Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It's the Daffodils Before the Storm, Twin Tornadoes Hit Kenosha, Wisconsin

Thanks to Wendy Moore

Well, we have all heard of the calm before the storm...but how about the daffodils before the storm. That is exactly what is happening in West Lafayette on Division Road. The daffodils are confused and they should be. Today will be our third record-setting day in a row. Unfortunately, these daffodils will not make it to maturity and hopefully Wendy can cover them up with mounds of mulch and dirt to maybe salvage some of them for our real Spring which is still months away.

Last night we had several weather watches and warnings but no real severe weather reports. It was just a sign of things to come for later today. Take a look at these. The one thing that caught everybody's attention to our north yesterday was the vivid lightning and the heavy rain. The lightning was almost constant in Monon, Wolcott, and Remington and lasted well over an hour. Mary Anne reported over 2 inches of rain in Remington by midnight last night with 45 mph wind gusts in Monon reported close to 9:30 p.m. The frontal system causing this weather will not move our way until this afternoon. So if anything we will have more widespread thunderstorm activity and a much higher risk of having nickel-size hail or larger, 58 mph wind gusts or greater, flooding rain, and possible isolated tornadoes. Let's hope we do not see a repeat of what happened in Wisconsin. Here is what it looked like near Kenosha, Wisconsin just off Interstate 94.

Courtesy of NWS Milwaukee

You can see one of two funnels that formed in southern Wisconsin. There apparently were two tornadoes that danced around one another just off the interstate. These are sometimes called twin tornadoes and are rare occurrences even during the peak of severe weather season. It is a sign of intense shear and instability coming together in the atmosphere. Since I drive this route several times a year this really caught my attention. Racine, Wisconsin actually reported falling debris from the sky. An apartment complex had its roof ripped off in this area and at least a dozen homes were damaged. Luckily, I do not think anybody was hurt. But the news was not as good out of Missouri last night where at least 2 people were killed in tornadoes. Overall at least 31 tornadoes were reported last night across the country along with over 100 reports of damaging wind and large hail. It is part of the same storm we talked about here on the blog on Friday that caused over 1 million power outages out West.

This is a blunt reminder of how severe weather in the Midwest is possible any time of day and any time of the year. I think our biggest threat of severe weather at home today will move through in the afternoon. While tornadoes will be possible, I do think our biggest risk will be damaging wind gusts of 70 mph. We have a strong jet stream aloft and near the ground we have wind speeds close to 70 mph at about 2,500 feet that can easily be dragged to the ground during thunderstorms this afternoon. So make sure to have a plan B this afternoon and I will keep you updated as needed here on the blog and the tube. In the meantime, here is your timeline for our highest risk of severe thunderstorms today.

These storms should be quick-movers and race through the area at over 55 mph. Be safe and stay calm. We will get through this together, just like we did the blizzard!


Anonymous said...

It is STILL raining in Newton County. It has been raining since yesterday evening when storms rolled through about 7pm. School is even cancelled today due to flooding of roads. I have taught for 30 years and we have never been cancelled due to flooding. When daylight breaks I will assess our family situation on the Iroquois River!! We'll see just how much rain we got with the new rain gauge my husband received for Christmas! This is mighty scary weather we are having...blizzard-like to tornado-like within a week!

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