Did You Know There Are Three Types of Supercells?

Determining the type of supercells that may occur within a given severe weather environment is important for a multitude of reasons. A supercell is a thunderstorm that rotates. There are three types of supercells: low-precipitation (LP), classic, and high-precipitation (HP). The configuration of the wind shear profiles within a severe weather environment is critical in diagnosing […]

Long Track Supercells in the Western Plains on May 16th, 2017

Long-track supercells formed across the western Great Plains on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017. Accompanied with these supercells were multiple tornadoes, damaging winds, and giant hail upwards of 4.00″ in diameter. Widespread flash flooding also occurred across the Oklahoma Panhandle and southwestern Kansas.  The morning data analysis, including the 1200z / 7:00am CDT observed weather balloon […]

The Influence of Wind Shear on Thunderstorms

Strong vertical wind shear is important for the development of severe convective storms including the type of thunderstorm, its orientation, and its life span. Wind shear can influence storms in several ways, including speed shear and directional shear. Speed shear is a change in the wind speed with respect to height, while directional shear is the […]

Severe Storms in South-Central Kansas on May 11th, 2017

A low pressure system was located over the southern and central Plains Thursday, May 11th. Although the low-level dynamics were quite weak the combination of the mid-to-upper level winds, and outflow boundaries analyzed on the visible satellite, signaled the potential for severe weather in the early afternoon Thursday across the region. How to Get Flood Insurance – […]

Southwestern Oklahoma High-Precipitation Supercells on May 10th, 2017

Severe thunderstorms were in the forecast across southwestern Oklahoma on Wednesday, May 10th. The potential for supercells (a rotating thunderstorm) existed as well, particularly along the intersection of the dryline and outflow boundary. The forecast was quite complicated, with early morning convection and persistent cloud cover across much of Oklahoma that made for a complex afternoon for […]

Elevated Supercells in Eastern Colorado on May 8th, 2017

On Monday, May 8th, there was the potential for isolated thunderstorms across eastern Colorado with possible supercells (a rotating thunderstorm) along the Interstate 70 corridor in vicinity of the Palmer Divide. Although the tornado threat was very low, there was certainly a good chance of observing photogenic storms in the High Plains of Colorado.  Forecast soundings […]

Remembering the Greensburg, Kansas, EF-5 Tornado

Ten years ago today on the evening of May 4, 2007, the small town of Greensburg, Kansas, was nearly destroyed by a 1.7 mile wide EF-5 tornado, with a maximum wind speed of 205mph. Damage surveys concluded that about 95% of the city was destroyed, with EF-5 damage observed through the heart of Greensburg. The tornado tracked for […]

Splitting and Merging Storms in North Texas on March 26th, 2017

On the evening of Sunday, March 26th, 2017, severe thunderstorms affected portions of southern Oklahoma and North Texas. These storms were scattered, as predicted in our forecasts leading up to the event, and many people received no rain.  We also expected that thunderstorms forming along the dry line would quickly develop updraft rotation (i.e., become […]

January 21-23rd Tornado Outbreak Second Largest on Record in Southeast U.S.

On January 21-23rd, 2017, a rare, multifaceted severe weather outbreak occurred across the Deep South and southeastern United States. 80 tornadoes occurred over the three day span of the outbreak, of which several were strong (EF-2 to EF-3 strength), long-track tornadoes. This tornado outbreak was the second largest outbreak on record in the southeastern United States. […]

First Images of Earth from GOES-16 Revealed

The GOES-16 (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on November 19th of last year. Originally, the name of the satellite was GOES-R as it is part of a multi-satellite series, as GOES-S, GOES-T, and GOES-U, are scheduled to be launched in 2018, 2019, and 2024, respectively.  GOES-16 underwent several technical calibrations after […]

U.S. Tornado Count in 2016 Slightly Below the Annual Average

The year of 2016, there were a total of 1,059 tornadoes across the U.S. (with the month of May, 2016 having some of the more photogenic tornadoes). How does this compare to other years? According to the 2005-2015 tornado climatology, there was an average of 1,402 tornadoes across the nation. Tornado activity for 2016 was below the 2005-2015 average.  Each […]

Dangerous Ice Storm Likely For Portions of the Plains and Midwest This Weekend

Update #4 [Sunday January 15 at 1 pm EST] – Tom Moore The multi-day ice storm continues in the nation’s heartland. So far, the greatest amount of ice, reported by the NWS from this storm (.50″-1.00″), has occurred from parts of northern Oklahoma to southern Kansas and into southwest Missouri. Dangerous conditions continue Sunday from much of […]

