Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Severe Weather Possible Friday 12/26

Updated 12/25/08:
All modes of severe weather are likely to come to light on Friday into Friday night. This includes the possibility of tornadoes, large hail and damaging straight line winds. Gulf moisture flowing into the area underneath a cooled airmass, along with high winds aloft, will create heavy shear. Additionally, very heavy rains will be possible. Keep up to date here.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

UPDATE: The timing of these storms is late Friday night into Saturday. Of course.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Significant Winter Weather Expected

Freezing rain turning to sleet and snow is expected in
SW MO Sunday into Monday. No one in this area needs to be reminded how
ugly that can be, so please take the time to prepare flashlights,
blankets, water and food. Strong to severe storms cannot be ruled out
Sunday afternoon before the front comes through, however, there is
limited instability, so thelikelihood of severe storms is lower.

Up to date information can be found at the National Weather Service Winter Weather Briefing Page.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Farewell Josh DeBerge

Josh DeBerge, meteorologist at KSPR, has taken a position with FEMA in their External Affairs Division where he will be The Man for media relations during times of disaster in our region. No offense Josh, but we hope we don't see you around here too often, we've had our share of excitement.

Here at OzarkStorms we pride ourselves on feeling the pulse of all things Ozarks weather, so we wanted you to hear it here first. We have exclusive audition video for the next KSPR weather dude. Good luck to Kevin Lighty and Natalie Nunn, you're going to have your hands full...

In all seriousness, I wish the best for your Josh. You're young and talented, and you are going to have an exciting new role with many more to come, as early as you are getting started! These young whippersnappers...always on the move. We're going to miss you around here, take care Josh.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Severe Weather Possible - Wed/Thurs 11/5-11/6

Severe weather is expected to develop Wednesday evening into the overnight hours of Thursday. The main threat will be damaging straight line winds, however, embedded isolated tornadoes are possible.

Spotters may be needed by Wednesday night into Thursday across the area, so those of you who participate in Skywarn, now is the time to prepare. Please plan ahead and be very careful during night events.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Storm Chasers - Discovery Channel

Last night was the premier of Storm Chasers on The Discovery Channel. Now that I am rolling with HD, I was pretty happy to be able to watch this show in High Def.

It seemed like more of the same from last year's show, which is fine. I enjoy it. But one big addition this year is Reed Timmer's chasing group also in the mix. The footage from their adventure was pretty crazy and entertaining. I do want to know if the windshield getting busted was funny because Reed is rich, or because he knew Discovery was paying for it...

The image is of the TIV-2, or Tornado Intercept Vehicle, and is courtesy of Geekologie. It has a 360 degree turret for filming, flaps that go down to prevent winds from getting under the vehicle and lifting it, 2" thick glass, and full steel plate armor. The vehicle weighs around 16000 lbs. The purpose of such a beast is into a tornado and film it. Oh..and live.

It's an interesting show to watch, as long as you understand it's not something that should be attempted or encouraged.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Heading For The Area - Tornadoes Possible

Once Hurricane Ike, now Tropical Storm Ike, will be making it's way to the Ozarks. The NWS is already calling for the possibility of isolated tornadoes this afternoon and this evening. Of course flooding is also a concern.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gustav To Affect The Ozarks

The remnants of hurricane Gustav are making their way to the Ozarks. According to the Springfield National Weather Service, isolated brief weak tornadoes are possible Wednesday afternoon into Thursday. The Storm Prediction Center also mentions possible tornadoes. Of course flooding is going to be the main concern with 3-6 inches expected.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Storm Sirens - Do You Know How They Work?

The January 2008 tornadic storms that hit the area brought to light a subject that needs some attention. Once the sirens go off, when is it all clear?

The storms that occurred January 7th and 8th trained through the area, which basically means several storms followed the same path through, some with very little time in between. This caused a worst case scenario for the storm siren subject. Many people I talked to believe that when the sirens go off a second time, that means it's all clear. I HAVE NOT FOUND ONE INSTANCE WHERE THIS IS TRUE. Notice the all caps? That's because it's important to understand. STORM SIRENS DO NOT HAVE AN ALL CLEAR SIGNAL.

I polled several area emergency managers, and some of them were kind enough to respond. Here is what I found out about some of the sirens in SW MO counties:

Christian County:
  • Sirens are controlled at a city level
  • Most of them have 3 minute cycles with no all clear
Greene County:
  • Sirens are activated by Greene County officials
  • Approximately 80 sirens in the Greene County metro area activated by Greene County officials
  • Sirens in Ash Grove, Willard, Battlefield and Strafford activated by Greene County officials
  • Sirens are divided in North, South, West and East quadrants
  • Any section can be turned on independently, or they can be turned on all at once
  • Fair Grove, Walnut Grove, Rogersville and Republic turn on their sirens independently
  • Sirens run for 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off during duration of warning
  • There is no all clear signal given
McDonald County:
  • Sirens stay on for duration of warning
  • No all clear signal given
Dade County:
  • Lockwood, Greenfield, Everton and Arcola sirens sound 2 minutes on, 1 minute off
  • No all clear signal given
So of the few responses I received, the theme is consistent. STORM SIRENS DO NOT HAVE AN ALL CLEAR. If you hear the sirens, you should be taking shelter.

If anyone has information on other counties, please feel free to email me the information.

Friday, August 15, 2008

C.E.R.T. Training In September

There is a C.E.R.T. training coming up in September. In my opinion, C.E.R.T. is a great opportunity for any person or group to become involved in their own safety and protection at the very least, and involved in helping their community at the very most. You don't have to expect to use this training for it to be beneficial to you and your family. Simple things like small fire suppression, how to turn off electricity, and how to prepare for disasters big and small are good for at least one person to know in every household.

