A fairly spring-like and potentially damaging weather event seems to be coming together for tomorrow. A really potent disturbance is making its way through the South, firing off some severe weather including tornadoes. We’ll be seeing that tomorrow — yes, with a threat of tornadoes — as well as a chance for some extremely high winds (some reaching up to 45 to 50 MPH 35 to 40 MPH at times even outside of thunderstorms, mostly in coastal areas). We’ve currently got a High Wind Watch for areas along the coast, and that could be bumped to a warning if the pressure gradient does indeed tighten the way forecasters expect it to. As expected, the Storm Prediction Center has us in a “slight” risk of severe weather tomorrow, so definitely keep an eye out to the skies and be ready for the unexpected. With the risk of high winds tomorrow, it may not be a bad idea to pull some loose stuff in tonight.
My day job has me sequestered in training for most of the day, but I’ll pop in during breaks in case something occurs.
UPDATE: The High Wind Watch was downgraded to a Wind Advisory, which takes effect at 1 PM. NWS now believes that the low, while still quite potent, won’t kick up the higher 45-50 MPH winds as first thought.
Charleston’s got another scorcher in store for today, with a heat advisory in effect once again from noon until 9 PM for heat indices over 105 degrees. With such heat and humidity, thunderstorms are a distinct possibility, much in the way they fired up over Charleston yesterday. Keep an eye to the skies — preferably from indoors or in the shade with lemonade if you must be outside — it’s going to be a typical July day in Charleston.
I’ve gotta say, those storms that rolled through at about 6:30 yesterday were pretty intense. You don’t see tornado warnings around here every day, and sure enough, we had two. The first warning was issued for Berkeley and Charleston counties which apparently stemmed from a sighting of a funnel cloud. The next warning was triggered by a Doppler-indicated rotation (though it’s worth noting NEXRAD didn’t specifically point out a TVS with this storm, it did see rotation briefly. Typically in situations in which there is a high risk of tornadoes, NWS engineers will reconfigure the affected areas’ radars for more sensitive tornado detection.
Here’s where I’m going to SCREAM about something, though — namely, Comcast’s slow as hell method of breaking in to EVERY CHANNEL on cable to let people know of a tornado warning ten minutes after it was issued. I was being texted as soon as the warnings were issued, and I timed the response between the text message (which was in conjunction with the e-mail I also get) and the display on Comcast. (The Weather Channel is dead-on accurate, as usual.) The fact that they broke in five to ten minutes later than the issue time is very likely five to ten minutes too late. If they’re going to interrupt my housemate and I watching “How It’s Made” (a GREAT show on Discovery), then they need to make sure they’re doing it ASAP.
That aside, the mini wall cloud that approached with the storm was amazing. I got a picture of it — I’ll upload it tomorrow. It was pretty amazing seeing the sky go from light, to dark in the west, to completely dark within the course of 10 minutes. I used to see this all the time when I lived further inland in Goose Creek, but living downtown has been a different story; often times, the storms don’t hold it together by the time they make it here. We got a little under a half inch of rain in the course of an hour, just enough to connect the puddles on Ashley to make things tricky. It also helped to drop the temperature about 15 degrees. If it weren’t for the storm, I’m sure the lows would not have gotten out of the 80s again. It looks like it’s going to hold steady at 75 throughout the night, and then back for more heating tomorrow. It looks like they hold a chance of storms every day for the rest of the week — a good thing, because we need the rain, but not good for the baseball fans out there. Such is a summer in Charleston, though.
At around noon a nasty cluster of thunderstorms made landfall right on Downtown and started dropping some extremely torrential rain and even some nickel to quarter size hail, according to various storm reports. Needless to say, Downtown went right underwater. My street — what I saw of it, anyway — is flooded (and currently without power, hence why there is no weather reporting). At the corner of Coming and Morris, a manhole cover blew open as the drain failed, and an unfortunate driver got the back left wheel of his truck stuck in the hole. The water was pretty deep at that corner, as it usually is during a rain event like this.
The second round was even crazier, with reports of a waterspout between Folly and Kiawah prompting a tornado warning which was canceled a short time ago. Nuts. The second round did move through faster, though, so the amount of rain that fell was less. There have still been power interruptions, though.
It always seems that this happens when the astronomical tides are abnormally high, doesn’t it? Ugh. Here’s hoping I don’t have to do too much swimming on my way home from work.
