WeatherNation Blog

Severe Thunderstorm Potential Through the End of the Week

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Thanks to the National Weather Service out of Wichita, KS for sharing this photo on their Facebook page. Alex Laugerman snapped this shot from Wichita and caught this crazy lightning.

See more HERE:

Large Plains Hail

These thunder storms were big hail producers over the last couple of days. There were reports of 4″ to 5″ hail over the last couple of days. Keep in mind that it takes an updraft speed of nearly 100mph within the thunderstorm to keep a hailstone aloft long enough to grow to that size.

Image relayed by the National Weather Service out of Wichita, KS, but the picture was taken by Deanna Fehrenbacher and courtesy KAKE-TV. Hail that fell over North Hutchinson.

There were over 300 reports of severe weather yesterday (hail, high winds or tornadoes). Interestingly, there were again only a few tornado reports. It appears that we’ll stay below the 3 year average (279) for May tornadoes this year. As of Saturday, May 26th, the SPC had a total PRELIMINARY tornado count of 122. Through Wednesday, May 30th, there were an additional 17 PRELIMINARY tornado reports bringing the total number to 139 with only one day left in the month.

Severe Risk Today

Severe Risk Friday

Soggy End of the Week

Look at the 2 day rainfall forecast for the eastern half of the nation, note the soggy weather conditions expected through the end of the week. The thunderstorm activity today and tomorrow (some strong to severe) will be responsible for heavier rainfall potential as the storm system sweeps eastward.

Largest Wildfire in New Mexico History

The Whitewater/Baldy as of Wednesday became the largest wildfire in the states history with over 190,000 acres burned.

By May 30, 2012, a wildfire burning in Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico had burned more of the landscape than any other fire in the state’s history.

According to figures released by the U.S. Forest Service, the Whitewater-Baldy fire had burned 170,272 acres (266 square miles), surpassing a fire that burned 156,293 acres (244 square miles) near Los Alamos in 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this view of the fire around 4:00 p.m. local time (20:00 Universal Time) on May 29, 2012.

Lightning started the Whitewater-Baldy fire on May 16, and more than a thousand firefighters have battled the blaze since then. The area’s extremely rugged terrain and strong winds have hampered progress, while a mixture of timber, mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, pinon, and grass all burned. Officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation for Mogollon, a small community near the edge of the fire.”

See more HERE:

Here’s more info from inciweb.org

Thanks for checking in on this Thursday, have a great rest of your week!

Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

Severe Risk Southeast (on track for warmest U.S. spring since 1895?)

Near 3,000 Record High Temperatures Across The USA So Far In 2012. ClimateClimate has the details below.

Warmest spring for the USA since 1895 shaping up – details below.


Thursday Severe Risk. Cool, Canadian air pressing southward will spark strong to severe storms later today from Houston to Little Rock, Memphis, Louisville and Atlanta, according to SPC.

180-Hour Outlook. Here is the raw GFS model data looking into the middle of next week. A cool rain pushes across the Midwest into the Great Lakes today and Friday, while the soggy remains of “Beryl” pinwheel out into the North Atlantic. Warm air pushes north over the weekend, a more summerlike spell returning to much of the USA next week.


QPF. The 5-day rainfall outlook calls for a continuation of dry weather for the southwest, moderate rain for Seattle, the heaviest rains from Oklahoma City to Detroit, upstate New York and northern New England. South Florida may pick up some 2-4″ rainfall amounts, based on NOAA models.

Drought-Busting Rains For Northern Florida. NOAA Doppler radar estimates show some 8-10″ rainfall amounts over the last 7 days from Ocala to Jacksonville, Florida.

Hurricane Fact. NOAA has the details: “Did you know? Most hurricane deaths and damages aren’t due to winds – they happen because of flooding. Visitwww.floodsmart.gov to find out if you live in a flood-prone area and how flood insurance can lessen the financial impact of a flood. Be a force of nature this hurricane season.”

Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire Now Biggest Ever In New Mexico. Here’s an excerpt of a KOB.com update and video: “The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire has reached a sad milestone. It is now the biggest fire in New Mexico history. New numbers from the U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday show the fire has burned 170,272 acres, surpassing the Las Conchas fire, which burned 156,293 acres last summer near Los Alamos. The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain in the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico.”


