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WFO Paducah Science Page


A loop of 50 dBZ core using GRANalyst Software which depicts a rear inflow jet descending through a storm.

                          A 3D view of the reflection of a rear inflow jet descending into a storm forcing it to bow out at the ground, using GRAnalyst Software, on March 8, 2009 in Southeast Missouri. This storm produced a tornado in that crossed from Bollinger into Cape Girardeau counties.

Part of what we do includes research of old cases to learn how to do better in the future. Our goal is to improve the knowledge and confidence of the forecasters to help them issue timely, accurate warnings.

 

Local Studies and Presentations  **If you want copies of these, please e-mail us**

 

  • A detailed meteorological overview of the May 17, 1999 derecho
  • A detailed meteorological overview of the May 5, 1996 derecho
  • The 4 May 2003 Tri-State Supercells
  • Observations of the 17 June 1997 Tornadoes
  • Observations of Flow Structure and Mesoscale Circulations Associated with the 5 May 1996 Asymmetric Derecho in the Lower Ohio Valley
  • Summaries from various research papers
  • The Evansville Area Tornado - Presented at the 10th Annunal Severe Storms Conference - Des Moines, IA (2006)
  • A Radar Perspective of the Early Morning 6 November 2005 Tornadoes: Challenges to Operational Procedures and Training - Presented at the AMS Severe Local Storms Conference - St. Louis, MO (2006)
  • The Evansville, IN Tornado: A look into the environment (Poster) - Presented at the NWA Conference (2006)
  • Analysis of the Tornado Damage Track from the 06 November Evansville, Indiana Tornado: Observations and Perspectives - Presented at the AMS Severe Local Storms Conference - St. Louis, MO (2006)
  • Case Study of the 12 September 2006 Evansville, Indiana Flash Flood Event - Presented at the NWA Conference (2006)
  • May 4th 2003 Tornado Environments in the Paducah CWA  - Local Training Presentation
  • Customer Service Workshops: Getting to Know Your Users - Presented at the NWA Conference - Louisville, KY (2008)
  • Weather Education: The Flood. Increasing Active Participation in the Classroom (Poster) (pptx format) - Presented at the NWA Conference - Louisville, KY (2008)
  • The 13 January 2005 Pulaski County Illinois Tornado (Poster) - Presented at the NWA Conference - Louisville, KY (2008)
  • Wind Damage in the Lower Ohio Valley from the Remnants of Hurricane Ike - Presented at the Inland Impacts of Tropical Cyclones Conference - Atlanta, GA (2009)
  • Are You Really Prepared:A Real Life Assessment of the Ohio Valley Ice Storm 2009 - Presented at the NWA Conference - Norfolk, VA (2009)
  • The Lower Ohio Valley Ice Storm of January 2009 (Poster) - Presented at the NWA Conference - Norfolk, VA (2009)
  • The Meteorology and Impact of the 11 February 2009 Wind Storm in the Lower Ohio Valley (Poster) - Presented at the NWA Conference - Norfolk, VA (2009)
  • Are You Really Prepared:A Real Life Assessment of the Ohio Valley Ice Storm:2009 - A Year Later - Presented at the National Severe Storms Workshop - Norman, OK (2010)
  • A Look at the Causes of Four Underforecast Heavy Snow Events in the Lower Ohio Valley in the Winter of 2010-11(Poster) - Presented at the NWA Conference - Birmingham, AL (2011)
  • The Record Flood of 2011 in the Lower Ohio Valley - Presented at the NWA Conference - Birmingham, AL (2011)
  • Operational Uses of Spectrum Width - Published in Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology (2012)
  • Observations of the Harrisburg, IL Tornado of 29 February 2012 - Poster at NWA Conference - Charleston, SC (2013)
  • A High-shear/Low CAPE QLCS Tornado Playbook: Addressing the Need to Improve Tornado Warnings - Poster at NWA Conference - Charleson, SC (2013)
  • An Examination of High-Shear/Low CAPE QLCS Events in the Lower Ohio Valley: Environments and Vr Shear Details Presentation at NWA Conference - Salt Lake City, UT (2014)


 

 Severe Weather Possible any Time of the Year

Note: The information in this section has not been peer reviewed

In this part of the country, the tornado season is not the typical April-June time frame. Tornadoes have been recorded in our area every month of the year. In general, severe weather is quite common. The following table gives some basic facts on severe weather in our area. The last line is the percentage chance of severe weather during that month somewhere in our forecast area based upon data from 2000 to present.

 

Severe Weather Timeline for WFO PAH 2000-Current
 
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
2000
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
None
2001
None
X

None

X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X(F)
2002
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
None
X
X(F)
2003
None
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X(F)
None
X(F)
None
2004
None
None
X
X
X
X
X
X
None
X
X
None
2005
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
2006
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
None
X
None
2007
X(F)
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X(F)
X
X
None
2008
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
None
None
X
2009
None
 X
 X
 X
X
 X
X
X
 X
 X
None
None
2010
None
None
 X
 X
 X
 X
X
X
 X
 X
None
 X
2011
None
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
None
 X
None
2012  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X None  X
2013 X None None X X X X X X X X X
2014 None X X X X X X X X X None None
2015 None None X X X X X X X None None X
2016 None None X X X X X          
% Chance  47 71 88 100 100 100 100 100 94 63 63 50
This table indicates the months when severe weather (TOR, SVR, FFW) occurred anywhere in the WFO PAH CWA from January 2000 to March 2015. An "X" indicates that severe weather was reported during that month.An X(F) indicates flash flooding only. Severe weather is defined as tornadoes, hail ¾ inch* or larger, thunderstorm winds 58 mph or greater.

*On April 1, 2009, this criteria was changed to 1 inch hail

 

Longest streak with severe weather       =18 months (Jan 2005 – Oct 2006)
Longest streak without severe weather  = 4 months (Nov 2009 – Feb 2010) - El Nino Winter
                                                                   4 months (Nov 2014 - Feb 2015) current Streak
 

Source: Storm Data

For those who have lived in this area for a while, this is nothing new. However, if you are new to the area it may come as a surprise that severe weather is so common. It is not unusual to have severe weather at any time of the year. Below are graphics that depicts when tornadoes have occurred in our county warning area by year and by month.

 

Tornadoes broken down by time of day

Tornadoes broken down by year

Chart of tornadoes by month

 


Local and regional studies are on-going concerning the severe weather in the southeast U.S. At the forecast office in Paducah, we have been studying cool season tornadoes for several years. We consider the cool season to be during the months of November, December, January & February.

For the general public we suggest that keeping an eye on the weather can give you hints as to when tornadoes are possible. If is it warm and humid outside and it is unusual for that time of year...be aware that severe weather may be possible in the next day or two.

To back this statement up, we have been looking at dew point temperatures in Paducah and comparing that with severe weather within our county warning area. The dew point is a measure of the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. During the winter, it may "feel humid" when the dew point temperature reaches 60 degrees. During the summer, we commonly experience dew points in the 70s, but during the winter, when it is generally cool, the days with 60 degree dew points tend to stand out. Our studies suggest that the chances of severe weather increase dramatically when the dew point temperature is in the 58 - 64 degree range in the cool months.

graphic of the Paducah weather office county warning area

This is our county warning area