Beau Dodson's WeatherTalk Blog

April 2, 2015: Widespread rain and thunder chances into Friday…

2 PM

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for our eastern counties.  This watch is because of a line of storms that is moving through western Kentucky.  See radars for details.

I am streaming my desktop radar here – CLICK HERE

Long duration of rain and storms over the next 24-28 hours for the region.  Someone will end up with some big rain totals (likely over 4″).

Some spots have already received 1-3″ of rain.  I do see a couple of radar indicated rainfall totals approaching 4″.  Those areas will end up with 5″-7″ of rain.

If you have already picked up 1-3″ of rain then double that for your totals.

Flood watch is in effect.


8 AM Update

April 2, 2015:  Good morning, everyone.  Today is a Weather Aware day.  That means we pay a little more attention to what is going on.  Some heavy rain and even a few severe thunderstorms will be on tap for later today into tonight.

The severe weather risk is going to come in the form of a band of storms this afternoon and tonight.  The band will move in from the west/northwest and stall out over our region.

There could be a few reports of hail and high winds.  This particular event is not optimal for tornado development.  But, the tornado risk is not zero, either.  Rarely can I say the tornado risk is zero, when there are a few severe thunderstorms expected.  Keep that in mind.  This isn’t going to be a tornado outbreak.

The heavy rain threat is significant.  Widespread 1-3″ of rain will fall with this event.  Pockets of greater than 3″.  Some flash flooding or flooding can not be ruled out.  Areas that normally have problems or issues, could have problems.

The front will stall over our region tonight and will not start moving until later on Friday.  Round after round of thunderstorm activity will move over the same area.

Perhaps the higher rain totals will end up over parts of southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.  But, Kentucky isn’t out of the woods, either.  Especially areas along the Ohio River.

A flood watch covers much of the area.

I am going to post a bunch of graphics for you to look over.  I will be here monitoring the situation today and tonight.  If you have questions then I will do my best to answer them over on the Beau Dodson Weather Facebook Page.

You can also post on this blog at the bottom.  I see those questions, as well.




Here is the HRRR Future-cast radar information.  This is one models opinion as to what radar might look like later today.  I will step you through the hours

This is the future-cast radar for 12 pm this afternoon.  Note the line of activity to our west.


By 4 pm this is what radar might look like.  You can see showers and storms in our area.


By 7 pm – radar shows activity across our region.  Some of it heavy.


By 9 pm – future-cast radar.  Heavy showers and storms in the region.  We could see a few severe thunderstorms with high winds and hail.  Heavy rain and lightning, of course.


Bottom line…

Showers and storms will develop and push into the area later today and tonight.  A few storms could produce high winds and hail.  Heavy rain very likely in the region.  Lightning, of course.

Flood watch covers portions of the area.  See watches and warnings on the clickable map below.

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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.

Messy forecast – I can’t promise you rain all the time between now and Friday afternoon.  On and off rain/storm chances for the region.  It will become more widespread late Thursday morning into Friday afternoon.  I wish I could give you a better idea of timing.  I did my best in the forecast below (and graphics).

Frequent updates today as needed.

Updates will be posted at the top of the page.

Thursday – Partly cloudy.  A chance for showers and thunderstorms.  A few storms could produce heavy rain.  Highs will be in the 70’s.  South/southwest winds at 10-20 mph.  Gusty at times.   My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high.
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
  Have a plan B.

Morning School Bus Stop Weather –
  Partly cloudy with a chance for a shower or thunderstorm.  Mild morning.  Temperatures mostly in the 50’s.  Southerly winds at 10 mph.
Afternoon School Bus Stop Weather – Partly cloudy with a chance for a shower or thunderstorm.  Temperatures will mostly be in the 70’s.  Gusty winds from the south/southwest at 10-25 mph.

Thursday night – Showers and thunderstorms likely.  Locally heavy rain likely.  Lows will be in the 50’s and 60’s.  Southwest winds at 10-20 mph.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?  Have a plan B.

Friday – Windy at times during the afternoon.  Showers and thunderstorms.  Locally heavy rain possible.  Turning cooler.  Monitor updates.  Highs will be in the upper 60’s.  Falling temperatures during the afternoon.  Winds becoming north/northwest at 10-25 mph.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high
Should I cancel my outdoor plans? 
Have a plan B

Friday night – Some lingering evening rain and thunderstorms.  Precipitation should be exiting to the east.  Colder.  Temperatures will fall into the 30’s by Saturday morning.  Northwest winds at 10 mph.  My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
  Some lingering rain possible.  I would have a plan B in case precipitation has not completely moved out of the area.

