Archive for June 17th, 2012
Struggling for a last minute Father’s Day present?
Golf shoes are so yesterday. Grill tools: last year.
The Weather Department has a Father’s Day present you can wrap up and give to dad right now: about the best June weather you can experience in Central Alabama.
Take lots of sunshine with just a few fair weather cumulus clouds, temperatures warming nicely through the 80s, and you have a nearly perfect Father’s Day weatherwise.
This graph from the NWS Rapid City overlays today’s preciptable water over the day’s averages for Birmingham. It uses upper air sounding data since 1948 to plot the observed value on a percentile chart. You can see, we are well under the 25th percentile today.
That means very little moisture for storms. In fact, you can all but rule out an isolated storm for Dad today.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!
One of the weakest tornadoes of 1978 was also its deadliest. It’s an example of how all tornadoes deserve our respect.
On Saturday evening June 17, 1978, forty seven passengers and thirteen crew were on board the Whippoorwill Show Boat on Lake Pomona in Osage County, Kansas. The Whippoorwill featured a popular dinner theatre cruise on the beautiful lake.
A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect when the vessel set sail early that evening. Storm clouds were building in the distance. As the boat cruised the lake, the storms intensified and moved closer. Suddenly, a funnel snaked out from the thundercloud and touched down on the lake, throwing a furious spray up from the surface of the water. Seeing the twister develop, the captain turned his boat to shore began sailing quickly toward the dock.
The tornado or waterspout was small by Kansas standards, only 150 feet wide. During its time on land, it only received an F1 rating. But in an unlikely tragedy, the funnel overtook the boat and capsized it.
People were thrown into the water and some were trapped under the overturned hull. Despite heroic rescue efforts by other boaters on the lake, the final death toll was sixteen. One of the fatalities was the unborn fetus of a pregnant woman.
The Whippoorwill Disaster is one of the most vivid examples showing that ALL tornadoes, no matter how small or short-lived, demand our respect. They all have the potential to cause damage, injuries and fatalities, even when they do not make a direct strike.
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The warm and dry look to our weather is expected to continue with us for much of the upcoming week. As a matter of fact, the temperatures are likely to get into the mid and perhaps upper 90s toward the end of the coming week as the upper ridge stays parked over the eastern US.
Not much change to our pattern. The surface high was situated over Virginia this morning nosing into the Southeast US. The easterly flow was continuing to dry our atmosphere as evidenced on the upper air sounding at the Shelby County Airport. While the high does edge off into the Atlantic, the best moisture return occurs west of us, so it appears that we should remain rain free for the foreseeable future.
The surface high together with the upper ridge will keep us warm. The upper ridge builds stronger over the eastern US through Wednesday. A strong trough moving through southern Canada will dampen the ridge somewhat on Thursday and Friday but then the ridge is forecast to build back into the eastern US. The GFS dampens the ridge more than the ECMWF (European), so I hope the GFS is the correct solution since it would be just slightly cooler than the ECMWF.
Tropics remain quiet. SPC has a moderate risk of severe weather for Day 1 centered on Wisconsin and eastern South Dakota. Day 2 the slight risk extends eastward into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Five-day QPF shows no rain for us. Perhaps by the end of the week we could see enough moisture return to warrant some isolated showers along with highs getting into the mid 90s.
Peeking out into voodoo country, the GFS has the ridge firmly planted over the eastern half of the country.
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Enjoyed taking an out of town visitor to the Dale Jarett Racing Adventure yesterday at the Talladega Superspeedway. Perfect day for it and it was a thrilling ride for her. I expect to post the next Weather Xtreme Video by 8 am or so on Monday morning. Please note we are on a one a day schedule with James Spann on vacation. Godspeed.