Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rare "high risk" issued by Storm Prediction Center

The Storm Prediction Center, the experts in severe weather forecasting, have issued a rare HIGH RISK of severe weather for much of MS and northern and central AL (just south of the Memphis metro) and a very large MODERATE RISK area that encompasses portions of 8 states, includes Memphis. The last time I recall a high risk day was Super Tuesday. Seethe top graphic above for the risk areas.

SPC warns that violent, long-track tornadoes are possible in long-lived, cyclic supercells on Saturday, especially in the high risk area, but the tornado and damaging thunderstorm probabilities are elevated throughout the moderate risk area. The second graphic above depicts the probability of a tornado within 25 miles of any point, peaking at 30% within the high risk area. The risk for Memphis is not far from 30% and includes a 10% probability of an EF-2 or greater within 25 miles (hatched area in graphic). The lower two graphics are the chance of a damaging wind event (45% for Memphis) and hail 1" or larger (30% for Memphis).

This event will begin to unfold shortly after dawn, with the strongest storms during the morning through early afternoon (8am-1pm). This situation is not to be casually brushed aside. All Mid-Southerners should have a plan and be ready to exercise it should they need to take cover with little warning. I fully expect tornado sirens to sound at some point somewhere in the 6-county metro area during this event. Super Tuesday is a reminder that highly populated areas are not immune from very severe weather. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio and commercial TV or radio, keep a watchful eye to the sky, and stay with for the latest on this evolving weather situation. Be prepared, not scared.

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