This was an interesting weather day. I never know if you’ll really care, but here’s a little rundown of what happened today and how we dealt with it.
At 1:30 PM the Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch whose southern edge was Litchfield and Hartford counties. The watch was valid until 9:00 PM.
WW 605 SEVERE TSTM CT MA ME NH NY PA VT 061730Z – 070100Z
AXIS..115 STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF LINE..
45NNE EFK/NEWPORT VT/ – 30E AVP/WILKESBARRE PA/
..AVIATION COORDS.. 100NM E/W /9WNW YSC – 31WNW SAX/
HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT..2 INCHES. WIND GUSTS..60 KNOTS.
MAX TOPS TO 450. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 27030.
LAT…LON 45476950 41317293 41317736 45477425
THIS IS AN APPROXIMATION TO THE WATCH AREA. FOR A
COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE WOUS64 KWNS
First things first. Too much lead time! You can’t issue a watch before 2:00 and expect people to pay attention to 9:00 PM.
It didn’t much matter as the storm cell we got came after the watch expired and required a warning missed Litchfield entirely and moved into the previously un-warned Tolland County.
The warning came while Rachel was wrapping up at 10:00 PM. I wasn’t able to pass it to her before we went to commercial. Frustrating. Just bad timing.
When Rachel was on at 4:00 PM storms were in her forecast. That was good. Unfortunately I gave up on them between 8:00 and 9:00 PM only to see the southern edge spring to life.
This was one small cell. If you were under it you were getting torrential downpours, lots of lightning and gusty wind. Maybe 5% of the state got hit. Maybe less.
One of our crews down in Durham got spooked when they saw flashes in-the-sky. Lightning and live shots don’t mix.
I got on the line to reassure the truck operator the nearest cell was clear across the state! He saw the lightning because the thunderstorm cell was a loner in an otherwise cloud free sky.
That’s the funny thing about summer weather. During the colder months we’re more affected by large scale or “synoptic” storms. During the summer it’s air mass instability which produces compact cellular storms.
If a storm is going to cover 5% of the state we’re not going to be able to pin it down until it’s approaching us. Science still has limits.
With Rachel’s help on the radar I was able to update a few times at 11:00 PM without becoming a pain-in-the-ass to the vast majority of our viewers– those who wouldn’t be affected.
The forecast still has too many generalities when specifics would be more valuable. There’s stuff science still can’t do. That’s the frustrating part of the job.