More Summer Heatwaves In Europe: Predictability Of European Summer Heat From Spring And Winter Rainfall. Meteorologists and climatologists talk of “telecommunications” – strange links and odd atmospheric domino effects that leave us scratching our collective heads. Here’s an interesting finding from Science Daily: “The prediction, one season ahead, of summer heat waves in Europe remains a challenge. A new study led by a French-Swiss team shows that summer heat in Europe rarely develops after rainy winter and spring seasons over Southern Europe. Conversely dry seasons are either followed by hot or cold summers. The predictability of summer heat is therefore asymmetric. Climate projections indicate a drying of Southern Europe. The study suggests that this asymmetry should create a favorable situation for the development of more summer heat waves with however a modified seasonal predictability from winter and spring rainfall.” Photo: NOAA.

Now’s The Time To Formulate Your Hurricane Survival Plan. Here’s some very good advice from the meteorologists at WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida (including WeatherNation TV alum Bay Scroggins), as reported at TCPalm.com: “….My big thing with telling viewers how to prepare is that when hurricane season is about… you have to think in terms of ‘what am I going to do?’” Scroggins said. “Because waiting until right before the storm is upon us is just way too late.” He recommended having a plan that assures the safety of children, special needs family members and pets. “I don’t think it’s too early on the first day of June making a phone call with a pet-friendly shelter or your local vet,” he said. “And for those with special needs, call shelters ahead, because there are very few shelters that can handle breathing machines, constant medications and Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Those are not people that you can wait to prepare for.”

Montreal Floods “Exceptional” Says Mayor. Canada’s CBC Network has more details and videos about recent severe flash floods: “Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay says the “exceptional” rain that fell Tuesday overwhelmed the city’s sewer system. “No sewer collector network would have been able to manage the quantity of water that we saw yesterday evening,” Tremblay told a news conference today. Several boroughs that reported record rainfall saw widespread basement flooding. Tremblay said city crews were sent out to repair sewer pipe covers and handle the overflow. Efforts are underway to mop up flooding after Tuesday’s massive downpour caused water accumulation in basements, on highways and streets, in city buses and in the underground subway system.”

Facebook: The Ultimate Dot Com. I was in the mood to dig up a little more info on Facebook, a utility (?) many of us spend WAY too much time on, sort of like a 21st century version of the telephone party line, the dial tone of our lives. Here’s a snippet of a fascinating article from John Cassidy at The New Yorker: “History will record that Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t the first college student to have the idea of enabling people to set up Web pages and share stuff with their friends. Yesterday, my colleague Silvia Killingsworthwrote about the Winklevoss twins, two Harvard grads who famously accused Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for Facebook while working on their fledgling site Connect U. Before the Winklevii, there were the folks behind MySpace and Friendster. And before them, way back in 1995, there were Todd Krizelman and Stephen Paternot, who launched TheGlobe.com from their dorm rooms at Cornell. TheGlobe.com allowed people to create their personal space online, upload pictures, and set up what came to be known as blogs. By 1998, it had more than two million members, which was then considered impressive. It also had a business plan: sell advertising.”


Exclusive: Here’s The Inside Story On What Really Happened With The Facebook IPO. Is it me, or does the photo above look more like a mug shot? Good grief. The “Facebook going public” story just gets stranger and stranger over time; here’s an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the IPO From Hell from businessinsider.com: “And now for some more bombshell news about the Facebook IPO… Earlier, we reported thatthe analysts at Facebook’s IPO underwriters had cut their estimates for the company in the middle of the IPO roadshow, a highly unusual and negative event. What we didn’t know was why. Now we know. The analysts cut their estimates because a Facebook executive who knew the business was weak told them to. Put differently, the company basically pre-announced that its second quarter would fall short of analysts’ estimates. But it only told the underwriter analysts about this.”

Photo credit above: ceoworld.biz.

The Facebook Illusion. Hey, I have nothing against FB or Mr. Zuckerburg; it’s the classic (Harvard) rags-to-riches story, a subtle yet blunt reminder that anyone, in theory, can still get (very) rich in the good ‘ol USA. Will we still all be using FB in 5 years? Probably. Is the company going to have a tough time making the dollars (especially mobile advertising dollars) match the hype? Not sure – they have their work cut out for them, but I’m not sure I’d bet against them right now. Here’s an excerpt of a New York Times Op-Ed that may be of interest: “…I will confess to taking a certain amount of dyspeptic pleasure from Facebook’s hard landing, which had Bloomberg Businessweek declaring the I.P.O. “the biggest flop of the decade” after five days of trading. Of all the major hubs of Internet-era excitement, Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking site has always struck me as one of the most noxious, dependent for its success on the darker aspects of online life: the zeal for constant self-fashioning and self-promotion, the pursuit of virtual forms of “community” and “friendship” that bear only a passing resemblance to the genuine article, and the relentless diminution of the private sphere in the quest for advertising dollars.”

