Archive for hail LIVE Streaming Operations for the Southeast Severe Weather Outbreak of 3/26/11

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather, weather photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by stormstream will be broadcasting the severe weather outbreak across Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia LIVE today starting at 10am EDT. Click on the Mike Phelps and Brett Adair tabs on the web page above the video player to join us as our virtual storm chase partners! As always, we will have a high-quality video stream, as well as full audio at all times and an interactive chat room where you can communicate with us.

You can also now watch Mike Phelps’ live stream from your smart phone! Just go to the following page on your internet-enabled mobile device:

MEDIA: Click on the media tab on the web page to contact us for licensing a clean, logo and ad-free stream for use on air, and for live phoners from the field. Or, go to and click on the media page from there. We will provide you with a MAK code to access the clean stream.

FORECAST: A warm front stretches along the I-20 corridor through MS, AL and GA on this Saturday morning. Rain and a few elevated strong to severe storms are located along and north of that warm front. This convection will reinforce the warm front and basically hold it in its current position through much of the day, if anything lifting only very slowly northward this afternoon. Instability and shear will increase greatly along and about 100 miles south of the warm front this afternoon and evening, and that will provide a ripe environment for scattered surface-based supercells producing large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes. The chase team will be intercepting these storms today beginning after 10am EDT. The best action should be between 3pm and 10pm EDT. We’ll have two chase vehicles covering the storms, with Mike Phelps in one, and Brett Adair and Eric Parker in the other.

This is a dangerous weather day across parts of the Southeast, so stay weather aware!

Mike Phelps
Owner –


Drivers who Dare – Day 1

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2009 by stormstream

Friday was a meet and greet day with the Speed Network crew from New York City.  We met Brian, Murial and Jake.  The crew is a fun and energetic bunch, and we had a great time yesterday as they taped interviews and shot video of the vehicle.  I know, not real exciting, but all necessary when you are trying to put together material to fill an hour-long program.  Today should be a little more exciting as it looks like there is at least a chance for an isolated thunderstorm or two along a boundary just north, northwest or northeast of Wichita after 6pm.  If the storms form they will be high based, but could produce some good cloud-to-ground lightning, some microburts winds, and maybe some small hail.

Here is a press release that Jim Reed posted on his blog oage about what we are doing:

I am hoping to stream a lot of what we are doing live on between noon and 10pm CDT each day.  Check it out at

A Busy and Potentially Dangerous Severe Weather Day Across Dixie

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2009 by stormstream

A strong storm system will bring areas of severe thunderstorms to the Southeast U.S. today.

Severe storms with the potential of damaging winds and isolated tornadoes will affect the Gulf coastal and inland areas of south AL, south GA and north FL throughout the morning and into the afternoon. 

Other severe storms associated with low pressure and the cold front will sweep from eastern TX across LA, southern and eastern AR, western sections of middle TN and into western MS through the morning and into the afternoon.  These particular storms could produce hail to the size of baseballs, damaging winds and some tornadoes.  These storms will continue to move rapidly northeast at 50 to 60 mph across MS, middle TN and across AL and the FL panhandle late this afternoon and evening, continuing to pose a threat of damaging winds, hail to the size of golfballs and isolated tornadoes.  Storms will impact GA, north FL and into SC and eastern NC through the early morning hours on Friday.  These storms will mainly be strong to marginally severe, but central and south GA and into the Carolinas could experience more concentrated severe storms with damaging winds, hail to the size of marbles and isolated tornadoes.

The extensive convection occuring along the Gulf coastal region of AL and the FL panhandle will disrupt the low level wind field, and could reduce the amount of low level speed shear, a key ingredient to large tornadoes in the Southeast.  This could spare most of AL, GA and middle TN from any storng or violent tornadoes, with most intensity levels between EF0 and EF1.  Further west during the afternoon, the low level inflow should be stronger thus creating more intense low level spin in the atmosphere, the CAPE higher, and the upper dynamics stronger.  If we are to see any long-tracked tornadoes of EF2 intensity and higher today it would most likely be across MS, the western third of AL, and possibly western sections of middle TN if dewpoints can rise above 62F there.  The most likely time for this activity would be between 2pm and 9pm.

I am fairly confident that this event will produce severe weather that may reach the definition of an outbreak.  I’m more confident in an outbreak of severe thunderstorms than I am of a tornado outbreak.  The low level moosture is there, but I am not sure we are going to see the magnitude of 0-1km speed sheer necessary to get a lot of tornadoes going, and especially ones of strong or violent intensity.  There will likely be more storms displaying mid level rotation, than those that actually drop confirmed tornadoes, so we could see a situation where many radar-indicated tornado warnings are issued, but verification of actual tornadoes may be far less.  Still, having said that, the potential is certainly there for significant tornadoes, especially across MS, western AL and western sections of middle TN, with a threat for isolated and weaker tornadoes in many other areas.  So stay up to date on all forecasts, and pay attention to all watches and warnings that are issued today, and take them very seriously.

