Tuesday, April 22, 2014

News from the (Lack of) Severe Weather World

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has launched a new experimental web page for viewing storm reports.  You may be used to seeing this map of storm reports:

Storm reports for the tornado outbreak in April 2011.
In the current map and report format certain parts of the Local Storm Reports (LSRs) are truncated or ignored for the sake of brevity. The reports are listed below the map on the page.

The new, experimental system contains more information by retaining more from the listing of the report, including the source of the report, extending the remarks section to include all 500 characters, and whether the report magnitude was measured, estimated, or unknown. Also, will include LSRs related to winter weather.The map is larger and easier to read.

Experimental storm report map for the tornado outbreak in April 2011

New winter weather storm report map
One of the biggest differences between the current Storm Reports page and the new experimental page is the interactivity and the amount of information available.  Users can display subsets of reports  and can overlay counties, highways, NWS County Warning Areas (CWAs), and other features.

Tabs at the top of the map allow you to display all reports, or just tornado reports. The individual reports are listed below the map.

 Clicking on the "+" icon on the far left expands the report to show the detail. Additional detail can be seen by selecting the Map option on the far right.

SPC is seeking feedback on the experimental map, so feel free to put it through its paces and provide comments or suggestions. A link to provide comments is at the top of the page.

So far there hasn't been much to look at related to severe weather this season. The Storm Prediction Center says that 2014 tornado activity through April 21 is estimated to be at a record low level.  Through today there have been 85 severe thunderstorm watches and 84 tornado watches issued. In 2013 the corresponding numbers were 136 and 136. In 2011, when 465 EF-1+ tornadoes had been counted by this time there had been 184 tornado watches issued through April 22.

 It's hard to say if or when our luck will hold out. The system forecast to move across the country later this week is likely to produce severe weather from the Central and Southern Plains east through the lower Mississippi River Valley over the weekend. Stay up-to-date on the weather at your local National Weather Service office web page or at the Storm prediction Center web site.

Outlook outlining at a 30% or higher probability for severe thunderstorms within 25 miles of any point
for Saturday, April 26 (D5) and Sunday, April 27 (D6).

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