in Oklahoma survived this week’s tornadoes because he knew exactly what to do.
  • “Twister” came out 20 years ago yesterday.  Let that sink in for a second.  TWENTY.  YEARS.  It’s a thoroughly ridiculous movie from a meteorological perspective, but I’ve still probably seen it ten times.
  • Totally subjective, but fun nonetheless: the top 10 weather scenes in movie history.
  • We’re used to seeing temperatures on a map, or on a linear chart (tracking them through time) — but one scientist came up with a new and impressive way of displaying the data…and it’s easy to understand too!
  • Shorelines and even whole islands in the Pacific Ocean are slowly disappearing, thanks to rising sea levels.
  • The final phase (planned) of NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, in cartoon form.
  • NASA’s Kepler mission announced the confirmation of over 1000 newly-verified exo-planets (planets outside our solar system) — nine are in the “habitable zone” around their host stars.
  • And then there’s this:
    tweet
    That’s JUST in the Milky Way, which is one of an estimated 200 billion galaxies in the Universe.
  • President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima — if you’re a little sketchy on why that’s a big deal, this is a must-read.
  • John Oliver did a great segment on Sunday about science reporting in the media — specifically, how often you hear stories that start with “a new study says…”  I try to severely limit how many of those stories I link to, because most of them are too good to be true.  Or too scary to to be true.  Or…just wrong.
  • My wife loves scary movies.  I find them…boring.  But if you share her view, this story is for you — the science of fear and why people love horror movies.
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About paulheggen33

Morning meteorologist for WSMV-TV in Nashville.
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