With that being said, another round of C.E.R.T. training will take place in September at the Ozark First Baptist Church at 1400 West Jackson St in Ozark, MO. Here is the schedule:

Sept 19th Fri:
6pm - 9pm Unit 1

Sept 20 Sat:
9 - 1130 Unit 2
1130 – 1230 Lunch
1230 - 215 Unit 6
300 – 400 Unit 7

Sept 26 Fri:
600 – 900 Unit 8

Sept 27 Sat:
9 - 1130 Unit 3
1130 – 1230 Lunch
1230 – 300 Unit 4
300 – 530 Unit 5

Contact Ed Hultgren for any questions or to sign up for this training. Ed is a class act, and a good trainer with on the ground experience, so don't miss your opportunity to train with the best.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Storm North of Nixa - Severe Weather Possible

I found out my phone will do panorama images. This is a severe warned thunderstorm north of Nixa at around 8:12pm. Very cool. Heads up for possible severe weather north of I44 tonight and in throughout the SW MO area on Wednesday.

UPDATE: The local Hazardous Weather Outlook for Wednesday 8/6 is calling for severe weather later this afternoon and tonight, with the main threat being isolated wind gusts to 60MPH, d hail to the size of nickels, and torrential rainfall. The Storm Prediction Center's Convective Outlook also mentions the possibility of an isolated tornado or two.

Make sure and have your NOAA All Hazards radio ready.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Survive The Storm - KSPR

I just went through all four segments of the Survive The Storm special by KSPR. It is very informative, and has a great overview of the tools they use on air to get the word out. I wanted to pass it along, because I think the Ozark Storms readers should know this information about storms, and will probably find the tools cool.

Something that should go hand in hand with all of it is everyone in the Ozarks should have a NOAA All Hazards Radio.

Be safe.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Severe Storms Possible Today

While some thunderstorm activity is possible this morning, severe storms are possible later today. The main threat will be wind, hail, torrential rainfall and deadly lightning. As of 7am, the HWO notes that spotter activation may be needed later this afternoon and evening.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weather Warrior Get Together

There is a local networking site called Ozarks Weather Fans made up of local weather enthusiasts, including the KSPR weather team. About a month ago, my daughter turned me on to this site, and the KSPR blog and live chat. The local enthusiasts call themselves Weather Warriors, and have had a couple of get togethers so far. She has been waiting patiently to go to the July Weather Warrior get together to meet everyone.

We had a great time at Lamberts with the local Weather Warriors, including the KSPR Weather Team pictured above (I'm the short one!). From left to right Natalie Nunn, Josh DeBerge Kevin Lighty (WX9KSL) are three of the nicest and genuine people you will ever meet. Not to mention their sense of humor... Daniel Brown (KC0SPZ), a Master Control Operator for the station also came, he's a great guy. It was great to meet Mindi and her family, and Gary. I'm anxious for the next get together in September now!

If you're visiting here, I'm fairly certain you're into weather. You should check out the Ozarks Weather Fans site. It gives users an avenue to discuss weather, post photos, etc.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

East, Southeast...what's the difference really?

When intercepting storms, the direction of the road and direction of the storm are of the utmost importance. The May 10th tornadic event really had me evaluating this subject. There were two factors on that day that really drove it home. First, the fact that the storms were moving east, then southeast. The second was the trip down Mo-248 when trying to get out of the storm paths.

Understanding Storm Movement
First, it's very important to pay close attention to the storm warnings as they are issued. The National Weather Service has all of the cool tools, so when they give storm direction, it's important to listen to that. It's very easy to miss when out spotting/chasing because we typically have multiple radios going, and sometimes we are involved in 2-way communication. Actually it's common to be in 2-way communication with 2 or 3 people. (Is that 3-way and 4-way, or 4-way and 6-way?)

Second, it's important to understand storms can change movement. Some storms will become "right movers", and those that do often have the potential to be more severe. So it is important to not get so entranced by a storm that common sense and visual inspection get overridden. The NWS may report a storm is moving down a specific path, but we have to stay on our toes in case mother nature changes things up.

Understanding The Roads

Getting into unfamiliar territory can be problematic. This is why one of my rules that I try to stick to is to always have a passenger to help with navigation if I am in an area I'm not used to. On May 10th, we ended up in the Aurora area, which I have not traveled much. When the main storm coming from the Newton County area was reported to be headed our way, we went south. Once we were past the point of no return, another tornado warning was issued for a storm down that way. The spotters that went north ended up in a similar situation when moving north away from the Newton County storm were caught between that one and a tornado warning issued for Jasper County coming out of the Carthage area.

We had to make decisions fast, and to be quite frank, we felt they were decisions that could mean the difference between escaping a confirmed damaging tornado, or putting ourselves in it's path. We were comfortable with our knowledge of storms and the track of the current storms, but not with the roads in the area. We made the best decision we could make with the information we had, but in hindsight, we could have made better choices. If we had known how Highway 248 routed, we certainly would have. But I've already written about that.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Trtan of KOLR10 this year, and we talked about the May 4th, 2003 video shot from the back window of their vehicle by Nick Penka as they were running from that killer storm. The subject of road direction came up and Tom said they ended up closer to that storm than expected because the road they were fleeing on actually was more northeast than east, so they were staying in the path of the storm when they thought they were getting out of it's way. That was a close call!


All of this to say that if you do spot or chase, don't get too comfortable. Remember the first thing to plan is your escape, which means you must know your road options. If you don't spot or chase, this is just another one of the dangers that you should be aware of before you consider doing so. Training is so important, because when it's panic time, training is what will kick in. All four spot/chase teams I worked with on May 10th had to make the same decisions we did, and we all made it out fine.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thank You MSU - Upward Bound Students

Thanks for having me out today. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the group about storm spotting and how SkyWarn functions in our area. I hope I kept it interesting for you, I know that time of the morning is hard for me to get going. You guys were a great group with great questions.

