WeatherNation Blog

Cool & Unsettled West; Heat Continues in the East

Hello and happy Tuesday everyone, I hope you enjoyed your long holiday weekend. It’s back to the grind for most of us today and depending on where you are, you’re either baking in the heat or dancing around showers and thunderstorms. A ‘High Amplitude’ weather pattern has set up, which is keeping the weather where you live fairly similar from day to day, with only a few minor tweaks around the jet stream winds. Take a look at the weather map below:

South of the jet stream, temperatures are really heating up! Take a look at all the 90s showing up on the map east of the Rockies, specifically east of the Mississippi River Valley.

Temperatures are so warm that HEAT ADVISORIES have been issued for parts of Great Lakes and Northeast.

HEAT ADVISORY For Our Nation’s Capital

High Temps: In the Mid 90s – Heat Index Values: Up to 105°

HEAT ADVISORIES Issued For Lower Michigan

2nd Consecutive Day With High Temps in the Lower 90s – Heat Index Values Nearing 100°


Severe Threat This Week

Typically, strong to severe storms will break out on the outer periphery of the heat, so watch out for strong storms today across the Great Lake Region. In fact, there is a MODERATE RISK for severe storms today in Lower Michigan as a stronger cool front slides through.

Severe Threat Today


Strong Winds Blowing Through the Upper Mississippi Valley

On the backside of the cold front and the low pressure system as the slide east, strong gusty winds will crank up on the backside of the system. The National Weather Service has issued Wind Headlines across parts of the High Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley through today. Sustained winds could be as high as 40mph and wind gusts be as high as 60mph – hold on to your hats! The good news is that after a day of extreme heat and humidity yesterday, there will be a significant drop in those levels today… many folks will be breathing a sigh of relief today.


Severe Threat Tomorrow

The same strong front pushing through the Great Lake region today, will continue an eastward track and touch of more severe storms tomorrow across the Northeast. Another ‘weaker’ piece of energy will bring about another round of showers and thunderstorms across the Plains, some of which, could be severe.


Longer Term Weather Trends – Through Mid June

The longer term weather trends keep the Southeast warmer than average through the middle part of June, while the Pacific Northwest stays cooler than average.


Precipitation Outlook

The northern tier of the nation may continue to stay cooler than average, while the southern tier of the nation may stay drier than normal… Unfortunately, places in the Southern Plains that have been under exceptional drought conditions, will continue to stay dry.


U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor has quite a bit of real estate under extreme and exception drought conditions. In fact, almost half of Texas is considered under an exceptional drought.


How Much Rain is Needed to End the Drought?

Unbelievably, some spots across Texas need almost 2 feet of rain to end the drought. With an even drier outlook, things are getting even worse than they already are.


That’s all for today, thanks for checking in on this Tuesday. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Meteorologist Todd Nelson – WeatherNation LLC

Intense Heat and Severe Weather

Good Sunday to everyone out there — hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend! Some intense heat is turning on across the country, and we got the threat of severe weather in parts of the country along with that.

A Fast and Furious Spring

It is worth mentioning that since March 1 we have seen: a tsunami (okay, not much to do with weather/climate), over 12,000 severe reports and over 500 tornado deaths, Ohio/Mississippi River flooding, Texas/New Mexico drought, epic western snows, and now Missouri River flooding. It has definitely been one event after another this year, and keeping all of us on our toes.

Severe Chances Next Few Days

This is the severe weather threat for today — a Slight Risk from Minnesota all the way to New York state. The most concentrated severe weather today will likely be from eastern Iowa (where we have severe weather occurring already this morning) through Chicago to the Detroit area — and then some storms with hail will lift into southern Minnesota overnight.

Here is today’s tornado threat, not a huge threat but we could see a couple isolated ones as we go throughout the day. The cause will mainly be because of the storms interacting with a lifting warm front.

There is a hail threat today, especially this afternoon in the Chicago-Detroit area and later this evening across southern Minnesota.

