Heat and Humidity Crank Up Potential for Weekend Storms!

Following the departure of the slow moving upper storm system responsible for the rain across the area currently, our upper pattern becomes much more progressive as we head into the weekend with a series of disturbances set to impact the area.

The first of these disturbances rides through Friday night with our first storm chance.  The evolution of Friday night's system will have a significant impact on how things shape of for the rest of the weekend.  

Right now, most data indicates that the activity Friday night/Saturday morning will be limited by a warm layer of air aloft known as a cap.  Most of the data, especially the GFS and NAM suggest that the cap keeps storms from becoming organized and allowing our atmosphere to become very unstable by Saturday afternoon/evening as dew point temps surge into the 70's.

Dpts gfs

With very high humidity levels, and temps warming into the middle 80's, CAPE (convective available potential energy) levels look to soar into the 3.000 - 4,000 j/kg range providing a ton of fuel for any storms that get going.

Cape gfs

In addition to the high instability, low level winds according to the GFS will be "backed" out of the southeast creating the potential for turning in the lower parts of the atmosphere increasing the chance for supercell thunderstorms.

Scc gfs

This heightened supercell profile is highlighted by the above "supercell composite index" showing an enhanced range of 7 to 10 over most of our area Saturday evening.

Despite favorable directional shear in the lower levels, the amount of wind energy associated with this system will be limited with the GFS only showing around 20 or 25 knots at 850 mb level.  

850 wind gfs

This could potentially help reduce the severity of any storms that go up Saturday evening/Saturday night.  

With that being said, in advance of an approaching low pressure system, the GFS shows a HUGE AREA of thunderstorm activity blowing up over our region Saturday night.

Sfc precip gfs

If this verifies, then severe weather and flash flooding maybe possible.

While current thinking by the Storm Prediction Center does highlight an area of risk during the day 4 (Saturday/Saturday night) timeframe, they keep it to our Southwest over much of the Lower Mississippi River Valley.  


So what do I think? 

SPC seems to be basing most of their day 4 forecast off of the Euro which keeps Saturday's system less amplified and further south than both the GFS and the NAM (American Models).  However, all else being equal, the American Models typically handle convection a little better and have shown good consistency timing and placement of thunderstorm activity late Saturday, so the above scenario seems very reasonable.  

While the exact placement and strength of storms will remain in question, just know that we have some ingredients coming together for the possibility of strong storms Saturday evening and Saturday night.

The good news is that it appears more likely now that the storms will exit our area on Sunday setting us up for a good looking Memorial Day.  

Marc and Rick will be in with a full update on what to expect on WDRB News this evening.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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TORNADO Watch Issued

A Tornado Watch has been issued for a portion of our viewing area. The watch is in effect until 8:00 pm EDT. This does not include Louisville. Counties included are Washington, Marion, Taylor, Green and Adair. Below is an image of the counties included in both watches as well as detailed information from the National Weather Service.

Image 1



   Tornado Watch Number 264
   NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK
   115 PM EDT Wed May 24 2017

   The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a

   * Tornado Watch for portions of 
     central and eastern Kentucky
     western North Carolina
     eastern Tennessee
     southwestern Virginia

   * Effective this Wednesday afternoon and evening from 115 PM
     until 800 PM EDT.

   * Primary threats include...
     A couple tornadoes possible
     Isolated damaging wind gusts to 70 mph possible
     Isolated large hail events to 1.5 inches in diameter possible

   SUMMARY...Thunderstorms now forming near an upper disturbance over
   northern middle Tennessee are expected to increase in coverage and
   intensity through the remainder of the afternoon, while developing
   northeastward and eastward across the watch area.  Large hail and
   locally damaging wind gusts will be possible in strongest storms,
   along with a risk for tornadoes.

   The tornado watch area is approximately along and 105 statute miles
   north and south of a line from 40 miles west northwest of Crossville
   TN to 40 miles southeast of Jackson KY. For a complete depiction of
   the watch see the associated watch outline update (WOUS64 KWNS


   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.


Stay tuned for the latest information. Be sure to watch the news this evening with Jeremy on WDRB for the latest information. If and when storms go severe, we will be updating all of our social media pages, and cut into programming if necessary. The links to my social media pages are below. 

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-Katie McGraw 



Severe Weather Threat In Effect

From Jude Redfield...

