Tornado Count to Date

April 30, 2012 - 2 Responses

Who’s keeping track at home? The tornado count to date looks like this. It’s normal to see states well east of here have higher tornado counts than us. Rankings 5, 6, and 7 were Louisana, Nebraska and Tennessee. Dixie Alley, especially during a La Nina pattern tends to be a bit more active.

What will be interesting to see is how much this map changes in the next 5 weeks with May being notorious for changing this graphic around. May is no doubt the peak of the severe weather season in The United States, but looking at the models for the next few days, the pattern almost looks a little more “June-like” in whick the track moves well up to the north.

And if you’re wondering how this map compares to this time last year, remember Alabama was just coming off their huge tornado outbreak. Remember these are just tornado reports and not confirmed tornadoes. Some have been reported twice.

-Damon

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Higher End Severe Threat?

April 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

It’s a new day, but the same ole story. Another round of severe storms could develop later this afternoon. And while the atmospshere has been worked over a bit these past few days, today’s risk for severe storms may be a bit higher compared to the last few days given the fact that there is very little preventing storm development today.

The above graphic shows the risk for severe weather today. That’s a SLIGHT RISK for all shaded in yellow. The red shading was added to highlight where the greatest chance for tornadoes will occur. It’s not a HUGE chance, but enough to get us chasing out there today.

Storms may fire up during the afternoon hours and have a chance to “tornado” before sunset. Once sunset occurs, we’ll lose some of the tornado threat, but not the large hail or strong wind threat.

This atmopshere overhead si capable of dropping some baseballs if every thing works right. So, what will you be doing tonight around 9:00pm?

This model run seems to think that we could see another round of busy weather tonight. At this time (9:00pm), we’re thinking hailers and winds…and heavy rain. We’ll keep our eye on it.

-Damon

Missing: Cold Fronts..If Found, Please Return

April 27, 2012 - One Response

It shouldn’t surprise us that as we come to the end of the month, we  revisit the good ole temperature stat to see where we stand for the month. It’s been warm (no shocker there), but just how warm? The stat above tells you that we’re running about 3.7 degrees above normal, but fortunately, this warm month is still a ways away from cracking the Top 10 warmest April’s on record.

Tomorrow’s cold front will cool things down some for the short term. But, enjoy it while you can because after this weekend, getting fronts to move all the way south may be tough to do. Check out the 6-10 day outlook which takes us into the 2nd week of May.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think it safe to say that the models are hinting that we will see ABOVE NORMAL temperatures for a while now.  And no, this does not mean that July and August will be crazy hot like last year. I suppose the lack of strong cold fronts and lows would mean a decrease in widespread severe weather. Though it can’t be ruled out, it appears that for now, the weather pattern setting up for next week and into the 2nd week will be one that will not produce a whole lot of severe weather across The Southern Plains other than the occasional severe storm that pops up along the dryline. The storm track looks to remain well north, almost like we’re in late June or somethin.  Oh La Nina… you silly girl. You left us…and took the crazy severe weather season with you for a while. How typical of you…

-Damon

The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Accurate??

April 23, 2012 - Leave a Response

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has been around since 1792 and continues to be the source for weather for farmers and some meteorology gurus.  Sure, I’ve read it from time to time and today, I decided to see how accurate it really is in predicting long-term weather.

The almanac predicted a milder winter for 2011.  Turns out, with La Niña around, temperatures across the state were warmer than average.  In OKC specifically, the months of December through February proved old man winter was lacking his punch.  In Dec., we were 0.5 degrees above average; Jan., 4.5 degrees; and Feb., one degree above average.

Winter rainfall was forecast to be below normal for the state.  I averaged the numbers for OKC and turns out, we were one-tenth inches above average.  Of course, this is looking at just one city.  It would take awhile to crunch numbers for the entire state.

Their forecast called for April to be warm too.  This is holding true because so far, our average monthly temperature is 63.5 degrees, 4.1 degrees above average.

What about May?  May is also to see the heat, while their forecast calls for cooler weather over the summer.  Sigh.  This would be great ( in my opinion)!  This actually might be accurate because we know La Niña is fading.  If an El Niño pattern develops soon, we could very well be looking at cooler temperatures this summer.  However, keep in mind the effects of this pattern are more pronounced in the winter.  Guess we’ll see!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac makes its long-range forecasts based on solar patterns and historical conditions.  Although generalized, their forecasts have been pretty accurate in my last few years of reading!