The Winkelvii. Hey, we have a theme going. Sick of Facebook stories? Me too, but it’s a slow weather day, so let’s dig in and find the juicy stuff. Here’s an excerpt of another fascinating story from The New Yorker, dated May 15, 2012: “It’s Facebook I.P.O. week, which is as good a time as any to revisit the company’s cast of founding characters. Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind programmer, co-founder, and C.E.O. turned twenty-eight yesterday. Chris Hughes, his roommate and Facebook’s first spokesman, is fundraising for Obama’s reëlection campaign and planning the gay wedding of the century. Eduardo Saverin, who was a year ahead of Zuckerberg at Harvard and is the company’s initial business manager, is renouncing his U.S. citizenship just in time to escape some of the taxes he would have to pay on upwards of several billion dollars’ worth of stock. And what of the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (together known as the Winklevii), the upperclassmen who recruited Zuckerberg to work on their dating Web site, Harvard Connection, and later claimed that he stole their idea?

French “Bubble Hotel” Let’s You Sleep With Nature. Those crazy French, what will they think of next? Here’s an excerpt from gizmag.com: “Last year, designer Pierre Stephane Dumas unveiled his line of room-sized, transparent bubbles that allow people to sleep with almost nothing blocking their view of nature. His goal was to create a portable space that was both comfortable while giving the feeling of being out in the middle of any natural environment – and without disturbing the area very much. As enticing as those might be though, not many people are going to be able to afford the €7766 (US$10,987) price tag just to buy one for their weekend camping trip.”

Climate Stories…

Fat Lady Preparing To Sing: U.S Crushing Warmest Spring Record. Here’s an excerpt from CapitalClimate: “As suggested last week, the U.S. is well on its way to crush the record for warmest spring since national temperature data began in 1895. Here’s an indication of just how far that record could go. The previous record spring in 1910 had a national average temperature of 55.1°. However, the March 2012 temperature exceeded March 1910 by 0.5° to set a new record for the month. April 2012 then exceeded April 1910 by 1° (see the charts to the right).  At this point, May 2012 would have to be 1.5° cooler than May 1910 to avoid exceeding the record. What are the chances of that? Somewhere between slim and none.”


Sunscreen In The Sky? Reflective Particles May Combat Warming. Maybe it’ll come to this – spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to counteract the influence of (warming) greenhouse gases. More and more credence is being given to “geo-engineering”. Dumping more chemicals into the sky – what can possibly go wrong? Here’s a more upbeat assessment from National Geographic“Spritzing a sunscreen ingredient into the stratosphere could help counteract the effects of global warming, according to scientists behind an ambitious new geoengineering project. The plan involves using high-altitude balloons to disperse millions of tons of titanium dioxide—a nontoxic chemical found in sunscreen as well as in paints, inks, and even food. Once in the atmosphere, the particles would spread around the planet and reflect some of the sun’s rays back into space. About three million tons of titanium dioxide—spread into a layer around a millionth of a millimeter thick—would be enough to offset the warming effects caused by a doubling of today’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, according to project leader and chemical engineer Peter Davidson.”

A Conservative’s Approach To Combating Climate Change. Here’s an article that caught my eye; an excerpt from The Atlantic: “No environmental issue is more polarizing than global climate change. Many on the left fear increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases threaten an environmental apocalypse while many on the right believe anthropotenic global warming is much ado about nothing, and, at worst, a hoax. Bot sides pretend as if the climate policy debate is, first and foremost, about science, rather than policty. This is not so. There is substantial uncertainty about the scope, scale, and consequences of anthropogenic warming, and will be for some time, but this is not sufficient justification for ignoring global warming or pretending that climate change is not a serious problem.”

