Archive for April, 2010

Friday’s Hail Pictures
April 30, 2010

Jordan Langley from Gans, OK sends us this picture.

Steve Lee from Strickler, AR

Dave Grosvold from Morrow, AR

We had some large hail reports across the area today.  The largest hail around baseball size was reported near Strickler.  You need an updraft speed of around 100 mph to support those large stones!

Drew Michaels

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Storms Moving Out
April 30, 2010

Here is your Super Doppler Radar as of 5:40 pm. The worst of the thunderstorms are now moving out of the viewing area. Strong storms are ongoing for Newton, Franklin and Polk counties. These storms will move off to the east by 6:30pm. By 7pm the entire viewing area will be in the clear as the storms move off to the northeast. Dry weather is expected overnight before another round of wet weather arrives for Saturday afternoon and evening.

Ross Ellet

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Tornado Watch In Effect Until 8pm
April 30, 2010

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Tornado Watch until 8pm CDT tonight. The tornado watch includes the entire area and the greatest severe weather threat will be between now and about 6:30 pm tonight. Isolated cells are now popping up out ahead of the main line of thunderstorms. These storms have the potential to become supercells with large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes. Instability and shear values remain the highest across the Ouachitas and the river valley. This is where the greatest tornado threat will be late this afternoon and evening.

Ross Ellet

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Severe Storms Possible…Tornado Watch Likely
April 30, 2010

Instability has reached high levels across the areas with dewpoints in the upper 60s. Thunderstorms are now beginning to develop along the dryline at this time and thunderstorms are expected to move into the area between 2 and 6pm tonight. Wind shear is currently at moderate to high levels as well. Therefore if any storms develop out ahead of the main line of thunderstorms they could develop into supercells and produce very large hail and possibly a couple of tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted the area and they expect to issue a tornado watch probably within the next hour.

Here is current look at your Super Doppler Radar.

Ross Ellet

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SOME LIGHT RAIN OUT THERE…
April 30, 2010

Some light showers and areas of drizzle are now pushing through the area this morning.  Grab that umbrella as you head outside.   No thunderstorms or severe weather to worry about as you start your Friday, but those thunderstorm chances will still be with us throughout the day.

BLOG ENTRY BY: PATRICK CRAWFORD (4-30  7:43AM)

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FRIDAY UPDATE…
April 30, 2010

Energy off to the West this morning has sparked a few showers and thunderstorms over Central Oklahoma.  Nothing severe taking place at the moment.  It looks like that energy will be heading out way later this morning and that should produce some scattered showers and storms.  The severe threat should be low this morning, but if sunshine breaks out this afternoon our severe threat will be on the increase.  Here is a look at the latest timing for the showers and storms.

PRECIPITATION FORECAST (FRIDAY 8AM)

PRECIPITATION FORECAST (FRIDAY 11AM)

PRECIPITATION FORECAST (FRIDAY 2PM)

The storm chances will be with us for Friday and Saturday, but it looks like we might have to add more storm chances for Sunday.  Keep checking the blog for all the latest updates.

BLOG ENTRY BY: PATRICK CRAWFORD (4-30  4:30AM)

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Friday’s Severe Weather Threat
April 29, 2010

The strong south winds will continue to advect warm and moist air over the next 24 hours.  Dewpoints are currently in the 50’s; however, we will expect deeper moisture to move in overnight and into the day Friday.  Forecasted dewpoints are in the lower 60’s for tomorrow.

The moisture isn’t the question with this system.  The instability will pose a problem.  Gulf stratus will move in after midnight tonight.  Those low clouds will stick around throughout Friday morning and into the afternoon.  There should be enough mixing for breaks to develop; however, if the clouds stick around, the CAPE values will remain low.  If that happens the overall severe threat will be weak.

The wind shear will be strong Friday, but if the updrafts aren’t strong enough, the shear will rip apart the showers and storms.  The best chance for storms is during the afternoon and evening ahead of the dryline.  Elevated showers and storms will be possible during the day, but the greatest severe weather timing is for the afternoon and evening.

Right now the preliminary thought is hail to the size of quarters and gusty winds to 60 mph.  If the sun can get through than an isolated tornado threat would be there as well.  We’ll keep an eye on it!

Drew Michaels

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Wind And Rare Wildflowers
April 29, 2010

Tim Ernst is talking about finding rare wildflowers and windy conditions this week! You can read all of Tim Ernst’s Cloudland Cabin Journal entries at this link http://timernst.com/currentjournal.html. Tim Ernst’s home page is at the following link http://timernst.com/index.html. Here is a great clip from his journal this past week.

04/28/10 I think my lovely bride has gone too far. She signed us up to have the cabin tested in a wind tunnel, and it is blowing at 40mph+ outside tonight! I always cringe a little bit when I see “wind warning” on the local news – we always have wind out here, so that means we will really have winds! It has come on all of a sudden tonight and sounds like a big storm is approaching, but it is all clear out.

Not sure what got into me this morning, but I decided today would be a good day to load up the car and go for a hike – just for fun with absolutely no work on the agenda! I convinced my lovely bride and her parents to come along too. Oops, I take that back – I did have something in mind – I wanted to measure a bunch of the new yellow lady’s slipper orchids that I found last week to see which species they are. We actually have four lady’s slipper orchid species in Arkansas, including three yellow varieties. The size of the slipper is one of the factors needed to determine the ID – there is a “small” yellow and a “large” yellow, plus a new species that has not been included in previous wildflower guidebooks for Arkansas, the Kentucky yellow lady’s slipper.

