Breakdown: Why storms never developed Friday for most of the Mid-South

Breakdown: Why storms never developed Friday for most of the Mid-South

(WMC) - On Thursday evening, The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a large enhanced risk area across the Mid-South for Friday evening. Late Friday afternoon, SPC then issued a Tornado Watch until 2 a.m. Saturday for most of the Mid-South.

All the blue and green dots are severe weather reports. Almost all of the Mid-South and TN Valley escaped the storms. Most of the storms, bad or otherwise, blew up over Kentucky, east Tennessee, southeast Arkansas, and west Mississippi.

SO WHAT HAPPENED? It's complicated!

THE SHORT ANSWER: The surface low was way too far north (Illinois/Minnesota) and all things were not equal in the atmosphere along the cold front. Does that make sense? In other words, some areas like southeast Arkansas and Kentucky had different or more unstable and volatile air in place than we did. Unfortunately, the science isn't there to take direct measurements of temperature and wind along a 2,000 mile-long cold front.

HERE'S ANOTHER THING: Confidence was not high with this potential for storms. Here is why our confidence was low and where it gets complicated, especially after SPC issued the huge risk area.

  • The forecast models were very back-and-forth with storms in one run and none for the next run.
  • Most of the severe parameters we look at for every severe event were through the roof. And based on explosive storms in Kentucky, it was hard not to see at least a few storms blowing up.
  • The high resolution NAM model nailed it, but other data models said otherwise.
  • A Tornado Watch was issued by SPC. We have to address it and send that info out whether we agree or not. (That can really complicate things for a meteorologist).

The forecast was a challenge but that's what makes our job fun.

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