A Better Way To Fight Climate Change. Here’s a snippet of an Op-Ed that caught my eye at The Star Tribune: “Climate change, we are often told, is everyone’s problem. And without a lot of help containing greenhouse gas emissions from rapidly growing emerging market countries (not to mention a host of wannabes), the prospects of avoiding disaster are small to nil. Now you tell us, retort policymakers in the have-less countries: How convenient of you to discover virtue only after two centuries of growth and unfettered carbon emissions. Since you were the ones to get us into this mess, it’s your job to get us out. (The United States’ what-me-worry posture on climate change does not, of course, make the West’s efforts to co-opt the moral high ground any more convincing.)


Can Market Forces Really Be Employed To Address Climate Change? Here’s a story from The Huffington Post: ”Debate continues in the United States, Europe and throughout the world about whether the forces of the marketplace can be harnessed in the interest of environmental protection, in particular, to address the threat of global climate change. In an essay that appears in the Spring 2012 issue of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, my colleague, Joseph Aldy, and I take on this question. In the article — “Using the Market to Address Climate Change: Insights from Theory & Experience” — we investigate the technical, economic, and political feasibility of market-based climate policies, and examine alternative designs of carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, and clean energy standards.”

How Americans Use Energy, In Three Simple Charts. Here’s an excerpt of a very interesting article from The Washington Post: “Donald Marron passes along a very handychart from the Congressional Budget Office looking at what sources of energy the United States relies on — and for what purpose. Do we need more charts? We probably need more charts. Here’s another handy one showing where U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions come from, sector by sector, courtesy of a new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.”

Climate Change A Classic Culprit In Collapse Of Great Civilizations. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting story at Catholic Online: “We can’t help but transport ourselves back through time into the shoes or sandals of some ancient denizen of a once vast and unrivalled city whose society is slowly descending into chaos and wonder, “how did this happen to us?” Today, the collapse of modern civilization is the stuff of science fiction and horror, and as far from reality as any Hollywood blockbuster or the latest zombie thriller. Yet, history is a great predictor of the future and according to history, we are also doomed. But why, and how, remain the questions. If the answers lie in history, then it pays to delve as deeply as possible to find the facts. Over the past century, a small army of scholars has labored from one generation to the next to decipher what happened to one of the world’s largest, most advanced civilizations, and why they disappeared into the sands of time.”

Photo credit above: “The cities of the Harappan civilization were well constructed sophisticated affairs with a surprising number of modern conveniences such as plumbing.”

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ABOUT ME

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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

Beryl’s Waning Moments and a Moderate Risk of Severe Storms

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Happy Wednesday everyone, hope all is well. Take a look at the picture below… doesn’t it look like a volcano? This is actually a picture from New Mexico where the LARGEST fire in history continues. The Whitewater/Baldy fire has consumed over with a high growth potential as crews (over 1200 people) are working in an extremely difficult terrain in the Gila National Forest. The latest word is that this could burn into July.

Here’s the latest from inciweb.org

Incredible Tuesday Rain in Louisville, KY

Louisville, KY had nearly 3″ of rain in just over 2 hours. Interestingly, the 3.17″ of rain on Tuesday’s date did not break a record (the record is 3.54″ in 1880) Take a look at some of these images out of Louisville, KY from Tuesday.

These images are from the UofL Facebook page, see HERE

What’s up with Beryl?

As of AM Wednesday, Beryl was still a Tropical Depression, but was intensifying. There is a chance that Beryl could become a Tropical Storm later Wednesday.

Beryl Forecast

Note how the forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows an “S” within the track at some point later today. This would indicate Tropical Storm strength just offshore of North Carolina. Be prepared for strong wind gusts today, especially along the coast of North Carolina and the Outer Banks. There was a tornado reported in North Carolina 1 mile SW of Peletier… Here’s the report:

Remark: possible tornado just southwest of peletier near little kinston road and morse road. multiple homes possibly damaged.”

Flooding Concerns with Beryl

There have already been reports of over 12″ of rain throughout parts of Florida. More heavy rain and flash flooding may be possible today in the Carolinas

Florida Rainfall Reports

Rainfall Forecast

Huge Hail on Tuesday

Severe Threat Today

We’re watching what could be an active severe weather day once again across parts of the Central and Southern Plains. Hail and high winds looks to be the primary threat, but tornadoes certainly can’t be ruled out! Keep an eye to the sky today and an ear on your weather radio for potentially dangerous weather conditions later today/tonight.

