Archive for April 15th, 2012
It’s been a beautiful day across Central Alabama. Once the sun burned away the low clouds, the mercury warmed quickly. It was 81F at Anniston, 83F at the Birmingham Airport, 85F at Calera and 86F at Tuscaloosa. Throw in a nice southerly breeze and it was quite balmy. Moisture levels are still relatively low, with dewpoints in the 50s once the atmosphere turned over with the sunshine.
We continue to monitor severe weather to the west of Alabama. We have a long, broken squall line from northern Illinois through eastern Missouri, into western Arkansas and then eastern Texas.
Tornado watches are in effect now ahead of the line from eastern Missouri and Illinois into Arkansas and close to the powerful surface low over the Upper Midwest. A new watch is being considered for more of Illinois.
Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings are in effect in Minnesota and Arkansas. There are flash flood warnings in Missouri.
So far, today nothing like yesterday. Ten reports of tornadoes so far, mostly over the Upper Midwest near the low.
Our line of storms will weaken tonight after crossing into Mississippi. We will see re-development during teh early morning over West Central Alabama. This will fill in up the line along I-59 generally through the morning and push eastward during the afternoon.
We could see a few strong or even severe storms tomorrow, but significant severe weather is not expected and the main threats would be damaging winds and hail anyway. We will be watching.
The NWS Tulsa has posted a severe thunderstorm for Washington County, where Fayetteville is located.
This storm is going to make me eat my words about it passing north of Fayetteville. ROtation has intensified about 18 miles west southwest of Fayetteville and a TVS has popped up. The storms has turned right and is moving toward Fayetteville now. NWS Tulsa watching carefully. WOuldn’t be surprised to see tornado warning here shortly.
LATE REPORT AT 9:55
Tornado touchdown reported 8 miles west of Stilwell no on highway 51.
The NWS Tulsa is tracking an intense low level rotation with a couple of tornado vortex signatures about 40 miles southwest of Bentonville, AR where WalMart is headquartered.
It is moving northeast at 40-45 mph which would put it near Bentonville around 10:45.
The storm has weakened in the past few minutes, but is still dangerous.
The storm should pass just north of the Fayetteville, where the University of Arkansas is located.
Our intrepid local chasers Mike Wilhelm and John Brown hit the road this weekend to capture some Plains tornadoes.
Caught up with Mike last night well after midnight. Several folks on our internal chat had been worried abotu them after the tornadoes clipped Wichita.
Turns out they had been on that tornado family at its inception back in northern Oklahoma. Turns out that as we watched Gary England’s coverage on Channel 9 out of Oklahoma City, John and Mike were on the same storm Val Castor, other News 9 chasers and the helicopter were following.
Mike forwarded these two pictures from near Cherokee, Oklahoma.
The top one is amazing, with the truncated cone and thin elephant’s trunk tornadoes side by side.
The second one, shown below, shows a sinister rope tornado that I suspect was very violent at its base.
Mike shared some of his video on YouTube.
Mike and John were exhausted after a long drive Friday night in which they each saw very little if any, sleep. I am sure they slept in a little before their long drive home today.
I hope they can be on WeatherBrains tomorrow night.
Well done gentlemen!
Headlines on Sunday, April 15, 1956 talked about Democratic Presidential hopefuls Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver and their attacks on President Eisenhower’s foreign policy. Eisenhower still had a firm lead in recent polls that showed him a clear winner if he was to run against Kefauver. The U.N. Secretary General was in Lebanon working on the Israeli/Egyptian crisis. Jabo Waggoner was running for Associate City Commissioner of Public Improvement. Major league clubs were closing down their spring training camps and heading for Tuesday opening games. The Yankees and Dodgers were favored to win their respective pennants, again as in 1955.
The Birmingham News put the official U.S. Weather Bureau forecast on the top of the front page back then. The paper called for Considerable cloudiness, windy and warm Sunday and Sunday night with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Winds 15 to 30 mph. Sounded like tornado weather. It was.
Around 3 p.m., an F4 tornado tore across the western and northern fringes of Birmningham. It touched down just west of Wylam. The tornado plowed through McDonald’s Chapel and the Stacey Hollow area. 100 homes were destroyed in these two communities. The murderous tornado continued through Sandusky, destroying twenty blocks of homes. . It then hit the Sayreton area just north of North Birmingham and destroyed a filling station and barbecue restaurant along US-31 in Fultondale. Homes were destroyed in the New Georgia community between Sayreton and Lewisburg. The tornado passed just north of Tarrant City, near Ketona, finally lifting near Chalkville. Other neighborhoods that were hard hit were Capps Town and Oak Ridge. A Capps Town resident said that the tornado looked like “a big ball of fire rolling in big black smoke. It just roared, roared, roared,” she said. The only warning anyone had was the sound of the tornado.
The twister killed 25 along its 20 mile path. Most of the deaths occurred in the Stacey Hollow and McDonalds Chapel communities, save for two young sisters in the Sanducky area. Over two hundred people were injured and eleven hundred left homeless. A total of 400 homes and buildings were destroyed.
I asked for local stories about the tornado a couple of years ago and got some great responses you might enjoy as well. Here they are. Scroll down for the comments.
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What a stormy day it was across the Nation’s mid section yesterday. SPC’s storm report page showed over 120 reports of tornadoes. Fortunately it appears the number of injuries was small and I did not see mention of any fatalities. However, as assessments occur today, that might change though we pray that it will not. Another stormy day for the central section of the US with a slight risk extending north to south from the Great Lakes to East Texas with a moderate risk over portions of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
The surface high that was over the Outer Banks of North Carolina yesterday has migrated further into the Atlantic. That places us firmly into an increasingly moist flow with low clouds showing up across much of the Southeast US this morning. Interesting on the Skycam network to note the clouds in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area while further north at places like Cullman the clouds had not yet appeared. Temperatures this morning ranged from the mid 50s to mid 60s across Central Alabama. Looks like a warm day with highs reaching to around 80 degrees.
The upper low will continue to eject from the eastern Rockies into the western Great Lakes area and gradually weaken as it drags a front into our area on Monday. With the upper trough hanging back, the front will move through slowly allowing for showers and thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday. Right now it appears that the severe weather threat is limited with the biggest potential for marginally severe hail and damaging wind coming with storms fueled by the heat of the day. The trough finally drags through by late Tuesday which paves the way for a couple of days of nice weather on Wednesday and Thursday. However, do not expect to see much temperature change. The front will usher in some drier air, but the upper flow stays zonal so no real temperature change with highs still around 80. Rainfall amounts are expected to be in the 1 to 2 inch range with good coverage.
Friday we begin to watch a trough dig into the eastern US. This should bring another round of rain to the area primarily on Saturday. The rain moves out late Saturday and the upper flow becomes strongly northwesterly. This means a significant change in temperatures with highs Sunday and Monday only in the 60s. Now won’t that feel good?
Not much change in the long range outlook. We have another shot at some wet weather around the 27th with a big ridge building into the eastern US by the 30th. This means a warm end to April along with a summer-ish look with the potential for some afternoon showers.
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