    A brief break in the rain this afternoon will allow for not much, BUT JUST ENOUGH INSTABILITY to deliver a low end risk for severe weather. A few storms could exhibit rotation if they get going. The area highlighted in yellow is where this limited risk for severe weather is in effect. At this point this is a situation I would monitor. I discussed this scenario multiple times yesterday morning and once again this morning on WDRB In The Morning.  While instability is lacking the center of this strong low pressure could overcome the weak instability and trigger a few tornado warnings. Stay tuned...



    Skipping ahead to the weekend we continue with a stormy theme. Serious humidity helps fuel a few rounds of storms. It is too early to pinpoint exactly when it will rain, but be prepared for the storm chances. A few of the storms could be severe.




RAIN RETURNS: When It Arrives & How Much To Expect...

We managed to keep things dry the last two day, just don't plan on making it three. Showers move back into the picture late tonight and increase as we head into Wednesday. As you head out tomorrow morning, the best chance for showers will line up west of I-65...


Rain chances spike late morning and into the early afternoon. Be ready to dodge downpours and you may even hear some rumbles of thunder... 


It won't rain all day. It looks on and off in nature before turning much more spotty during the evening drive...


It won't rain as much or as heavy on Thursday, but plan on dealing with scattered showers at times...


It's also important to note that numbers will be cool for May standards. Our average high is now in the upper 70's. With all of the clouds and rain around, temperatures get stuck in the 60's both days...


So, how much rain should we expect? Most locations end up with .5 - 1" of rain by the time this system pulls away Thursday evening. If you look at the EURO, GFS and NAM computers models below, all three are on the same page. This helps boost our confidence in terms of rainfall totals... 




I have good news and some bad news. Temperatures do warm up in time for Memorial Day Weekend, unfortunately it also comes with a good shot for storms. Marc and I will be on WDRB all night talking about which day has the best chance for rain and if anything could be strong to severe.  



-Rick DeLuca



HD TIMELAPSE: 8 Tornadoes in 54 Seconds!

YouTube Video via Negative Tilt

From the beginning to the end, this timelapse shows the life of the Dodge City Supercell that produced at least 8 different tornadoes (some in nearly the same place, but different touchdowns none the less). At most points during the storm, at least TWO tornadoes were on the ground at once, and at times there were THREE. The storm merged with others and continued east for hundreds of miles. This timelapse shows the backside of the storm as seen from Dodge City during its departure.


WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Stormy Cycle About To Churn

From Jude Redfield...

    A few showers develop overnight, but the real show sets up during the day tomorrow. Scattered showers and storms develop during the morning and early afternoon. a dry slot should work in later in the afternoon. Locally heavy rain is likely. We still don't expect an all day washout, but the threat of it raining at some point is high. Instability is lacking with below average temps so the risk for anything turning severe is low.  We will have to monitor for a rogue strong to severe storm threat during the afternoon/evening IF we get the temps warmed up enough. This would depend on how much dry time shakes out Wednesday afternoon.




    Scattered showers linger into Thursday as the low pressure is slow to go.  We don't expect all day rain this day either.

    Our upcoming holiday weekend looks bumpy at times!  It appears we are in store for an abundance of time that is dry, BUT scattered clusters of storms look to roam in on and off Saturday and Sunday. High levels of moisture will fuel locally heavy rain. We also have ingredients to help deliver a few severe storms.  Something to monitor if you have outdoor plans this weekend. Plenty of time to watch this take shape the rest of the week. -Jude Redfield-




May 22, 2011 - Joplin, MO: Worst Tornado Disaster in Modern Era

It was six years ago on May 22, 2011 that Joplin Missouri was struck by one of the deadliest tornadoes in recorded history.  

5864127016_b9602d451c_bPhoto by John Daves - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District

The 200 mph winds from the EF5 tornado that touched down in Joplin, Mo., blew apart everything in its path, leaving debris hanging from anything left standing. These trees were left standing on the east side of Joplin High and collected debris from the heavily damaged school.

The EF-5 storm rapidly grew from a relatively narrow and weak tornado into a mile wide monster just before striking the Southwest Missouri town at about 5:40pm on Sunday the 22nd.

Vo_joplin_tornado_lands_TORNADOVIDEO_640x360Image courtesy Basehunters at TornadoVideos.net

Deadly-tornado-joplin-missouriImage courtesy Basehunters at TornadoVideos.net

This video captures the rapid intensification of the storm as it enters the city of Joplin.  