It’s one heck of a busy night/morning for the National Weather Service. Lots of warnings going up everywhere. These storms just love to rotate…we have a tornado watch for a few more hours. I’ve been taking some screenshots of GRLevel3 tonight and sharing them on a Facebook album called Tornado Vortex Signatures (And Other NEXRAD Phenomena). It’s open to the public, so please, feel free to peek. :)
I would have blogged during the day, but the Internet connection at the College was out all day. A vital piece of hardware at the College’s ISP failed and they had to ship down a new part. In other words, they were carrying replacement tubes for the Internet(s) inside a big truck. Haha.
See you all tomorrow. Be careful driving over the bridge(s) — it’s going to be pretty windy for the next few hours…
So it’s my late night in the office tonight, as is customary for Tuesdays. The pressure has been in total freefall all day, and my sinuses are feelin’ it. Yes, I have a graph for you — courtesy of Weather Underground.
I was born with my dad’s sinuses, which are to say that they’re not that great, and are pretty sensitive when stuff like this hits. I woke up feeling lousy, almost choked in my mass media class…and yeah. Pretty low value, if you ask me.
These storms, though, are fairly intense. Charleston got a tornado watch at about 4 today, so these could be quite a doozy. In fact, take a look at this cell I just snagged a shot of. Note the little dimple and the hooking…seems like a bit of rotation going on in this storm. (In fact, there’s a tornado warning out for Bamberg County. I’m getting good at reading this radar stuff.)
It’s going to be an interesting few hours, for sure. I’ll be up here in the safety of the concrete-reinforced building, hoping that the rain stops by the time I’m ready to run to my car to head home. On a related note, these storms drop a lot of rain, so flooding may be a concern, too. I should check the tides…
If you’ve stepped outside this morning (in Charleston, anyway ;)), you will definitely notice that the cold front has yet to come through. Those storms were pretty intense last night, causing some damage in Summerville according to the local news outlets. In my little nook of downtown, there wasn’t so much thunder and lightning activity as there was a great deal of heavy, wind-blown rain. It was pretty intense, and in the short time the storm was around, it dumped a bit over a half an inch of rain. Ponding? You betcha.
But, as the title indicates, it’s not over yet. The Storm Prediction Center issued a new tornado watch this morning. Here’s why, in meteorologist-speak:
Discussion… potential will continue for development of a few
supercells in strongly sheared Low-Cape environment ahead of
segmented cold front
now crossing Piedmont NC/SC.
In layman speak, this means there is still a chance for thunderstorms that have that rotation necessary for tornado development. With the sun peeking out between the clouds, that could further excite the atmosphere and thus ramp up thunderstorm formation. Looking at the radar this morning, there are still some showers out there but as the daylight heating hits, one never knows what could happen. Keep a headsup until about 3 or so, when the watch expires…
Keep an eye to the sky as the day progresses into tonight; we’ve got one heck of a cold front headed in with strong winds associated with it (35-40 mph winds are expected) along with some severe thunderstorms. The main threat with the severe thunderstorms is damaging winds. Check out the wind advisory and the Special Weather Statement about the impending excitement tonight…
UPDATE: Seems the NWS is using unusually strong language, categorizing this as a “significant severe weather event” and stating it is a “potentially dangerous situation.” Here’s the latest statement:
1143 am EST Wed Nov 15 2006
…Significant severe weather event possible tonight…
A strong storm system will move from the Tennessee Valley to the
eastern Great Lakes region tonight through Thursday. This will
allow a strong cold front to push through southern South Carolina
and southeast Georgia late tonight or early Thursday morning.
Very strong winds just above the surface will develop in advance
of the cold front this evening and will continue overnight. As the
system approaches the area…widespread showers and thunderstorms
are expected to develop…mainly after midnight. Although the
amount of instability remains in question…wind fields are quite
supportive of severe weather…and the stronger cells that develop
will allow the stronger winds aloft to mix down to the surface.
Aside from the damaging wind hazard…strong low level wind shear
will also result in a chance for isolated tornadoes across the
At this time…it appears the best chance for severe weather will
be from midnight through mid-morning Thursday. Because winds will
be so strong just above the surface…intense rain showers
producing absolutely no lightning will be capable of producing
damaging winds at the surface as well. Therefore…wind gusts
greater than 58 mph will be possible with little or no warning.
This is a potentially dangerous situation. Stay tuned to NOAA
Weather Radio all hazards…TV or your local news source for the
latest statements from the National Weather Service. Be sure to
keep your NOAA Weather Radio in alert Mode at all times.
Very, very interesting…apparently NWS Charleston is even conducting a briefing for broadcast meteorologists in Charleston and Savannah at 4 today. Might be a good idea to keep an eye on Brian Goode’s blog today, as things could get quite nasty tonight.