Sunday, April 19, 2015

Timing, Threats, and Concerns of Severe Weather This Evening

This is a quick update because I want to eat lunch with my family and I need to get to work. Here are my thoughts at noon today:
  • This is not a major outbreak, but we still need to watch these storms carefully.
  • Large hail and damaging winds are the primary threat.
  • Tornadoes are possible and having 1-2 tornadoes in Arkansas today is quite possible.
  • The window of time for the greatest threat is between 6-10PM for Region 8.
  • The severe weather threat should be gone for Region 8 by 11PM.
  • Tomorrow will be dry and cooler
Here's what radar may look like at 8PM. This is the HRRR model:
Follow me on Twitter at @ryanvaughan and we will have more updates through the day!


Friday, April 17, 2015

Severe Storms Possible On Sunday

We're still a couple of days away from the chance of severe storms, but I wanted everyone to be on guard before we started the weekend. Here's our thoughts, as of 7:30 am on Friday morning:

  • Storms and heavy rain is likely on Saturday, but severe weather is not expected. Best chance of rain will be later in the day.
  • SUNDAY is the day we are most concerned about, at this time.
  • The greatest risk appears to be after 4:00 PM, with the peak between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM.
  • Damaging, straight-line winds will be the greatest threat.
  • Large hail is possible.
  • Tornadoes are possible.
  • Storms should move out of Region 8 before midnight.
As of right now, this is our severe weather outlook from KAIT:

The above map may change through the weekend. In fact, we may bump some areas into the higher risk. This is what radar could look like on Sunday evening:

Follow us through the weekend on Twitter, Facebook, and on the KAIT weather App. The blog is on the App.

I will be traveling over the weekend to cheer on several Region 8 kids that are in the state competition of Odyssey of the Mind (including my own!). I will try to update the blog from the road and will update on Twitter. Watch Andrew Wilson on KAIT for the latest information, also.

If severe storms do occur on Sunday evening, all of us will be working to give you updates through the night.

As time permits, I will likely write a more technical blog for those that are weather geeks later today.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Historical Arkansas Tornado: April 15, 1921

On this day in 1921, one of the worst tornadoes to ever hit the state of Arkansas occurred. The tornado started in NE Texas and tracked into SW Arkansas, killing 51 Arkansans. The tornado dissipated in Pike County.

As many of you know by now, I like to look at hand-written historical accounts of weather events. The weather watcher in Hope, AR logged a lot of information in 1921. Here's the page from April of 1921 in Hope, AR. Click to enlarge:
Notice on the line for April 15th, it says "cyclone NW". In those days, many people used the word "cyclone" instead of tornado. In these records, there is a remarks section. This is typically where the weather observer would talk about significant events that occurred that month:
In case you can't read their handwriting, I think it says:

"Awful cyclone 5 miles of Hope, 5PM. Path 1/2 mile to 1.5 miles wide and 40 miles long (path) ## people killed. Property damage at least $200###. 205 families homeless... <not sure about the rest>"

In case you wondered what it was like in Jonesboro, the records show thunderstorms... and a very wet month. Click to enlarge:

Have a good evening,

Baseball, Softball, and Farming... Soggy

I'm just as tired of the rain as many of you are these days. I did a little research this morning. This map shows how many inches ABOVE average we are in rainfall since March 1st. Click to enlarge:
As you can see, the areas in blue show where we are 4-7" ABOVE average since March 1st. This has greatly impacted baseball, softball, and farming.

This weekend, we still can't guarantee dry weather. It appears that the rain will be more "Scattered", but still a chance of rain. Many people want a specific forecast for their field, but that's impossible. Just know that rain is possible and rain will be nearby.

Tomorrow (Thursday) looks to be the driest day of the week, but that probably won't help many people.

Do not cancel your plans just yet. In fact, I still plan on being at the spring football game at ASTATE. I'm hoping the rain holds off or goes around Jonesboro. As far as the weekend goes, some games will be played across the state, but I would also expect some delays. It should not rain all day anywhere.