If there are any questions I can answer, you can find my email address at the bottom right of this site. I enjoy talking about weather and spotting, so no question will be a bother to me.

Take care.

Friday, June 27, 2008

C.E.R.T. Presentation

Thank you to Ed Hultgren for inviting me out to speak to the latest Christian County C.E.R.T. group. It was a pleasure to present about SkyWarn and weather, which is a real passion of mine. I met Ed when I went through C.E.R.T. training last go around, and he is a true inspiration. He pours his heart and soul into giving back to the community and helping people, through C.E.R.T. and through Rural Compassion. You guys are lucky to have him.

To the group I met tonight, please don't hesitate to send any questions or comments to my email address found on the right menu of the website. Good luck with C.E.R.T., and maybe I'll see you at your training exercise.

Severe Storms Possible - Friday (6/27) and Saturday (6/28)

Severe weather is possible in the Ozarks today, especially after 6pm to Midnight. The possibility exists again on Saturday afternoon.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Funnel Cloud - June 19, 2008

This image submitted to The Springfield News Leader was taken by Bobby Stack at 65 and Division.

You can see all of the images from this storm that were submitted there by clicking here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Springfield, MO EF1 Tornado - June 19, 2008

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was in affect this afternoon when a Tornado Warning was issued at 3:06 PM. The storm blew up north of Springfield and moved south causing damage along 65 highway. Fortunately I haven't heard any reports of injuries. The NWS has confirmed that this was an EF1 tornado.


Initial reports suggested the storm would go more over near Strafford and then the Rogersville area. I work in the area of Republic Road and Glenstone, and we made the decision to set off the internal tornado alarm once it was obvious the storm was moving more south along 65 and staying in the Springfield area. We already had given a heads up and verbally moved people to the halls, but when reports were coming in about a funnel and confirmed damage on 65, we took it to the next step and sounded the alarms to make sure everyone was aware to move to the designated areas. It's the first time I remember working there over the last 13 years that we actually sounded them.

Ironically enough, I was in a car with 3 others driving down 65 in the area the tornado hit just an hour before. Guess what we were talking about when we drove by the buildings that later took damage? Yep. Storm spotting/chasing, and the dangers of severe weather. Weird.

I'll post more information about the storms when I have it available. Until then, you can view some great viewer photos at the KY3 site.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Severe Weather - Sunday June 15, 2008

I'm a little late here, but here's a picture of the storms that came through last Sunday. Here's a cool picture from last Sunday, I caught my storm chase vehicle in it. I'm kidding, this is a picture from James French (KC0TQD)from the Bolivar area.

June 13 2008 Flooding - SW MO

I'm a little late on posting this because I was camping this weekend. Yes, I was waiting to LEAVE on Friday while the rains of biblical proportions came down. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I'll point you folks to Chris Brewer's site where he did a nice summary of the event.

Camping wasn't bad at all. We were up at Lake Pomme de Terre. It was a little wet the first day, but nothing unbearable. We had a blast! We packed up Sunday and headed back home around Noon. It's a good thing I guess, the area we were camping went under a tornado warning shortly after we got home. But..that's the next post.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Iowa/Wisconsin/Kansas Storms - June 11th and 12th

What a horrible storm season it has been so far. The folks in Iowa and Wisconsin are dealing with flooding of historic proportions. Tornadoes have been in the news for several days it seems. The boy scout camp in Iowa that got hit is such a sad situation. It seems as though it's not going to let up for a few days either.

Here is a picture taken by Garry Brownlee of a super cell thunderstorm that went through the Witchita/Derby area on Thursday, June 12th.

My heart goes out to those affected. While the reports of injuries and deaths is very sad, things could have been much worse at KSU and the Little Sioux Scout Ranch.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Severe Weather Possible - June 12th and 13th, 2008

Severe weather is possible later in the day today, including the possibility of isolated tornadoes. This will mainly be along the MO - KS border. This severe threat will move further eastward into SW MO late tonight and continue on tomorrow.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Severe Weather - June 5th and 6th

Severe weather is likely on June 5th and 6th in the Midwest. At the time of this post, it looks like SW MO may be spared the heaviest. However, the National Weather Service is forecasting a tornado outbreak for Kansas and other areas that will rival the 1974 killer outbreak.

You should stay tuned to local weather forecasts. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

I'll be out of pocket for this round. Be safe everyone.

UPDATE: Folks along the MO/KS border may have a tornadic threat today. This will likely become an overnight/early morning event for the rest of SW MO. Please monitor weather updates.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Severe Weather Possible Memorial Day

The Storm Prediction Center shows SW MO in a slight risk for severe weather over the next two days. Make sure your NOAA All Hazards Radio is on and backed up by battery.

Well, a nice long weekend at Campbell Point at Table Rock Lake ended up being a short one. Brake light issues delayed our exit Friday night because we didn't want to get rear ended with the camper. The tornado watch and approaching severe weather ended the trip early on Sunday. So, it was a one nighter.

We no sooner pulled out of the park and the storms were approaching. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for Barry county just as we crossed into Barry from Stone. The campground is on the Stone/Barry line. We were going to take 39 up to Aurora, then 60 to 14 back to Nixa. Jenkins was in the path of the storms, which was north of us on our route, so it was 76 to 160 to get home.

All in all, it ended up being a dud day yesterday, but the ingredients were there for it to be nasty. We prefer to not be out in a camper in that mess, and to be honest, we'd prefer to not pack up wet the next day, even if it just rained. So we were glad to get home and not have to mess with it. We really know how to rough it, huh?

So I guess while we were out camping on Saturday, Oklahoma got hit pretty hard. Here's dramatic video of a tornado absolutely decimating a pig farm.

Here's more footage from the air...amazing views for sure.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rotary Club of Nixa

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Nixa for inviting me out to speak today on storm spotting. It was a pleasure meeting the fine folks in this organization. We touched on SkyWarn, the logistics of spotting, safety, and talked about some actual tornadic events in the area.

