Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bad Hair Day Today Gives Way to Nature's Fireworks Tonight

What a storm! It is not often you see tornado watches and heavy snow warnings within 200 miles of each other. Last night that is exactly what I showed on the 11 p.m. weathercast in Montana. Huge atmospheric contrasts in temperature are feeding one of the strongest June storm systems you will ever see and its moving our way. Here at home we will be on its hot and windy side today with gusts near 40 mph. You can put away the hair spray today because it will do you no good. Jumping into a pool would be a better choice. This vacuum effect is the result of this huge storm causing the air to literally be sucked in toward its center as the atmosphere tries to find some sort of equilibrium. This means we will have to be ready for our hottest day since August 2nd of last year with highs in lower to middle 90s.

This monster low will also impact our weather with strong to severe thunderstorms. It will be a real dogfight in the atmosphere with not one but two rounds of storms on the way. Check out when the storm zone will move our way.

The good news for us is it looks like the most powerful line of thunderstorms will move through very late tonight. Since we will lose a lot of daytime heating that tend to feed these storms our chances of a tornado outbreak are small. The bad news is that a nasty squall line of storms will still likely hold together due to the strength of this storm bringing a threat of 65 mph wind gusts. Our weather staff will be watching it for you even at 2 a.m. I am rested and ready to go! Here are the main threats.

Even though we will have plenty of moisture, instability, and lift in the atmosphere tomorrow night, the directional wind shear will be weak. Shear is the fourth ingredient meteorologists use to help forecast tornadoes. So this brings us to our weather word of the day which is derecho.

We all remember the derecho of July 21, 2003 when it came through at about 4 a.m. Trees were snapped like tootpicks with some wind gusts estimated at 80 mph. It looked like several tornadoes ripped through the area with even one home with a tree branch through a wall. But, most of the damage was in fact due to straight-line winds. That stormy night proved straight-line wind can do just as much damage as tornadoes and in some cases more. Carroll County needed a good week to clean up the huge mess the derecho caused.

There was one brief tornado confirmed near the Tippecanoe Fairgrounds at 18th Street and Teal Road that night. The gustnado tossed the Jeff High School bleachers around like a football and was rated an F-0 tornado. The wild part is that the tornado had estimated wind speeds at only 70 mph compared to the non-tornadic winds of close to 80 mph. Nature may put us to the test again tonight. So make sure to be ready and stay tuned! Our weather team will keep you posted on any watches and warnings. I will have some good news tonight concerning your weekend. Take care and make it a great day.

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