Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Tornado Watch




  So this new watch does include Huntsville, the Shoals, Decatur, and all of the counties of Southern Tennessee. If you live in Middle Tennessee at all, you have to watch the next few hours for a tornado threat as well as the more likely damaging winds and large hail threat. 

The morning convection and clouds have helped us out some, so that the atmosphere is not as strongly unstable as it would have been if we'd gotten a lot of sun today. The idea is still on the table that we could get a low-level jet this evening that brings us some more unstable air. But even that is dicey. The threat is not looking as much as it did this morning, but any tornado threat is worth taking seriously. And as far as the idea of a tornado that stays on the ground a while, maybe a storm can go supercellular, that idea is still on the table. Could happen somewhere. Don't want to rule that out. But the severe threat appears to be somewhat diminished from what it looked like it would be earlier. It is still plenty worth taking seriously. But please understand that our atmosphere down here is not nearly as bad as up in the Ohio Valley where they are still waiting to see if this is a full-blown outbreak. They've had a few tornadoes up there with some damage today, so far have not heard of any injuries, knock on wood. 

So what I would do down here is prepare for a tornado, and hope for just some strong winds and maybe some hail with a thunderstorm. If we were to get really lucky, a lot of the storms could stay below severe limits and not do much damage at all. But we can't count on that. We have to have reasonable preparedness for if something bad happens, even if it only happens to one or two spots in our region. It's a big deal for whoever it does happen to. And that's really what a Tornado Watch means, it's like, watch out, the potential is there, even if nothing's happening right now. 

3:49 PM - One storm has gone severe with damaging wind and hail potential back in Mississippi, which if it stays on current track, would end up affecting probably Hardin and Wayne Counties in Tennessee, headed in that general direction anyway.

And actually as soon as I was posting that, they let the warning go. All storms around here are under severe limits. And since I am only one person doing this, I'm not going to really focus on what it's doing way up North, just the stuff that is local and looks serious. 

3:54 - Here is a radar check. The sun is peeking out at times in some places, and we are not out of the woods. For the time being, I am not going to complain that the storms are staying pretty well behaved. But this watch goes until 9 PM. So we have several more hours in which a few storms could try to get out of hand. Main threat is damaging winds and large hail, maybe more intense than usual, like the hail could get up to the size of a ping pong ball. And we could definitely still see tornadoes with this setup, at least isolated tornadoes across the region. As long as you're under the watch, I would have your safety plan ready to go - small central room on the lowest floor of a sturdy house or other strong building (not a mobile home), away from windows. 

4:01 PM - I really liked James Spann's video discussion this afternoon too. Think it was posted an hour or so ago, but still a good balanced take on what's going on. 

The National Weather Service in Huntsville has posted a reminder that flash flooding can occur in heavy storms this evening. A couple days ago, we didn't think so, but sometimes you kind of have to call an event play by play. This one has been one of those messy situations so far. 

Basically as far as any flooding issues we might have, just avoid crossing any water that covers a roadway. It really is that simple. Just in case that happens somewhere in this messy setup. 

4:08 - We have two messy lines of rain and storms, one back around the Shoals and another affecting places like Jasper and Double Springs, soon to move into places like Cullman. At this point, none of these storms are severe. But we are into that time of day when it is most likely for thunderstorms to become severe. And the Tornado Watch goes for five more hours. So we'll keep watching. 


4:23 - More shelters open in Morgan County. These can be lifesavers for people who live in mobile homes. And even if you live in a good house but are close to one, want to use it, hey, a little extra protection can't hurt anything. I don't think any allow pets, many times they may not have a bathroom, and you do need to get to one in enough time that you don't get caught driving through severe weather. But if you're close to one of these or have to leave a mobile home anyway, a public shelter is worth considering. 



4:43 - They've got a confirmed tornado going on in Northeast Tennessee, getting pretty close to the Kentucky state line. That is in that zone that we knew was going to be favorable for that sort of thing, most favorable. Our threat is less here, but we do still have the potential. 


4:23 - More shelters open in Morgan County. These can be lifesavers for people who live in mobile homes. And even if you live in a good house but are close to one, want to use it, hey, a little extra protection can't hurt anything. I don't think any allow pets, many times they may not have a bathroom, and you do need to get to one in enough time that you don't get caught driving through severe weather. But if you're close to one of these or have to leave a mobile home anyway, a public shelter is worth considering. 



4:43 - They've got a confirmed tornado going on in Northeast Tennessee, getting pretty close to the Kentucky state line. That is in that zone that we knew was going to be favorable for that sort of thing, most favorable. Our threat is less here, but we do still have the potential. 


4:53 - The storms sure have underperformed so far. I think it has a lot to do with our cloud cover and some rain moving through ahead of schedule, but I am really not sure of all the reasons why. Sort of like a tornado lifted that could have hit Nashville one time, think it was the Super Tuesday outbreak in 2008. And there was at least one scientific paper written just about why that might have happened. The atmosphere is complex. 

Let's not call this event a bust though until we get to at least sundown. And the Tornado Watch goes until 9 PM. I would respect the risk if you are anywhere in or close to the watch area. 