There is a sizable wind threat, as the storms this morning across Iowa will start to bow out into the afternoon hours in the 30% area. I would say the wind is definitely the main threat today.

Tomorrow is a different story, however, as the warm front will have already lifted north across Minnesota and a cold front starts to move through the Dakotas and Minnesota. On your Memorial Day in your Slight Risk area we could see tornadoes mainly with any discreet cells, hail, and eventually turning into a damaging wind event.

Memorial Day looks like it could be the main event for the week, as all the ingredients are coming into play for a possible tornado outbreak over eastern ND/SD and western MN. The only concern is the winds aloft, but either day I am concern over this area for Memorial Day.

The threat of severe weather moves toward Wisconsin and Michigan on your Tuesday — however a lot of the energy will likely have pushed into Canada by then.

Heat Surges

Heat is making a comeback across the country, and places all the way into the Ohio River Valley could be sweltering with 90+ degree temperatures today!

The heat continues to move northward for Memorial Day, where parts of southern Minnesota could reach 90 along with parts of New England. Already there have been 5 deaths contributed to heat this year — make sure if you are going to do activities outside you stay hydrated with plenty of water — maybe mix one in for every adult beverage you have.

I hope you have a good Memorial Day as we honor our troops who have died for our freedoms. Thank you.

D.J. Kayser for WeatherNation
Follow on Twitter @weathrlver

Potential Typhoon Damage


Typhoon Strengthens: May Hit Fukushima Nuclear Plant. Hawaii’s Star Advertiser has the details: “Typhoon Songda strengthened to a supertyphoon after battering the Philippines and headed for Japan on a track that may pass over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant by May 30, a U.S. monitoring center said. Songda’s winds increased to 150 miles per hour, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said on its website. The storm’s eye was east of Aparri in the Philippines at 8 a.m. today, the center said. Songda was moving northwest at 19 kph and is forecast to turn to the northeast and cross the island of Okinawa by 9 p.m. local time tomorrow before heading for Honshu. The center’s forecast graphic includes a possible path over Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, which has been spewing radiation since March 11 when an earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems. Three of six reactor buildings have no roof after explosions blew them off, exposing spent fuel pools and containment chambers that are leaking. “We are still considering typhoon measures and can’t announce detailed plans yet,” Takeo Iwamoto, a spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co., said by phone when asked about the storm. The utility known as Tepco plans to complete the installation of covers for the buildings by October, he said.”


Songda’s Projected Track. Here is the latest forecast for Super Typhoon Songda, forecast to come ashore over southern Japan, weakening gradually as it passes over slightly cooler ocean water.


Hurricane Season Speaking of tropical storms, hurricane season officially starts June 1.  And there are currently no storms out in the Atlantic that have the potential of becoming a hurricane.  However, some experts have predicted a very active season ahead.  From the Hurricane Research DivisionThe Atlantic hurricane season is officially from 1 June to 30 November. There is nothing magical in these dates, and hurricanes have occurred outside of these six months, but these dates were selected to encompass over 97% of tropical activity. June 1st has been the traditional start of the Atlantic hurricane season for decades. However, the end date has been slowly shifted outward, from October 31st to November 15th until its current date of November 30th.  The Atlantic basin shows a very peaked season from August through October, with 78% of the tropical storm days, 87% of the minor (Saffir-Simpson Scale categories 1 and 2 – see Subject D1) hurricane days, and 96% of the major (Saffir-Simpson categories 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days occurring then (Landsea 1993). Maximum activity is in early to mid September. Once in a few years there may be a tropical cyclone occurring “out of season” – primarily in May or December. (For more detailed information, see Subject G12 – “What is my chance of having a tropical storm or hurricane strike by each month?”)


Some parts taken from


More Details on Recent Tornados


Raw Security Camera Footage From Joplin. This YouTube video gives you a better idea of what 200 mph winds look like – it’s amazing (in retrospect) that anyone survived this EF-5 tornado.