Saturday – Clearing and much cooler.  Morning lows will start out in the 30’s.  Afternoon highs will make it into the 50’s.   My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is high
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
No.  Outlook plans should be fine.  Wet/damp ground conditions.

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 that the clouds will clear out.

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


Let’s take a quick look at the GFS future-cast satellite view.  The black area would be clear sky cover.

Crossing fingers here…we see clearing from midnight onward (Saturday morning)

This is the 7 pm image.  Lot of clouds over our region.  Mostly cloudy.



By around midnight (below)


By around 6-7 am




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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.  A chance for a few severe storms over the next 24-36 hours.  Otherwise, rain and storm chances increasing.
2.  Locally heavy rain likely over the same time frame.  Some places could exceed 3″ of rain.
3.  What about frost on Saturday morning?
4.  A large precipitation maker next week – looks likely.

Precipitation chances are increasing as a cold front nears our region from the north.  The front will be the focal point for widespread showers and thunderstorms right on into Friday afternoon.  Some locally heavy rain will occur in the region.  I can’t rule out a few storms producing strong winds and hail, as well.

Current Radar

Complicated forecast as far as timing of precipitation.  I am telling people that there will at least be chances for precipitation on radar from Thursday morning right on through Friday afternoon.  That means I can’t promise your outdoor activity won’t end up under a shower or thunderstorm, at any given time.

Southwest flow aloft is increasing.  If you have been with me for awhile then you will remember that when the upper level winds are from the southwest then that means we are moistening up.  The atmosphere is becoming more juicy.  That gives cold fronts and storm systems something to work with.  The end result will be rain and thunderstorms.

Let me give you an example of the southwest winds

These two maps are the 850 mb maps.  Several thousand feet into the atmosphere.  The first map is for Wednesday afternoon.  The light blue colors are weak winds.  You can also see the winds are variable in direction (the white arrows)

This receives a yawn from me.  Not much going on there with the upper level wind flow.  But, watch what happens next


Now, this is the map for Thursday morning.  The orange colors represent higher wind speeds.  Also, notice what direction the winds are from.  The southwest.  Thus, moisture is increasing and winds are increasing.

One ingredient for sustained thunderstorms are higher winds at all levels of the atmosphere.


Locally heavy rain and severe weather concerns…

We also have some severe weather and heavy rain concerns.  Remember that I have a storm tracking page available for your use – you can click here to load that page.  You will find updates watches/warnings/radars and more on that page.  All sorts of information can be found on the tracking page.

My first concern for severe weather will arrive this afternoon and evening (Thursday).  A band of showers and thunderstorms will push into the region from the northwest.  This band will slide southeast.  Some hail and gusty winds will be possible with the most intense storms.  Widespread severe storms are not anticipated.

Let’s look at the future-cast radar for around 9 am to 10 am tomorrow morning. This image is from

See the band of storms coming in from the northwest?  That will track southeast at 20-35 mph.


This is what the WRF model is showing (below).  This is the future-cast radar for Thursday around 12 pm.

Keep in mind, we may have showers and storms in the region from Wednesday night into Thursday morning, as well.

If this model is correct then we will have some precipitation in the area tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon.


This next image is for Thursday night.  Another round of storms.  This is around 11 pm to 1 am.

Some of these storms could produce hail and gusty winds.


The front will stall out over our region this evening and tonight.  Additional rounds of showers and thunderstorms will occur along the front.  Heavy rain is definitely going to be a concern.  Rainfall totals of 1-3″ will occur over the area.  Where the heaviest band of rain sets up will be determined by where the front stalls out.

I would not be surprised if someone ends up with more than 3″ of rain from this event.

The tornado ingredients aren’t ideal with this particular storm system.  But, you can never rule out an isolated tornado.  Keep that in mind.

Wind fields aloft will increase on Friday.  IF we can obtain some higher CAPE values then Friday could produce a bit more of a risk for severe weather.  Monitor updates, as always.

Easter weekend update can be viewed above in the forecast section and further down in the extended outlook.

I will post updates throughout today and tonight at the top of this page and on the Facebook page.


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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I continue to update the rain chances for each time period.  Scattered storms are possible at any given point over the next 24-36 hours.  Rain will end on Friday night.  Tried to figure out cloud cover for those of you interested in the eclipse early Saturday morning.



