3D view of a severe thunderstorm over Beaufort, SC on March 27, 2011. Image generated by GR2Analyst.
The first severe weather event of the spring is in the books for the Lowcountry. Hail was the primary factor, with numerous reports of large hail, with a report of baseball-size hail near Rincon, GA and tennis ball-size hail in Port Royal, SC (just south of Beaufort; check out TheDigitel Beaufort for pictures). There were a few isolated wind damage reports, but hail was definitely the story. One tool I like to use to examine the aftermath of a storm event is the IEM Cow, an unofficial tool developed by the Iowa Environmental Mesonet that groups issued warnings with storm reports (if there were any for that particular warning). Here’s what the Cow says about today’s event.
The hail core that dropped the baseball-size hail continued out of Rincon and basically followed U.S. 278 for a time, dropping golf ball-size hail on Hardeeville and Bluffton before weakening as it traversed the north end of Hilton Head and went offshore. Fortunately for our cars, the core of the storm stayed to our north (I live mid-island); we got a brief dose of heavy rain and a very chilly downdraft but not terribly much more than that.
Severe weather season roars back to Charleston today. I’m in “hunker down” mode here, monitoring all sorts of varying weather information. Here’s how to keep up:
- On Twitter, I’ll live-tweet the storm event at @chswx. If you just want warnings and forecasts, I recommend @CharlestonWX. Also see @weatherwatches for advance notice of potential watches. Don’t forget local media, as well, including Rob Fowler, Josh Marthers, Joey Sovine, and the Live 5 Weather Team.
- I’m uploading radar images periodically to radar.charlestonwx.com. There’s an animation script which gives you 10 frames and many Level III products to play with.
- If time permits, I’ll do some writing with more detailed analysis at my new weather blog. Given the fast pace of these storms, blogging may be somewhat prohibitive. (It’s much easier to blog a hurricane than it is a springtime weather event.)
Despite all this technology we now have, your best defense is to have a NOAA Weather Radio and make sure to heed all warnings that come down from the National Weather Service or other emergency management officials. Remember, the Internet is a great tool, but is not intended for life-or-death decisions. Stay safe out there!