Thursday, August 16, 2007

Emergency Management is Ready for Severe Weather to Pick Up As Two Tornadoes Touch Down in Indiana

We dodged the rain here in Tippecanoe County last night and the tornadoes. Here are most of the storm reports from our area. There were also some downed trees in Fulton County. Wind gusts were estimated near 50 mph in Cass and Fulton Counties. I went to an emergency management meeting this morning and was amazed that Buffalo and even parts of Monticello had the ground briefly covered with small hail.

Talk about folks that really care. I cannot say enough about the great people I met in White County this morning you see above. Give them a standing round of applause. The emergency management directors meeting was the most productive weather meeting I have been to in years and it will go a long way into making sure you and your family stays safe. We have always had a great relationship with TEMA or the Tippecanoe County Emergency Management Agency at News Channel 18 and now that special relationship will include all of our counties in our viewing area to a much closer degree.

Folks depend on us just as much if not more in Newton, Jasper, Benton, Warren, Carroll, Fountain, Montgomery, Clinton, White, Cass, Pulaski, Fulton, Miami and Howard Counties. Our viewing area has always been the forgotten doughnut hole between three National Weather Service offices in Chicago, North Webster, and Indianapolis. Not anymore. Live Doppler 18 helps fill part of that void. But it is people that really matter and having a close communication not only with the National Weather Service offices but all emergency management agencies and their storm spotters will help complete a truly formidable severe weather safety umbrella over the Lafayette area. It is a big challenge when it comes to Indiana weather, but we have the right people in place to make sure we are storm ready no matter what nature dishes out. Preparation and communication before severe weather strikes goes a long way into saving lives. The whole reason I am in this business is to help others during severe weather and this is possible thanks to these folks. We went over many great ideas that we can implement over the coming year.

We also talked about a jet stream picking up steam as we head into the fall. This will collide with active tropical weather to our south bringing an increase in our severe weather here at home. It is a blunt reminder that severe weather happens 12 months out of the year here in Indiana. We will likely have a stormier October and November compared to this past March and April. I will have more on this in the coming weeks here on the weather blog.

Speaking of severe weather, last night the lightning was vivid and vicious with thousands of cloud to ground lightning strikes as the storms moved through the northern portions of our area. The tornado sirens were blaring in Galveston last night because somebody reported seeing a vortex or funnel cloud. The good news is the rotating thunderstorm did not reach the ground as a tornado in Galveston or anywhere else in our viewing area, but on doppler radar it certainly looked nasty. Here is what meteorologists see on radar when thunderstorms are spinning.

It may be a bit tough to see. But you can notice the red and green couplets next to each other on the radar image above. This is the radial velocity mode of the doppler radar that allows us to see through storms to see if they are rotating. It looks like nature has two red eyes with a green face. The areas of most concern were the areas around these "eyes". The right eye actually produced a brief tornado in Argus located in Marshall County, while the left eye located near Winamac produced damaging wind and hail. The spinning reached the ground as a tornado in Marshall County and not in Pulaski County because of what we call a bow echo. You can see how the storm bowed out above and below. Here is a more traditional look at the radar you are used to.

It is not often you see pink on the radar and many of these areas picked up a quick 2 to 4 inches of rain from Marshall County through Miami County. Peru officially had 2.50" of rain. Unfortunately, most of this rain came too quickly and just runs off and does not really soak into the soil. The main thing is everybody stayed safe and sound. Yes, we once again missed out on the rain here in Tippecanoe County, but I do not think any of us would want to catch up on rainfall this way. Folks in Cass County are telling me it was the worst storm they have seen so far this year and there will be a lot of cleaning up to do. At least 3 homes had trees on them in Twelve Mile. We have had a rough summer when it comes to rainfall, but we have not had much severe weather. So this was was quite shocking to many folks in northern parts of our area. This feast or famine pattern has many folks on edge. When will we finally get a nice, soaking rain? Our answer may lie in the tropics.

I will elaborate more on this tomorrow. In the meantime, a major hurricane is forming in the Atlantic Basin. You can see Hurricane Dean below with wind speeds expected to be well over 100 mph. I do expect it to eventually move in the Gulf of Mexico and it could be devastating to the Gulf Coast. This is the hurricane I have been forecasting for Texas or Louisiana since the middle of last week. I hope I am wrong about this. Have a great day. Thanks for making my day by reading this and being such loyal viewers. You also deserve a thank you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was watching that cluster of storms on radar last night. that was one wicked line of storms. I feel so badly for the people affected, not only in damage to trees but there has to be crops ruined, also. AND...that area has been (I think) getting rain.
Mary Anne