Beau Dodson's WeatherTalk Blog

March 31, 2015: Warm days ahead of us! Some storm chances, as well.

2 PM Update

A few storms could pop up over southeast Missouri over the coming hours.  They would move southeast at 20-30 mph.  Small hail and gusty winds will be possible, if storms do form.

A smaller risk of storms as you move northeast into the area.  That would include more of southeast Missouri and perhaps a small part of western Kentucky and northwest Tennessee.

Latest severe weather outlook for today…


7 AM Update – the Storm Prediction Center’s Operation SKYWARN severe weather outlook indicates that our region could have a few severe storms on Thursday.  Main concern will be high winds and even hail.  Lightning and locally heavy rain, as well.

Here is the current (subject to changes as we move forward) severe weather outlook.




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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.

Tuesday – Mostly sunny sky conditions during the morning – a few clouds in the afternoon.  Mild.  Highs in the 70’s.  Winds turning from the southwest towards the northwest.  Wind speeds of 10-15 mph.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high.
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?

Morning School Bus Stop Weather –
  Mostly sunny and cool.  Morning temperatures mainly in the 40’s.
Afternoon School Bus Stop Weather – Just a few clouds.  Warm with highs into the 70’s.

Tuesday night – Just a few clouds.  Small chance for an early evening shower or thunderstorm over the far southwest counties of southeast MO into the Bootheel and northwest Tennessee.  Northwest winds at 10 mph.  Lows will mainly be in the middle to upper 40’s.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high.
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?  No.

Wednesday –  Warm and spring-like.  Gusty winds at times.  Small chance for a thunderstorm.  Highs will top out in the 70’s.  Southerly winds at 10-15 mph.  Higher gusts possible.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium.
Should I cancel my outdoor plans? 

Radars – Click Here

Wednesday night – Becoming partly cloudy with a chance for a shower or thunderstorm.  Lows in the upper 50’s.  South winds at 10-15 mph.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high.
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
  Monitor radars, some rain is possible.

Thursday – A chance for thunderstorms. Mild.  Highs in the 70’s.  Southwest winds at 10-20 mph.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high.
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
I would monitor updated forecasts.  Storms are possible on Thursday into Friday.

Friday will bring additional rain in the morning.  The cold front should pass through the area during the morning hours.  Temperatures could fall during the day.  Keep that in mind.  Gusty winds, as well.

Easter Forecast:

Saturday:  Clearing sky conditions.  Colder.  Morning lows could dip into the 30’s.  Northwest winds at 10 mph.  Just a few clouds in the afternoon and cool.  High temperatures mainly in the 50’s.

Easter Sunday:  Cool morning.  Dry.  Morning temperatures will start out in the 30’s.  Some increase in clouds possible during the afternoon hours.  Highs will be in the 58 to 64 degree range.


Eclipse Forecast – No changes from my previous 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

Don’t forget to check out the Southern Illinois Weather Observatory web-site for weather maps, tower cams, scanner feeds, radars, and much more!  Click here



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


1.  Spring!  Warm temperatures today into Thursday.
2.  Thunderstorm chances will be on the rise.
3.  Monitoring Thursday and Thursday night for a few severe thunderstorms.  Remember that a severe thunderstorm is a storm that produces 58 mph winds, quarter size hail or larger, and/or a tornado.  That is the definition from the NWS.
4.  Colder for the weekend?
5.  Watching for another potential system around Sunday/Monday.  Low confidence.

A weak cold front approaches the area on Tuesday.  Perhaps a few clouds and a wind shift associated with the front.  I believe most of the area will remain dry.

High resolution models do try to develop a shower or thunderstorm over our southwest counties, but nothing on consequence.

Tuesday night we will experience northwest/north winds.  Cool overnight lows, but nothing out of the ordinary.

By Wednesday the winds will turn back around from the south.  This will occur as a warm front passes through the region.  This means warmer temperatures and higher dew points.  This will set the stage for a couple of rounds of showers and thunderstorms.

Here is the high resolution WRF model’s future-cast radar for Wednesday evening when a bit more moisture arrives.  Maybe a couple of showers or thunderstorms over our western counties and southwestern counties.

You can see more organized thunderstorm activity back over southwest Missouri and Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.  Images are from


Here is the high resolution WRF model’s future-cast radar for Wednesday when a bit more moisture arrives.  Here is the Wednesday night image (around 9 pm to 12 am).  Maybe a couple of showers or thunderstorms over our western counties and southwestern counties.


A stronger cold front arrives on Wednesday night into Thursday night.  This front will approach from the west.  The forcing along this front will aid in the development of showers and thunderstorms.  A few of the showers and storms could become heavy on Thursday or Thursday night.

It does appear shower and thunderstorm chances will last into Friday.  The question is just how far south does the front move on Friday.  Locally heavy rain will be possible.

Check out the GFS model’s temperature forecast for Friday.  Wonder where the cold front is located!  Click the image for a larger view


This is the GFS’s idea for rainfall totals.  These are going to be in flux.  The models don’t have a real good handle on the finer details of the placement of the front and the best area for focusing thunderstorms.  That will need to be fine tuned as we move closer to the time-frame of thunderstorm activity.

