Friday, May 30, 2008

Tornadoes Continue

It was another busy afternoon and evening Thursday over portions of northern Kansas with more tornadoes reported in Sheridan, Rooks, Osborne, Mitchell, Jewell and Republic counties. KWCH Storm Chasers Brandon Ivey, Mikey Gribble and Tony Laubach were all up there following severe weather. Great job to our chasers not only for yesterday's work but their hard work this entire spring!

I know it becomes tiring and yes concerning when we have consecutive days of severe weather but they are not unprecedented. Thanks to a quick search on the web this morning, I found several instances of multi-day events in the records and nearly all of them I found were in the month of May:

May 25-June 1, 1917
May 1-9, 1930
May 15-22, 1949
May 5-9, 1993
May 3-11, 2003
May 3-6, 2007
May 22-26, 2008

[Partial Credit: "Tornado Outbreak Day Sequences: Historic Events and Climatology (1875-2003)"; Schneider, Brooks & Schaefer (2004).]

I'm sure there are a few that I missed, perhaps some that were not during May but you get my point. Yes, we usually get a day or two break but consecutive-day events can happen.

The item that is most concerning to me is the number of deaths in the U.S. this year so far: 110!
Last year, the country had 81 deaths, with 2006 and 2005 having 67 and 38 deaths respectively.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Guess what?


Scott Roberts and Brandon Ivey have both seen wall clouds with impressive storms in central Kansas this afternoon.

The coordinator is heading home early. I have Mark's early morning show tomorrow because of the holiday and then the afternoon looks even busier than today! Stay tuned.

Good night now!


Yeah, more storms. Does that surprise you?

KWCH Storm Chasers are out...more later

Friday, May 23, 2008

Round Two

2:27am UPDATE

Getting ready to call it a day, er night. You know it's been a rough day when all of our storm chasers saw tornadoes. Tony Laubach caught one of the large ones near Quinter.

Good night.

10:33pm UPDATE

Tornadic storms continue to move toward Ellinwood. Protection has taken a hit earlier with a new storm approaching them. Greensburg has another storm that's fortunately passing east of them right now.

The storm that has my eye right now is in southeast Pratt County.

8:33pm UPDATE


8:21pm UPDATE

Greensburg...HEADS UP! This can't be happening. Another large, damaging tornado southwest of Greensburg.

7:56pm UPDATE

Greensburg...HEADS UP! Tornado 11 miles south of Mullinville, moving northeast. At it's current rate, it will be close to Greensburg at 8:30pm. Given the sensitive nature here, I'm not predicting another strike on Greensburg..but it's going close. Dang it dang it dang it...

7:27pm UPDATE

Ugh. Storms left...storms right. Another long afternoon and now evening. Mikey continues to watch tornado warned storm in Ness County. It has recently produced a tornado.

Meanwhile Scott, Brandon and Mike Umscheid (the Dodge City NWS forecaster responsible for the very timely tornado warnings for Greensburg last year) are all hauling it through Jetmore right now, in attempt to get on the supercell storm over Clark, Commanche and (yes) Kiowa county. The storm is merging with another cell that moved out of southern Clark county. The result? I'm not sure at this point...but the storm has produced a funnel recently. I'm alarmed by what I'm seeing and so is the NWS.

5:36pm UPDATE

Brief tornado touchdown southeast of Ingalls. New warning issued for that storm. Mikey Gribble is in Jetmore, heading toward it.

5:10pm UPDATE

Brandon Ivey just reported golf-ball size hail near Dighton with rapid rotation.

Scott Roberts continues to stream footage of the same storm.

Growing worried about the storm in Gray County, south of Ingalls. Large hook and strong rotation.

4:08pm UPDATE

Forgot to mention the tornado watch is another PDS yesterday. (Particularly dangerous situation).

3:45pm UPDATE

Well, the first tornado WARNING of the day hit a little after 3pm. I was a little off.

4 of our chasers are out on the tornado-warned storm in Gove County. I'll be watching that one with interest over the next 30 minutes as it will be moving into a more favorable environment to produce tornadoes.


Same storms...different day.

More severe weather pretty much in the same areas of western and northwestern Kansas later this afternoon. Tornadoes, some possibly significant, very large hail and strong winds.

Anyone want to guess when the first tornado watch for Kansas will be issued? My first guess is 3:30pm.

More later...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Severe weather May 22nd

11:09pm update:

High winds are developing across southcentral Kansas (not in association with a particular storm). Mid-Continent Airport just had a gust to 60 mph! Video has been fed to the station, chasers are heading home...thinking I may do the same thing here before long. Tornado watch continues but it seems the threat for tornadic storms close to Wichita may be decreasing with the loss of heating.

9:25pm update:

Wow...that storm completely fell apart and fizzled out as it got into Pratt County. I wonder if the on-going storms in Oklahoma choked them off? Just random thoughts at this point.

Chasers continue to be out watching the storms...Tornado Watch until 5am.

8:15pm update:

We're getting our video in right now from our various chasers in order to have stuff for you at 9 and 10pm.

Storms in northwest Kansas still causing all kinds of problems...but storm northeast of Coldwater is picking up steam. Pratt....keep an eye out for this!!

7:15pm update:

It's been rather crazy the last couple of hours. Mikey, Ross and Scott have all seen tornadoes (with Scott IN one...more later).

I'm not trying to alarm anyone here...but am growing increasingly worried about a storm that is developing along the KS/OK border about 20 miles southwest of Coldwater.