By: Danielle Dozier/Twitter: @DanielleDozier

More Severe Weather Looming?

April 20, 2012 - Leave a Response

I guess this shouldn’t be a shocker right? End of April, headed into May and I decide to title this blog, ” More Severe Weather Looming”?. I suppose that would be similar to writing a blog at 2am saying, ” Sky Turning Blue in a few Hours…”. Well…DUH!

Anyways, back to my point here. The 8-14 day outlook is out..and it shows more rain headed this way.

Above Normal is in the outlook, which if we look at the dates here, means that the last weekend of April, to beginning of May could be wet. And since we’re headed into the peak of severe weather (May), it would only seem natural to believe that these above normal rain chances will come with the threat for severe weather.

At this point, it’s far to early to determine the size of the severe threat or the magnitude of it. But, for planning purposes, just know that the start of the new month may be active. We’ll keep our eye on it.

-Damon

Another Round of Heavy Rain?

April 18, 2012 - Leave a Response

Oh rain…where were you last summer? After going through one of the worst droughts in Oklahoma history since the dust bowl, things have quickly turned around.  And, within the next 48 hours, we could be seeing another round of heavy rain.

 

A cold front will be in NW Oklahoma during the day Thursday, allowing for a chance of storms to develop late in the afternoon. And while the severe threat is not high, given the fact that it is Oklahoma, and it is spring time, we certainly can’t rule out the chance to see a few severe storms. (This will not be anything like we had last weekend).

By Friday morning, we could be dealing with a good rain maker across the state, especially near the placement of the front. That includes you OKC! How much rain are we talking here?

This is one of the models that we look at here. Nice rainfall amounts, and while we want to fixate on the digits, pay even closer attention to the colors. The purple, and even the red, show that we could see some areas in the 2-4 inch range. Of course this may change come Friday morning, but given the wet pattern we’ve been in, it seems reasonable to believe, right?

So, lay off the sprinklers for a while… and give the ole lawn mower a nice little tune up.

-Damon

La Niña Fading

April 18, 2012 - 2 Responses

You may remember Summer 2011.  It was the hottest on record in OKC, with 63 triple-digit heat days. During that summer, our climate was under a neutral phase of the ENSO cycle.  What is ENSO?  El Niño Southern Oscillation is a climate pattern that can have influences on our daily weather. It changes every several years from either a La Niña, El Niño, or neutral phase where neither one exists.  During La Niña, high pressure sets up south of Alaska, allowing the equatorial Pacific waters to cool.  This typically allows for drier and warmer than average conditions across much of the south.  

The effects are more pronounced during the winter months.  La Niña has been with us since Winter 2011.

Temperatures in April of this year in OKC have been very warm; 4.6 degrees above average.  Rainfall has also been above average by a little over two inches.

Another element that influences our weather is the NAO, or North Atlantic Oscillation.  It has a positive and negative phase. 

During the positive phase, the south and eastern part of U.S. tend to see warmer than average temperatures.  This has been our pattern throughout Winter 2011-2012. 

So what will our climate pattern be like by May?  Turns out, La Niña is fading. 

Sea-surface temperatures have been warming in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and are expected to continue to warm through May.  The NAO should become more negative too.  Here’s a graphic to explain the NAO:

Look at that curvy black line, which represents the  NAO index.  Over the past several months, it’s been positive.  However, so far in April, we’ve seen it a bit more negative.  Through May, NAO may become more negative.  What does all of this mean?   If NAO becomes negative, and/or an El Niño develops, which is quite a possibility, we could be looking at a cooler and wetter next several months, including the potential for more severe weather. 

By:  Danielle Dozier 

Twitter: @DanielleDozier

The Evolution of the Forecast…

April 15, 2012 - 11 Responses

I’ve heard it all in the last 24 hours. From the “you all busted this forecast so bad” to “thank you for all that you all did, staying on -air and giving us the warning”.  Truth be told, this system was forecasted well in advance (the small details were still missing, but weren’t necessary really), and given the meteorological conditions that we saw setting up well in advance, this had all the “right things” to be a major severe weather outbreak.  Just because it didn’t impact your town directly, doesn’t make it any less of an event. Remember, the science is not perfect. And if the science is not perfect, then as a meteorologist, we won’t be perfect either. But sometimes we can be pretty dang close. Check out the following image.

