Beau Dodson's WeatherTalk Blog

March 30, 2015: Milder temperatures are on the way

Good morning, I have a brief update on the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlook…

Operation SKYWARN indicates that there will be a risk of severe thunderstorms on Thursday and Thursday night across portions of our region.

Right now it appears that a few thunderstorms could reach severe levels.  This is still several days away and these outlooks typically shift around (even on the day of the event).

Storm spotters are encouraged to monitor the most up to date weather information as we move forward…

Also, locally heavy rain will be a concern with this system.  Par for the course?  We have have multiple big precipitation events over the last 2 1/2 months.

Here is the latest area outlined for Thursday’s severe weather potential.



And here is the very latest official rainfall forecast for this event.  As always is the case, thunderstorms can produce locally heavy rainfall in spots.


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This forecast update covers far southern Illinois, far southeast Missouri, and far western Kentucky. See the coverage map on the right side of the blog.

Remember that weather evolves.  Check back frequently for updates, especially during active weather.

The forecast numbers below may vary quite a bit across the region.  These are averages.

Monday –  Mostly sunny sky conditions.  Just a few clouds here and there.  Milder.  Morning temperatures will start out in the upper 30’s to lower 40’s over the region.  By afternoon the temperatures will rise into the 60’s.  Not too bad!  Winds will start out from the northwest but shift towards the southwest during the afternoon.  Wind speeds of 5-10 mph.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high

Morning School Bus Stop Weather –
  Morning sun with cool temperatures.  Temperatures will start out in the upper 30’s and lower 40’s.  Light winds.
Afternoon School Bus Stop Weather – It will feel a bit more like spring during the afternoon.  Expect most counties to rise into the 60’s.  Upper 50’s possible over a few northeast counties.

Monday night – Mostly clear and cool.  Overnight lows mainly in the 40’s.  Light winds. My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high.

Tuesday – A few morning clouds.  Partly cloudy and more humid during the afternoon.  A small chance for a pop-up shower or thunderstorm (10% to 20%).  No severe weather anticipated.  Warmer.  Highs will reach into the upper 60’s to lower 70’s.  Southwest winds at 10-15 mph.   My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high.

Tuesday night –  Partly cloudy.  A small  chance for a shower or thunderstorm (10%-20%).  No severe weather anticipated.  Lows will dip into the upper 40’s to lower 50’s.  Southwest winds at 10 mph.  Winds may shift to the north/northeast late.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium.

Wednesday –  Some clouds and a chance for a scattered shower or thunderstorm.  Severe weather is not anticipated, but monitor updates.  Warm.  More humid.  Temperatures will rise into the 70’s.  Far northwest counties by the IN/IL state line could be a few degrees cooler.  Winds starting out from the east and becoming more southerly during the day.  Wind speeds of 10-15 mph.  Perhaps gusty at times.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium.

Let’s go ahead and start the Easter 2015 Forecast

Long way off for a confident weather forecast, but let me give it my best shot.

Saturday – A few clouds.  Ground might still be damp from the rain over the previous days.  It will be cooler with northwest/north winds at 10-15 mph.  Morning temperatures in the 38 to 44 degree range.  Afternoon temperatures likely only in the 50’s.

Saturday night – Cool, but dry.  Lows in the 40’s.

Sunday – A few clouds.  A bit warmer than Saturday.  Highs will be in the 60’s.  Winds will be in the 10-15 mph range.

Eclipse Forecast – we might clear out in time for the eclipse.  We will have to deal with clouds on Friday into Friday night.  The question will be whether it clears out in time for the Saturday morning eclipse.  No promises, but there is a chance.

When?  Saturday morning.  The moon may set before the start of the total eclipse, keep that in mind.
More information on the eclipse – click here

Central Daylight Time (April 4, 2015)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 5:16 a.m. CDT
Total eclipse begins: 6:58 a.m. CDT
Greatest eclipse: 7:00 a.m. CDT
Total eclipse ends: 7:03 a.m. CDT
Moon may set before start of total eclipse




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Current Temperatures Around The Local Area

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An explanation of what is happening in the atmosphere over the coming days…


1.  Milder weather ahead!  It will feel like spring this week.
2.  An unsettled pattern this week with on/off rain and storm chances
3.  I will monitor for severe weather potential on Thursday.
4.  Cooler (colder?) by the weekend.