Here is a link to the video representing the danger of being in a vehicle in a tornado in case it was hard to see on the screen.

Here is a link to the video we didn't have time to watch from January 7th, 2008. It shows the funnel cloud over James River and Kansas Expressway with audio from the SkyWarn network. In it you can hear:
  • Me give specific information as to the location of the funnel
  • Another SkyWarn spotter confirming what I was seeing
  • SkyWarn net control confirming and relaying the information to the National Weather Service
  • Warning information communicated to the spotters
Don't forget to look into a NOAA All Hazards Radio if you don't already have one. Here is a post regarding what to look for, etc. The events we talked about (and more) are documented on this site. You can visit the "Blog Archives" on the right side menu at the bottom, with information back to 2003.

Also, as a group you should kick around the idea of getting CERT training. I think it would be something your group would enjoy doing together, and provide a great base of knowledge that can benefit your family and neighbors. If it's something you want to look into, please email me and I will make sure you have all of the information you need.

Again, thank you for having me, and please don't hesitate to shoot me an email with any questions you may have.

Monday, May 19, 2008

May 10, 2008 Radar

I finally had time this weekend to grab the historical radar images from the May 10, 2008 deadly tornado in Southwest Missouri. I posted on the site in the past about the "hook echo" that appears on radar when there is a tornado. Below are the radar images from Picher, OK and Racine, MO

In this radar image you can see the storm right before the EF-4 tornado hit Picher, OK. Wind speeds were estimated at 165-175 MPH. Six people died in Picher. Shortly after this, a second tornado formed to the north of this one and merged into a mile wide tornado as it crossed into Missouri.

In this radar image you can see the mile wide EF-4 tornado has already moved through the Racine, MO area. Winds were estimated at 170 MPH, throwing cars up to a 1/2 mile. 13 people died in this area, including a firefighter/spotter who is credited with saving 3 lives.

This was a very large and devastating tornado. Because of the terrain it covered and the SE movement of the storm, it was nearly impossible for spotters that were east of it to intercept. I'll save that topic for another posting later.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trained Spotter/Firefighter/Hero Dies

Tyler Casey, 21, passed away Monday from injuries received in the line of duty. Casey was a trained storm spotter and a volunteer firefighter. He was out there protecting people at his own cost, and in the end, he paid the ultimate price. He was a very brave man, and a hero.

On Saturday June 10th, Tyler was storm spotting for the Seneca Area Fire Protection District at Missouri Highway 43 and Iris road in Newton County when he saw the mile wide EF-4 tornado approaching. Instead of moving to safety, Casey started warning those around him, and was unable to escape the storm. He is credited with saving at least 3 lives while giving his own.

Casey leaves behind a 2 year old daughter, and an expecting fiance. Tyler, I salute you for your bravery and commitment to protecting others. Godspeed my friend.

News Story About Tyler

Severe Weather Possible Tuesday, May 13

Severe weather, including the possibility for tornadoes, is possible later today. Please monitor local conditions and prepare your NOAA All Hazard Radios.

Be safe.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How Chasers Become The Chased - May 10, 2008

On Saturday May 10, 2008 a group of four chase vehicles went to intercept tornadic storm moving into the area. These storms were wrapped in heavy rain, which made them nearly impossible to see from the eastern side. My chase partner and I moved south out of the path of the main storm, and ended up in an area where the view to the west was completely obstructed. Then we ended up in a situation that didn't look so good when mother nature decided to introduce a second tornadic storm to the south of the first one. A third tornadic storm north of the original one also came into play. Because of this, all four chase vehicles ended up in a situation similar to the one I outlined below.

Part 1 - The Chase

Part 2 - The Chase

Part 3 - The Chase

Part 4 - The Chase

While we can't control mother nature, we can be well trained and be part of an excellent SkyWarn communications network. These two things allow us to make solid decisions to stay as safe as we can. Without both of these, May 10th could have turned into a bad deal. Thank you to the National Weather Service and the SkyWarn folks who work to get information out there, which in turn allows those of us out mobile to stay safe.

The great loss of life is very sad. Those of us who volunteer our time for the SkyWarn program do it to get information back to the NWS so the public can be warned of impending danger. While the storms that killed so many were preceeded by lead time warnings, it didn't seem to help some. It's my hope that the efforts of the volunteers who provide information back to the NWS saved some lives on May 10, 2008. If one life was saved because of the information provided, it was worth it.

My prayers to those who were not able to get to safety and were impacted by these storms.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Deadly Tornadoes - May 10, 2008

SkyWarn Audio From May 10, 2008 Courtesy of David Williams (KE7ABH)

On Saturday May 10th, 2008 large damaging tornadoes affected Northeast OK, Southeast KS and Southwest MO. A few chase vehicles left the Springfield, MO area to intercept, but in the end, the tornadoes were wrapped in rain from the east side. There was no way to safely get in behind them from the east. In the end, the chasers became the chased. Below is the chase log from myself and my chase partner.

I contacted Jeff Kerr (KC0VGC) around 13:30 to confirm he was prepared to head out due to the moderate risk for severe weather, including large tornadoes. Shortly after 16:00 I started tracking a storm that was moving across southern KS. This discreet supercell caught my attention, and was the first indication that the forecast for severe weather was going to pan out. I contacted Jeff Kerr (KC0VGC) a little later to let him know it was time to head out.

I picked Kerr up around 17:20 and we headed west toward Mt. Vernon to meet up with Brant (N0BFR), Bob (N0XJJ), Rich (KB9YZE) and Brian (KC0JYE). Before we could get to Mt. Vernon, reports started coming in from the Baxter Springs, KS area confirming tornado damage. My wife contacted her family in Baxter Springs, and they were seeking shelter in their bathroom and their house was being battered by baseball size hail. They had one baseball size hail stone go through both layers of glass and land in their laundry room, and one that went completely through their soffit.

