Storms leave long list of reports
Here is a link to a list of Saturday night's severe weather reports. This is a preliminary list. The National Weather Service will be surveying the damage to determine which areas experienced a tornado and how strong it was.
TORNADO WATCH continues for Weakley, Henry, Gibson & Stewart counties in NW TN until noon. Although we're starting off our day with only a few heavy rain producers, more storms and heavy rain will be possible. We do have a slight risk for severe weather across the SE 1/3 of the viewing area. More storms are already getting an early start in Arkansas. They are moving in our direction and could bring very heavy rain and a few strong storms to the area.
TORNADO WATCH is now in effect until 6 AM this morning for west KY, southern IL and much of SEMO. A new Tornado Watch has been issued for much of NW TN until noon Sunday. A cold front stretches through Poplar Bluff to St. Louis. Until this system pushes through (to central sections of the viewing area around noon and eastern sections by early evening), we still have the potential to see a few strong to severe storms develop. A slight risk for severe weather continues on Sunday along and east of the Mississippi River. Flash flooding is a major concern overnight and into Sunday. Water rescues and road closures are happening in several locations across the area. Remember to never drive through flooded roadways.
A TORNADO WATCH is in effect for the entire Local 6 area including Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, NW Tennessee, and Southeast Missouri until 5AM Sunday morning. Severe thunderstorms are rapidly developing across Southeast Missouri and Arkansas and will move into the rest of the area during the overnight hours. Please be aware of quickly changing weather conditions and be sure to have your weather alert radio on. In addition to severe storms, flash flooding will be likely as several inches of rain has already fallen across much of the area.
A Tornado Watch has been issued for the Bootheel of MO & all of northwest TN until 4AM Sunday. This is a "PDS", or Particularly Dangerous Situation watch, in which destructive tornadoes, large hail up to 2.5" in diameter, thunderstorm wind gusts up to 70 mph, and dangerous lightning are possible. Dynamics are coming together quickly with this system, with a large number of supercells exploding to our SW over central Arkansas. The area of low pressure that is triggering these storms will be lifting into southeast MO tonight, bringing the severe threat with it.
We want to stress that severe thunderstorms may develop anywhere tonight, not just within the watch area, and any storms that form will likely rotate, with the potential to form tornadoes.
SPC is likely about to issue a Tornado Watch for a large portion of Arkansas....and possibly parts of west TN and/or southeast MO. We'll let you know just as soon as we receive that information. I am concerned about some clearing going on west of the Mississippi River.....just a little sunshine could go a long way in boosting instability levels, which would greatly increase the chances for severe weather. The new SPC outlook brings the High Risk category farther north in southeast MO....roughly to near Cape Girardeau.
Onto the flooding threat....rainfall totals have already reached at least 2-3" across parts of western KY & northwest TN, and rain is continuing to move across the same locations. Rain continues to pile up along and SE of a line from Madisonville down through Dyersburg, and it looks like western KY & northwest TN will continue to be the bullseye for heavy rainfall and a significant flood threat, where an additional 2-4" of rain is possible through tomorrow.....leading to storm total rainfall of 4-7", with higher localized amounts possible. For southern IL & southeast MO, there is talk of the Flash Flood Watch being dropped, with lighter rainfall totals betweeen 0.5"-2" expected.
A little bit of good news.....SPC has decided to squeeze the High Risk area back a little bit....in our area it now only includes the MO Bootheel and extreme west TN. The rest of the Local 6 area continues in a Moderate Risk.....still indicating an elevated potential for severe weather later. The National Weather Service in Paducah will be hosting a conference call at 1:30 PM with local emergency managers, media, and law enforcement to further discuss the severe storm & flood risk tonight. I'll have an update to follow that call.
9:30AM Saturday Update
As of the 8AM update from the Storm Prediction Center, parts of the area have once again been included in a rare HIGH RISK area for severe thunderstorms, including an enhanced risk for strong tornadoes. This includes areas of western KY, roughly south of a line from Bardwell to Hopkinsville.....areas in southeast MO south of a line from East Prairie to Qulin.....and all of northwest TN. A MODERATE RISK continues for the rest of the area. As of this update, heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms continue southeast of a line from Madisonville to Union City, with stronger thunderstorms to our south along and south of I-40 in Arkansas & Tennessee.
As the current batch of rain continues to push east, we will see even more moist & unstable air surge north, and a few breaks in the clouds will be possible, adding instability to the atmosphere. A strong disturbance in the jet stream and an area of surface low pressure will rip northeastward from Texas, providing the dynamics for storm development. The timeframe for this additional storm development will begin this afternoon, and likely increase tonight, possibly continuing into the overnight hours.
A high risk does not guarantee that any one area will experience a tornado, or that a large tornado outbreak is certain. It does mean that conditions are very favorable for tornadic storms to develop, and that forecasters are quite confident that a tornado will form somewhere within that risk area. By definition, areas within the high risk have a 30% probability of experiencing a tornado within 25 miles of any location, with a 10% chance of those being rated as an EF2-EF5 tornado. Areas within the moderate risk have a 15% chance of a tornado within 25 miles of any location.
As we saw last weekend, even within a high risk area, most locations will not directly experience a tornado...however, it only takes one storm to cause substantial loss of life and/or property. The purpose of the strong wording is to create awareness that conditions are favorable for significant severe weather. The most important thing is to remain aware of changing weather conditions, and be prepared to seek shelter should your community be impacted by severe weather. As always, we'll be here around the clock to provide you with the latest updates.
7AM Saturday Update
Showers & thunderstorms that rolled through last night brought between just under one inch to over 2.5" of rain and a few reports of storm damage across the area. A decrease in coverage and intensity of rain is expected through the morning and early afternoon hours for most of the area, however moderate to occasionally heavy rain may continue along and east of the Lakes Region.
Okay, so we've mentioned heavy rain about 10 times now...how much are we talking about??? The potential is there for several areas to experience flooding issues, especially where it typically doesn't take much rain. Including the rain that has already fallen overnight, storm totals include 2-3" for areas north and west of the Ohio River, with localized 3-4" totals near heavier thunderstorms. Along and southeast of the Ohio River, including the southern tip of IL, all of western KY, and all of northwest TN, totals may reach 3-5", with areas experiencing locally heavier thunderstorms possibly picking up over 5". Keep in mind, if the front sets up a little more to our south, totals would be lower. The National Weather Service has already issued a Flash Flood Watch for the entire Local 6 area through Sunday evening.
We'll be keeping tabs on the system, so be sure to check back with The Weather Authority for updates.