Hamvention 2012

May 19, 2012

SWAT Chasers at the Dayton Hamvention today and tomorrow. Stop by, say hi and check out the SWERV.

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Severe Weather & Tornado Outbreak Likely Tomorrow

March 1, 2012

Good morning everyone! Enjoy the calm before the storm as we are expecting a major severe weather and tornado outbreak tomorrow from portions of the Ohio Valley all the way to the Gulf Coast. 

Let’s take a look at the set-up and why a widespread severe weather outbreak is likely:

A strong low pressure system will develop over the Southern Plains and move into portions of Northern Illinois by late Friday Evening. A strong southerly flow will help advect very warm and moist air into the Ohio and Tennesssee Valleys ahead of the low pressure system.

As the low pressure strengthens, a strong jet stream will interact with the system and create what we call directional wind shear. This wind shear is what helps storms form, sustain themselves and eventually begin rotating. Here’s a look at the wind shear tomorrow evening. The red and purple values are VERY high.

A strong southerly flow will usher in very warm and moist air into the Ohio Valley. Temperatures will climb into the 60’s as far North as North Central Indiana and Ohio. Here’s a look at what one of our forecast models is showing temperature wise tomorrow evening at 8:00 PM. 

Storms should begin to fire across portions of Illinois down into Eastern Missouri and Arkansas by the mid afternoon hours. These storms will quickly move into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and portions of Northern Mississippi and Northern Alabama. All of the ingredients are in place for a very violent day of severe weather with the potential for very strong and long lived tornadoes.

Here’s a look at what one of our forecast models is forecasting radar reflectivity for tomorrow afternoon:

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare Day 2 Moderate Risk from Indiana and Ohio down to portions of Northern Mississippi and Northern Alabama. Here is a look at the Storm Prediction Center’s Outlook for tomorrow:

The storm prediction center is forecasting a severe weather event in the moderate risk area with widespread damaging winds and potential for strong and violent tornadoes.

Here’s our outlook for tomorrow which is very similar. The areas we outline as numerous and outbreak likely should be prepared for a very rocky day of weather.

We encourage everyone to have their severe weather plans ready and to purchase a NOAA weather radio! Stay tuned to SWAT & IndianaWeatherOnline for the latest information.


Severe Weather & Tornado Outbreak Likely Tomorrow

March 1, 2012

Good morning everyone! Enjoy the calm before the storm as we are expecting a major severe weather and tornado outbreak tomorrow from portions of the Ohio Valley all the way to the Gulf Coast. 

Let’s take a look at the set-up and why a widespread severe weather outbreak is likely:

A strong low pressure system will develop over the Southern Plains and move into portions of Northern Illinois by late Friday Evening. A strong southerly flow will help advect very warm and moist air into the Ohio and Tennesssee Valleys ahead of the low pressure system.

As the low pressure strengthens, a strong jet stream will interact with the system and create what we call directional wind shear. This wind shear is what helps storms form, sustain themselves and eventually begin rotating. Here’s a look at the wind shear tomorrow evening. The red and purple values are VERY high.

A strong southerly flow will usher in very warm and moist air into the Ohio Valley. Temperatures will climb into the 60’s as far North as North Central Indiana and Ohio. Here’s a look at what one of our forecast models is showing temperature wise tomorrow evening at 8:00 PM. 

Storms should begin to fire across portions of Illinois down into Eastern Missouri and Arkansas by the mid afternoon hours. These storms will quickly move into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and portions of Northern Mississippi and Northern Alabama. All of the ingredients are in place for a very violent day of severe weather with the potential for very strong and long lived tornadoes.

Here’s a look at what one of our forecast models is forecasting radar reflectivity for tomorrow afternoon:

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare Day 2 Moderate Risk from Indiana and Ohio down to portions of Northern Mississippi and Northern Alabama. Here is a look at the Storm Prediction Center’s Outlook for tomorrow:

The storm prediction center is forecasting a severe weather event in the moderate risk area with widespread damaging winds and potential for strong and violent tornadoes.

Here’s our outlook for tomorrow which is very similar. The areas we outline as numerous and outbreak likely should be prepared for a very rocky day of weather.

We encourage everyone to have their severe weather plans ready and to purchase a NOAA weather radio! Stay tuned to SWAT & IndianaWeatherOnline for the latest information.


La Niña Returns!