The team quickly decided that Mt. Vernon was likely in the path of this storm, and we all moved south towards Aurora to get a southern view of the storm as it approached. Brant and Bobby headed west towards Monett, while the rest of us met up in Aurora to form a plan. Things got pretty crazy at that point.

Jim Sellars (N0UAM) contacted us to let us know this was a very dangerous storm, and it was headed in our direction. Brian broke off and headed west to meet up with Brant and Bob were redirected to head towards the Mt. Vernon area because of another tornado heading just north of there, while Jeff and I moved further south on Highway 39 with Rich. Upon reviewing our map, and the towns in the path of this storm (Neosho, Newtonia, Stark City, Purdy), we decided we were still in the path of a storm.

Unfortunately, once we moved further south on Highway 39 towards Jenkins, our view to the west was completely obstructed. We made the decision to continue south out of the storm path because we did not have a clear view. Then the sickening news, another tornadic storm was reported in Cassville (yes, a possible third tornado), and was headed towards our escape point. Three tornadoes in a small vicinity all moving east towards us...that made for an interesting scenario. (Interesting = "Great, now what?")

We were forced to make a decision with the information we had. The decision we made was to continue south until we got to Highway 248, then to head east towards Galena and on to Reeds Spring so we could get on Highway 160 with an easy north/south escape option. This was a good decision, our only real option, but a very dangerous situation. Highway 248 took us quite a bit back north before we could head east. While we were making this trip, the big storm was to our north, and another was to our west/southwest, and it was gaining on us.

As we arrived in Galena, we came to a point where we were to go right to Reeds Spring, or left to Crane. No sooner did I utter the words "we'll keep going towards Reeds Spring" when the wind suddenly shifted direction and was clearly inflow into the storm that was behind us. Now when I say the wind changed directions, I don't mean a subtle change, I mean an immediate 180 degree snap of the wind and rain started blowing toward the storm. I made a split second decision to head towards Crane in hopes the storm was still moving east or southeast.

Rain and hail started driving hard against the windshield, and for about a minute, I thought the windshield was going to break. Fortunately, I think the hail was pea to penny size tops, but with the wind, it sounded alot worse. The highway to Crane led back to the northwest. Ironically, we chose very specifically to not take TT highway east from Highway 39, but it would have been the quickest route east for us. Unfortunately, at the time we chose not to take it, we were worried about one tornado, not three. Had it been simply a decision of escape, and not better positioning, I think TT would have been a better option.

A few minutes later, the nasty reports started coming in from the Galena to Reeds Spring area. Kerr says, "I think you made the right decision back there". On our way to Crane, while Kerr and I were enjoying the break in the clouds, and our safety, we passed Rich (who had taken TT) and was now heading towards the Galena area to get in behind the storm. At this point, going back into that situation wasn't something Kerr and I wanted to do. We dealt with uncertainty for 2o or 30 minutes, and quite frankly a few moments of horror, and we were glad to be out from under that storm and in a position where we could clearly see the approaching weather.

It's very concerning when we are in bad terrain, there's a storm behind us that is tornadic, and one just to our north (which was moving east-southeast) that has already caused confirmed damage and injuries. From what I understand, all four chase vehicles were faced with this situation yesterday, and everyone stayed calm (it's a relative term, but true) and made educated decisions based on multiple information sources. Everyone made it out safe, which is the most important thing.

At the time of this posting, the report is 20 fatalities. My heart goes out to those affected by this storm.

Tornadoes Devastated OK-KS-MO Area

Multiple large tornadoes devastated the four state area on Saturday, May 10th. One tornado was reportedly 3/4 mile wide. It's going to be a sad Mother's Day on Sunday for many families, after at least 19 people are reported dead. Most of those who did not make it were in Newton County. I expect that number is going to rise as the day goes on.

The hardest hit areas were:
  • Picher, OK
  • Baxter Springs, KS
  • Racine, MO
  • Purdy, MO
  • Newtonia, MO
YouTube video, some of which was shot SW of Joplin according to the poster:

Myself and other spotters were out for this event, and I will post a chase log soon. Right now, I would just like to say my prayers go out to those affected. I'm heartbroken that this storm system has caused this much loss of life.

I'll post more later.

Severe Weather Today - Saturday 5/10

Severe weather is possible late this afternoon including the possibility of isolated tornadoes. Get your NOAA All Hazards Radio ready and stay tuned.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Amazing Tornado Footage

Footage from a CCTV camera in Leighton, AL. I believe this occurred on May 8th, 2008.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Severe Storms Possible - Wed May 7th

Severe weather is expected in the area Wednesday afternoon and evening, including the possibility of isolated tornadoes. Fire up the NOAA All Hazards Radio and stay tuned.

Be safe.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Severe Weather - Early Morning 5/2/08

Severe weather rolled through the area during the early morning hours of May 2nd, 2008. Much of the area had thunderstorm wind gusts around 60-70 MPH. The storms moved into Missouri after they dropped tornadoes in Arkansas. Six people were killed there, including a 15 year old girl when a tree fell on her home.

After moving into Missouri, power was knocked out in Ozark (Christian County), causing schools to be closed for the day. In Ava (Douglas County) straight line winds and an EF-0 tornado damaged several homes and barns as well as some buildings on the town square.

Something new we will start presenting here is audio from the Springfield area SkyWarn net. Thank you to David Williams KE7ABH for recording these, and all of the work he does for the SkyWarn group.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Severe Weather Possible Thu 5/1 and Fri 5/2

Severe weather is possible, including the threat of tornadoes, Thursday evening into Friday. More information will be available on Thursday as to the timing and threat levels of this storm system.

Be safe.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

NOAA All Hazards Radio - Own One!

