Beau Dodson's WeatherTalk Blog

May 8, 2015: Unsettled weather pattern through the weekend.

Keep in mind, everyone…the Friday through Sunday rain chances will be associated with weak upper level disturbances moving through the area. It isn’t a strong cold front that sweeps in and out of here with one line of storms.  As each impulse moves through the area it will spark “some” precipitation.

If big clusters of storms form over Kansas and Oklahoma/Texas today through Sunday then that will factor into our weather, as well. Dying thunderstorm complexes leave outflow boundaries. These boundaries move through our region. They can spark a few showers/storms, as well.  Timing all of this is tricky, at best.

Not a clear cut YES or NO rain forecast through the weekend. Thus, it will make it very hard to tell you it will or won’t rain at your exact location. Again, because this is not one strong front pushing through the region. It is a series of weak disturbances that will interact with the instability and moisture over our region.

Wish it were straight forward, because I know many of you have outdoor events.  I wouldn’t cancel any plans or change any plans.  I would monitor updates.  Monitor your radar phone app’s or online radar sources.

That is why I have been saying since last Friday and Saturday to have a back up plan in the back of your mind. Plan B!

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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 the averages.

Friday –  Quite a few clouds around.  Warm and perhaps even muggy at times.  A chance for showers and thunderstorms.  Rain chances will be in the 30%-40% range early and then increasing through the afternoon hours.  High temperatures in the 80’s with southerly winds at 10-15 mph.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
  Have a plan B ready to go.  Could be some precipitation in the region.

Morning School Bus Stop Weather –  Some clouds and mild.  A chance for some showers and storms on radar.  Morning temperatures will mostly be in the 60’s.  Southerly winds at 10 mph.
Afternoon School Bus Stop Weather – Some clouds and warm.  Muggy at times.  A chance for some showers and storms on radar.  Afternoon temperatures will mostly be in the 80’s.  Southerly winds at 10 mph.

Friday night –  Partly cloudy with a 40% chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms early and then a 40%-60% chance late at night.  Mild with lows in the 60’s.  Southerly winds at 5-10 mph.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?  Have a plan B ready to go.  Could be some precipitation in the region.

Saturday – Quite a few clouds around.  Warm and muggy at times.  A 60% chance for showers and thunderstorms from time to time.  Perhaps one area of showers and storms pushing in from AR/MO during the morning and then spreading northeast into IL/KY by late morning and afternoon.  Some data indicates a bit more of a lull from mid to late afternoon into evening.  Lower than normal confidence on how this unfolds.  High temperatures in the 80’s with southerly winds at 10-15 mph.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is  medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans? 
Have a plan B ready to go.  Could be some precipitation in the region.

Saturday night –  Quite a few clouds.  A period or two of showers and thunderstorms possible.  Mild with lows in the 60’s.  Southerly winds at 10 mph.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
  Have a plan B ready to go.  Could be some precipitation in the region.

Sunday – Quite a few clouds around.  Warm and muggy at times.  A 30%-40% chance for showers and thunderstorms very early in the morning…then perhaps a lull for quite a bit of the day.  Then a chance for some scattered showers and thunderstorms late in the day/evening.   High temperatures in the 80’s with southerly winds at 10-15 mph.  Chance of storms late in the day and night will increase to 40%-60%
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is LOW
Should I cancel my outdoor plans? 
Have a plan B ready to go.  Could be some precipitation in the region.

Sunday night into Monday –  A chance for some showers and thunderstorms.



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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.  Shower and thunderstorm chances are on the increase.
2.  Could a few storms on Sunday and Monday become severe?
3.  We dry out late Monday night and Tuesday.

The weather over the past seven days has been rather benign.  But, that is about to change.  Actually the changes have been underway since Thursday afternoon.

A series of upper level disturbances will push through the region over the coming days.  Each passing disturbance will produce a chance for showers and thunderstorms.  These disturbances provide lift for the warm and moist air over the region.

The severe weather parameters are not overly impressive for Friday into Saturday.  Sunday and Monday those parameters do increase a bit.  But still not overly impressive.

We will have plenty of CAPE for thunderstorms.  What are CAPE values and what do they mean in relation to severe weather?  I found a great post about CAPE values and this should explain it.  For you go-getter weather enthusiasts – click here

CAPE numbers Friday through Monday will range from 1000 to 3000.  That means that storms that form could produce locally heavy rain, frequent cloud to ground lightning, gusty winds, and even a few reports of hail.  The risk for organized severe thunderstorms appears small (at least for Friday and Saturday).


Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible on Friday.  A bit more coverage than on Thursday, is the current forecast thinking.  But, severe weather chances are minimal on Friday (isolated high wind report possible).  Precipitation should move in from the west.  A diminishing line from Missouri and Arkansas.  Will have to see how much of it holds together.  Best chances will be over southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.



Highlights:  Scattered showers and thunderstorms will likely occur on Saturday.  Some as early as Friday night.  Locally heavy rain and lightning is the concern for Saturday.  Some spots will likely miss out altogether on the rain…others will pick up heavy downpours.  Typical for this time of the year and this type of weather pattern.  The severe weather risk on Saturday is not zero, but it certainly does not appear to be great.  If a storm were to become severe then I would say southeast Missouri would be the area to watch and perhaps parts of southwest Illinois.  Again, low confidence on a severe storm occurring.  Remember, a severe storm is one that produces 1″ hail or larger and 58 mph winds or greater.  That is the official definition from the National Weather Service.

How about some air that you wear?  Saturday dew points will be in the 70’s.  Icky warmth.  Well, icky for some!  I guess some people love this type of weather.  Dew points explained…click here

Lot of moisture in the atmosphere.  Check out these two images below from

LOT of moisture coming out of the Gulf of Mexico.  Those orange colors represent dew points of 70 and above.  No shortage of moisture.  That means that any thunderstorms that form will be able to feed off of the moisture available.  Heavy downpours possible in some spots.

Note the dry line in Kansas and Oklahoma/Texas.  That is where dew points sharply fall off.  See the 70 degree dew points over western Oklahoma?  Then just west of there dew points are in the 20’s.  That is an AMAZING gradient.  That dry line is where severe storms will erupt over the coming days.


I can zoom in on our region.  This is the Saturday afternoon dew point map.  Click images for larger views.


I can’t rule out a severe thunderstorm on Saturday, but I believe the risk will mostly stay to our west.  Monitor updates.


The 500 mb map on Saturday indicates weak lifting.  The yellow/orange spots are disturbances moving through the atmosphere.  Nothing on this map is spectacular.  Very weak disturbances.  Not organized in appearance.  But, enough lift to cause showers and thunderstorms to form in our region.

Compare this map below, from, to the Sunday map (further down in the blog).


Saturday night you can see a powerful vort max coming into Kansas.  This is bad news for the Plains on Saturday.  A severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak appears very likely across parts of Nebraska down into Texas.  Thankfully, that is west of our region.

But, I wanted to show you the difference between the above map with weak disturbances and one with a powerful disturbance.  See it there in Kansas?

Again, this is the 500mb map (18,000′ high in the atmosphere).  This is Saturday night.  LOT of lift out in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma/Texas.



Highlights:  A period or two of showers and thunderstorms.  Strong storms can’t be ruled out.  Severe weather risk is not zero, but does not appear overly impressive.  Locally heavy rain possible and frequent lightning with any storms that do manage to form.  Some question as to just how many storms will be around on Sunday.  It is possible that much of the day may end up dry.

RIGHT NOW…subject to changes, it appears that there will be one chance of storms late Saturday night into Sunday morning and then a lull.  That may mean we dry out on Sunday morning into mid-afternoon Sunday.  Then another chance for storms late in the afternoon into Sunday night.  Timing is absolutely subject to adjustments (still several days away).  Again, some questions on coverage of precipitation for Sunday.  I would not cancel any plans.

Sunday we could have enough energy in the atmosphere to produce some severe weather over our western counties of southeast Missouri.  Hail and gusty winds being the main concern (if a severe storm forms).


Here are a few maps from

This first map shows you the upper level disturbance that will pass through the region on Sunday.  Those bright colors in Missouri and Arkansas indicate a disturbance.  This will help produce lift over our region.  Click images for a larger view.


CAPE values on Sunday.  This image is from

Those are some decent CAPE/energy numbers for storms to work with.  If the forecast model is accurate.  You can also see the area of low pressure over southeast South Dakota.  Wound up nicely.