Weak weather system pushing through the area on Sunday night brought a band of showers into the area late in the afternoon and evening.  The band of showers was moving southeast and will be out of the area by late Sunday evening.

Some places did not pick up measurable rain.

The week ahead will feel like spring.  We are going to see temperatures rise into the 60’s on Monday (for most of our counties).  By Tuesday and Wednesday you can expect 70’s.

The atmosphere is going to become more humid, as well.  You know what that means.  A few showers and thunderstorms will enter the weather picture.

Let’s talk about severe weather, first.  If our area were to see a few severe thunderstorms then it would probably be on Thursday.  This is when the Storm Prediction Center has outlined an area from Missouri down into Arkansas for a few severe thunderstorms.

Heavy rain is also a concern.

Again, several days out.  I am monitoring it.


Wind fields will pick up a bit on Thursday.  The 850 mb winds will be strong enough to help support some storms.  Dew points will rise into the 60’s.  For severe weather I usually look for dew points in the 60’s.

Here are the 850 mb wind fields for Thursday.  The stronger the winds the more likely you will have some problems.

In order to have severe thunderstorms you need strong wind fields aloft.  Aloft, meaning thousands of feet into the atmosphere.

The stronger the winds the better the chances for severe storms.  You also want to look at what direction those winds are coming from.

For example, if winds at the surface are from the southeast and then you move up a few thousand feet and winds are from the southwest and then you move up another few thousand feet and winds are from the west…what is happening?

Winds are rotating.  We call that directional shear.  Turning of the winds with height.  The more turning the better chances thunderstorms can sustain themselves over long periods of time.

The Thursday event has some shear, but not overly impressive.  You can see the 850 mb winds are coming out of the southwest (if you can see the small arrows)


This is not an overly impressive set-up for severe storms.  But, monitor updates, as always.

Not sure about Friday and severe weather.  Some of the data pushes the higher dewpoints in and out of here by Friday morning or afternoon.  If that happens then the severe weather chances will shift south.

Let’s keep an eye on everything this week.  It is spring and with spring comes unsettled weather.

A few charts for you to check out

Let’s look at dew points.  Remember, dew points are a great way to measure how much moisture is in the atmosphere.

We start out with the current dew point chart.  You can see that the air is not humid.

Images are from and if you click them they will enlarge


Let’s move ahead into the work week…this is the dew point chart for Tuesday.  Notice anything?  The yellow colors are moving northward.  Moist air from the Gulf of Mexico is streaming north.


By Wednesday afternoon we see dew points into the 60’s over our region.  Moist air to interact with our incoming precipitation maker.  That could mean some locally heavy thunderstorms.

There are even some dew points in the middle 60’s showing up for southeast Missouri.  That would be humid air.

Notice how far north the dew points are being pulled?  That is a sure sign of an incoming system.  Remember that an area of low pressure rotates counter-clockwise.  The BIG L on the weather map.  That is an area of low pressure.  Normally when a low tracks to our west we will see dew points pulled northward from the Gulf of Mexico.


Moving ahead to Thursday morning (wee hours of the morning).  Dew points remain in the 60’s over the region.


Here are the dew points for Thursday evening.  Notice the shift southward?  That would be an incoming front.

The timing of that front is questionable.  If the front moves in on Thursday afternoon then perhaps Friday won’t bring as much precipitation.  If the front stalls out over our area then additional rain will occur on Friday.

Monitor updates.  Still a bit early to make a forecast call on this one.



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Adjusted temperatures a few degrees.  Otherwise, no major changes.  Wrestling with rain chances on Tuesday and Tuesday night.  At least a few scattered showers/storms will be possible.  But, nothing major expected.  I will monitor as we move forward.