Thanks for checking in on this Wednesday, have a great rest of your week and don’t forget to check me out on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

Severe Threat Heightens in the Northeast and Beryl Continues

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Happy Tuesday everyone, hope all is well. Most folks are back to work and school now after the long holiday weekend. I’m sure it’s tough to get back into the swing of things, so I’ll start you off with this cool picture that was shared by

Beautiful Planet Earth Facebook Page, See here for more:

More Pictures

Thanks to Cathy Emmet Palmer for this picture out of Panama Beach, FL as remnant clouds from Tropical Depression Beryl rolled through the area. It certainly made for a beautiful sunset picture!

Intense Lightning

Thanks to Corey Hoffman for sharing this picture who says: “This one was taken by my friend while on a chase of a severe warned storm near Ohio, IL in Bureau County.”

Memorial Day Hail Pictures out of MN

Thanks to Anna Kate Louks for this picture out of Sartell, MN. Hail fell and neared the severe criteria of 1″ diameter, which is the size of a quarter. Everything else is what I call ‘small change hail’ or non-severe.

Thanks to Chuck Boos out of St. Joseph, MN for the picture below. These stones are clearly severe worthy as they are 1″ (quarter-size) or larger.

Thanks to Melissa Woods for this picture, also out of St. Joseph, MN. This too is severe worthy

I doctored it up get a more accurate depiction of the size. According to my dorky calculation, this stone may have been around 3.5″ wide!

As High as a Cumulonimbus

Thanks to Walt Kruhoeffer for this picture who took a flight to Baltimore over the weekend and saw this towering cumulonimbus cloud in the distance. Note how the thunderstorm seems to flatten at the top… this is where the thunderstorm has reached the tropopause or the highest point in the troposphere. The troposphere happens to be the layer in the atmosphere where all the weather here on earth occurs in.

Atmosphere

These are the different layers of the atmosphere, note the thunderstorm icon in the troposphere. Also note how the cruising altitude of the jet is located around the top of the thunderstorm at the tropopause. The graphic below is very reminiscent of picture above.

Image Courtesy: http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/mesosphere.html

The reason for thunderstorms flattening out at the top is because as air parcels encounter the tropopause and the stratosphere where the air becomes more stable as temperatures begin warming with height. Air parcel here stop rising freely and become ‘capped’. The yellow line below mimics the temperature profile within each layer of the atmosphere.

Image Courtesy: http://www.atmos.illinois.edu/earths_atmosphere/basic_properties.html

Beryl Continues

The radar loop from early Tuesday showed bands of showers and thunderstorms still rotating around the raggedy center of circulation near southeastern Georgia.

Satellite Picture of Beryl

Beryl Track

The interesting thing about Beryl is that the forecast has it becoming a Tropical Storm again has it moves over open water by mid-week. The other thing to note is the close proximity to the coastal communities of the Carolinas. I’m concerned that wind damage may start to creep back into the picture in these areas, especially is the ground is saturated with heavy rains from Beryl. Trees could be toppled a little more easily if both winds increase and heavy rain continues to moisten the ground. Beach goers along the East Coast and especially in the Carolinas should be very weary of rip current potential!

Rip Current Safety

Rip currents are strong narrow currents moving away from shore. The strongest rip currents can attain speeds reaching 8 feet per second; this is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint! On average, more people die every year from rip currents than from shark attacks. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, 80 percent of surf beach rescues are attributed to rip currents, and more than 100 people die annually from drowning in rip currents.”

See more safety tips HERE:

Image Below Courtesy:

http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/ripcurrents/safety/index.html

Louisville, KY Flooding

Thanks to Laura Yancy for the picture below from near the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Within a matter of hours, several inches of rain inundated downtown Louisville. there were several reports of flooded streets and stalled cars.

Severe Threat Today

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a MODERATE RISK of severe weather across parts of the Northeast where hail and high winds looks to be the primary threat with isolated tornadoes possible. There is also a threat of isolated tornadoes across parts of the Central and Southern Plains.

Severe Threat Wednesday

Wednesday could be an interesting day with a MODERATE RISK of severe weather being issued across the Central and Southern Plains. Tornadoes could be an issued here again, so have those severe weather radios handy!

Thanks for checking in on this Tuesday, have a great rest of your week!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

Beryling Into the Southeast with Much Needed Rain

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Happy Memorial Day and thank you to everyone who has served our country past, present and future!