On May 22, 2011 a highly destructive and deadly tornado tore through the city of Joplin, Missouri. Here is video of the tornado entering the southwest side of town, filmed by TornadoVideos.net Basehunters team Colt Forney, Isaac Pato, Kevin Rolfs, and Scott Peake. The team spent hours assisting with search and rescue and transporting victims to local hospitals in personal vehicles.


Here's a look at the radar signatures as the storm rolled east of the city.


You can see the huge "debri ball" on the refectivity scan and the velocity data was showing an incredible 230 mph at the time! 

Here's a radar loop of the event.  It shows two cells merging just as the storm entered Joplin leading to the rapid intensification of the storm.


This dramatic footage captures the scene as Jeff Piotrowski and his wife enters the town immediately as the tornado moves through.


On May 22, 2011 an EF-5 Monster Tornado over a mile wide leveled portions of the Southwest side of Joplin, Missouri. Jeff and Kathryn Piotrowski knew that the atmosphere that day was going to be extremely volatile and Jeff mentioned many times in his forecast about storms near Joplin. No truer words were spoken as the day unfolded and a tornadic storm developed near Galena, Kansas which traveled on to Joplin and dropped a horrific wedge tornado. Jeff and Kathryn traveled through the city of Joplin not hearing sirens, Jeff yells at a policeman on Hwy 66 or 7th "To get the sirens going" and it wasn't soon enough. Already the tornado had grown in size massively and was intensifying...Jeff and Kathryn filmed it down 20th St. and afterwards turned on the first street they came to which was Iowa Ava. Jeff and Kathryn had filmed this EF-5 within blocks of from 20th. Iowa Ave. was devastated with many fatalities and some survivors. Jeff and Kathryn immediately went into help mode and did what they could to help, comfort and console. God Bless Joplin.

Of course, the aftermath was horrific.  


The storm cut a path of EF-4 to EF-5 destrucion right through the heart of the town and it was more than a mile wide in places.


In total, 158 people lost their lives in the storm making this, by far, the deadliest tornado in the modern warning era and most from a single storm since 1947.  

556356main_ASTER_May30_trimmed_lg_1024-768The image shows the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or ASTER, satellite data acquired on May 30, 2011, showing the damage track resulting from for the EF-5 tornado associated with the May 22, 2011, Joplin, Mo. storm. The complex pattern of ASTER data indicate variability in land use characterized by colors in this three-channel composite. Vegetated areas are shown in red and green, urban areas are aqua and the damage track from the tornado is also aqua. Clouds are white and cloud shadows are dark in color. The ASTER data here shows the tornado damage scar, aqua in color, left by the violent tornado as damage disrupts other, more typical land use patterns. The variation in width is likely correlated to tornado intensity. The tornado abruptly moved in a more southeasterly direction to the east of the city as is somewhat apparent through the clouds in the ASTER imagery. Image credit: NASA/ASTER

The storm caused $2.2 Billion Dollars in damage making it the costliest tornado disaster on record. 


Why was the death toll so high?

The 158 deaths associated with the Joplin tornado is nothing less than staggering.  There hadn't been 100 fatalities from a single storm since 1953 and most people thought because of advancement in storm prediction, radar technology and the modern warning system, that a tornado catastrophe of this magnitude was not possible.  Joplin changed all that.

The high death toll has been attributed to a combination of factors including the incredible strength of the storm, the path of the storm through a highly populated area, the lack of adequate shelter, and people not acting quickly enough.  Social scientist believe that complacency played a part in the disaster.  Despite good lead times of 20 to 30 minutes of warning before the storm arrived, in many cases people failed to seek shelter or at least adequate shelter until it was too late.

Unfortunately, the vast majority (82%) of homes in Joplin were built without basements and/or storm shelters so by the time most people sought shelter, they resorted to interior closets or bathrooms which simply was not enough protection against an EF5 tornado.  

There are many lessons to be learned from the Joplin event and perhaps the greatest one is that we are still vulnerable. 

For more information on the Joplin Tornado, go here.

Click here to access the full NWS Assessment Report on the event.


WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Wet Weather Cycle Showing Up Again

From Jude Redfield...

    Low humidity and cooler air makes for a dandy of a yard work day today. Dry weather should lead into the daytime hours tomorrow before rain chances spike Tuesday night into Wednesday. Scattered showers and a few storms look like a solid bet on Wednesday. Lingering showers will be spit out for a few of us on Thursday.