Ok, so I try to follow up each post regarding severe weather threats with a reminder to battery up and turn on your NOAA All Hazards Radio (AKA Weather Alert Radio). Some of you may not know exactly what that is, so let me do my best to explain and make suggestions. If you get bored, at least go to the end to read the suggestions I make.

A NOAA All Hazards Radio is a radio that receives transmissions free from the National Weather Service (NWS). In times of severe weather, or other hazards, a tone is sent that will activate the radio to alert you so that you don't have to have it on all the time to be warned. These can be purchased for approximately $40.

Several years ago, a technology emerged with these radios that allowed the NWS to send a special code in the alert that would activate radios for specific counties. This technology is called SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding). I could go into lots of details, but basically what this means is you can avoid being annoyed by alerts for areas you don't need to be concerned about.

Back in the day, when I had my first radio, this technology wasn't around, and my radio went off for the entire county warning area for Springfield, so that meant as severe weather moved from the eastern KS counties, all the way over to SE MO. That was bad mojo. It encouraged owners to shut them off eventually, especially those who lived on the western edge where the weather had cleared.

These radios can save your life, and at the bare minimum, offer you a peace of mind when you go to bed at night when you are expecting severe weather. Let's avoid this quote from ever being printed again - "The National Weather Service had issued warnings for the area about 30 minutes before the tornado struck, but many people were asleep and not aware of them."

I do not recommend any brand or place of purchase. But I will offer examples that will help the person with no technical abilities. These examples will cost a bit more money, and those who are capable of configuring the radios themselves, well, by all means save some money and order they online or something.


  1. Get a radio with S.A.M.E. technology. You only want it to go off for the areas that concern you, not for all 37 counties the Springfield NWS office warns for. That will get annoying, and you will end up shutting it off. Don't buy a radio without S.A.M.E.
  2. If it is a pain in the butt, you won't buy it or use it. If you don't want to hassle with setup yourself, you can get one at Radio Shack, and they will program it for you in the store. They work on commission, so they are happy to help you if you buy one from them. The price difference is well worth it if this is your reason for not owning one.
  3. Have the radio programmed for your county and the county(ies) to your W and SW. Since most storms move NE or E, this will allow you to get warnings for storms moving into your area, but not yet there. If you live on the southern edge of your county, maybe even the county to your south would be good.
  4. There are radios now that not only can be set to only go off for specified counties, but you can set them to only go off for certain watches and warnings. A watch means conditions are favorable for the type of watch posted (tornado watch, severe thunderstorm watch, etc). A warning means that type of weather event is currently happening. So if you only want to be alerted for tornado warnings, for example, then you can program it to do that. The reason this is good is that you can avoid being awakened by an alarm for a flash flood warning if you don't have to worry about flash floods. I consider this feature to be a MUST have.
So there you have it. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, I'll be glad to help guide you in the right direction. My contact information is listed in the right side menu. I feel very strongly about this subject, and want to encourage everyone to own one to protect themselves and their families. Be safe.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Severe Weather Possible Through 4/25

Severe weather is possible through Friday in Southwest Missouri. There aren't a whole lot of details yet. It doesn't look like it's going to be outbreak conditions or anything, but strong to severe none the less.

Now is a good time to make sure your NOAA All Hazards radio has a good battery and is set to alert mode.

Be safe.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Where Do NWS Personnel Take Shelter?

The brave and diligent souls who man (or woman) the helm during severe weather in the Ozarks are not immune to taking shelter during severe weather. During the January 7th-8th outbreak, they were forced to take shelter as a storm moved over the National Weather Service office on the edge of the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport.

One wonders, "Where do NWS employees take shelter?". After all, they always remind the public to seek shelter in a basement. Do they have one? The answer is no. But what they do have, is a concrete and steel reinforced safe room in close proximity to the forecast center.

It's not like a safe room you or I would install in our home. Theirs is special. What makes it special? Not the addition of remote radar display equipment, or backup forecast tools. What makes it special is the refrigerator and dining area. Yes folks, their safe room is their break room! It makes you wonder, if forecasters are working hours on end through an event like January 7th-8th, do they hope for a tornadic supercell to go over the office so they can grab a coffee and a doughnut?

All joking aside, I hear it's not easy to get the NWS folks into shelter, they are a very dedicated bunch. When they do take shelter for a couple of minutes, warnings are coordinated through other pre-determined neighboring forecast offices.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Tornadoes Didn't Show...The Flooding Continues

Well, the severe weather just didn't come together in SW MO like it was expected to. That was good news. The bad news was the rain still showed up. And boy did it show...
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to release water from Table Rock Lake, and issued this emergency message on Thursday 4/10:



It's not really a message you want to see if you live along the shores...

While an EF-0 tornado did touch down in Douglas County, it's certainly the flood waters that are keeping us busy. Visit the Branson Missouri blog to see great photos from downtown Branson, and the issues resulting from this water release.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Severe Weather Probable on Thursday 4/10

Updated Thursday 4/10 at 11:49am:

Forecasts for days have been suggesting a nasty weather event for Thursday 4/10. The National Weather Service expects isolated tornadoes, golf ball size hail and damaging winds in excess of 60 MPH. The timing of this is sketchy, but it's looking like late afternoon for the Springfield area, and earlier for SE KS.

Prepare now. I know the last two predictions haven't panned out for the Springfield area, however, this one isn't likely to back down.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Severe Weather Possible Mon 4/7 and Tues 4/9

From the NWS 1 p.m. Hazardous Weather Outlook:

EDIT: As of Tuesday 10:26am the risk has moved to the east. All clear until Thursday I think. More to follow.

For Monday:


For Tuesday:


The bold area in red is a great reason to own a Weather Alert radio. If you don't have one, buy one. Those who do own one should make sure they are on, backed up with a battery, and ready to go.