The image above shows the evolution of the risk that The Storm Prediction Center sent out. It detailed the potential of something 1 week out. 7 days! That was 7 days to start thinking about this. We mentioned on air days ahead of this, that something could come together. We never stayed silent on the matter because as a meteorologist, when you see this set-up, you know something scary could unfold.

I tip my hat off to every single meteorologist in Oklahoma. To The Storm Prediction Center for all that they did, to The National Weather Service for hitting the message hard and the amazing communication that they sent out via their chat. To the media… all of them. It’s very unfortunate to see what happened in Woodward. Tornadoes were dancing all around that part of the state during the evening. 5 deaths is tough to see. Could the number have been higher had we not put the message out days in advance? It possibly could. We won’t ever really know for sure.

But what we do know is that this system hardly changed from the forecast that was sent out a week in advance. I said it a lot on Friday and this just confirmed it even more. DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT TYPE OF RISK YOU ARE IN. A high risk can be just as deadly as a moderate risk or even a slight risk. (May 3rd, 1999 started out as a slight risk) Storms don’t know the difference between the yellow shading on the map, the orange or even the red.  And for those of you who say “you busted” or you wanted something bigger with many more tornadoes in the state, may I suggest therapy.

-Damon

Day 1 Slight vs. Day 2 High

April 13, 2012 - Leave a Response

It’s a weather set-up that has many similarities and yet, many differences that Oklahomans may not be used to. First off, today is nothing new for Oklahoma.

Today’s risk is not as high as tomorrow. But, with very little to prevent storm development today and high instability, we could get some storms developing. Do not put your guard down today because you’re busy thinking about tomorrow. This is just one model that does show storm development later day.

The storm threat will increase during the over night hours as the low-level jet returns and adds to the shear. So, Northern Oklahoma may see some strong storms during the overnight hours. Now… to tomorrow….

This is where things get very very interesting. First off, I know we want to focus our attention on who has the high risk and who has the moderate or even slight risk. DON’T! Storms don’t care about risk areas or colors on the map. A storm in the red could be just a deadly as a storm in the yellow. This is the earliest HIGH RISK map that has ever been issued by The Storm Prediction Center. We means business here! But again, this is very unusual for Oklahoma to see a risk map out that is this extreme, this early, and the timing looks interesting too. Check this out.

There’s a chance that with the amount of instability and heat that storms could develop Saturday afternoon, but the main piece of energy does not look to roll in until later into the evening. This model shows where storms may develop. We’re talking around midnight here. And then into the I-35 area by….

Overnight severe weather is a scary thing. You don’t see tornadoes unless they are lit up by lightning or you see power flashes. We’re talking about the potential to see long track, strong, fast moving tornadoes here. You know we’ll be on all night long and if you can rest up on Saturday, that may not hurt so that you can remain awake during the overnight just in case.

-Damon

A Day 3 Moderate Risk!

April 12, 2012 - 5 Responses

It’s not often you see a Day 3 Moderate Risk out.  The last time we had a Day 3 Moderate Risk was during the Alabama tornadoes last year.  The Storm Prediction Center issued one earlier today for Saturday. But, this isn’t your typical severe weather day in Oklahoma. First off, the amount of instability will be high enough that peak heating of the day will be strong enough to spark off a few storms. But, the main event may not occur until much later in the evening. We won’t need the heating to get things going.  The following model is our in-house model known is RPM/Predictor.

Notice how it doesn’t even begin to form a line of storms until around midnight Saturday/Sunday. This is what makes the system unusual for Oklahoma. Most of us are used to storms developing by 4pm and then done by the evening. This however is unique and perhaps even more dangerous. Sleeping during severe weather? Make sure you have some sort of weather alert should something move in on you. These could be long track tornadoes moving quickly.

By Sunday morning, the line may still be out west approaching the Oklahoma City Metro around sunrise. Yes, this is just one model and it could change. But it gives us an idea that the timing of the system will make this unlike any other system we’ve had impact Oklahoma in the recent years.

Do I expect this model data to change? Perhaps it will. But, as a meteorologist, when looking at all the data coming in, it’s easy to see why this could be one impressive storm system. Stay tuned…

-Damon