We remember those who fought for our freedom! What ever you do this weekend, remember why this weekend is special.

I was able to take a trip up north to my aunt and uncle’s cabin (yearly tradition) and hooked up with the biggest walleye of my life… 9 pounder!! That’s my little guy, Crosby, who will be 3 this summer, he couldn’t believe how big the fish was either.

Memorial Day weather looks hot and soupy along and east of the Mississippi River with scattered strong to severe thunderstorms in spots. We’re also tracking Beryl in the Southeast, but the Southwest looks mostly quiet and comfortable.

Now Tropical Depression Beryl

This was the view from space earlier Monday, note the nice circular shape to Beryl as she works across northern Florida.

Beryl becomes the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in Florida in over a century

See the latest view HERE:

Beryl Track

The 8AM update from the National Hurricane Center had Beryl becoming a Tropical Depression as he churns over Florida and Georgia. Winds are necessarily going to be the main threat… heavy rain will be!

Flooding Concerns with Beryl

The National Weather Service has issued flooding headlines for rainfall amounts that could be 4″ to 8″ with locally heavier amounts.

Rainfall Forecast

This is the rainfall forecast through 8AM Thursday. Note that the heaviest precipitation is expected to be a little closer to the coast.

Local Weather Radar Gets An Upgrade, Just In Time For Hurricane Season.
Here’s an interesting article from myrtlebeachonline.com: “MYRTLE BEACH — Just in time for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., are getting a boost in technology to help them better identify and predict how much rain and hail is falling in a specific area during a storm. The upgrade is taking place at all 160 radar stations in the U.S. and at five overseas locations. It means forecasters will go from monitoring single polarization radars to dual polarization radars, which gives them the ability to see a second dimension and determine, for example, where hail is falling and how big it is, said Steven Pfaff, a warning coordination meteorologist in Wilmington. “This is the first big modification. This is the next step in radar technology,” Pfaff said holding two softballs – one with a single blue piece of tape and the other with an X on it. Single polarization “gets us into the ballpark, whereas the dual polarization will get us into the infield.” Image: UCAR.

Record Heat This Weekend

Look at this big bubble of heat that has setup across the eastern half of the nation. Record high temperatures will be likely again today as this heat shifts to the east just a bit.

There were nearly 300 record high temps recorded over the weekend. One of the more notable locations was Chicago… They made it to 97° on Sunday!

The National Weather Service has issued EXCESSIVE HEAT headlines for locations just south and east of the Great Lakes region. The highlighted below could have heat index values nearing the mid to upper 90s today and tomorrow!

Severe Threat Today

On the outer edge of this heat and humidity, showers and thunderstorms broke out, some of which were severe. There were a little more than 200 reports of severe weather on Sunday.

As the bubble of extreme heat shifts east, so will the severe weather threat. Today hail, high winds and an isolated tornado threat will be possible from the Great Lakes to the middle Mississippi Valley along the cooler push of air. Interestingly, areas in the Southeast associated with Beryl aren’t in a specific severe threat, but there certainly could be some stronger bursts of weather with any storm that develops through the day, especially across northern Florida, southern Georgia and South Carolina.

Sunday Storm Recap

Below are some of the images from Sunday’s storms that rolled through parts of the nation.

From NWS Wichita, KS Tornado in Russell KS. Picture by Jill Seguine- Click here:

From the NWS Pittsburgh, PA office: half dollar size hail that fell in the Rilton area of Westmoreland County Sunday evening around 630pm. Click Here:

Stormy Sunday in Minnesota

This was the scene from central Minnesota on Sunday afternoon/evening as thunderstorms started popping. Interestingly, note how the thunderstorm is tilting to the right as it gets taller. This is an indication of ‘shear’ in the atmosphere. Shear comes in 2 different flavors; Speed and Directional. In this case you can see Speed Shear at work as stronger upper level winds push the top of the developing storm to the right. This would promote longer lived storm cells as the storm creates separate updrafts and downdrafts. Watch out if you have both speed shear and direction shear as thunderstorms not only would be longer lived, but potentially rotating and producing tornadoes.

A Turbulent Sky.

Thanks to Broadcast Weather meteorologist Miranda Hilger for sending in this photo of an ominous, swirling sky drifting over Excelsior Sunday evening.

 Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week.

Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

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