5:16 PM - That storm affecting Decatur, Athens, Madison has prompted a Special Weather Statement, a lot like that storm up around Murfreesboro well up into Tennessee. But wind gusts up to 40 mph are not considered severe. Any of these storms over the next hour fours deserve monitoring just in case they do try to become severe. The severe threat has turned out to be lower than expected around here, but I've seen things spike up at sundown many times over the years. So let's not become complacent. Wait until the threat is really over before we decide it's not going to do much. About the next 3-4 hours will tell. 


5:38 PM - These damage pictures from Sunbright, TN highlight some important things. First of all, when you see an outlook for "strong tornadoes", this is what it means. This damage is more than average to some buildings that look fairly sturdy. It doesn't necessarily mean a whole building will be blown away - that is rare - but damage can be significant like this. 

Another thing, if you flip through these four pictures, it shows how you can survive even a strong tornado without serious injury by doing the basic things. If you pay attention to these damage pictures, it is easy to see why we want people on the lowest floor, not up on the top floors. Why nobody needs to stay near windows or glass doors. You can even surmise why people are advised not to stay out in the wide-open spaces of a building, but to try to find a hallway or better yet, a small room like a bathroom where the walls will hold up stronger. These things can save a life or avoid injury even in regular tornadoes, and they can also do that for tornadoes that pack more of a punch, like this one sure looks like it did. 

SEL9


   URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED

   Tornado Watch Number 79

   NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK

   305 PM CDT Tue Apr 2 2024


   The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a


   * Tornado Watch for portions of 

     Northwest Alabama

     Northeast Mississippi

     Western and middle Tennessee


   * Effective this Tuesday afternoon and evening from 305 PM until

     900 PM CDT.


   * Primary threats include...

     A few tornadoes likely with a couple intense tornadoes possible

     Scattered damaging winds likely with isolated significant gusts

       to 75 mph possible

     Scattered large hail events to 1.5 inches in diameter possible


   SUMMARY...In the wake of earlier clouds/rainfall, cloud breaks are

   allowing destabilization across Tennessee where new storms could

   form this afternoon, while other storms spread northeastward from

   northeast Mississippi.  The environment is favorable for supercells

   capable of producing tornadoes (including an isolated strong/EF2+

   tornado or two), damaging gusts of 60-75 mph, and large hail of

   1-1.5 inches in diameter.


   The tornado watch area is approximately along and 75 statute miles

   east and west of a line from 35 miles north northeast of Nashville

   TN to 20 miles east of Tupelo MS. For a complete depiction of the

   watch see the associated watch outline update (WOUS64 KWNS WOU9).


   PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...


   REMEMBER...A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for

   tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch

   area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for

   threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements

   and possible warnings.


   &&


   OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 76...WW 77...WW 78...


   AVIATION...Tornadoes and a few severe thunderstorms with hail

   surface and aloft to 1.5 inches. Extreme turbulence and surface wind

   gusts to 65 knots. A few cumulonimbi with maximum tops to 500. Mean

   storm motion vector 24045.


   ...Thompson


 WOUS64 KWNS 022005

   WOU9


   BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED

   TORNADO WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WT 79

   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK

   305 PM CDT TUE APR 2 2024


   TORNADO WATCH 79 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 900 PM CDT FOR THE

    FOLLOWING LOCATIONS


   ALC033-059-077-079-083-089-103-030200-

   /O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0079.240402T2005Z-240403T0200Z/


   AL 

   .    ALABAMA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE


   COLBERT              FRANKLIN            LAUDERDALE          

   LAWRENCE             LIMESTONE           MADISON             

   MORGAN               



   MSC003-009-013-017-057-081-095-115-117-139-141-145-030200-

   /O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0079.240402T2005Z-240403T0200Z/


   MS 

   .    MISSISSIPPI COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE


   ALCORN               BENTON              CALHOUN             

   CHICKASAW            ITAWAMBA            LEE                 

   MONROE               PONTOTOC            PRENTISS            

   TIPPAH               TISHOMINGO          UNION               



   TNC003-005-015-017-021-023-027-031-035-037-039-041-043-049-051-

   055-061-069-071-077-079-081-083-085-087-099-101-103-109-111-113-

   117-119-125-127-133-135-137-141-147-149-159-161-165-169-175-177-

   181-185-187-189-030200-

   /O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0079.240402T2005Z-240403T0200Z/


   TN 

   .    TENNESSEE COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE


   BEDFORD              BENTON              CANNON              

   CARROLL              CHEATHAM            CHESTER             

   CLAY                 COFFEE              CUMBERLAND          

   DAVIDSON             DECATUR             DE KALB             

   DICKSON              FENTRESS            FRANKLIN            

   GILES                GRUNDY              HARDEMAN            

   HARDIN               HENDERSON           HENRY               

   HICKMAN              HOUSTON             HUMPHREYS           

   JACKSON              LAWRENCE            LEWIS               

   LINCOLN              MACON               MADISON             

   MARSHALL             MAURY               MCNAIRY             

   MONTGOMERY           MOORE               OVERTON             

   PERRY                PICKETT             PUTNAM              

   ROBERTSON            RUTHERFORD          SMITH               

   STEWART              SUMNER              TROUSDALE           

   VAN BUREN            WARREN              WAYNE               

   WHITE                WILLIAMSON          WILSON              



   ATTN...WFO...HUN...OHX...MEG...

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