I am watching thunderstorm chances for this week.  If we were to have severe thunderstorms then perhaps it would be on Thursday and/or Friday.  The overall risk appears small, but monitor updates.


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Here are the current river stage forecasts.   You can click your state and then the dot for your location.  It will bring up the full forecast and hydrograph.

Click Here For River Stage Forecasts…

Here are some current forecast hydrographs.  These will be updated each day with new information.

Smithland Lock and Dam

Paducah, Kentucky Forecast Stage

Cairo, Illinois



Can we expect severe thunderstorms over the next 24 to 48 hours?  Remember that a severe thunderstorm is defined as a thunderstorm that produces 58 mph winds or higher, quarter size hail or larger, and/or a tornado.

Thunderstorm threat level is ZERO for Monday and ONE for Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Wednesday Severe Weather Outlook – Monitor updates
Thursday Severe Weather Outlook –  A few severe thunderstorms can’t be ruled out.  This would most likely be our western and southwestern counties.  However, adjustments are likely.  Still a bit early to make a solid forecast concerning severe weather.
Friday Severe Weather Outlook –  Monitor updates
Saturday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe weather is not anticipated
Sunday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe weather is not anticipated



And for Tuesday (the image below)



Will I need to take action?

Monitor updates this week concerning the potential for a few thunderstorms.



How much precipitation should we expect over the next few days?

Sort of a messy pattern this week.  It is not going to rain all of the time.  But, we are going to enter an unsettled weather pattern with a few chances for rain and thunderstorms.  Perhaps the best chances for widespread showers and thunderstorms will arrive on Thursday and Friday.

We will have at least some chance for rain and storms on Tuesday into Friday.

Rainfall total forecast is a bit tricky this time around.  Obviously thunderstorms can produce locally heavy rain.  The exact placement of the cold front, warm front, and perhaps the area of low pressure is still questionable for Thursday and Friday.  That gives me a lower than normal confidence in how much rain might fall this week.

My best educated forecast guess is that most places will end up with 0.50″ – 1.25″ of rain between Tuesday and Friday evening.  There are chances for some heavier totals (but I won’t know the placement of that until we draw closer to the event).

Current graphics (subject to some adjustments as we move forward in time)

This first graphic from shows you the rainfall totals through Wednesday evening.  Not overly impressive.  But, at least some scattered precipitation.


This second image gives you the rainfall through Friday night.  Quite a bit more.  That tells you that the best chance for widespread rain and storms could be after Wednesday evening.  I am thinking Thursday and Friday for the better chances.



No snow through next Friday.




This section of the blog is speculative forecast information.  Because it is past the range of what meteorologists can forecast accurately, it should be considered speculation.  Anything past day 5 is considered a long range forecast.

With all of the spring weather this week we should see flowers bloom, trees bud, and the grass grow by a few inches.  That is great news for everyone who is sick of the cold weather.  Pretty sure that is most of us.

We still have some cold shots in the long range, but the daily average high and low temperatures will continue to rise.  Each cold shot will be a little bit less cold.  As always, this is how we walk into spring.

I am hoping we are finished with temperatures below freezing.  The long range GFS shows a few cold shots with temperatures down into the 30’s.  But, long range data on temperatures isn’t always spot on.  Let’s watch it for another week before pulling the trigger on “no more frost or freeze events”



We have regional radars and local city radars – if a radar does not seem to be updating then try another one. Occasional browsers need their cache cleared. You may also try restarting your browser. That usually fixes the problem. Occasionally we do have a radar go down. That is why I have duplicates. Thus, if one fails then try another one.

If you have any problems then please send me an email


We also have a new national interactive radar – you can view that radar by clicking here.

Local interactive city radars include St Louis, Mt Vernon, Evansville, Poplar Bluff, Cape Girardeau, Marion, Paducah, Hopkinsville, Memphis, Nashville, Dyersburg, and all of eastern Kentucky – these are interactive radars. Local city radars – click here

NOTE:  Occasionally you will see ground clutter on the radar (these are false echoes).  Normally they show up close to the radar sites – including Paducah.