Heavy rain and thunderstorm chances Thursday into Friday.  Several rounds of showers and thunderstorms will occur over the next 24-36 hour period.

A few storms could produce hail and strong winds.  Tornado threat is minimal, but not zero.  Remember the last event, we had 1 tornado warning.  No confirmed tornadoes.  Lot of hail reports and one or two wind reports.  This event appears similar.

Heavy rain could cause ponding of water and even some flooding of ditches and creeks.  Monitor updates, as always.

I would not be surprised if someone picks up more than 3″ of rain from this event.


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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.

The river levels have fallen quite a bit.  I removed some of the hydrograph images from the blog page.  You can, however, check all of the local stations on the link below.

Click Here For River Stage Forecasts…

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

Paducah, Kentucky Forecast Stage



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

Wild card in this forecast – rainfall totals from county to county over the next 2 days.  Quite a bit of rain is going to be possible with this event.  Multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms will likely bring pockets of 1-2″ of rain.  If training thunderstorms occur over a few counties then some spots could receive 2-3″ of rain.



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 THREE for today and on Friday.  A few storms could produce hail and high winds.  The tornado risk is minimal, but not zero.  Rarely when there are a severe thunderstorms in the forecast will the tornado risk be zero.  It does not appear to be the best set-up for tornado activity.

Friday Severe Weather Outlook – Some severe thunderstorms will be possible.
Saturday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe weather is not in the forecast.
Sunday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe weather is not in the forecast.
Monday Severe Weather Outlook – Monitor updates
Tuesday Severe Weather Outlook – Monitor updates


The map below will be updated at 8 am Thursday morning







Will I need to take action?

Yes, monitor the most up to date weather information on both Thursday and Friday.  A few storms could become severe weather large hail and damaging winds.

We will likely have several rounds of thunderstorms over the coming 24-36 hour period of time.

We will have to monitor each round for the potential of severe weather.  Heavy rain is likely to occur, as well.

If thunderstorms train over the same areas then locally heavy rainfall totals that exceed 2″ might occur.  Small ditches, streams, and creeks could flood quickly during heavy thunderstorms.  Monitor the latest watches and warnings.




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

Plenty of rain for the region over the next 24-36 hours.

Widespread rainfall totals of 0.75″-1.50″ will occur.  Pockets of greater than 3″ will also be possible.  Would not be a bit surprised to hear of amounts greater than 3″.

Click image for a larger view. image




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.

Easter weekend:

A mix of sun and clouds for the weekend.  Frost will be possible on Saturday morning as temperatures dip into the 30’s.  We will have to see if winds can die down enough for frost development.  If winds can stay up then the frost concerns will diminish.  Highs by Saturday afternoon will only be in the 50’s.

Lows on Sunday morning will range from 36 to 42 degrees.  Afternoon highs on Sunday will range from 60 to 65 degrees.  Not as cool as Saturday.  A few clouds, as well.

A large storm system is going to impact the region next week.  This precipitation maker could bring additional rounds of thunderstorms.  Severe weather and heavy rain will again be a concern.  Monitor updates closely as we push forward.

Here is the GFS idea for the system on Sunday night – Tuesday.  Timing will need to be ironed out as we draw closer to the event.

This first image is for Sunday night (late).  Some green in the area.  That represents showers and thunderstorms.


This next image is for Monday morning.  Again, green represents precipitation.


A cold front might pass through the area on Tuesday.  That would provide some additional shower and thunderstorm chances.


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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



For the most up to date maps – click here


Day 1 Severe Weather Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center – Storm Prediction Center

What does thunderstorms, marginal, slight, enhanced, medium, and high risk mean? Click here

Current Severe thunderstorm and tornado watches from the Storm Prediction Center. The Storm Prediction Center is in charge of issuing watches. Our local National Weather Service Office in Paducah, Kentucky is in charge of issuing warnings.

Remember that a watch means that conditions are favorable for severe weather.  Severe weather MIGHT develop over the coming hours. Watches normally last 4 to 8 hours. Monitor updates for possible warnings. A watch is a step below a warning.

A warning means to take immediate action to protect you and your family. Warnings usually last from 15 to 45 minutes.  A warning means that a storm is moving into your area.

For additional watch information 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



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


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Benton, Kentucky


I24 Paducah, Kentucky

I24 Mile Point 9 – Paducah, KY

I24 – Mile Point 3 Paducah, Kentucky



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