September 8, 2011

As I stated in my 2011/2012 Winter Forecast, I expected a return to a La Niña type weather pattern by the Fall/early Winter months. The NWS officially announced today that La Niña has returned. A La Niña type weather pattern will likely lead to another active and extreme winter across the Plains, Midwest and Ohio Valley. Here is the official press release from NOAA – Brandon

La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter. Today, forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center upgraded last month’s La Niña Watch to a La Niña Advisory.

NOAA will issue its official winter outlook in mid-October, but La Niña winters often see drier than normal conditions across the southern tier of the United States and wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.

“This means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. “La Niña also often brings colder winters to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Plains, and warmer temperatures to the southern states.”

Climate forecasts from NOAA’s National Weather Service give American communities advance notice of what to expect in the coming months so they can prepare for potential impacts. This service is helping the country to become a Weather Ready Nation at a time when extreme weather is on the rise.

Seasonal hurricane forecasters factored the potential return of La Niña into NOAA’s updated 2011 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, issued in August, which called for an active hurricane season. With the development of tropical storm Nate this week, the number of tropical cyclones entered the predicted range of 14-19 named storms.

The strong 2010-11 La Niña contributed to record winter snowfall, spring flooding and drought across the United States, as well as other extreme weather events throughout the world, such as heavy rain in Australia and an extremely dry equatorial eastern Africa.

La Niña is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon located over the tropical Pacific Ocean and results from interactions between the ocean surface and the atmosphere. During La Niña, cooler-than-average Pacific Ocean temperatures influence global weather patterns. La Niña typically occurs every three-to-five years, and back-to-back episodes occur about 50 percent of the time. Current conditions reflect a re-development of the June 2010-May 2011 La Niña episode.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at weather.gov.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook , Twitter and our other social media channels.


All Eyes On The Tropics

August 30, 2011

With Hurricane Irene causing billions of dollars of damage up and down the United States East Coast, killing at least 40 people and destroying 1,115 homes in North Carolina alone, all eyes continue to be on the tropics as Katia churns over the Atlantic and as a new potential tropical cyclone could form in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Katia continues to strengthen at a fairly rapid rate. As of the 5:00 PM National Hurricane Center advisory, Katia had winds of 60 mph and was moving to the West Northwest at 20 mph. Katia continues to look more organized and will likely gain hurricane status by Wednesday morning. Satellite imagery continues to show a much more organized Katia.

Environmental conditions ahead of Katia remain extremely favorable for strengthening. Nearly all of our forecast guidance develops Katia into a major hurricane with some of the numerical forecast guidance developing Katia into a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane.

While Katia will likely continue to strengthen, the most uncertainty regarding Katia is where she will track. Our forecast guidance generally show Katia tracking West Northwest through the short term. At this point, I believe there is at least a 60% chance Katia will likely be tracking far enough North that she will likely be impacted by a trough that will move tracking through the Ohio Valley. If this happens, Katia will recurve to the North and Northeast and will likely have little impact on the United States. There is still significant uncertainty in the ultimate track of Katia and if she is not impacted by the trough, then there is an increased chance that she will continue to move more Westerly and could post some type of threat to the East Coast. If Katia can make it to 70W, then she will be close enough to the East Coast that significant media coverage and frenzy will likely occur, especially since Katia will likely be a major Category 3 or stronger hurricane.

Another area we are watching quite closely is an unorganized area of convection in the Northwestern Caribbean.

Most of our forecast guidance is in agreement in developing this area of unorganized convection into a tropical cyclone at some point during the upcoming weekend. With weak steering currents, it will be difficult to pinpoint where this eventual tropical cyclone will track. Most of our forecast guidance indicates some type of eventual threat to the Gulf Coast. This system will have to be watched extremely closely as sea surface temperatures in the Gulf are running well above normal.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Brandon Redmond
http://www.SWATChasers.com

 


Hurricane Irene Storm Chase

August 28, 2011

SWAT began monitoring Hurricane Irene over a week before she impacted portions of the Southeastern and Eastern United States. It became apparent that Irene would impact portions of the United States and could be a fairly strong hurricane and because of that, SWAT began planning for our first ever hurricane chase!

By Wednesday, Hurricane Irene was a strong category 3 hurricane located over the Bahamas. Irene continued to move Northwest towards the Southeastern United States Coast. We began looking for a target area along the Eastern North Carolina coast.

After coordinating with friends of ours who are part of the Asheville Storm Chasers, it was decided we would chase/ride out Irene from Beaufort, North Carolina. One of the Asheville Storm Chasers, Zachary Hargrove, had connections and we were able to stay at a vacation rental right on the coast of a channel of the Atlantic Ocean!

