• Buresh Blog: Heat wave & tornado outbreak

    By: Michael Buresh

    Updated:

    May 30, 2019 - The hurricane season begins June 1st.  Daily updates on the tropics can be found at "Talking the Tropics With Mike".

    May has suddenly turned stormy across the Lower 48 of the U.S.  The stormy part is not unusual - it's the peak of the tornado season for tornado alley.  But the incessant & violent nature of the storms has been something to behold.  One of the primary factors has been a stout & stubborn upper level (at about 30,000 feet) ridge centered over or near Jacksonville.  The jet stream dives southward over the western U.S. creating the perfect combination for severe weather from Texas to the Midwest, Ohio Valley & Northeast.  The Western U.S. has been unseasonably cold & some Sierra ski resorts in Nevada & California are expected to remain open into August!..... & at least into June in Colorado.

    The result for Jacksonville has been an early season heat wave.  Memorial Day weekend was the hottest of at least the last 15 years & the 100 degree high on Memorial Day tied the record for the hottest May temp. going back to 1871.  We've "officially" hit 100 in Jacksonville 95 times since 1871.  Very little local rainfall has been another byproduct of the pattern, so our "wet season" looks to be delayed unfortunately.

    Back to the severe weather..... 2019 has been the most active year - so far - for tornadoes since 2011 & 2008 respectively.

    Tornado warnings issued by individual N.W.S. offices during just one week period from May 23 - 29 - 400+!:

    N.W.S. tornado warnings issued office by office since Jan. 1 through May 29th - #1: Tulsa, Ok.!

    Caution note: while this year's late spring has been violent, there's virtually no trend indicating more EF-3/4/5 tornadoes than in the past.  Better observational & reporting methods, amended post storm surveys, (too) many storm chasers & smart devices that can be used to quickly snap pictures or take video all add up to more tornado reports.

    As of May 27th, there had been more than 500 tornado reports in just 30 days.  That's only happened four other times: 2003, 2004, 2008 & 2011.

    Texas tornado:

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    Iowa tornado:

    Photos below are from a friend of a local (John Peters) viewer who took photos from his ultralight showing the scoured ground from an EF-3 tornado north of Dayton, Oh.:

    Storm surveys will be ongoing for a long time but a few prelimanry NWS offices that have started the process:

    * Kansas City, Mo. - including massive EF-4

    * Wilmington, Oh. - large EF-3 tornadoes at night

    * Quad Cities, Iowa

    * Lincoln, Illinois

    * St. Louis, Mo. - including overnight Jefferson City EF-3

    * Springfield, Mo.

    * Northern Indiana

    * Indianapolis

    The dip in the jet stream has allowed cold air to dominate the Rockies & Western U.S. Arapahoe Basin in Colorado is still going strong & will ski into June - 6 out of 9 lifts are operating with nearly 900 acres of skiable terrain :). And snow skiing is still going strong on Mammoth Mountain, California!

    And so we move the calendars forward to June.  Averages at JIA:

    Low / High - 1st: 67 / 88 degrees.... 30th: 72 / 91 degrees

    Rainfall: 6.45"

    Sunrise / Sunset - 1st - 6:25am / 8:24pm..... 30th: 6:28am / 8:33pm - +6 min. of daylight

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