We made the mistake of stopping at the little bakery at Pelsor to grab a snack. Both ladies ordered homemade “Hillbilly” sandwiches – I say mistake because Pam’s dad is on a diet and I can’t eat yeast, so we both had to stand there and watch the two delicious sandwiches being made, and then had to endure all the noises being made as the girls ate them in the car! I had a fried apple pie that was simply wonderful though, so that helped!

This special population of rare wild orchids that I found last week is out in the middle of nowhere, and is one of the largest populations in the state, in a county that is not listed as having any lady’s slippers – so, a significant find. We all started seeing the bright yellow slippers long before we reached them, and then more, and more, and more. Before we knew it we were completely surrounded by the rare flowers, and just kind of awestruck by it all. It was Pam who noticed some movement back in the shadows of the deep woods – there was someone out there, coming right at us, and she was packing a big GUN, YIKES! She had a little camera too and was there to photograph the orchids, something she has been doing for many years. The gun? Well, I didn’t ask, but I figured it was for snakes – or for someone she thought might be trying to harm the flowers. We had a great conversation – she was a grandma in her 70’s but still getting around well, and had no issues being all alone out in the wilderness on such a fine spring day. She was quite knowledgeable about wildflowers as well, and when I said something about the showy orchis I had found nearby, she took me on over to a pair of leaves that were just coming up out of the ground – sure enough, they were showy orchis too!

We also visited a nice waterfall, found some wild garlic, oh yes, and found THOUSANDS of other wildflowers – they were all over the place! This has been an exceptional year for wildflowers in Arkansas. Spiderworts. Mayapples. Wild geraniums. Lady’s slippers. Shooting stars. Even blooming trees like redbuds and dogwoods are still hanging on – and the dogwood blossoms were GIANT this year, oh my gosh! Same goes for the mayapples – have you seen them lately? HUGE! I took a snapshot on a hike I took late this afternoon and could not believe how many plants had big flowers on them. Let’s hope the fruit and veggie crops are as good!

Oh yes, the lady’s slippers. This population turned out to be the endangered large yellow lady’s slipper. Most of them measured about 1.5 inches long. I hiked on down to the population of lady’s slippers that we have near our cabin this evening and measured them as well, and they are all just a little larger but I don’t know if they are the Kentucky species or just large regular large ones – I have a photo sent off to the wildflower expert, Don Kurz, for his opinion. I want to be able to photograph all four species this spring or next, so if you know of a patch or individual small yellow lady’s slippers, or especially the pink/showy lady’s slipper, please let me know.

Courtesy of Tim Ernst. You can read more on his Cloudland Journal at the following link. http://timernst.com/currentjournal.html

Weekend Hiking Forecast:

Showers and thunderstorms are again likely on Saturday with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s across the area. If you have any outdoor plans on Saturday make sure to bring the rain gear. Sunday is looking like a great day with some morning clouds giving way to a partly cloudy sky by afternoon. Highs will be in the low 70s.

Ross Ellet

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Backyard Astronomy….Space Station Visible Tonight
April 29, 2010

Many thanks to Dave Grosvold from the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society for this article.  Learn more about their club at www.aoas.org

The clouds will roll in late tonight; however, this evening will be great for some backyard astronomy.

Look to the lower left of the Moon tonight after 11 PM or so for rising Antares. Antares (An-TAR-eez) is a bright red supergiant star in Scorpius, with an approximately 800 times larger radius than our Sun. But Antares is a cool, low density star, with only about 18 solar masses, and it radiates most of its energy in the infrared part of the spectrum. Antares resides about 600 light years from our Solar System.

 Catch the ISS again this evening at 8:44 PM CDT, starting at 10° in the S, going up to 24° in the SE, then back to 10° in ENE. It stays low in the sky this evening and shines a bit less bright at only -2.1 Mag.

Drew Michaels

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Earthquake Strikes Northwest Arkansas
April 29, 2010

Edit: The USGS has revised the earthquake epicenter 10 miles southwest of the original estimate. The new estimated epicenter was a couple of miles south of Centerton and a few miles north of the XNA airport. The earthquake was monitored at Hobbs State Park. Here is a map of the estimated epicenter of the earthquake.

After dozens of earthquakes in central Oklahoma over the past 6 months, and to a lesser extent in north central Arkansas with very weak earthquakes, an earthquake has now hit northwest Arkansas. At 10:52 am this morning a 2.5 magnitude earthquake centered between Bella Vista and Bentonville took place. The exact location were at the following coordinates 36.406°N, 94.246°W. Geologists have estimated that the earthquake took place about 3.1 miles below the earth’s surface. A magnitude 2.5 earthquake is right on the threshold of being felt by humans and animals alike. This morning the earthquake was felt by a few people in Siloam Springs, Gentry, Gravette, Rogers, Springdale, and Fayetteville. At this time there have been nearly 150 reports of the earthquake being felt in Centerton and Bentonville combined. There was one report of a couple of items falling off of a shelf near Bentonville, otherwise no damage was reported. Power flashes took place due to the quake throughout a portion of northwest Arkansas. The map of areas affected is below.

Ross Ellet

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