As Irene began to speed up, it was decided that we could not wait until Friday morning to leave for North Carolina and that we would have to leave sooner so that we could get prepared and set-up before Irene began impacting the coast. The SWAT crew, consisting of Brandon, Brad and one of our colleagues from the Amateur Radio Community Frank, left Muncie, Indiana at about 12:30 AM on Friday Morning.

We traveled South throughout the day on Friday, traveling through Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. By early afternoon (around 1:00 PM), we began arriving in the hurricane zones where evacuations were taking place in Eastern North Carolina. Just east of New Bern, NC we began to experience an increase in traffic going West away from the coast and saw several buildings and houses with protective plywood over windows.

By 2:30 PM, we arrived in the Morehead City and Beaufort, NC areas just in time to be greeted by Hurricane Irene with extremely heavy rain. Before hunkering down in Beaufort for the duration of the Hurricane, we picked up some pizza for everyone as a comical gesture for our “last meal.” Unfortunately, as you will find out later in this blog entry, we were without power in Beaufort from Friday Evening until we left on Sunday, so the pizza was indeed our last “hot” meal until Sunday afternoon.

In Beaufort we set up shop at the house on the coast and visited with the Asheville crew while eating the pizza and talking about the latest information on the hurricane. The house was extremely sturdy and was located on a small hill with a higher elevation even though we were right on the water. After setting up all of our computers, cameras and weather instruments, we took a stroll into downtown Beaufort where we esstentially found a ghost town. Nearly every business had been covered in protective plywood and sandbags and we saw very few people while venturing through the downtown area.

After we got back from our stroll through downtown, Hurricane Irene quickly showed her ugly face with heavy rain and very strong winds. By late Friday Evening, we began experiencing random short power outages as the winds continued to increase.

By 8:15 PM, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center had issued a Tornado Watch for all of Eastern North Carolina including the Beaufort, NC area as a line of embedded supercells was moving West towards the coast. Several tornadoes were reported just North of Beaufort and at least two of the tornadoes produced significant damage.

Hurricane Irene continued to get closer to the North Carolina coast and winds continued to increase. Heavy rain was falling and flooding was beginning to impact much of the Beaufort area. We strolled out during the storm to check on conditions across the area and severe flooding was occurring with several feet of water accumulating on several streets. Storm surge was also beginning to impact the coast with the yard of the house we were staying in being submerged in water as the surge swept in.

Winds by midnight were estimated to be gusting close to hurricane force (74 mph) with winds continuing to increase as the remnants of Hurricane Irene’s eyewall approached the coast. Just before midnight the power went out at the Beaufort house and power never returned for the duration of our trip.

With little to no sleep, both groups of chasers (SWAT & Asheville Storm Chasers) were dedicated to staying awake as Irene began picking up speed. By midnight it was evident that Irene would make landfall much sooner than anticipated, possibly as early as 6 AM.

As the outerbands associated with Hurricane Irene began to approach the Beaufort coast at 4:00 AM, both crews departed the Beaufort house to feel the full fury of the Hurricane. Wind blown rain made walking and seeing extremely difficult as winds were gusting to well over hurricane force. Both teams documented the storm with video and pictures as the winds pounded the shore. Damage was already becoming evident across the area with powerlines swaying back and forth in the wind, trees down across the area and complete darkness for as long as the eye could see thanks to widespread power outages.

After venturing back to the Beaufort house, it was decided that we would ride out the remainder of the eyewall/eye indoors due to the increasing dangers outside due to falling powerlines, trees, etc.

By 5:30 AM, fatigue continued to wear on both teams, we all decided that a couple of hours of sleep was necessary. Around 10:00 AM, I was awoken to extremely strong winds still battering against the side of the house. After walking upstairs and checking in with the Asheville Storm Chasers, I was informed that the Southern side of Irene’s eyewall was thrashing us with extremely strong winds yet again. Just prior to arriving upstairs, the Davis Mesonet recorded a 76 mph wind gust which was likely on the low side since the weather station was being sheltered in between two buildings. With no traditional forms of communication available, we utilized our amateur radio equipment to report the wind gust and our report to the National Weather Service!

The hurricane continued to produce tropical storm and hurricane force winds all day on Saturday. A reporting station in Beaufort recorded at least tropical storm force winds or higher for 23 consecutive hours!