Evidence Of What An EF-5 Is Capable Of. Sam Clausen has captured a remarkable collection of photos from the Joplin tornado – available on Facebook here (you probably need a FB account to see these). He writes: “The wall of a nearby store was littered with trash including this chair. (Concrete wall)


Search For Joplin Tornado Survivors Finds Few Amidst Debris. Where did these people go? As a father I can’t imagine not knowing where my children are – missing, in a distant shelter (or hospital) or lying underneath 10 yards of rubble? The horrors continue to grow in Joplin, scene of America’s deadliest tornado in recorded history. The Huffington Post has the story: “JOPLIN, Mo. — Mike Hare has scoured the ravaged neighborhood where his 16-year-old son Lantz was seen last. He’s called hospitals from Dallas to Kansas City and taken dozens of calls offering advice, prayers and hopeful tips. None of the calls came from Lantz. None offered any hope he might still be alive. Hare has been looking for his son since Sunday, when much of the southwest Missouri city of Joplin was leveled by the deadliest single tornado since the National Weather Service started keeping records. “We know he’s hurt somewhere,” Hare said Wednesday, his voice breaking. “We just can’t sit and keep calling. You’ve got to be moving.” Hare is among an increasingly desperate group of people in Joplin pleading for help in tracking down one of the dwindling number of people still missing in the wake of Sunday’s storm. They’re scrawling signs in wreckage, calling in by the hundreds to local radio stations and posting on the Internet. They are inspiring city officials to continue search and rescue efforts: there is no talk yet of recovery. Officials planned to release a list Thursday morning of people still considered missing.”

* 232 local residents of Joplin are still listed as missing. More details here.



Anatomy Of A Tornado. Here is the raw data from the El Reno weather station, part of the Oklahoma Mesonet. Not the spike in winds around 4:30 pm on May 24 (wind gust to 150 mph), accompanied by a sharp drop in air pressure. Somehow the weather station survived the direct hit – something I’ve never seen before.


Aftermath. Here is a Twitpic photo of the El Reno mesonet station, courtesy of Angela Fritz.

“We’re IN The Tornado!” Here is some of the most incredible video I’ve ever seen, courtesy of Wunderblog, CNN and WFAA-TV in Dallas. Yes, this guy was a little too close: “Meyers rode out the tornado inside a vehicle and videotaped the twister as it tore the roof off a school about a block away. “We are in the tornado! We are in the tornado!” Meyers yells several times in the video. “The sheer power was just amazing,” Meyers said in an interview Monday on CNN’s “American Morning” program. The storm, which struck around 5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET), also turned over an 18-wheeler truck onto a passenger car, knocked 11 cars from a freight train off their tracks and caused extensive damage to Rice Elementary School, Navarro County Chief Deputy Mike Cox said.”


Chickasha, Oklahoma Footage. Here is more amazing video, courtesy of holytornado84. Notice the Highway Patrol car trying to prevent motorists from driving right into this thing.


Classic Hook. At the center of the screen you can see the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the monster tornado near Chickasha, Oklahoma. Image courtesy of Brad Panovich from WCNC-TV and Twitpic.


Stark Evidence Of A Tornado’s Fury. Check out this Facebook post of what 150-200 mph winds can do to a vehicle. This is why you don’t want to be in (or under) a vehicle when a tornado strikes. Details: “A vehicle of sorts. The engine was behind me.” © RM Photography 2011


Greensburg, IN tornado

WV tornado

5/24 KS tornado

5/25 CA tornado

5/24 El Reno, OK tornado

Beaver tail/collar cloud over Memphis

5/24 Twin Oaks, OK tornado

Canton, OK tornado

TN wall cloud

* Thanks to WeatherNation meteorologist Jason Parkin for tracking down these video clips from around the USA.