Christmas Day Squall Line and Rare Tornadoes in Kansas

This past Christmas Day resulted in interesting weather across the central Plains. From strong thunderstorms in Kansas to the blizzard conditions in the Dakotas, the stockings were full of interesting weather Christmas morning. Nearly the entire state of Kansas, excluding the extreme western parts of the state, were impacted by a low-end squall line. I spent the […]

GOES-R to launch Saturday, November 19th

A new member of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) family will launch from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday, November 19th, at approximately 5:42pm EST (2242 UTC; Universal Coordinated Time). GOES-R, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R series, will be the next generational advancement in meteorological forecasting and technology. It will […]

Rowlett to Collect Gifts for Tornado Affected Children

Last year on December 26th, the day after Christmas Day, an outbreak of tornadoes occurred near the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, metroplex. The area of Rowlett was hit the hardest by a violent EF-4 tornado. Many families lost everything as houses were completely destroyed, and donations for gifts and toys are being accepted for affected children. […]

November Supermoon Closest to Earth Since 1948

On November 14th, our closest celestial neighbor will reach its full phase as it orbits behind the Earth where the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned, respectively. As the lunar orbit reaches its closest approach to Earth, it is called a perigee. The moon’s orbit is elliptical around the Earth and as a result, the proximity of distance between […]

Television Meteorologists: A Look Behind the Scenes

This past summer of 2016, I took on a meteorology internship position at KWCH Eyewitness News, an affiliate of CBS, in Wichita, Kansas. Throughout my college education career at Penn State University, I have worked hard at rounding my experience throughout the weather enterprise in as many ways as possible. And, while my ultimate goal is […]

Tips for Hurricane Safety & Preparedness

We recently reviewed ways to receive hazardous weather alerts via NOAA Weather Radio and were reminded by recent catastrophic flooding in Louisiana that it does not take a named storm system to cause catastrophic destruction (life and property). Now, we want to help you review ways to help you prepare for the next tropical event, […]

A tropical disturbance doesn’t need a name to be catastrophic

A strong mid-latitude cyclone over the southern U.S. resulted in widespread flash flooding from August 10th-14th, where rainfall totals were in excess of 30.00″ (inches) in some areas. Catastrophic flooding occurred across the Deep South, where over 1,000 motorists were stranded on Interstate 12 in eastern Louisiana. Since the flooding, everyone stranded on the interstate […]

Best Weather Radios for Severe Storm Alerts

We simply can’t over stress the importance of disaster preparation. This includes having a stockpile of non-perishable foods, water, first aid supplies, backup battery power, and a reliable means of receiving accurate, critical information. A good way to start an emergency preparedness kit is to have a NOAA Weather Radio (NOAA; National Oceanic and Atmospheric […]

Visiting the Chapman, Kansas, EF-4 Tornado Damage

On May 25th, 2016, a large and violent, long-track tornado tore through the landscape across north-central Kansas causing extensive damage along Interstate 70 between Abilene and Chapman, Kansas. What was a marginal day for severe weather ended up producing one of the most violent tornadoes of the 2016 season. We visited Chapman on Saturday, July 23rd, […]

Full Moon on the Summer Solstice 2016

The summer solstice begins Monday, June 20th at 5:34pm CDT.  A full moon, also known as the June Strawberry Moon, will coincide with the 2016 summer solstice. A Strawberry Moon is a term given to any full moon in the month of June.  The term was used most by Algonquin tribes, who recognized it as […]

Storm chasing: A day in the life of a storm chaser

Storm chasing is an emotional roller coaster. From operational field missions, to university research, and to the hobbyist and/or nature explorer, storm chasing consists of several thousand miles of driving for sometimes only an hour of action. Each Spring, scientists, meteorologists, hobbyists, and explorers, venture out to the Great Plains to seek some of the atmosphere’s […]

May 24th, 2016, Western Kansas Tornado Outbreak

On Tuesday, May 24th, 2016, an outbreak of tornadoes occurred across western Kansas. There were 13 observed total tornadoes a cyclic supercell near Dodge City, Kansas including four sets of twin tornadoes, a set of triplets, and a large multi-vortex tornado and wedge tornado. So far, the National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kansas, surveyed 9 […]