Friday, April 3, 2015

Ah Spring! Tornados, Hail, Floods and Snow

Three supercell thunderstorms, each with
a tornado warning, west and north of Joplin,
Missouri last evening.  
You would have to forgive people in Joplin, Missouri  if they were pretty frightened last night.

The southwestern Missouri city was devastated in 2011 by a massive tornado that killed 158 of its residents and turned most of the southern half of the city into ruins.

Last night, three supercell thunderstorms, each with a tornado warning, was lined up in a row just west and north of Joplin, ready to strike.

As it turned out, no tornadoes touched down in Joplin last night, but other towns nearby got hit.  There were nine reports of tornadoes. So far, I haven't heard any reports of injuries and not much in the way of damage.

But this type of scare is unfortunately a way of life in the Midwest during the spring. The question always is, will that funnel lift harmlessly back into the clouds, or will it wipe my community away?

People will be asking that question today in a large area in the Ohio Valley and Gulf Coast states, as severe weather looms.

Today's outbreak of severe weather probably won't produce a HUGE number of tornadoes, but it is very likely to spin off at least a few. Before dawn, there was already a tornado watch posted for northern Arkansas.

There's also going to be large hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds in this zone that is under the gun for severe weather today. The area most at risk includes Nashville, Tennessee, Huntsville, Alabama, and Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville has already had enough with this outbreak of thunderstorms. Torrential thunderstorms repeated raked the Louisville area early this morning. Water rescues were ongoing in Louisville early Friday, including at a badly flooded apartment complex. Many roads, including part of an Interstate highway are closed. 
Flooding in Louisville early
this morning. Photo by Bryan Shain. 

Cars were reported floating down Louisville streets.

The storm causing the dangerous weather will spin up and move toward New England tonight and Saturday.

Up in New England, they had their first real taste of spring yesterday. It got above 60 degrees in Burlington, Vermont Thursday, the first time that's happened since November 24. Widespread 60 degree weather is likely to continue in New England today.

That storm system that scared the bejeezus out of Joplin and drowned Louisville is also going to help squelch spring in New England.

The system will drag a cold front through, dropping temperatures sharply tonight. Even though it's 60 degrees today, winter weather advisories are up for much of northern New England Saturday, especially the higher elevations.

It looks like the region will receive three to eight inches of snow by late Saturday. So much for spring.

Plus, it will stay chilly in New England next week.

And in the center of the country, the threat of severe storms and possibly tornadoes will increase again toward the middle of next week.

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