Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Harbinger of Doom?


Last time it looked like this, 22 died
BY STAN FINGER
The Wichita Eagle


Thursday could bring a tornado outbreak to the Great Plains, according to local meteorologists who are warning residents to pay attention to the weather.
Computer forecasting models for the day bear striking similarities to the conditions present on June 8, 1974, when 39 tornadoes touched down in the southern Plains and killed 22 people -- including six in Emporia.
"I think this event warrants more advance warning," said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center has been warning for days of an outbreak on Thursday.
Forecasters disagree on where the highest risk for tornadoes will be. Many say Iowa and Minnesota, said Mike Smith, chief executive officer of WeatherData Inc., a subsidiary of AccuWeather.
But Smith has his eyes on a corridor stretching from northern Oklahoma to central Iowa -- Enid to Des Moines. That includes Wichita and the surrounding area.
"Certainly Wichita, Topeka, Emporia, Salina, Chanute... essentially the eastern half of Kansas should really be paying attention on Thursday," Smith said.
Temperature and humidity patterns for Thursday are similar to the 1974 outbreak, he said, and a wave of energy in the upper atmosphere is projected to be in exactly the same position as on June 8, 1974.
The 1974 Emporia tornado touched down at about 6 p.m., grew to about a half-mile wide, and struck the city's northwest side, according to weather service archives.
It injured 200 people and caused an estimated $25 million in damage in Lyon County alone, striking a shopping center, mobile home park, nursing home, an apartment complex and residential neighborhoods in Emporia and about 10 farmsteads in the surrounding countryside.
The tornado was rated an F-4 and had a 38-mile track through Lyon, Osage and Shawnee counties.
With so much humidity in place, storms this Thursday could form and quickly become strong, forecasters say.
And with wind speeds in the upper atmosphere resembling early spring patterns, any tornadoes that touch down could move at more than 50 mph.
"If you take April dynamics and June thermodynamics," Smith said, "you have a potentially disastrous combination."


The National Weather Service has a 45% change for "significant weather" occuring over our heads tomorrow, and said this . . . --SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK EXPECTED THURSDAY INTO THURSDAY NIGHT OVER PORTIONS OF KS/NEB/SD/MN/IA...INCLUDING THE POTENTIAL FOR STRONG...LONG-TRACKED TORNADOES --

Photo: heavy rain from a 05/27/08 storm shot from Kechi, KS.

3 comments:

Dawn Allenbach said...

Keep your heads down.

Gary said...

And- I assume you'll have the car gassed up, cameras ready and you'll be loaded with caffeine.

Mightybri's blogs said...

Gary-

You know me too well. I'm chomping at the bit to go north right now.

B