Major Outbreak of Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes Looking More Likely Across Mississippi and Alabama on Thursday and Thursday Night

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2009 by stormstream

The atmospheric set-up for Thursday into early Friday morning will be very supportive of numerous severe thunderstorms, and potentially strong to violent tornadoes across parts of the Southeast U.S., centered on Mississippi and Alabama.  This is a very dangerous, potentially life and property-threatening situation, and those within and near the greatest risk area should review their severe weather action plans and be ready to take measures to protect life and property Thursday and Thursday night.

The area of greatest risk will exist across eastern AR, northern LA, western and middle TN, all of MS and AL, and west-central and southwest GA.  The threat will extend across western sections of this region Thursday morning, then moves eastward through the day and extend from middle TN to eastern AL and west-central and southwest GA by Thursday night into early Friday morning.  Anyone living in this region needs to be prepared.  I can’t stress that enough.

Any severe thunderstorm that develops in the above mentioned region on Thursday has the very real potential of producing damaging winds in excess of 60mph and damaging hail.  In fact, storms will have the potential to produce hail to the size of baseballs.  Many storms will become supercells and be capable of producing large, damaging and long-tracked tornadoes and tornado families in cyclic supercells.  The set-up is one that is much more commonly seen in the traditional Tornado Alley of the Plains, and more rarely across the Southeast.  This system has the potential to be one of the largest severe weather and tornado outbreaks of the season, not only for the Southeast, but for the entire U.S.  I would say that most of Mississippi and western, central and south-central Alabama are ground zero for the most intense and life and property-threatening weather, although the entire region outlined above is under a significant threat.

Still, there are factors that could limit the severity, as well as the overall coverage of the event.  Those factors being the potential of Gulf coastal convection limiting the inflow of deep, quality surface moisture and instability into the system.  The tremendous dynamics could lead to more of a squall line event, which would limit tornado potential, however, it would increase the chance of widespread damaging winds.  Timing is still not certain, and if the main dynamics move across the region during the relatively cooler, more stable overnight hours, then that could lessen the intensity of the event as well.  Overall, however, there are far more factors that lead one to believe there will be a major outbreak of severe weather, as opposed to a lesser event.

Please stay up to date on the weather, and please be prepared.

After an Extended Quiet Period, Severe Weather Possibilities Return to the Plains and Missouri Valley March 22-24

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2009 by stormstream

The overall weather pattern in the middle part of the country looks to become one that is more conducive to the formation of severe thunderstorms by late this weekend and early next week.

A significant trough of low pressure moves into the Rockies late in the weekend and progresses eastward next Monday and Tuesday.  This will provide the upper level support needed for the possible development of severe storms.  However, the surface will be a little slower to come around.  On Sunday, a dryline will be established in the High Plains, but there will still be significant surface high pressure ridging across all, but the extreme western Gulf of Mexico.  This will effectively limit the return of significant, deep surface moisture on Sunday.  So, we end up with the prospect for some high-based thunderstorms.  Still, shear will be decent, so we will need to watch the moisture and if it ends up being a little more than I think right now, we’ll have to entertain the possibility of a landspout or two.  This has been the case a couple of times this season already, as the atmosphere has had the ability this year in the Plains to overachieve on quite marginal days.  So, Sunday is definitely in play in terms of being a potential storm chase day.

Monday, however, looks much better.  The central and western Gulf of Mexico opens up as the ridging moves east.  There should be a healthy flow of richer surface moisture for about 12 hours begining Sunday night and continuing through Monday.  Still, this will not be the favored Caribbean trajectory that tends to lead to major severe weather outbreaks in Tornado Alley, but moisture should still be adequate for a significant severe weather event given the favorable shear and upper level support.  Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are in play in terms of severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes.  One thing that will need to be watched, and could impact the southern extent of the threat, will be the elevated mixed layer (EML) or cap.  I think that capping is going to be an issue with most system this spring, but details will not be resoved on this until the actual day of the event.

On Tuesday, March 24th, the focus for severe weather will be shifting eastward into IA, MO, IL, IN, AR, LA and eastern TX.  The best upper support lifts northeast, away from the best instability.  However, I think enough instability and shear will remain to promote severe thunderstorm development from the MO Valley into the Arklatex region.  This day as well appears to be a chase day for local chasers in that region, however, it is not something that I think many Plains chasers would follow unless they totally busted on Monday.

It must be cautioned that as of the writing of this blog entry, we are still four to five days away from this possible severe weather event.  Timing of the system could be off by a day either way. 

I will certainly be keeping a close eye on this, and posting on it regularly in the coming days.

An Wild Weather Weekend for the Southeast with Severe Weather and Significant Snow Likely!

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by stormstream

All systems are still go for severe thunderstorms, then snow across parts of the Southeast this weekend, and we are now getting into a range where I can throw out some more specific forecasts with some measure of confidence.

First, I’ll discuss the severe weather prospects for Saturday and my plans to chase the storms and do a live internet broadcast of my storm chase.