But, this gives you an idea of where some heavy rain might occur

Image is from – click for larger view


The severe weather risk isn’t all that great with this system.  But, it isn’t zero, either.  We will have sufficient instability in the region to warrant the mention of some severe weather.  Still too far out for details.

Let’s look at CAPE values on Thursday and Friday.  Remember, CAPE is a tool that meteorologists use (one of many) to assess how much energy might be available in the atmosphere for thunderstorm development.  Higher CAPE numbers could mean severe thunderstorms.  For more information on CAPE – click here.

We can see on Wednesday that CAPE values are higher to our west.  They are trying to nudge their way into our region (and will do so on Thursday)


We see on Thursday that we do have some CAPE in the region.  Surface based CAPE.


Then on Friday, as the front pushes southward, the higher CAPE values will push southward.  Typically you see CAPE numbers rise ahead of a cold front and decrease behind it.


Taking a look at the wind shear values.  There are two different kinds of wind shear.  There is directional wind shear (turning of wind with height) and speed shear (increasing winds with height).  Shear is another tool that meteorologists use to determine whether or not severe thunderstorms will occur.

Wind shear is not off the charts with this system.  Nor is CAPE.  The numbers basically indicate that at least a few storms might become severe, but an outbreak of severe weather is unlikely.

This is the Thursday afternoon bulk shear map.  There is some wind shear, but not overly impressive.  Those numbers do increase a bit through the evening and overnight hours, on Thursday.


This is the Thursday evening map


EHI numbers on Thursday evening.  I like to look at EHI numbers when thinking about severe weather.

This map is from

These EHI numbers line up well with the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlook for Thursday.


The Storm Prediction Center has placed our region in a risk for a few severe storms.  They have new levels on their outlooks.  Marginal means a couple of severe storms might occur.

Slight still means the same. I do not like the word slight.  But, that is what they use.  Slight means severe thunderstorms will likely occur, but will be limited in scope and number.

This is their Thursday outlook and will run through Thursday night, as well.



I also set up a storm tracking page with additional links (use during active weather for quick reference)
Storm Tracking Tool Page


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Updated the Easter weekend forecast.  Watching Sunday for a system coming in from the west/southwest.  Not sure if I buy into what the GFS model is showing, just yet.  It spreads rain back into the region Sunday afternoon and night.


I am monitoring thunderstorm forecasts for later this week.  In particular is the threat for a few thunderstorms to become severe on Thursday or Thursday night.  Remember, a severe thunderstorm by definition is one that products 58 mph winds, 1″ or larger hail (quarter size), and/or a tornado.  A heavy thunderstorm with strong winds, lightning, and heavy rain is not a severe thunderstorm.  There is a specific definition by the National Weather Service.

Monitor updates.

Locally heavy rain will again be possible with this system.  The main concern would be Thursday into Friday morning.

Lightning is always a concern for outdoor events.  Thunderstorm chances will be on the increase by Wednesday afternoon and night right on through early Friday morning.


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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



The wild card tells you where the uncertainties are in the forecast

Wild card in this forecast –  The wild card in the forecast will be whether or not there might be a pop-up shower/thunderstorm over parts of the region late Tuesday afternoon and night.  Perhaps more southwest areas vs other.


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/ONE – Zero for northeast counties in southern Illinois and northwest Kentucky for Tuesday and Tuesday night.  A one for southwest counties (southeast Missouri into northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky).  Small chance for a pop-up thunderstorm Tuesday/Tuesday night.

Wednesday Severe Weather Outlook –  A chance for thunderstorms on Wednesday night.  Thinking is that they will remain below severe levels.
Thursday Severe Weather Outlook –  Operation SKYWARN indicates that there will be a chance for severe thunderstorms in the region.  Monitor updates as we move forward.
Friday Severe Weather Outlook –  Monitor updates.
Saturday Severe Weather Outlook –  No severe weather is anticipated.
Sunday Severe Weather Outlook –  Monitor updates.






Will I need to take action?

Monitor updates concerning the potential for thunderstorms on Thursday and Thursday night.  A few of the storms could become severe.  Still a bit early for details.



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


WPC Graphic below



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.

Cooler weather arrives for the upcoming weekend.  Morning lows will be in the 30’s.  We might not get out of the 50’s on Saturday.  Hopefully we can reach into the lower 60’s on Sunday.

The GFS is painting some 20’s for parts of Missouri on Saturday morning.  Sometimes the models are too cold in the long range (and sometimes they are right).  It is a wait and see concerning frost.  Still several days to monitor.  Bottom line, however, is that it is going to be cooler over the weekend.  Just in time for Easter.

Saturday’s lows on the GFS map

Click image for a larger view


Sunday morning’s low temperature forecast via the GFS model. map


Saturday should be dry.  Damp ground from the rains on Thursday and Friday.

Some of the models bring another storm into the region on Sunday and Monday.  I will have to monitor this, as well.

Perhaps this cold shot will be bringing us closer to an end of the sub-freezing temperatures.  It won’t be long now.

There are more and more signs of sustained warming in the long range and that will mean increasing chances for thunderstorms.



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 some television stations 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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