Be safe.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Severe Storms Possible - Thursday, April 3rd

Conditions are coming together for more severe weather on Thursday. The NWS Hazardous Weather Outlook states:


Now is the time to consider safety plans and make sure your weather alert radios are on and ready. Be safe.

March 31st Tornadoes - 9 Confirmed

The National Weather Service has posted a summary of the March 31st event. There were nine confirmed tornadoes and numerous reports of flash flooding.

Read the summary here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday March 31, 2008 - Buffalo, MO Hit Hard

Blog post updated at 3:38pm 4/1/08 with tornado information.

At least 43 businesses and 13 homes were damaged or destroyed in Buffalo, MO today from the storms that roared through the area. The city of Buffalo was surprised by the storm, and was not able to sound the sirens.

Justin Gann (KC0EUJ), a fellow amateur radio operator whose truck is pictured to the right, had this to say:

"We were all in the PIP Internet building where I work watching it rain out the window and all the sudden everyone was running and looking for cover. The next thing we know the windows are blown out and we were looking at all the damage. It was all pretty sudden no tornado sirens or anything. The girlfriend of one of the guys was in the white car in the pic. She said she got in the back seat and laid down as it busted her window out. She was lucky."

The National Weather Service survey team has determined the following:


Monday March 31st, 2008 - Earthquake in SE MO

The severe weather was the headline, but did you know a 2.8 earthquake hit just north of Poplar Bluff, MO today?



Sunday, March 30, 2008

Severe Weather Expected Monday 3/31/08

From the National Weather Service regarding Monday:


It's spring folks, have the weather alert radios ready, and a plans in place.

UPDATE: We are already under a tornado watch. The forecast calls for a tornado possibility all day long into the night. We are going to get 3 waves. One preliminary line this morning, the main threat this afternoon, then a squall line tonight. Please monitor the NWS or local media to keep abreast of the situation.

Friday, March 28, 2008

March 27, 2008 - Severe Wx

Much to my surprise, Southwest Missouri was put into a slight risk box on Thursday, March 27th. Shortly after realizing this (as Jeff Kerr KC0VGC predicted) we were issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch. I didn't have a strong feeling we would see anything out of this weather system, but things started rapidly changing at 6:56 PM when a tornado warning was issued for Barry County.

I had been watching this cell develop on radar and it appeared to show signs of a hook echo, so I wasn't surprised when the warning was issued. I geared up and headed out to intercept. While heading south to the Christian/Taney county line I met up with Ian Horton (KB0UTW). We proceeded south to Branson West after debating whether or not we could get south of the storm in time. Once there, the storm fell apart and below severe limits.

While heading down, we talked with Tyler Costantini (KB0PQP) who was observing this storm from the back side. He reported that it did have turbulence and rotation at one time. I did grab a screen shot from video of this storm observing from the south looking north to the Christian and Taney county lines. The picture isn't impressive at all, but you can see the clear slot in the back of the storm and the anvil.

After this I headed home, and monitored as more storms fired up and moved west to east. One storm in particular came just south of my house, and appeared to have a hook echo. In fact, there was indication on GRLevel3 of a meso and other radar images appeared to indicate opposing winds inside the storm. Since it persisted for about 15 minutes, I went ahead and took the family to the basement as it passed by. The little red plus symbol west of Ozark is my house, which is on the south side of Nixa. The little red circle is the meso indicator. I'm not questioning why the NWS did not issue a warning, but this storm concerned me, so I took precautions. Just after this radar image, this storm broke up.

All in all, it wasn't a horrible night. I understand there were confirmed tornadoes in the Rolla area, but nothing too bad.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Above Normal Flood Conditions Exist

According to to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this spring will present a higher than normal risk of flooding, as already evident by the recent flooding in the Midwest. From an article on NOAA's website:

“We expect rains and melting snow to bring more flooding this spring,” said Vickie Nadolski, deputy director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Americans should be on high alert to flood conditions in your communities. Arm yourselves with information about how to stay safe during a flood and do not attempt to drive on flooded roadways – remember to always turn around, don’t drown.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March 18, 2008 SW MO Flooding Followup

Images have been flying around the Springfield emails in the last 24 hours with great aerial footage of the flooding in the Greene and Christian county area. The website where these are posted lists Josh Martin as the photographer, and the date of pics were from one day after my photos, on Wednesday March 19th, at around 2pm Central time.

Based on the timing of these pics, the water had receded from the day before when I grabbed pics and video.

This image below from the US 160 and AA highway area just south of the Christian/Greene is from the same area as my photos here and here and here.

The images below correspond to my photos here and here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Severe Flooding in SW MO

A severe flood event is underway here in SW Missouri. Water rescues are happening all around the region, at least 1 fatality has been reported today. I documented some of the flooding events around the Nixa, MO area this afternoon. I took video and still shots. The rain is STILL coming down. More than 6 inches of rain has fallen in about 24 hours in the area in which the images are from.

There are so many areas covered by flood waters in Christian county, they have run out of Road Closed signs and barricades. People, be careful out there. It's entirely possible, as you can see at the end of my video, to come across a flooded area with no barricades. From what I understand, they are feverishly working to get more barricades to block off these spots.

Be smart. Turn around, don't drown.

Here is a Google Maps layout of the locations documented in the video and stills.

Pictures of the James River at Highway 160 and AA just south of the Christian County and Green County lines.

Image from just north of the intersection of Farm Road 192 and 141.

Image from Tracker Road in Nixa, MO just west of Highway 160.

Image from the Riverdale area, West of Ozark, MO


Monday, March 17, 2008

Isolated Tornadoes Possible - Monday 3/17/08

Conditions are coming together for severe storms this afternoon and tonight. Strong vertical wind shear combined with moderate instability may lead to the development of large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes as the system moves across the area.

