Jun 152015

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On Friday, I had the pleasure of talking to students at Pleasant Hope Elementary School and it was wonderful!

I think in everyone’s career there are defining moments which help you to remember why you do what do.  My experience with these kids did just that.

As I was showing the kids video from one my more successful storm chases, I took a few seconds to pause my narration of the events to just “take in the room”.  The buzz was so exciting to see!  The younger kids were very chatty and excited (the kind of behavior which would be shut down in a hurry in a normal classroom setting but hey, I brought tornadoes!). The older kids were of course too cool for this open expression of excitement but knew I had reached some of them by the questions they asked after the video ended.


 Posted by at 7:19 am
Feb 272013

Snow Estimates from February 26, 2013 Storm

Winter decided to show up the last week of February with two winter storms affecting the Ozarks!

This last storm dumped up to a foot of snow largely in the same area of central Missouri which got around same total on Thursday.


Advisories for Light Snow

It’s still snowing in portions of the Ozarks this morning.  It could amount to a slight dusting or coating on some less traveled roads especially upstate. The winter weather advisory map outlines the snow area.

The flurries won’t stop this morning. With very cold air aloft for the season and some small disturbances, flurries we still be in play tonight and also on Thursday. No accumulations are expected.

Cold Week

This will be a cold week for the time of year.  We will be stuck in a pattern of highs only reaching the thirties through the weekend.  It may not get above freezing on Saturday!


Jul 172012

Dew Points and Heat Advisories

Temperatures will be hot the next few days.  Humidity will have to be watched to see the heat index will ever rise to the levels of an advisory.

The humidity hasn’t been too bad so far this summer during the hottest periods.  Dew points are an easy way of tracking humidity.  During ninety-degree heat, dew points in the lower sixties and lower are a no show, meaning they don’t cause the heat index to rise above the actual temperatures.

On the other hand, dew points in the seventies do make a difference.  Dew points which start to climb into the middle seventies or higher will start to add danger to heat waves.

The 7 am dew point map (inserted) shows higher values over the Mississippi Valley. I also put the current heat advisory area on the map. The correlation is not by accident! It is the intersection of hottest daytime forecast temperatures with the highest dew point values.

A backdoor cool front will be in the area later this week. One of the most uncomfortable days might be Friday as fronts tend to “pool” humidity out ahead of them. If the front doesn’t quite make it through your area, the dew points will rise with no change in the temperature pattern.

The front may produce a few showers but once again, widespread decent rain totals seem out of reach.

The hot temperatures will continue through the weekend and into early next week. By hot, I mean upper nineties to around one hundred.

By the middle of next week, there are still hints of a stronger fronts making it to the Ozarks. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one!

Here’s a chart for calculating the heat index for a given temperature and dew point. You might see charts like this which use relative humidity as the humidity variable. While this works, you have to make sure you use the relative humidity during the late afternoon for the calculation which isn’t known in advance because it drops as temperatures rise (the whole relative thing). Dew points on the other hand are much more consistent from day to night and back again.

Heat Index Chart




Feb 282012

Tornado Probabilities This Evening/Overnight

There is a threat for severe storms late this evening over much of the Ozarks.

Generally, the tornado risk has been reduced especially in northern Arkansas and extreme southern Missouri.

The overall situation has stayed about the same today. At issue will be the amount of unstable air present during the evening hours.  Higher humidity values will be drawn rapidly northward today and by evening will possibily lead to unstable air worth noting just to our west in portions of Oklahoma and Kansas.  Any storms which fire in the this area say after 6 pm could initially be severe and might just hang on to that character as they cross into Missouri and Arkansas, then weaken rapidly.  This is the lesser threat.

As time ticks away closer to the late evening/midnight, better instability will begin to build into northwest Arkansas and then begin shifting eastward into northern Arkansas and extreme southern Missouri.  Any thunderstorm cells in this area during this time will likely be severe.

Finally, a squall line will form along and front overnight and drop northwest to southeast over the Ozarks.  Portions of this line could be severe as it drops through between midnight (west central Missouri)  and 6 am ( north central Arkansas).

10 am Dew Points and Surface Wind

Jan 242012

I announced the start of a new science series on KOZL Live at 4 a few weeks back.  We did a great show on January 10th about the Bernoulli principle. Here’s an update regarding this show which will be be seen on Tuesdays.

