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Moderately Successful
Monday, 30 May 2011 12:26
20110529_severeOur party was a success despite the storms. Although we had a few people get stuck in the mud getting in and out of the yard. One car is still firmly stuck awaiting a tow.

The day began with our region fully inside a slight area for severe weather. As the MCS over eastern Iowa moved into western Illinois, things began to ramp up and the 11:30 a.m. Outlook Update put us smack dab in the middle of a Moderate area for severe weather.  In addition to the Severe Thunderstorm Watch, we received a Special Weather Statement for storms likely presenting "a significant severe weather threat". As the storms neared the Indiana line, the entire area to our west lit up with Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, and one county to our south even had a Tornado Warning. The entire northwest corner of Indiana was under Severe Thunderstorm Warnings as the storms crossed, and the very southern edge of our county was under a Tornado Warning. All of northern Indiana, except for our corner, was under a Tornado Watch by this time. The storms passed with little effect other than dropping 0.36 inches of completely unneeded rain. I saw a few reports of wind damage in a community about twenty miles to our south.

The additional 0.36 inches of rain brings my May precipitation total to 6.87 inches. More storms are expected tomorrow and it's not out of the question that our May precipitation total could reach 7.0 inches.

It's supposed to reach the lower 90s today, but a brisk southwest wind is keeping things rather pleasant so far. Honeywell is reporting 87 degrees at 1:30 p.m., so the 90 degree mark seems likely.

More storms and heat are in store for tomorrow, with a return to more seasonable temperatures later in the week with more chances for rain and storms.
 
Party Day Watch
Sunday, 29 May 2011 09:18
I tried to sleep in late this morning in anticipation of the big party today. Heavy storms rolled through last evening dropping 1.33 inches of rain on top of the already more than five inches we've had this month. Early indications were that we could have heavy rain producing storms all night. But after the initial round passed, the forecast discussion updated to expect dry conditions overnight, with the chance of heavy, possibly severe storms moving in during the pre-dawn hours. I woke up early with no indications of more storms having come through and thought maybe we missed everything. So I tried in vain to sleep a little more, but the gaggle of geese outside my bedroom window decided otherwise.

I finally made it to the computer a little before 9:00 a.m. only to see that a Severe Thunderstorm Watch had just been issued for our county and all of northern Illinois and eastern Iowa until 4:00 p.m. A severe MCS had formed over eastern Iowa with more storms leading the way. They have a slight northeast vector, and it looks like there's a chance the worst of the storms could move north before impacting our area.

With all of the recent heavy rain, I decided it was time to compare my precipitation totals to the average. As of this morning, we are 6.85 inches over the total average precipitation for the year. January and March came in under average, but every other month so far has been significantly above average.

Month
January
February
March
April
May
Actual
0.47
4.68
2.42
6.42
6.51*
Average
1.90
1.52
2.73
3.58
3.92

* total through May 28

The forecast is calling for hot tomorrow. The temperature is expected to hit 90 degrees at least. The forecast originally called for high humidity pushing the heat index into the mid to upper 90s, but currently the forecast suggests the humidity won't be quite so high, so the heat index is only expected to reach the mid 90s. Only.

The rest of the week is expected to be around seasonable temperatures after a cold front moves through Monday evening, with periodic chances for rain and thunderstorms. The Day 3 Outlook currently has us just inside an area for a slight chance of severe storms.
 
Third Place
Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:11
More severe weather pounded the nation yesterday with strong tornadoes, high winds, and large hail. The good news is that the early reports say that despite some significant damage and dozens of injuries, no lives were lost.

After our early morning round of storms, we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon and early evening before the second round rolled through. Once again, we were surrounded by Tornado Watches on the west, south, and east, but no more watches were issued for our county after the first one expired a little before 1:00 p.m. Heavy storms moved from Missouri all the way across the entirety of Illinois right through our region. All the while they were moving through Illinois the leading edge was a broiling mass of tornado and severe storm warnings. By the time they neared northern Illinois and northwest Indiana, we were north of the front that was the focus for these storms. The very southwestern corner of our county was warned for a strong storm with severe hail, but all we received was some very heavy rain.

