Patchy dense fog this morning is burning off as I’m typing this…we’ll see a mix of clouds and sunshine overhead the rest of the day. Unusually warm temperatures once again — we’ll reach the low to mid 70s this afternoon:
We’ll rocket up to near 80° by Friday afternoon!
Tomorrow’s record high temperature is 77° set all the way back in 1890 — obviously it looks more likely than not that we’ll have a new record on the books. The all-time warmest temperature for the month of February in Nashville is 84° — I don’t think we’ll be that warm, but I can’t rule it out. It will be breezy throughout the day, with southerly gusts up to around 30 mph:
The National Weather Service office in Nashville might decide to issue a Wind Advisory for tomorrow, but regardless of that you should make sure your lawn furniture and trash cans are secure.
Still a good chance of thunderstorms in the forecast Friday evening — the RPM model’s radar simulation shows them initially popping up around 6pm, then moving rapidly west-to-east throughout the evening and early overnight:
Will the storms be severe? That’s the million-dollar question at this point, but things are still looking “iffy” in terms of our severe potential in the Midstate. The environment ahead of the storms will certainly be warm, and the wind energy overhead will likely be impressive…but the atmosphere won’t be all that humid, which is a major limiting factor. Dew points are only forecast to be in the mid 50s Friday evening, which is really borderline:
If you were designing a severe-weather environment, you’d want dew points to be at least 60°, and ideally in the mid 60s. But the other ingredients are favorable enough for the one of the ensemble models (think of it as a “blend” of different forecast models) to indicate a chance anywhere from 20-50% of storms with severe weather ingredients Friday evening, highest to the northeast of Nashville:
The “analog” forecast method (comparing Friday evening’s large-scale pattern to similar historical patterns) shows a 40% chance of 5+ severe weather reports Friday evening:
Remember, “severe” means something very specific: 60+mph winds, 1″+ diameter hail, or a tornado. Considering all of that data, the Storm Prediction Center has outlined a “Slight Risk” (level 2 out of 5) for severe storms in southern Kentucky and northeastern Middle Tennessee, with a “Marginal Risk” (level 1 of 5) for the rest of the Midstate:
Damaging winds will be the main threat associated with any severe storms, but the way the winds will be arranged in the lowest 3 km of the atmosphere means I can’t rule out an isolated tornado — the greatest threat of severe weather will take shape to our north, in Indiana and Ohio.
But temperatures will turn right back around as we head through next week:
Rain will move in from the west late Sunday night into early Monday. Spotty showers (maybe a few storms?) on Tuesday with very warm temperatures, then another cold front will help to enhance our thunderstorm chances on Wednesday. It’s WAY too soon to worry about any severe potential with that one.
TONS of stuff about yesterday’s announcement from NASA. Plus other assorted weather and science nerdery…
- So, the big news from NASA yesterday: they found seven Earth-sized planets around a single star (“TRAPPIST-1” outside our solar system, three of which are in the “habitable zone.”
- More analysis of the discovery and how it was made from astronomer Phil Plait.
- Similar analysis here from astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, but he throws in a few additional tidbits that make it a worthwhile read.
- The next step for astronomers is to try to analyze the atmospheres of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Detecting oxygen plus other gases “would tell us there is life with 99 percent confidence.”
- The James Webb Telescope, which will launch next year, could tell us much more about TRAPPIST-1 and its 7 planets.
- Just in time for the TRAPPIST-1 announcement, I highly recommend this series from the statistical site FiveThirtyEight looking critically at positives and negatives of interplanetary travel.
- Atmospheric rivers AND outdated infrastructure: a bad combination, and it’s why California is flooding.
- Can we blame climate change for February’s record-breaking heat? (A ridiculously loaded question, but the article has some good analysis.)
- Middle America (I hate hate HATE the phrase “flyover states”) is acting on climate change — but calling it other names.
- The “Waffle House Index” can tell us a lot about infrastructure and supply chains after a hurricane.
- Poor air quality causes health issues for thousands of urban dwellers, so it’s time to start paying attention to the data.
- Keeping your heart healthy in mid-life may reduce your risk of dementia later in life.
- Average life expectancy will rise in many countries by 2030, but not in the U.S. South Korea is set to become the first country where life expectancy will exceed 90 years.
- Has the Large Hadron Collider disproved the existence of ghosts?
- Why we get “butterflies in our stomach” when we feel nervous.