The installment scheduled for 1/17 didn’t air because I was home with a stomach flu.  Also, I’ll be off for the next two Tuesdays.

Despite the slow start, the show will be back in February!  The next air date will be February 7th.


Jan 232012
Rain Forecast Through Thursday

After last night’s howling wind which gusted over 40 mph in a few spots, our weather is much calmer now.

These winds came in on the backside of a huge upper-level storm which was responsible for a deadly outbreak of tornadoes in Arkansas and Alabama last night.


We could use some rain actually and it looks like some should begin to spread north into our area by Tuesday night.  Like many of the weather systems this winter, this one is a cut-off type low which is mainly passing south of our area but that has a shield of rain large enough to make it into the Ozarks.  Because this system is cut-off from arctic air, the snow possibilities are slim to none.

The latest HPC precipitation forecast is included.  As projected, northern Arkansas could pick up a few inches on average.  Heavy rains are forecast for portions and eastern and southeastern Texas, good news for that drought-stricken area.

Weekend Chill

A new batch of colder air will spread into the area Friday night.  This should lead to a stretch of normal to below normal days over the weekend.

January Ending

The last day of the month is a week from today.  The average temperature for the next week should be above normal so we will we will definitely finish the month warm (presently +4.5 degrees) and, if Wednesday rains come through, close to normal on precipitation.




Jan 232012

Strong Circulation Shown by Red Area West of DeWitt, AR Sunday Night

A huge outbreak of severe weather took shape Sunday evening over Arkansas and spread east and northeast into the wee hours of the morning.

The Storm Prediction Center Storm Reports page lists 20 tornado reports (not actual tornadoes) for the 24 hour period ending at 6 am Monday the 23rd.

Possible Arkansas Tornadoes - Vaild Monday Morning

The first wave of storms began to take shape as several well-defined supercell thunderstorms over southeastern Arkansas between 6:30 and 10 pm.

Damage was reported near Fordyce, AR in Dallas county.  Homes were torn apart but there have been no reports of serious injuries. [UPDATE]The National Weather Service has surveyed this storm and rated it an EF2 late this morning.

A detailed map of the storm reports in Arkansas can be found at Weather in Arkansas.

The storms produced lots of hail and wind damage overnight as the SPC map shows.

A second round of tornadoes then started to take shape overnight from Mississippi into Alabama.  The hardest hit area was just north of Birmingham, AL where fatalities have been reported. Many images of the damage can be seen on the Google+ profile for Meteorologist James Spann in Birmingham.

Severe Reports 24hr Ending 6 am Monday

Jan 222012

Dust Plume Over Oklahoma

Only a small portion of the Ozarks need concern itself with severe thunderstorms late this afternoon and evening.

A huge surge of jet stream-induced strong surface winds is making its way across Oklahoma.  Winds have gusted over 60 mph in a few spots this afternoon and wind gusts over 40 were common.  A huge plume of dust can be seen on visible satellite images from this afternoon over Texas and Oklahoma.  The air with this surge is warm and dry and thus grass fires are a big concern over much of this area.

Out ahead of this feature, a pool of cooler air has persisted over much of the Ozarks through the day. This air is very stable and will be hard to overcome. Where temperatures and humidity values will rise to marginal levels will be east and southeast of Springfield proper.  A large area of warmer and more humid air is building over eastern and central Arkansas and some of this will move northward during the next several hours.

The upshot is that areas of the Ozarks east of a line from let’s say Salem, MO to Mt. Home, AR might have a few severe storms through about 8pm.

Change in Dew Point, 1-4 pm Sunday


Jan 222012


Solar WInd 4th Line Down

The CME which was forecast to strike earth yesterday did finally make an impact today around 6:17 am but with less intensity then forecast. Space weather forecasters still believe viewing will be possible tonight once again.

 The solar wind did increase upon the arrive of the CME but not to particularly intense levels.  At this writing, it was “blowing” around 422 km/sec, stronger than first contact levels.  If this keeps up, it may again be possible for Northern Lights tonight.

As for our weather for viewing, a cold front will sweep in late this afternoon with some drier air and clearing behind it.