Tuesday, January 29, 2013

29 January 2013 Up, Down, Anyway The Wind Blows

Cassi Creek:  The past two weeks have provided us the gamut of winter weather, with cold spells, heavy rains, snow, sleet, and ice storms.  For most vicinities that is sufficient.  For the Tennessee Valley and the southern Appalachians, there is still part of the panoply to play out. 
          The jet stream has shifted, throwing a trough eastward.  This normal fluctuation has pulled a large cold air mass downward and into conflict with the standard, Gulf flow.  This is going to trigger the winter tornado season for the Deep South and other regions in the normal path of the cold fronts these troughs can drag downward.  
          The greatest tornado risk seems to be occurring today.  Tomorrow, we should see heavy rains, some thunderstorms, and the potential for severe storms, including tornadoes. 
          Tornadic activity commonly strikes our region in the evening hours.  Visualizing tornadoes in the dark is difficult in developed areas.  Picking them out in a dark rural area is much, much, more difficult.  Add in a network of valleys, mountains, and forests to watch the spotting difficulty leap upward exponentially. 
          Tomorrow, the storms are forecast to arrive here in the afternoon.  That makes them easier to spot and track.  The weather service office in Morristown does a great job tracking radar signatures, and getting out warnings.  But spotter information can really amplify path prediction when the storms touch down and become life threatening rather than just potential danger. 
          The ground is saturated and the trees have already been subjected to high winds.  The NWS has also issued a high wind advisory for our area, mostly over the border into North Carolina, but still likely to affect us as well.  We really don’t need any blow downs this week. 
          The forecast for Thursday morning suggest some snow showers during the time I need to be on the road into Mt. Home.  We shall see what the rest of the working week brings us.

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