Friday, May 30, 2008

Watching, waiting, licking my chops, and ready to go!

Why the picture of dogs? This time of year our weather tends to go to the dogs. Four of the past six Mays have produced severe weather on the last two days of the month. You see BJ Prangley on the left and Tiger Case on the right. Tiger has been a house guest over the past week at the Prangley house and he was a lot of fun! It was nice saying the phrase, "come on boys" for the first time in my life. We were still outnumbered by the girls four to three, but it was certainly nice to have some guy time. Tiger is licking his chops just like I am this time of year. I was holding turkey up and fed him well. Just do not tell his Mommy. Now even though you do not see my tongue hanging out on the air, I salivate over thunderstorms in late May because nature usually dangles a jet stream over the Midwest. All meteorologists know that that helps to add lift and spin to the atmosphere that can sometimes bring strong thunderstorms. Take a look at the map below.

Sure enough we have this classic set-up taking place once again here over the Midwest. The jet stream is centered a little farther north and west than you see above and the stronger thunderstorms like to form on the edge of these high upper-level winds. Notice the warmer, more humid weather we have to work with and it likes to collide with our leftover cooler air from what is left of our Spring.

The night before a possible severe weather outbreak is always the toughest part. Am I just supposed to go home and sleep? Yes! But do I....not even close. This all goes back to my childhood when I woke up my brother at all hours of the night to make weather announcements and my parents would here me running around the house turning outdoor lights on looking for weather. This was back before the internet, cable weather, and a 24 hour a day, seven day a week radar you could gain access to. Some things never change. It will be a meteorological Super Bowl here in the Midwest today. But sometimes like the Super Bowl the weather does not quite live up to the hype. It all depends on a potent mesoscale convective complex in Iowa and Wisconsin that is trying to move our way with plenty of clouds and a cooler outflow in the atmosphere. We have to watch how far south this thing actually goes. Thunderstorms love to fire up on the southern edge of where these storm complexes die out the following day. As expected the models tonight are not doing a good job handling these thunderstorms at all and as expected the low-level moisture flow in the atmosphere looks to be less than the models depicted. The new model runs have dewpoints closer to the lower 60s which is why I went with more isolated severe weather chances than the widespread scenario the Storm Prediction Center was forecasting a little earlier today. But last night's sunset tells the story.

It was a beautiful sight but almost bittersweet. These cirrostratus clouds were caused by the tops of 50,000 foot thunderstorms being sheared apart by high upper-level winds. These same upper-level winds could be the driving force behind strong storms here at home today. I have my game face on. For now I will watch, wait, lick my chops, and I am ready to go. Make sure you have that plan B and I will have an update coming your way by later this morning. Sweet dreams!


Anonymous said...

I'm waiting patiently for "the big one"! It's been too long since we've had a good thunderstorm (but I hope everyone stays safe)!!

I'll do my part to bring us a storm by standing out front saying "here storm,storm,storm..."!!!

Thanks for keeping your eyes and ears open for us. I know you'll let us know if anything bad is comming our way! Keep up the great work!!

(a fellow lafayette vampire)

Anonymous said...

A little thunderstorm would be nice, however I dont like the strong winds, and hail!

This brings back days of my childhood as well, I was the one wondering around the house at night, trying to sneek into bed with my sister, brother or mom and dad.

I remember a storm back in the 60's, I just got home from school, my dad had returned home from work, I laying on the floor in front of the TV when lightning hit. The hairs on my arms were standing on end!

All of our appliances were runied,as well as the TV! then the hail came, so large that it dented our car and the siding of our house, after all passed, I picked up hail stones, put them in the freezer for my mother to see when she got home from work. To this day you can still see the damage to the old garage, The hail stones were very large, to me they looked like bumpy tennis balls. And the wind was so strong, the sky looked green, and a large tree was damaged beyoud repair.

Dont wish for a replay of that day ever!

Please keep us informed Mike, I know you will!

Hope you got some rest last night, for you just might be in for a sleepless one tonight.