As the rain began to lighten up Saturday Afternoon, both teams ventured out to survey the damage across the Beaufort area. On foot we discovered that the flooding situation was improving with water levels decreasing. We found lots of tree damage and noted a significant amount of debris from shrubbery and roofs lying all across the area. We also found some minor structural damage in the downtown area. As stated above, winds continued to be extremely gusty with sporadic heavy rain.

After walking across the area, we took a trip in the SWERV and found several light poles blown over in a shopping plaza, some structural damage on US 70 and more trees down across the city. Following our damage survey, we stopped at the Beaufort fire department where we were told that power outages could last for days as all three substations that powered Beaufort were completely offline.


By Saturday Night, Irene was moving away from Beaufort but the damage had already been done. We would be spending the night in the Beaufort house with limited power (only a generator running necessary equipment). After sleeping for 8 hours Saturday Night, both teams woke up Sunday Morning and began cleaning up after ourselves and packing for the trip home. We departed Beaufort and crossed into Morehead City where more extensive damage was found. Multiple large trees, powerpoles and billboards were down with more extensive structural and roof damage found.

Finally after driving for approximately an hour, we got far enough West in North Carolina to find areas with power and ate a very delicious and hot lunch at a Ruby Tuesday. Both teams departed Ruby Tuesday for home (SWAT to Indiana and the Asheville Storm Chasers to Asheville, NC).

Chasing Hurricane Irene was an exciting and once in a lifetime experience. I have no regrets, but I can tell you that I will be very thankful when I arrive home and can take a hot shower & shave for the first time in 4 days! Yes, very gross!

For more pictures we took during Hurricane Irene, please visit http://www.Facebook.com/SWATChasers. We also have several videos of Irene online at http://www.Youtube.com/SWATChasers.

On a separate note, we are monitoring a strong Tropical Wave just South of the Cape Verde Islands in the Eastern Atlantic. Some of our forecast models are developing this tropical wave into a tropical storm and eventually into a hurricane. We’ll be watching this tropical wave very closely to see if it does indeed develop and if it does develop, where it might go! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Brandon Redmond
SWATChasers.com
SWATTours.com – Book your 2012 Storm Chase Tour today!


Hurricane Irene – Legitimate East Coast Threat

August 22, 2011

Irene strengthened into a hurricane overnight despite her interaction with land. Nearly all of Puerto Rico is without power as Irene battered the island with 80 mph wind gusts.

Here is a radar loop of Irene as she passed over Puerto Rico early this morning:

Our forecast guidance continues to track Irene just North of the Island of Hispanolia. If this were to occur, land interaction would be very minimal and Irene would likely continue to strengthen. With an extremely favorable upper air environment, Irene should have no problem reaching major hurricane status within the next 48-72 hours.

The track of Irene is the big question. With a weakeness in the subtropical ridge, Irene will likely take a turn towards the North or Northwest. The only caveat in this theory is the strength of the cyclone as stronger hurricanes will often exhibit or try to exhibit a leftward motion.

While some uncertainty still exists, most of our forecast models agree that a Carolina Coastline landfall is in the works.

Irene will likely have major impacts on nearly all of the Eastern Seaboard. The cyclone will likely be large in nature with tropical storm force and hurricane winds extending well out from the Central. Tropical Storm and Hurricane force winds are likely to impact much of the Eastern Seaboard with the Western part of Irene likely coming close to the Eastern Florida Coast.

Hurricane watches and warnings are in effect for much of Hispanolia, Cuba and the Bahamas.

In addition to strong winds, storm surge and extremely heavy flooding rains will be a significant threat across much of the Southeast and Eastern United States Coast. With a slow moving cyclone and a deep moisture connection/influx into the hurricane, flooding rains will be an extremely dangerous threat up and down the Southeastern and Eastern Coast. Our forecast models are already keying in on this threat with the GFS indicating widespread flooding rains from Florida to Maine.

Residents from Florida to Maine should be on high alert and be monitoring the progress of Irene. Hurricane Irene will be a large hurricane with her effects being felt well away from the center of circulation/eye wall. Irene will be a multi-facet hurricane bringing not only damaging winds, but torrential flooding rains, storm surge, strong rip currents and tornadoes.

For SWAT’s latest information on Hurricane Irene, you can follow us at:

www.Facebook.com/SWATChasers
www.Twitter.com/SWATChasers

Please take time to visit our websites at www.SWATChasers.com and www.SWATTours.com