    Rain looks to be the most widespread Wednesday morning through early afternoon. Showers become less numerous by Wednesday night. Lingering showers are likely on Thursday, but the coverage should be much less than what is expected Wednesday.


    Many areas will pick up a quarter to half inch of rain during this time. Locally heavy rain could lead to an inch or so where the most intense rain cores set up. We won't know the zone of heaviest rain until we get closer to Wednesday. -Jude Redfield-


HD VIDEO: Chasing a Trio of Oklahoma Tornadoes Pecos Hank!

Published on May 19, 2017 via Pecos Hank

Three tornadoes touched down and several funnels danced in the sky near Seiling and Chester Oklahoma on May 18, 2017. For licensing 4K tornado video contact hankschyma@gmail.com

A large funnel cloud appeared south of Seiling Oklahoma around 4:12pm. I can't confirm a touchdown but this was likely a tornado before I spotted it. The first tornado I could confirm occurred around 4:30pm just west of Chester Oklahoma. The tornado appeared powerful at first and was likely the strongest tornado produced by this supercell thunderstorm. It didn't maintain it's strength very long but was on the ground awhile. Perhaps around 10 to 15 minutes. The tornado roped out in dramatic fashion bending and writhing as it crossed highway 281. A brief weak tornado occurred shortly after while another stronger cone tornado formed to it's west. This tornado tracked North along highway 281 for perhaps 5 minutes or so. I'll enter more precise details later. I doubt there were any injuries with these tornadoes.

This footage is not for rebroadcast
copyright Pecos Hank 2017.
To license footage contact hankschyma@gmail.com


WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Sunday Showers and Storms: More severe?

Severe Risk:

The Storm Prediction Center does not have any severe weather risks for our area today. What a nice change of pace. There is just a general thunderstorm risk. With that said, we could still see a very isolated stronger storm today along the front. Main threats would be gusty winds, hail, heavy rain, lightning and hail. Rain chances will diminish from west to east from early afternoon through the evening. By tonight, rain chances will end. 

Image 1

Set up:

There is a low pressure currently residing over Minnesota will slowly work its way off to the northeast and bring with it the well advertised associated cold front. It will finally push its way through the area. As it progresses through it will bring with it a resurgence of showers and storms. Behind the front, it will be cooler and high pressure will briefly build into the region, before the next cold front arrives this week, dropping temps even more. 

Image 3

This morning has been sogggggy. Below are the metro rain fall totals since 12 am. Not everyone has been treated the same. Notice Shively has seen nearly 2.00'' of rain, while The Knobs has just over a tenth of an inch. The widespread rain has come to an end, but we will still see scattered showers and storms through this afternoon. All of the rain and lingering clouds this morning will limit the strength of the storms later today. 

Image 2


Instability: We have a decent amount of instability today supportive of stronger storms or severe weather. If we were to see any strong or severe storms, they would be very isolated in nature.  Models are showing around 1000 J/kg  of CAPE or Convective Available Potential Energy, a measurement of instability, for today.   

Wind energy is also decent but not overly impressive at 25-30 kts. This is also only enough for a rogue severe storm, but not a wide spread event. 

Image 4

For the moment instability is fairly limited, thanks to aforementioned clouds and showers. The highest CAPE is east of I-65, so that's where our best chance for a stronger storm will be. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 11.34.01 AM


Showers are developing in a squall line from Seymour to Madisonville and will continue to push east over the next hour or so. Expect them in the metro area from 12-2. 

At 1

They will be in our eastern counties by mid afternoon and they will have a bit more strength at that time. Scroll through the images to get an idea of their exit time. I do believe they will be out of the area by 5 pm. I am leaving only an isolated (10%) shower chance after that. 

At 2

At 3

At 4

At 4

We will see decreasing clouds through this afternoon and evening as well! So we should get some sun! Temperatures will be cooler thanks to the front. All showers will be out by sunset. 

At 5


Shower chances decrease with time today. There is only a 40% chance for showers and storms during the afternoon and we will see highs in the upper 70s. That is about ten degrees cooler than yesterday, but is seasonable for this time of year. Not everyone will see activity today and I think it will end up being an okay day! 

Image 5

Want to go for a dive? I mentioned a second cold front this week and it will drop our temps EVEN MORE! Find out how low we will go on WDRB News this evening with Jeremy! If and when storm become severe, we will be keeping you informed in a variety of ways. One of those is on social media. The links to my pages are below! 

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-Katie McGraw