Monday, March 21, 2016

Severe Weather Strikes Central Illinois Tuesday

Last Tuesday (March 15), severe storms rapidly developed across northeastern Missouri and tracked into western Illinois prompting Tornado Watches and Warnings as well as Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings. Crossing the Mississippi River near Keokuk, Iowa, Tornado Warnings were issued as reports of ping pong ball sized hail started to come in. Tornadoes would eventually be confirmed just to the north and northeast of Macomb, Illinois, the home of Western Illinois University. Other cell developed around 6:30 p.m., north of St. Louis and began tracking straight toward Illinois' capital: Springfield. Numerous local and national reporters were there as election results were starting to stream in; however, just before 7:45, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for northern Sangamon County that included Springfield. Sirens wailed as reporters scrambled for cover. A funnel cloud was reported over downtown Springfield as lightning illuminated the sky. A tornado was confirmed Wednesday on the western edge of the city. Another tornado was confirmed within the city limits of Peoria, Illinois. A Weather Channel meteorologist was live along the river as sirens sounded across the area. These supercell thunderstorms continued to race northeast toward Chicago and joined together producing damaging winds and large hail. Locally, large hail fell in northern Clark and southern Edgar counties Tuesday night, prompting a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. TV station employees across Central Illinois had a busy night as storm warnings and election results battled for the bottom of the screens.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spring Storms Make an Appearance

An Enhanced Risk for severe weather was outlined by the Storm Prediction Center Sunday, March 13, 2016. All types of severe weather would possible across Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, western Tennessee, and northern parts of Louisiana and Mississippi including damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes. Three Tornado Watches were issued through out the day stretching from eastern Oklahoma to points to the east of Memphis, Tennessee. Confirmed tornadoes and radar-indicated rotation prompted Tornado Warnings across a large part of Arkansas and even one for downtown Memphis! Ping Pong ball size hail was also falling from the skies at one point. There were confirmed tornadoes and the National Weather Service will conduct surveys today to determine ratings. Tuesday, the day voters in Illinois will be headed for the poles, the Storm Prediction Center has placed roughly the northern 2/3 of the state under a Slight Risk for severe weather. Damaging winds look to be the primary threat, but large hail and tornadoes will also be possible. Newsrooms will be busy enough with election results, but add in a couple of severe storms and all of the local television stations in Illinois will be scrambling to keep viewers updated with the latest information. Will Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's election results dominate the bottom of the screen or will radars and crawls, warning of severe weather, hit the air waves? Now that March is almost halfway through, it looks like Mother Nature is starting to through tornadoes and severe weather into the picture across the country.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Spring Arrives with Warm Temperatures and Rain

Now that spring has arrived, meteorological spring, anyway, temperatures seem to be warming up. Yesterday (Monday), temperatures climbed into the 60s across the area and near 70 today. Temperatures are expected to remain in the 60s for the remainder of the week and they might climb into the lower 70s next week. NOAA released a report today that showed every state besides two (Nevada and Utah), saw above average temperatures during winter. Meteorological winter is December 1 to March 1. However, all of these warm temperatures are being accompanied by rain. The next 6 have at least a 30% chance of rain. Over 2 inches of rain is expected the next 3 days with higher totals in areas where thunderstorms develop. Another system will develop this weekend, bringing the potential for another 1 to 2 inches of rain with it. Flooding will be possible (and likely if multiple storms occur over one area) across central Illinois as the ground is already saturated and there is not as much vegetation now as in the summer to absorb the moisture. Maybe it will be March showers bring April flowers this year.