This chart below is the PWAT value chart.  Those are some decent PWAT values pooling in our region ahead of the upper level disturbance.  That tells me that if a band of storms forms on Sunday then it would produce heavy rain.  This is the afternoon image (same for the above CAPE image).

What are PWAT values?  Great question!  I found this blog post that explains it quite well.  Click here for more information on PWAT values.


What the charts above are telling me is that we need to monitor Sunday for a few storms to become intense.  Not sure about severe weather, just yet.  But, I certainly can’t rule it out.  Any storms that do form on Sunday could produce torrential downpours in a few spots.  Again, few spots being the key wording.  Cloud to ground lightning will also be a concern for outdoor events.  Secondary concerns would be gusty winds and hail.  Monitor updates.


Highlights:  Showers and thunderstorms are possible again on Monday as a cold front passes through the area.  Some storms could be quite strong.  Perhaps a risk for severe weather…depending on what time the front moves through the area.


A cold front arrives on Monday.  That front will provide the best chance for organized thunderstorms.  The severe weather risk does not appear great, but I am monitoring it.  A lot of factors have to come together to produce severe weather.   Cloud cover, time of frontal passage, morning precipitation, wind fields aloft, and several other parameters need to be forecasted accurately to put together a severe weather forecast.

Here are the PWAT values on Monday.  They are pooling ahead of the cold front.

PWAT values will be on the increase over the coming days.  Quite a bit of moisture for storms to work with.  Any storms that form could produce some decent downpours.



The Storm Prediction Center has outlined our region for the potential of severe storms on Monday.  This is their current outline.  Keep in mind that this will be adjusted and changes will likely be necessary as we draw closer to Monday.  These outlooks always change.   Monitor updates, as always.


One thing to keep in mind is that we are not looking at all day rain events.  We are looking at periods of showers and thunderstorms over the area.  Some areas may miss out on precipitation on any of the given days in question.  Perhaps Monday will provide the best chance for everyone to receive showers and storms.




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 am concerned about lightning over the coming days.  Those with outdoor plans should monitor updates.

As mentioned above, a few storms could become quite strong over the next few days.  I can’t rule out a stray severe thunderstorm on Friday into Saturday.  Perhaps a bit better chance for severe weather on Sunday and Monday.  Monitor updates, as always.


I would monitor updated information over the coming days.  I know many of you have outdoor events.  I wish I could give you a YES or NO answer on rain at your location.  Just not that kind of pattern.  There will be on and off chances for precipitation right on through Monday.

Have a plan B if you have outdoor events.  Then monitor radars and my latest Facebook and Twitter updates (blog updates, as well).  I will be updating frequently.


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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.


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

Wild card in this forecast –  The wild card will center around severe weather chances on Sunday and especially on Monday.

Monday the risk for a few severe storms will be present over our region.  Monitor updates.



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 ONE for Friday and Saturday.  Concerns are probably going to be TWO for Sunday and especially Monday.
Friday Severe Weather Outlook –  Some thunderstorms possible.  Not expecting organized severe storms.  Can’t completely rule out an isolated severe thunderstorm.  Risk appears small.
Saturday Severe Weather Outlook –  Some thunderstorms possible.  Can’t completely rule out an isolated severe thunderstorm.  Monitor updates.
Sunday Severe Weather Outlook –  Thunderstorms are possible.  Monitor updates…a few strong or severe storms not completely out of the question.  Overall risk appears small.
Monday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe thunderstorms are possible on Monday.  Again, low confidence.  Timing of the cold front might be key and cloud cover from morning precipitation.  If the area is cloaked in clouds then severe weather risk will be lower.  Monitor updates.
Tuesday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe Weather Is Not Anticipated












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

Typical for this time of the year, rainfall totals will vary greatly from one county to the next.  If you end up under a slow moving thunderstorm then you can expect 1/2″-1″ in a short amount of time.  This is the type of pattern where some counties could easily pick up more than 1″ of rain while other nearby counties end up with very little.

Overall, between now and Monday night…the region should pick up 0.40″-1.00″ of rain.  Again, some spots will pick up a lot more than that.  There is a lot of moisture available for thunderstorms that form.

This is the general rainfall forecast for the coming days.





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.

I have spent a lot of time detailing the short range.

We should dry out on Tuesday into Wednesday.  I will dig deeper into next weeks forecast over the coming days.



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


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



For the most up to date maps – 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


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