Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tornadoes So Far and What's Down The Road

Preliminary number so far
It's important to know this number is very, very preliminary.  It's difficult finding all the data for several reasons.  First, Arkansas has 5 National Weather Service offices that control the state.  Second, the web sites are not uniform so hunting around for the information is different for each office.  Third, there are ongoing tornado track surveys yet to be counted.  I am very confident that the 43 I have come up with is a minimum number.  There are likely more that will be documented.  Meteorologist John Robinson at the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock does a great job documenting all the tornadoes from each corner of the state, but he's been very busy conducting surveys lately.  I'm sure we'll have a better idea in a few weeks as spring settles down.

As we thought last week, flooding would become a major, major concern.  As of Tuesday evening, the White River at Des Arc and Georgetown are forecast to crest above record stage.  At Des Arc, the record is 37.35 feet on Feb 2nd 1949.  The forecast is 37.5 feet.  At Georgetown the record is 32.8 feet on Feb. 1st, 1949.  The forecast is 34.5 feet.  There may also be records challenged along the Mississippi River.

The flooding and tornadoes are completely expected given the pattern.  La Nina typically brings an early and significant severe weather season and we're experiencing it right now.  The last time it happened was 2008.  You may remember we ended that year with more than 80 tornadoes plus a round of very serious flooding in March.

So are we done yet?  I'm afraid not.  I'm calling it a spring pattern on steroids and I don't think it will settle down for a few more weeks.  While there is no guarantee, I'm very confident there will be more severe weather as we go through May.  There are already signs next week the pattern will get active, but nailing down specifics is useless this far out.  In May of 2008 we had the Stuttgart tornado on the 10th and then it settled down.  Hopefully it will settle down soon this year.  I have never hoped for the hot, humid, and dry days of summer more than I have this spring. 

Everyone stay safe and I'll keep you updated here, on twitter, and my new facebook fan page.  Yes, I started it last Friday so enjoy!


Liev said...

Wait. You're telling me this is *normal*? Who even says La Nina is normal? Whatever. If this is normal, why are we also breaking records? Is La Nina supposed to be doing this every three years? Then why is all of this news? Why do all these people live in these flooded places? Shouldn't they have been devastated from tri-yearly Nina-induced catastrophes of years past??? All the ruination??

Cumulus Maximus said...

The grain farmers of Arkansas and the entire lower mississippi river delta would very much enjoy some hot, humid but dry weather. unfortunately life of a farmer will probably endure NO rain in July and August and have to turn on irrigation wells. is a normal summer season too much to ask of Mother Nature?

and with it early may, more severe weather and tornadoes are a certainty. stay informed and be proactive. IF you can do it safely, take a pic or video for the blog or twitter feed. it might make you famous ;-)

Anonymous said...

After week after week of severe weather and thunderstorms, seven days doesn't count as a bit of a let-up in the pattern? It could have kept going, you know. ;)

Also, I think it should be pointed out that it isn't likely we'll be seeing another Mon-Wed weather event like we did last week. Severe weather can get bad at any time, but record setting events like we had aren't very likely to reoccur any time soon.

Still, I understand we need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Thank you, KATV, and our storm chasers from Twitter for all your hard work at keeping us informed, this blog has proven to be loads of help in preparing for nasty weather. :)

It's just... I dunno, I think people need to understand that we aren't necessarily up against the same threat this go-around that we had last week.

Anonymous said...

I could personally do without more severe weather as I am from the Vilonia area. My kids are now terrified of thunder and storms (go figure)...Wish Todd could tell us "no more tornadoes this season", but....I know better. We will just hope for the best and keep our eyes on the skies. It was lifesaving that Todd and Ned let us know 10-15 min. ahead that it was headed our way - giving us a headstart on the storm...they saved lives here. Hopefully they will be able to give us advanced warning like that if need be next time. Love Channel 7 and Todd & Ned! Thanks guys.

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