It is hard at this point to say exactly where the greatest threat for severe storms will be on Saturday.  The models are pretty much showing the area in Georgia and eastern Alabama along and south of I-20 as being in the threat zone.  However, I’m not sure the models are handling the effects of the large convective system over central AL and GA very well.  Surely this will reinforce the boundary farther south than the models indicate.  Right now, I’m thinking along and south of  line from Macon, GA to Troy, AL will be my target for severe weather on Saturday.

Steep lapse rates, rather low freezing levels, and the potential for rotating updrafts will lead to very real possibilities of large hail.  Also, the shear, divergence aloft and strong 250mb winds will lead to the chance for long-tracked supercells with a chance for a few tornadoes.

The plan right now is for me and my chase partner, Greg Zamarripa, to depart Atlanta at 11:30am and head for either Columbus, GA or Macon, GA as a base.  We will then head out in any direction from there to intercept storms.  We hope to be in our target by 2pm EST.  Storm chaser Mark Aubin will be targeting the Florida panhandle for any severe storm activity that erupts farther south.

I will be broadcasting my storm chase live on the internet on and  Between 11:30am and 3pm I will be streaming live at  Then, from roughly 3pm EST onward I will be streaming live at as Mike Phelps.  On the broadcast the viewer will have the ability to not only view the live video, but also hear audio from within the chase vehicle.  You’ll be able to listen in on critical nowcasting conversations and storm chase strategies, so you’ll actually feel like you are riding along with us on the chase.  There is also a chat feature where you can interact with me via instant message, and I can talk to you live.  The broadcast will not feature audio, but the video could be spectacular at times since we will be streaming at that location during the height of the storm chase.  I will be available to the media for live phone interviews any time at 404-202-6317.

Now onto the snow prospects for Sunday.

This looks to be a classic late winter/early spring upper level snow events for parts of the Southeast.  The upper low drops in from the northwest bringing with it a supply of moisture, cold air and strong dymamics.  These events are notoriously difficult to forecast and the area of heavy snow that falls will be dictated very much by the exact path the upper level low takes.  Right now, I’d say a general trace to 3 inch snowfall looks like a good bet across TN, northern and central AL and GA, much of SC and much of NC.  1 to 3 inches for Memphis, Birmingham, Huntsville and Chattanooga.  1-2 inches for the west Atlanta metro area, and 2 to 4 inches for the east and northeast ATL metro.  3 to 6 inches for Athens, GA.  4 to 7 inches for Greenville, SC.  I won’t venture to throw out a snowfall forecast for Columbia, Charlotte or Raleigh just yet, but they could also make out very well.  I also believe someone in the Southeast is going to see some “jackpot snow”of a foot or more, but it is impossible to pin down who that will be at this juncture.  I hope it is my backyard!  🙂  Now having said all that, I do need to caution that the bust potential with upper level snow systems in the Southeast is very high.  Honestly, we are not going to have a fully confident handle on this thing until it is happening.  The cities I listed above could just as easily end up seeing a lot less, or a lot more.  Definitely a system to monitor closely as there are sure to be several changes in the forecast over the next 24 to 36 hours.

I will also be streaming live video of the snow storm, and I will have more details on that in my blog entry Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

Tornadoes Possible in Dixie Today. Snow Likely on Saturday. Get Ready for a Wild Few Days!

Posted in Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2009 by stormstream

It is going to be a classic wild weather ride across the Southeast United States over the next several days.

A storm system today and tonight will bring the potential of severe thunderstorms across a good portion of LA, MS, AL, GA and north FL.  The threats with these storms will be large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes.  In fact, the tornado threat is looking rather significant for the southern half of MS, and the southrn 2/3rds of AL.  Also, if mid 60 degree dewpoints make it into GA this afternoon, then a significant tornado threat would also exist for areas in GA along and south of interstate 20, and this would include the Atlanta metro area.

Overall, the potential violence of this event will very much be dictated by the degree and depth of moisture across the Southeast.  As of late morning, many dewpoints in the threatened areas of AL and GA are only in the low to mid 50s.  Dewpoints will need to rise into the 63 to 67 degree F. range to provide the sufficient low level moisture to fuel robust and deep convection necessary to produce tornadoes.  This will be a situation where the true potential of this event may not be fully realized until mid to late afternoon today.  There are still several factors that could significantly limit the overall threat and only time will tell whether those factors will go away or remain.  So, it will be very important for those across the Southeast to stay up to date on the latest weather information as the day progresses.

Now for the winter weather threat fro Saturday into Sunday morning…

This threat has been on the models for several days, and is trending stornger with each model run.  I am very hesitant to take the bait on any model threat beyond two or three days given the poor performance of the forecast models in this range this season.  I will say that I am cautiously opitimistic that a swath of light snow will progress from northwest to southeast across areas mainly along and north of I-20/I-85 Saturday into Sunday morning.  Accumulations could range from nothing to a dusting, to several inches.  It is just too early right now to say much more than state that this is a potential winter weather threat.