Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Near Records Highs Today! (October 18, 2016)

It's going to be a hot day across Region 8! Forecast highs are in the upper 80s to near 90. Warm, southerly winds will continue today ahead of the cold front that will come in on Thursday. That front will leave us with a cool weekend, but not before a HOT week.

I did some research with Rachel last night and we pulled the record highs for every location in Region 8. Some of these places only kept records for a few years and some locations had multiple reporting sites. I compiled a list of them all and highlighted the stations that had the longest consecutive years of reporting. You can see how close we will be to the records today! Click images to enlarge:

This may be the last gasp of summer. I do not see any 80s in the forecast beyond Thursday for at least a couple of weeks. Stay cool! -Ryan

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Region 8's Winter Weather Forecast for 2016-2017!

We have been very accurate in recent years with our winter weather forecasts, but I still want to remind people that it's a LONG range outlook with a high chance of error. I like to look at the past to predict the future and the 2016-2017 outlook is no exception. We initially thought that we would come out of the strong El Niño and go straight into a moderate La Niña, but that's not panning out. Therefore, we have made some last minute audibles to our winter weather forecast. Here we go...

December 2016 through February 2017 in Region 8

  • I expect  the first half of Winter to be VERY COLD. In fact, it could be the coldest December we have seen in a few years. 
  • I expect the second half of Winter to be milder. In fact, we may see a preview of Spring in February with highs in the 60s and 70s on a few days. Beware, warmer temperatures could lead to severe thunderstorms.
  • Overall, I expect above average precipitation this winter. (Rain, snow, and ice)
  • Overall, I expect 3-5 wintry weather events that could impact schools and travel. 1-2 of those events could be ice (sleet and/or freezing rain), but I do not foresee a repeat of the 2009 ice storm. 
  • I'll do one last update to this forecasts during the first week of November. 
As I mentioned above, I like to look at the past to forecast the future. We took a close look at the 1998-1999 winter season and the 1983-1984 winter season to look for similar patterns. Over the past few weeks, I've noticed similarities to the 1983-1984 winter and it strongly influenced the forecast for the 2016-2017 winter season. 

For those interested, here is December-February of 1983-1984. I highlighted the interesting parts:

We will watch and see how it pans out and I'll do one last update during the first week of November. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of fall!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pocahontas Man Gets National Recognition From NWS (NOAA)

Since 1894, weather observations have been kept in Pocahontas, AR. The above image is from April of 1894, the first month of weather observations on file! For 122 years, we have had an account of the weather from various parts of Region 8 by people that volunteer their time to serve their community. One of those people is Don Waterworth of Pocahontas.

Tomorrow, September 21st, Mr. Waterworth is going to get one of the most prestigious awards given by the National Weather Service (NOAA). It's the Holm Award, given for his efforts as a cooperative weather observer in Pocahontas for over 30 years!

Prior to Mr. Waterworth serving as the cooperative weather observer for Pocahontas, the Benedictine Sisters kept up with the weather observations. In February of 1982, they recorded their last report:

At the bottom of that report, they welcomed Don Waterworth to the cooperative program:

In March of 1982, Mr. Waterworth recorded his first month of observations:

I'd like to personally thank Mr. Waterworth for serving the Region 8 Weather Community. You have greatly helped the weather enterprise!


Friday, September 09, 2016

Number of Tornadoes Are Down In Region 8

I'm doing some research this morning and discovered some interesting tornado statistics:

  • It has been 706 days since Craighead County has had a tornado warning.
  • It has been 864 days since the city of Paragould had a tornado warning.
  • 0 Tornadoes in Region 8 in 2015.
  • 1 Tornado so far in Region 8 in 2016. (EF1 in Cross County) 
  • To compare, we had 9 in 2012, 13 in 2013, and 13 in 2014.
It takes time to research the "WHY", but my hypothesis would be a correlation to El Niño. But, looking at the map above of 2015... it just looks like we were lucky! Regardless of why we are in a tornado drought, it makes me wonder if we will be caught off guard in a major severe weather outbreak. 

Professionally, I need to make sure the staff knows how we handle major tornadoes in Region 8. Personally, I need to make sure my kids remember what to do in a tornado. While the weather is quiet, I hope you take the time to review your safety plans at home and work.

We are in the middle of a global pattern transition. The weather in 2017 will not be like the weather in 2016. This winter will not be the same as last winter. It will be more active and I'm more concerned about severe weather outbreaks (tornadoes) than wintry weather (snow, ice). Sure, we will have some snow and ice, but I'm more concerned about people not being prepared for winter tornadoes. 

I'm preparing to get more in-depth on the Winter Outlook soon. Enjoy the quiet weather, but start thinking ahead and making sure that you are prepared for severe weather.


Saturday, September 03, 2016

Earthquake Felt In Region 8

At 7:02 am, a magnitude 5.6 Earthquake shook a large part of the country. It was centered just NW of Pawnee, OK. If you have our app, you can turn on the earthquakes layer and see the position and information:

I kind of felt it at my house, but was too tired at first to investigate further. I thought it was just the kids and their friends running around the house. With 4 kids and friends on most weekends... our house shakes a lot! LOL

Immediately, my Twitter feed filled up with tweets from you guys and I knew it was something more than kids running around the house.

I started checking in on what happened and found that Oklahoma had a rather large Earthquake for their area. I started checking the seismographs in Region 8 and easily could see it:

Stay with KAIT and we will have some pictures and video of the damages in Oklahoma tonight on Region 8 News.