5:15pm update:

Chasers are keeping busy in western Kansas. Scott Roberts continues to stream live video to us and has seen a few brief funnels but no tornado. He and Mikey Gribble are watching those storms near I-70 while Lance Ferguson heads toward Minneola and Brandon Ivey heads that way too. If you'd like to armchair chase from home, here's the web page for his camera.

4:15pm update:

We've had a couple of tornado reports with the storm in Gove County...moving north. Scott Roberts has his streaming feed up that we're watching here at the station (and just used on the air) but can't see anything at this point. He thought earlier that he might have seen a funnel but it was hard to tell.

3:33pm update:

SPC now has a High risk of severe weather out for parts of central and western Kansas now through the evening. This high risk extends from (hate to say this) Greensburg and Pratt north and northwest toward Russell, Hays and Hill City. SPC says:
Most of our chasers are out and either in position or heading to their target area.


I'm growing increasingly concerned about strong tornadoes in western Kansas now through this evening. A bunch of the severe weather parameters we look at are really growing stronger along I-70, from Hays to WaKeeney and Colby. A "particularly dangerous situation" tornado watch is out. The Storm Prediction Center reserves these kind of watches for the "big" events. (i.e. Andover tornado of 1991 was a PDS tornado watch). Ironically, the tornado watch that covered Greensburg last year wasn't.

For a "day off", I've been pretty busy this morning. I've been to the office already and dropped off one StormHawk for one of our chasers and got another fixed too!

We'll need those StormHawks this afternoon and evening. A very busy weather day is shaping up across Kansas. Tornadoes, some strong and perhaps long-lived, very large hail and damaging winds are expected. If you live in Hays, Hill City, Dodge City, Great Bend or Pratt (just to name a few of the towns), please be alert to rapidly changing weather conditions in the late afternoon! Expect tornado watches and likely some tornado warnings later today into this evening. I'll post more later.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What a Weekend!

I hope you enjoyed the great weather this past weekend. I enjoyed my time outdoors yesterday afternoon and evening. What made it so nice was the comfortable warmth, no humidity and little wind. No mosquitoes either! (Well, my wife got bit once but not me.)

Increasing wind and humidity will be a part of the forecast from Wednesday and beyond. As a big area of low pressure develops over the western U.S., south to southeast winds will increase and pump more moisture into the state. Thunderstorm chances won't be too far behind but I think the greatest chance of rain will be in the western 1/3 of Kansas, where they really need it. One of our guidance products depicts a large area of 2"+ rain there from Thursday through Saturday morning, with a bullseye of nearly 4" somewhere near the Colby and Oakley areas. Of course the exact details of this forecast will likely undergo some slight changes between now and then. If you plan to spend your Memorial Day weekend at the lake, don't cancel those plans now! Check back in with us frequently this week as we'll get a better handle on this system as the weekend draws nearer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Quiet weather for a while

I managed a little outdoor work the last couple of days, sandwiched in between the light rain Wednesday night. Boy, does the lower back feel that pain this morning. Ouch... Our forecast looks picture perfect over the next several days as highs in the 80s and 90s will be felt across Kansas. I forecast some more yard work, if the back holds up! Speaking of the heat, I haven't had to fire up the AC yet...hopefully we'll manage to keep that string going!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thanks and More severe weather

Last night, I gave a weather talk to the Schweiter East Neighborhood Association here in Wichita. The talk centered on how things went at the storm coordinator's desk on the night of the Greensburg tornado. As always, there was some time for some weather questions and I had a great time. Thanks to them for the invitation!

Speaking of severe weather, we're on alert for more activity this afternoon to the southeast of the Kansas Turnpike. The KWCH Storm Chasers are out and we'll see what materializes. I just talked to Lance Ferguson who is in Caney, KS. More later.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A busy week in the Storm Center

My voice returned on Sunday and after that...I could focus on severe weather. Storms rumbled across Kansas Monday morning and afternoon, Tuesday afternoon and evening into Wednesday morning and of course yesterday too. The photo above, sent to us via StormShots, was sent to us from Michelle in Great Bend. She took this picture Tuesday night a little after 7pm as this shelf cloud swallowed Great Bend. It was a very impressive looking storm, visually and on radar, producing hail and high winds.

While we have had numerous reports of high wind, large hail and heavy rain, the tornado reports have been few and far between. There were just 4 weak, "landspout" tornadoes reported yesterday afternoon in far western Kansas and that's been it this week (not that we're complaining mind you!) The photo below was sent to us from Anne, outside of Tribune yesterday afternoon.

A few days of dry weather on my backyard sure would be nice. My rain gauge at home has measured over 4" of rain since the 1st of May and that doesn't include last night's rainfall!! More rain is in our forecast tomorrow and next week.

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Peter Brady has nothing on me

It started out with some morning congestion earlier this week, then yesterday morning it had crept to the voice box. "Nice voice" remarked Michele our News Director yesterday. Unfortunately, it has gotten a little worse today. As long as I keep a monotone Ben Stein type of voice, I can get through it. If I get a little brave, it's hello Peter Brady.

To all of our loyal Saturday morning viewers, thank you for hanging in there with me this morning. Chris from Hutchinson left a very sympathetic voice message, saying she too had dealt with this in the last couple of weeks.

Darn Spring cold anyway! I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't gone through it last year too! (I lost my voice on April 30th.)

Voice aside, I hope you enjoy the warming weekend forecast. Stay safe and stay healthy!