The early morning storms dropped more than an inch of rain in about an hour and a half. I didn't take a reading then and I regret that now. The late night storms, though heavy, were not nearly as strong as the earlier storms but the precipitation lasted much longer. We received at least 3.21 inches of rain, probably a little bit more than that because I splashed some when I was measuring. I thought maybe we had a new record but when I looked at my CoCoRaHS data, yesterday's total came in third. The top two rain producing events both occurred in late summer of 2008 when we had record flooding due to the remnants of Hurricane Ike.

The forecast has a slight chance of thunderstorms later today, but from the looks of things now we'll probably get some light scattered showers. It's cold. The forecast high is 55 but Honeywell says it's 45 degrees right now. Tomorrow is expected to be dry and only slightly warmer. Saturday warms up considerably to the mid 70s with a chance of storms again. Sunday (party day!) is either around 70 or as high as 88 degrees, and sunny, partly cloudy, or stormy. !!!

The NWS confirmed an EF1 in Kankakee County during yesterday morning's storms.
Kankakee county:
** confirmed EF1 tornado **
maximum rating: EF1
path length: approximately 6 miles
maximum path width: approximately 50 yards

The survey team reported tree damage at multiple locations along the path including snapped hardwoods. Additional damage included snapped power poles... roof and shingle damage to homes... overturned campers... and an attached garage removed from a home that was under construction. The nature of this damage was consistent with an EF1 tornado... with winds of 100 to 110 mph.
And finally... 2011 is already a historic year for severe weather and it's not yet June. The statistics are already staggering, and more is certain to come. The Weather Channel sums up some of the particulars today.

svr-milestones-052511-600x405
 
Off To An Early Start
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 11:12
20110525_severeMore severe weather is expected today. We're solidly within the Slight area, and a little too close to a Moderate area for my comfort. A current area of High is centered over the Illinois-Kentucky-Missouri-Tennessee junction, but a recent Mesoscale Discussion states that the High Area will be increased to the west, north, and east at the 11:30 p.m. Outlook Update. Another PSWO has been issued for today.

I woke up early, and a look at the radar showed strong storms in central Illinois heading our way. Most of central and northern Illinois was also under a Tornado Watch. As the storms closed in, a few were warned south of us, and eventually there was one Tornado Warning issued for counties to our south right on the Illinois-Indiana border. We were issued two Special Weather Statements between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m., but no warnings. Mesoscale Discussions concerning the current Tornado Watch and new severe potential were issued suggesting it wouldn't be long before we also came under a watch. A little bit later, a Tornado Watch was issued for most of Indiana, excluding our little northwestern section. We were essentially surrounded by Tornado Watches. I felt this was particularly odd, since the worst of the weather was currently right over us. A few minutes later, my radio went off announcing not a new watch, but an extension of the current watch over Illinois into our counties, expiring at 1:00 p.m.

I'm trying to get a handle on what to expect later today, but as is always the case with the weather, there is currently no solid information. Thunderstorms are expected, but the northern extent and severity are all in question. Not so much for areas south of us. They look to be in for a difficult day.

Party Update: Flip a coin, pick a card... the multiple service forecasts are still anticipating everything from low 70s and sunny to high 80s and stormy for Sunday. I'm now taking bets...
 
Filling In the Blanks
Monday, 23 May 2011 19:35
Our second round of severe storms turned north and pretty much petered out before reaching us. We received 0.29 inches of rain, most if not all of that in the first round of storms. More severe weather was expected for today, but all of the convection happened to our south. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued for almost all of Indiana except our corner, and strong and severe storms rolled across the state with numerous storm and tornado warnings. We stayed high and dry.

Preliminary storms reports have two tornadoes in the region yesterday and some damaging straight line winds. There are also about a dozen hail reports.

I've amassed a couple bookmarks that I keep forgetting to share. Below are some links to stories about this year's historic storms.

Fire and rain: Fed scientists point to wild April

Deadliest U.S. tornado since 1953 rips through Joplin, Missouri

I also forgot to mention that the SPC issued another PSWO yesterday, and another one today.

The forecast has a cooler, dry day tomorrow before rain and storms came back for Wednesday. Beyond that, it gets pretty murky. Chances of rain and storms occur periodically throughout the week into the weekend - maybe. Party update: today's forecasts for Sunday have been jumping all over the place, from 70 degrees and sunny to 84 and stormy. The forecasts for each service keep changing, but the current Forecast Discussion states that storms should hold off until Monday. Stay tuned!
 
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