Regional Radar – Click on radar to take you our full radar page.


Regional Radar


Live Lightning Data – zoom and pan:  Click here
Live Lightning Data with sound (click the sound button on the left side of the page): Click here



Current WARNINGS (a warning means take action now). Click on your county to drill down to the latest warning information. Keep in mind that there can be a 2-3 minute delay in the updated warning information.

I strongly encourage you to use a NOAA Weather Radio or warning cell phone app for the most up to date warning information. Nothing is faster than a NOAA weather radio.

Color shaded counties are under some type of watch, warning, advisory, or special weather statement.  Click your county to view the latest information.

Missouri Warnings

Illinois Warnings

Kentucky Warnings




Please visit your local National Weather Service Office by clicking here. The National Weather Service Office, for our region, is located in Paducah, Kentucky.  They have a lot of maps and information on their site.  Local people…local forecasters who care about our region.



Here is the official 6-10 day and 8-14 day temperature and precipitation outlook.  Check the date stamp at the top of each image (so you understand the time frame).

The forecast maps below are issued by the Weather Prediction Center (NOAA).

The latest 8-14 day temperature and precipitation outlook.  Note the dates are at the top of the image.  These maps DO NOT tell you how high or low temperatures or precipitation will be.  They simply give you the probability as to whether temperatures or precipitation will be above or below normal.



Who do you trust for your weather information and who holds them accountable?

I have studied weather in our region since the late 1970’s.  I have 37 years of experience in observing our regions weather patterns.  My degree is in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University and an Associate of Science (AS).  I am currently working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Geoscience.  Just need to finish two Spanish classes!

I am a member of the American Meteorological Society.  I am a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.  And, I am the Meteorologist for McCracken County Emergency Management.

I own and operate the Southern Illinois Weather Observatory.

There is a lot of noise on the internet.  A lot of weather maps are posted without explanation.  Over time you should learn who to trust for your weather information.

My forecast philosophy is simple and straight forward.

  • Communicate in simple terms
  • To be as accurate as possible within a reasonable time frame before an event
  • Interact with you on Twitter, Facebook, and the blog
  • Minimize the “hype” that you might see on television or through other weather sources
  • Push you towards utilizing wall-to-wall LOCAL TV coverage during severe weather events

I am a recipient of the Mark Trail Award, WPSD Six Who Make A Difference Award, Kentucky Colonel, and the Caesar J. Fiamma” Award from the American Red Cross.  In 2009 I was presented with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Award.  I was recognized by the Kentucky House of Representatives for my service to the State of Kentucky leading up to several winter storms and severe weather outbreaks.

If you click on the image below you can read the Kentucky House of Representatives Resolution.


I am also President of the Shadow Angel Foundation which serves portions of western Kentucky and southern Illinois.

Many of my graphics are from – a great resource for weather data, model data, and more



This blog was inspired by ABC 33/40’s Alabama Weather Blog – view their blog


Current tower cam view from the Weather Observatory- Click here for all cameras.

Southern Illinois Weather Observatory

The Weather Observatory


Southern Illinois Weather Observatory

WSIL TV 3 has a number of tower cameras. Click here for their tower camera page & Illinois Road Conditions

Marion, Illinois


WPSD TV 6 has a number of tower cameras. Click here for their tower camera page & Kentucky Road Conditions & Kentucky Highway and Interstate Cameras

Downtown Paducah, Kentucky


Benton, Kentucky Tower Camera – Click here for full view

Benton, Kentucky


I24 Paducah, Kentucky

I24 Mile Point 9 – Paducah, KY

I24 – Mile Point 3 Paducah, Kentucky



You can sign up for my AWARE email by clicking here I typically send out AWARE emails before severe weather, winter storms, or other active weather situations. I do not email watches or warnings. The emails are a basic “heads up” concerning incoming weather conditions.

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