If you do not have a weather alert radio, you should get one. Walgreens, Walmart, Radio Shack and many other places carry them. Get one with SAME technology so you can set it to go off for your county and the one to your west for lead time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

KOLR10 Storm Academy 2008

The KOLR10 Storm Academy 2008 was quite a success. There was a HUGE turnout, and a great agenda. A few of the Skywarn spotters from the local coverage area participated with two storm chasers from Kansas in a one hour forum on the similarities and differences of each group. The spotters were Brant Sheppard (N0BFR), Bob Hessee (N0XJJ), Mike Rains (K0RFI), Brian DePriest (KC0JYE), and Jeff Morrissey (KB0WVT). The chasers were Tyler Costantini (KB0PQP) and Joey Ketcham (KD0CFR). I felt the information provided was top notch and very educational.
Some of the forums besides the spotter/chaser topic were:

  • January 7th, 2008 NWS - Doug Cramer, NWS
  • January 7th, 2008 Live TV Coverage - Ted Keller, Tom Trtan
  • Covering the Outbreak - Chris Grogan
  • Mobile Weather Lab - Jill Gilardi

The January 7th information from almost all perspectives was really interesting. The audience heard from the NWS, the TV meteorologists and the reporters who covered the outbreak as they described the many angles in which this outbreak was handled. I would have liked to seen a spotter angle as well, but in all fairness I didn't think about that until I was writing this.

It was a pleasure to sit and talk with both Ted Keller and Tom Trtan. Those guys are two genuine weather weenies who not only love what they do, but love bouncing ideas and talking about it. Now it's no secret that Tom Trtan and Bob Hessee are like Dr. Evil and Mini Me. But the picture to the right is photographic evidence that Big Tom and Little Tom not only look alike, but don't seem to mind it too much.

Dowtown Atlanta Hit By Tornado

Downtown Atlanta was hit by a tornado last night. It sounds like they were very lucky with 27 reported injuries. The tornado is reported to have hit the Georgia Dome with 18,000 fans inside. Apparently a warning was issued just prior. I don't know how long the Georgia Dome had to warn the fans, but I have posted my thoughts on this type of situation before.

"There was no announcement of the approaching storm for the 18,000 fans inside the Georgia Dome for the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament. The first sign was a rumbling from above and the rippling of the Fiberglas fabric roof. Catwalks swayed and insulation rained down on players during overtime of the Mississippi State-Alabama game, sending fans fleeing toward the exits and the teams to their locker rooms."

Fox News Story

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Storm Academy 2008

KOLR10 is putting on a weather seminar called Storm Academy this Saturday, March 15th. It will be from 9am to 1pm at OTC. Topics will include weird weather, the January 7th and 8th 2008 outbreak, Spotters and Chasers, and more. Click the link below for more information.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NWS Spotter Training - Christian County

Wow! It was a blowout crowd at the Nixa Community Center. NWS Senior Forecaster Megan Terry (KC5YNO) did a solo appearance and conducted the training. She came across as very knowledgeable on the subject matter, and intelligent and witty, which made this educational presentation an enjoyable event.

The crowd was made up of all types, general public, law enforcement, fire and EMT personnel, amateur radio operators, SkyWarn spotters, and even TV meteorologists. Both Dave Snider and Brandon Beck from KY3 came, and even brought there sons. Brandon was behind me and out of my sight, but I can tell Dave is really into his son, and is a proud dad. He looks bigger on TV, though.

The count was around 107 people. Megan did a great job projecting her voice and a great job managing the large crowd by herself. Nice work Megan.

KY3's Coverage of the Spotter Training

Monday, March 10, 2008

La Nina Could Impact 2008 Tornado Season

KY3 meteorologist Dave Snider has posted a special report about La Nina and the potential impact to the 2008 storm season, including the possibility of "changing the average storm track and increasing the number of severe weather and tornado days around the heart of the United States". Click the image below to read this interesting article.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Winter Storm Update

Well, what a difference a mile or two makes. In Nixa, we had 1.3 inches measured. Here at work in SE Springfield, 3 inches measured. I'm hearing that a few miles West of here 8 inches fell. That's a HUGE difference.

One that that doesn't change between 1 inch and 8 inches, however, is the horrible driving. It's pretty sad to see overturned vehicles on the road with only an inch or two on the ground.

EDIT: Sniderman posted this link in the comments section that shows the snowfall maps from the NWS.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Here We Go Again - Winter Storm Warning 3/3/08

Another round of winter weather is moving in. First sleet, then 1/4 - 1 inch of ice, then 5 - 8 inches of snow. 24 hours ago, I was getting my gear ready for possible severe weather. I'm starting to see a pattern here...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ozark Storms - Best Resource Blog 2008

Ozark Storms was awarded the Best Resource Blog 2008 by the Springfield Local Area Blogger's Association. Thank you to everyone who cast a Blogaronis vote for Ozark Storms. It was a pleasure to spend time with the other local bloggers at the awards ceremony. Fat Jack did a great job hosting the event. Thanks to all for their hospitality and being kind to a new face.

There is some real talent in that group, not to mention diversity. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. It's been great to go through the list and visit blogs I haven't been to before. My RSS reader subscription list has grown!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Major Ice Storm - February 11th, 2008

Damaging winter weather has devastated the SW MO area once again. Ice and sleet blasted in on Monday February 11th, and caused hazardous travel, major tree damage and power outages. From my observation, this was worse than the one that hit January 14th, 2007. The damage and power outages back then may have been worse, but had that 2007 storm not already caused major tree damage and cleared the way, this storm would have done the same and probably worse.

Ice accumulation in the Springfield area was in the neighborhood of one inch or more. Trees took the brunt of the damage this time, and in turn caused power outages in the area. At the JMo homestead, we were without power two times, once during the day for about three hours, and once during the night for about four hours. Springfield schools were canceled February 11th, 12th and word is just in they are also going to be closed on Wednesday February 13th.