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.

 

2011 Winter Weather Workshop Presentations: 2013 Winter Workshop is being planned.

WFO Paducah Operations, What's New
Pat Spoden, Science & Operations Officer, NWS Paducah KY

Review of 2010-2011 Winter Storm Events
Mike York, Winter Weather Program Leader/Forecaster, NWS Paducah KY

Flood 2011 - Future Applications
Mary Lamm, Service Hydrologist, NWS Paducah, KY

Considerations for Tornado False Alarms
Chris Noles, Lead Forecaster, NWS Paducah, KY

Achieving Greater Tornado Warning Response
Christine Wielgos, Forecaster, NWS Paducah, KY

Decision Support Services for You!
Rick Shanklin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Paducah, KY

2010 Winter Weather Workshop Presentations:

(Some files may be large...please be patient)

La Nina, Winter Outlook and Cool Season Severe Weather - Pat Spoden, SOO  NWS Paducah, KY

Winter Weather Impacts on Utilities - Joshua Swanson, DSO Supervisor, Vectren

NWS Impact Based Methodologies for Winter Weather Advisories/Warnings - Mike York, Forecaster NWS Paducah, KY

Winter Weather Impacts on Transportation - Cheryl Ball: District Engineer Asst, Keith Gentry: Maintenance Superintendent - MODOT

Winter Weather Impacts on Utilites - Jean Mason, Manager, SEMO Division Ameren UE

Winter Weather Impacts on Utilities - Keith Alexander, Account Executive, Kentucky Utilities Company

Winter Weather Impacts on Transportation - Keith Todd - Information Officer III, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

 

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)
  •  

Information on Studies with Universities

We collaborate with Murray State University, in particular, the Center for Environmental Education.

We collaborate with the University of Missouri.

We collaborate with St. Louis University. We have collaborated on cool season tornado outbreaks. Preliminary information was presented at the National Weather Association Meeting in October 2009

 


Basic Weather Training:

National Weather Service On-Line Weather School - Jetstream

NOAA Education for Students

NOAA Education for Teachers

UCAR Education for K-12

 


 

Advanced Science and Safety Training 

Basic Winter Processes - Part 1 - WFO LMK

Basic Winter Processes - Part 2 - WFO LMK 


 

 

Radar Training

 For information on the NWS radar images (RIDGE) click here

 


Cool Season Tornadoes - Soon to be updated!

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.

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
 
2001
 
X
 
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X(F)
2002
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
 
X
X(F)
2003
 
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X(F)
 
X(F)
 
2004
 
 
X
X
X
X
X
X
 
X
X
 
2005
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
2006
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
 
X
 
2007
X(F)
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X(F)
X
X
 
2008
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
 
 
X
2009
 
 X
 X
 X
X
 X
X
X
 X
 X
 
 
2010
 
 
 X
 X
 X
 X
X
X
 X
 X
 
 X
 2011
 
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
 X
 
 X
 
2012  X  X  X                  
This table indicates the months when severe weather (TOR, SVR, FFW) occurred anywhere in the WFO PAH CWA from January 2000 to March 2012. 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 (Apr 2001 – Sep 2002)
Longest streak without severe weather  = 4 months (Nov 2009 – Feb 2010) - El Nino Winter
 

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

Tornadoes broken down by month

 


Local and regional studies are on-going concerning the severe weather in the southeast U.S. In this section, we will attempt to give you some insight into this research. 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.

graphic of the Paducah weather office county warning area

This is our county warning area

Here are some results from this study...This will soon be updated to include data through the end of February 2013!

 

Dew Point Climatology for PAH from Nov-Feb 1996-Feb 2011
Category # of Episodes Hours % of All Hours
Hourly Tds >= 55°F   2302 5.15%
Hourly Tds >= 58°F 80 1022 2.29%
Hourly Tds >= 60°F 56 704 157%
Hourly Tds >= 62°F 30 311 0.73%
Hourly Tds >= 64°F 14 99 0.23%



Thunderstorm Days and Severe Weather Days vs. High Dew Point Events from Nov-Feb 1996-Feb 2011
Dew Points Thunderstorms Severe Weather Tornado(s) >=F2 Tornado(s) Winds Hail FF
Tds <55 34 3 1 1 1 3 5
Tds 55-57 16 6 1 1 5 2 1
Tds 58-59 10 5 1 1 0 3 1
Tds 60-61 16 11 6 3 8 7 2
Tds 62-63 12 5 1 0 4 4 5
Tds >=64 11 9 7 5 6 6 4
Total: 99 39 17 11 24 25 18

 

 

Dew Point Thresholds for Thunderstorms from Nov-Feb 1996-Feb 2011
  % of Time % of Time Severe % of Time
Dew Point Category T-Storms Occur Wx Occurs Tornadoes Occur
Td >=58 61% 38% 19%
Td >=60 70% 45% 25%
Td >=62 77% 47% 27%
Td >=64 79% 64% 50%

Severe Weather vs. Dew Point Thresholds for PAH from Nov-Feb: 1996-Nov 2008
Weather >=55° >=58° >=60° >=62° >=64°
Severe Weather 92% 77% 64% 36% 23%
Tornadoes 94% 88% 82% 47% 41%
>=F2 Tornadoes 91% 82% 73% 45% 45%
Wind 96% 75% 75% 42% 25%
Hail 88% 80% 68% 40% 24%
Flash Flooding 72% 67% 61% 50% 22%

We also decided to look at some of these numbers with a slightly shortened cool season (November 15 - end of February)

Dew Point Thresholds for Thunderstorms from Nov 15-Feb, 1996-Nov 2010
  % of Time % of Time Severe % of Time
Dew Point Category T-Storms Occur Wx Occurs Tornadoes Occur
Td >=58 59% 41% 19%
Td >=60 60% 38% 20%
Td >=62 75% 50% 25%
Td >=64 100% 83% 67%

So, what does all of this mean? During the cool season the potential for tornadoes increases as the dew point temperature increases. It is rare to get tornadoes if the dew point is less than 58 degrees. However, looking at the data for the past 14 years...when the dew point reached 64 degrees, 41% of the time a tornado was reported somewhere in our county warning area.

This is a very basic study and it is not intended, nor does it, cover every situation. This information is intended to help people understand when severe weather is possible during the cool season in our area.

 

All Types of Severe Weather Since 2006

This chart breaks down the types of severe weather by month.

chart of severe weather types since 2006

Where FF is Flash Flood, Hail is a report of hail 1 inch or larger, Wind is a report of wind damage or a gust to 58 mph or higher, and TOR is a report of a tornado touchdown.


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