Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tornado Risk This Afternoon and Tonight

There is a wide band of significant tornado risk from Topeka to Lubbock.
There is an elevated risk, with a chance of violent tornadoes from far NW Oklahoma to southeast of Amarillo.

There is a second area of significant tornado risk in the upper Ohio Valley into the Northeast.

I am storm chasing this afternoon, so I will not be providing severe weather coverage on the blog.

"High" Flash Flood Risk

This is a big deal.
Even though "high" flash flood risks are rare, they account for more than half of the flash flood fatalities. I urge people in south central Kansas (and all of central Kansas including the "moderate" risk to keep up on weather information.

Above all else: If you encounter flooding, Turn Around, Don't Drown.

9am Thursday: Flood Woes to Worsen

I'm sorry to report that more heavy rain, as much as 7", is forecast the next seven days in the same areas that have been severely affected by flooding.

Here is the heavy rainfall for the last 24-hours ending at 7am
Here is a snapshot of rivers across our nation. Black is a flood gage near or over flood stage. Dark blue is a gage with river flow at the 90th percentile or higher.

1:18am - Wrapping Things Up For the Night

I thought I was finished earlier (scroll down to the forecasts a couple of postings below) but then the Missouri supercell blew up and I wanted to help get the warning out for Eldon and Jefferson City via Twitter. Officials in Missouri are calling this rash of nighttime tornadoes a "mass casualty event" but we do not know yet what that means.

I have been doing this for 52 years and I have NEVER seen an overnight tornado outbreak of this intensity. The supercell thunderstorm which is producing tornadoes near Warrenton, MO (and began near Tulsa) is approaching a path length of 350 miles. That is extraordinary. But, it was also forecasted: at 11:39am I posted "Serious Tornado Risk" and explicitly forecast both overnight tornadoes and gave instructions as to how to set up your smartphone as a nighttime "tornado alarm." If you haven't already done so, please look over the instructions at the red link.

Here is the first forecast of tornado risk from the Storm Prediction Center valid from 7am Thursday to 7am Friday.
The brown areas have a significant risk of tornadoes. The yellow area has an enhanced risk and the yellow hatching indicates violent tornadoes may occur as they have the last 24-hours. If the warm front moves far enough north, I would not be surprised if the risk level in the Great Plains has to be elevated further.

So, please continue to monitor local media, the AccuWeather app, and your smartphone for updated tornado and flash flood information.

That's all for tonight. 

11:45pm: Tornado in the Immediate Jefferson City Area

From KOMU-TV News in Columbia-Jefferson City, there is "considerable" tornado damage in Jefferson City:
The rectangle over the south part of
Jefferson City is a large quantity of lofted debris as detected
by dual-polarization radar.
The Jefferson City debris was lofted to at least 10,000' above the ground. 

On the left is "reflectivity data" which is the type of weather radar display seen on television. On the right is the Doppler velocity which shows strong rotation moving into Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri.

Note: This is likely a historic event. The same supercell thunderstorm that produced the Jefferson City Tornado is the same one that began on the east side of Tulsa, passed just north of Joplin, and continue northeast into central Missouri. Three fatalities are reported north of Joplin as of midnight.
We do not have any word of casualties in mid-Missouri.

Via Twitter, the Jefferson City Tornado.

A high school in Jefferson City was damaged. I don't know if this is it but in a bolt of lightning, this video appears to show the dark tornado with a light-colored satellite tornado around it.
Above Via Twitter.

An EMT based in Jefferson Co. tweeted at 12:35am.
Am also getting reports of tornado damage in Eldon, MO, which is SW of Jefferson City. 

12:39am, a map of at least part of the path of the tornado through Jefferson City.
Via Twitter

Via Twitter 

Below Tweeted at 12:53a.

At 1am, that same thunderstorm was still producing tornadoes. This near Warrenton, MO, along Interstate 70.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Tornado Watches in Effect Until 4am Thursday And Updated Overnight Flood Forecast

These two tornado watches are in effect until 4am Thursday. Scroll down to learn how to use your smartphone as an overnight tornado alarm. 

Between now and 7am, there is a risk of more flash flooding with amounts of up to 5" possible.

However, a just out and fairly reliable model is showing amounts of about 11" (see below).
Either amount will aggravate what is already severe flooding throughout that region.

Note: this is the end of my coverage for the night. However, there is a very good chance of more tornadoes and severe thunderstorms along with flood-producing rains Thursday and Thursday night in the central Great Plains. 

Joplin Was NOT Hit By a Tornado This Evening

Thanks to my friend Jesse Ferrell of AccuWeather, I wanted to dispel the false reports on the internet that Joplin was again hit by a tornado this evening (8th anniversary of the 2011 storm). Joplin is highlighted by a rectangle at the bottom. The large, violent tornado - illustrated by the red-light blue line - passed to the north hitting the south part of Carl Junction and passed over or very near Oronogo.

Addition: Jesse just sent this wider view from Baxter Springs to Golden City.

We just received a report of three people killed with the tornado north of Joplin. I don't have any more details. 

"When the Sirens Were Silent" -- Thank You, James Spann

Today is the 8th anniversary of the Joplin Tornado. This just came across my Twitter feed.
James is a renowned meteorologist based in Birmingham and known for his severe weather coverage.  You can find the book via Amazon, here.

Tornado Watch: Missouri and Illinois

While this is a "conventional" tornado watch, please take it seriously.

Second "Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watch"

This is a serious situation where large, violent tornadoes may occur. It includes Joplin, the Lake of the Ozarks, Ft. Scott, Coffeyville, Tulsa the southeast part of the Greater Kansas City area.

Please scroll down for more pertinent information.

For more coverage, please follow me on Twitter @usweatherexpert. 

4:20pm: Watch enlarged.