Joplin Faces Sad Task Of Clearing The Rubble. It will take months, possibly a year or more, just to truck away the rubble left over from last Sunday’s EF-5 tornado (the 4th EF-5 of the year nationwide). The New York Times has the story: “JOPLIN, Mo. — As rescue workers continue to sift through the wreckage of this city piece by piece, hoping to unearth survivors and victims of a lethal tornado, local leaders have been wrestling with the difficult question of when to start cleaning up the destroyed area. They know that ultimately they must sweep away what the storm did not. But so far the word bulldoze is one that they have been hesitant to use in news conferences, as rescue and recovery efforts continue. But they acknowledge that it is only a matter of time before the battered and blown-down houses, which cover an area stretching more than a half-mile wide and six miles long, have to be stripped to their foundations and hauled away. Standing in a wreckage-strewn park across from a hospital that is now only a concrete shell, the mayor pro tem, Melodee Colbert-Kean, said that officials understood the need to be careful about how fast they moved forward. In addition to the considerable logistical challenges, there are the emotional considerations imbued in the splintered lumber, crushed brick and strewn personal possessions — as well as the remains of the missing. “To a lot of people, it’s just rubble,” she said. “But to a whole bunch more, it’s lives.”


Joplin Tornado. NBC’s Brian Williams interviews the Editor of the Joplin Globe newspaper. 7 of the reporters at the Globe lost their homes in last Sunday’s terrible tornado, but there was no loss of life. The NBC clip has footage of the tornado, in addition to the interview.


Rebuilding Will Take Years, Millions – And Patience. USA Today has the story about rebuilding efforts now underway in Tuscaloosa: “TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — To say Tuscaloosa is rebuilding would be wildly optimistic. A month after a monstrous tornado struck here, flattened houses still line block after block. Some homes simply vanished. Streets are festooned with trees ripped from the roots or snapped at the top. Remnants of people’s lives dangle from broken branches: a bit of foundation skirting here, a maroon shirt there, bits of insulation over there. The tornado killed 41 people, devastated vital parts of the city’s infrastructure, destroyed or damaged more than 7,000 buildings and affected 10% of local businesses. It was part of a phalanx of twisters that killed 238 people in Alabama alone and another 100 or so in other states across the South. But Tuscaloosa is further along the road to rebuilding than Joplin, Mo., which was struck Sunday by a tornado that killed at least 125, blasted 2,000 homes, took out one of the city’s two hospitals, ravaged big-box stores and smashed several hundred small businesses.”


Taken from


5th HIGH RISK Day of 2011

Hello and happy Wednesday everyone, hope all is well on this May 25th. Get ready for another volatile day with more tornadoes. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has issued another HIGH RISK today, which makes it back to back HIGH RISK Days. Interestingly, the SPC has only issued 8 other back to back HIGH RISK days since 1984. There was only 1 time that back to back to back HIGH RISK days were issued and that was during the May 3rd, 4th, 5th 1999 event – which corresponds with the Moore/Oklahoma City, OK tornado – More information on that event can be viewed HERE:

Moore/Oklahoma City, OK Tornado – 1999


Piedmont, OK – 2011

This is a picture of a truck that was mangled during Tuesday’s massive tornado that ripped through Oklahoma, just northwest of Oklahoma City… Very similar events and nearly similar tornadoes! Good thing this one didn’t track through the Oklahoma City Metro or we would have had several more fatalities, which is at 13 now from Wednesday.

Photo Courtesy RM Photography – See more from RM Photography HERE:

This is an Image from GR2 From That Piedmont, OK Tornado


HIGH RISK Again Today

Pay close attention to local weather forecasts today and stay sky aware. There is another HIGH RISK again today… this is a serious situation and could be as bad/if not worse than yesterday. There are major cities within the HIGH RISK area and they include: St. Louis, MO; Evansville, IN; Louis, MO; Memphis, TN


Severe Risk Today

Read more from the SPC HERE:

Again, keep up to date with local forecasts, have those severe weather radios handy (make sure they have battery backup) and have those severe weather safety plans in place!

Meteorologist Todd Nelson – WeatherNation LLC