As of right now, we may dry out a little on Monday and Tuesday.

Take care,

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Severe Weather Update, April 9th

Tornado warnings are already happening in SW Arkansas, as of 3:00 PM. So, let's dig into the latest data:
The latest short-range data shows cells forming ahead of the squall line. These are the most concerning storms! A few things to remember about this data:

  • It's a model, so don't get caught up on the EXACT position of the cells.
  • Also, don't get caught up on the EXACT time.
  • This just gives us a general idea of what radar could look like.
The cells ahead of the squall line run the highest risk of severe hail, strong winds, and tornadoes.  We will be watching them closely.

Lastly, I KNOW some of your favorite shows are on TV tonight. Our policy is that we break into programming if there is a threat to life and property in the Region 8 viewing area. We will cover programming if there is:
  • A tornado warning.
  • A tornado threat prior to a warning. Meaning, if we see something while NWS is preparing the warning or if they tell us it is being sent soon, we will go on air.
  • LARGE Hail. If hail is larger than golf balls, I will break into programming. Large hail is dangerous and we will treat it as a dangerous situation.
I HOPE that we will not cover up any programming and that all storms can be handled by running information/radar on the bottom of the screen. We treat everyone equally, so if we have these conditions anywhere in Region 8, we will cover up your favorite programming. I apologize in advance. However, we take weather seriously.


Timing, Location, and Strength of Severe Weather Today

Our chances for severe weather will increase this evening. Here are my bullet points as of 8:00 AM:

  • Severe weather threat should be AFTER school for most of Region 8.
  • Severe weather is possible from 4:00 PM (Western counties) to 11:00 PM (Eastern Counties)
  • No location is more prone to severe weather than another. Severe weather is possible anywhere in Region 8. 
  • We are most concerned with the storms ahead of the squall line that will develop late today.
  • Large hail and damaging winds are the primary threat.
  • There is a chance for tornadoes.
  • We will have watches issued.
  • Warnings are also likely, even tornado warnings.
  • Text STORM to 52488 for instant warnings delivered to your phone.
  • Download the KAIT weather App for constant radar.
OK, let's dig into the data. The latest data has a squall line developing by 4:00 PM:

This morning, the air is a little unstable, but nothing like what it will be like this afternoon and evening. CAPE is a measurement of the energy available for storms. Like fuel, it needs other things to get it going. The higher the number, the greater the energy. 3000 is lots of energy:

We are watching it closely. FOLLOW on Twitter for more updates all day! @ryanvaughan or


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Severe Weather Next Week, Are you ready?

(pic: Melanie Blanding)
This is not necessarily a post to break down the particulars of the severe weather setup, but more of a preparation post. There are a few opportunities for severe weather this upcoming week. At this time, it looks like Thursday will be the greatest threat. So, are you ready? The bullet points of this post are questions you should as as we move deeper into April:

  • Do you have SEVERAL ways to get warnings?
    • KAIT App
    • Text STORM to 52488
    • Weather Radio
  • Does your family know where to go in a tornado warning?
  • Do you have helmets that you can use to protect your head?
  • Do you have a whistle in case your house is hit so that you can be found easily?
  • Do you have flashlights with good batteries?
This is our helmet collection for tornadoes, even though we have a basement:

These are the types of questions you need to answer as we move farther into severe weather season. As I said, the upcoming week could be active. A strong low will be moving across the country and will create the dynamics that will support severe weather:
The air is also going to be very unstable. We have talked about CAPE before. It's the energy needed to sustain the storms. Thursday looks to have enough to sustain severe storms:
The Storm Prediction Center is also highlighting Thursday as a day to watch. Here's their outlook, as of now: 

So, be prepared! We could have an active week ahead!

Have a great Passover, Easter, Resurrection weekend!