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1st Round of Spring Severe Weather

By: Stacy Berman
By: Stacy Berman

Our first tornado watch of the spring season was issued today... We made it through with just one severe thunderstorm and some good rainfall. The best news of all... No people or property were reported injured.

We are now officially one month into the spring season and to celebrate the season, severe weather popped up around us today.  Around 2:50 P.M. The National Weather Services in Sterling, Wakefield, and Blacksburg, VA actually got together and issued a tornado watch for our entire viewing area.  For the three offices to coordinate makes our job here easier and actually rarely happens.  Was it a little ambitious to issue a tornado watch for our region when temperatures were in the low 50s for much of the day with rain showers?  Probably... but just south of the James River in Buckingham county, we did see a severe thunderstorm. Of course the town of Dillwyn did record a high of 67°, so some sunshine did peak through the clouds there. This storm rolled through the town of Andersonville dropping quarter-sized hail, so although NO tornado was seen, still some severe weather happened which excites us Meteorologists here at the Newsplex.   Our only issue is the 7 hour long watch.  The Watch probably should have been canceled early as no more storms were seen after 7:00 P.M., but hey, we don't make the rules. 

In order to produce tornadoes we need the proper ingredients to make a thunderstorm.  Those ingredients include:  low level moisture (dew points usually greater than 55°F), instability (daytime heating), lift (triggers like a front or even the mountains to get the air rising) and shear (directional and speed shear).  Our area was lacking some of those ingredients, especially without seeing any sunshine to destabilize our atmosphere.  There was some spin in the atmosphere (this could be seen using a Skew - T) but without any other ingredients it's kind of hard to get a storm going, let alone a rotating thunderstorm.  So maybe the National Weather Service Offices were just being extra cautious, but it's better safe than sorry.

In Charlottesville, the big story was the amount of rain seen in 24 hours.  In my personal rain gauge, through 1:00 P.M., I had recorded 1.30" from this storm system.  Boy was it coming down around 8:00 A.M.. I had to bribe my dog, Maggie, with cookies to go outside to do her business.  She does NOT like being outside in the rain.  Sometimes, I even have to hold an umbrella over her, such a spoiled princess. Haha. Anyway... I was checking out our rainfall totals and deficits for the month at McCormick Observatory and through 8:00 A.M. at McCormick Observatory 2.92" of rain has been recorded.  Normal, for the entire month of April at McCormick, is 3.34", so the prorated amount for today would be 2.23" putting us at our first surplus in a long time.  Our surplus stands at 0.69".  Very exciting stuff.  Everything looks so lush around here from the growing flowers and plants to the green grass.  Let's see if we can keep the rain going through the summer.  Of course, I don't mind the rain, in fact, I enjoy sleeping through it, but let's keep the sunny weekend streak going!  I want sunshine on my days off:). 

So we survived our first bout of severe weather this season.  A good practice at what the next few months holds.  Bring it on Mother Nature!  We, here at the Newsplex, are ready for whatever you bring our way! 

~Stacy

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