March 2, 2012: One Year Later Thoughts and An Announcement

One year ago, a devastating tornado outbreak struck areas from Illinois to Virginia and from the Tri-State south to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas, leaving 41 people dead and multitudes of others injuried. Here is the day of March 2 as I (Jeremy) remember it. I put this in timeline form at the six month anniversary. Obviously, nothing has changed from this timeline, but we’ve added some video to it.

1:00 AM: Day 1 SPC outlook places Cincinnati in moderate risk of severe storms.
7:00 AM: I’ve been up all night tracking what is occurring out in Missouri. I now have a doctor’s appointment to go to, but I leave radar up while I’m preparing.
10 AM: Rain hits the downtown area of Cincinnati — but this isn’t even the main event.
11:00 AM: Severe weather has broken out in Alabama.
11:30 AM: SPC new outlook puts Cincinnati and NKY in the High Risk zone. Nick Byrd puts out the word on the NKY Weather Facebook…my cell phone battery has died by this point as I’ve been watching things all morning.
1:45 PM: I make it home and jump in on coverage on an Internet radio station (JJRN) run by a pair of friends, Jarrod Jicha and Cindy Detro (sadly, the station no longer exists).
2:50 PM: A major tornado forms west of Henryville, Indiana.
3:00 PM: Henryville is hit by the first of two tornadoes to strike the vicinity. This would do damage all the way into Carroll County, KY, and a tornado would be captured on video by my friend and colleague, storm chaser Corey Ecton, nearby:

3:19 PM: First tornado warning in the NKYWx forecast area, covers the extreme western part of NKY.
3:34 PM: National Weather Service in Wilmington issues first ever (for that particular NWS office) “Tornado Emergency”, covering a chunk of the western forecast area.
3:44 PM: Tornado Warnings dropped for southwestern Dearborn, southern Ripley counties…a new warning would be needed minutes later for the Holton tornado for Ripley County.
3:50 PM: New “Tornado Emergency” covers Carroll, Gallatin, Kenton, Boone, Switzerland, Grant and Owen counties.
3:52 PM: I take cover in the basement at home, as a course of least regret.
3:53 PM: Tornado hits Holton, IN.
4:03 PM: Another tornado warning for Boone, Gallatin, Kenton and Switzerland counties. I stay in my basement through this, tornado sirens blaring all along.
4:15 PM: Debris reported falling in Boone County as of 4:10 PM. Another official Tornado Emergency is issued based on this report.
4:32 PM: I call the Tornado Emergency for Piner and Morning View…Tornado has formed in Crittenden and is clearly seen on radar, with a debris ball signature. This tornado actually came within a few hundred feet of Nick Byrd’s home. We are thankful we didn’t have to help one of our own, but would have if need be.
4:35 PM: Boone County pulled from the tornado warning. I rejoin coverage online on JJRN soon after until that ends.

Things become a blur after this, and in my fatigue that day, I’m sure I forgot a lot. A lot of the following comes from the National Weather Service offices in Wilmington, OH and Jackson, KY.

4:40 PM: Another tornado touches down in Peach Grove, KY; it would track through Moscow, Ohio and all the way to near Hamersville, Ohio in Brown County before lifting.
5:02 PM: Small tornado in Berlin, KY (Bracken County).
5:25-5:40 PM: Several tornadoes strike Adams County, Ohio.
5:58 PM: Tornado hits the downtown sections of West Liberty, KY, which is east of Lexington and southwest of Ashland, KY.
6:50 PM: Salyersville, Kentucky hit by tornado.
7:00 PM: Portions of Laurel County, KY hit by another destructive tornado.
Around 9:30 PM: JJRN coverage wraps up.
11:00 PM: I finally climb into bed, completely exhausted.

Over the following days, the Crittenden/Piner and Henryville tornadoes would be declared EF-4’s; the Peach Grove to Moscow to Hamersville, Salyersville, West Liberty, and Holton tornadoes would be declared EF-3, and most others noted in this listing would be found to be EF-2’s or lower. Eleven fatalities have been confirmed in the Cincinnati television market, which I still take personally to this very day. It was the worst day of my storm tracking career. I hope I never see this happen again, but in reality, tornado outbreaks occur every year. We’re going to see this happen again. Our job is to limit the number of fatalities, and I promise you that I will be involved in that effort until I no longer have the strength to do so.

To that end, I am proud to announce that this season I am partnering with Corey and Nick Long to chase some of the events that come our way. I’m not sure when our first chase of 2013 will be, but we’re going to be working together and will try to make the process better.

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A Primer on Snow Emergencies: What Are They and How Do They Affect Me?

A SNOW EMERGENCY was declared by Kenton County at 4 PM this afternoon. You might be asking what this means for you.

In many counties, there is a three tier system for snow emergencies. These tiers are usually as follows:

Level One: Motorists are advised to use caution due to hazardous road conditions resulting from accumulations of snow and/or ice.

Level Two: Road conditions are extremely hazardous due to snow and/or ice and essential travel only is advised.

Level Three: Road conditions are extremely dangerous and travel is restricted to the following purposes: Public safety and emergency personnel travel; Travel to and from work if required by your employer; Travel for medical purposes or to obtain necessary provisions. Travel for any other purposes is considered to be nonessential and violations will be enforced by law enforcement personnel.

(Wording can be different from county to county, the above is from Boone County, KY.)

Also, if a Snow Emergency is declared by the county AND at least two inches of snow is predicted, on-street parking is usually PROHIBITED.

In cities, Snow Emergencies can also be declared. In these cases, on-street parking is PROHIBITED and cars must be moved off streets or you risk being towed. Some communities do designate specific routes as snow emergency routes, in which cases only those streets are affected. Others do not, and in those cases the policy applies to ALL streets.

Please be sure to follow the directions of your local emergency authorities. Doing so will save you a lot of problems.

Thanksgiving Travel Forecast: Wet NW, Warm to Cold Midwest and E Coast

Good evening everyone! Here’s what your travel forecast looks like for the Thanksgiving holiday!

WEST: The northwest will see periods of rain all weekend long. Meanwhile, after some rain tomorrow, Thanksgiving across the mountains and down into southern CA shouldn’t be all that bad.

MIDWEST: The entire Midwest will go from warmer than normal to colder than normal, as a front crosses the region Thursday and Friday. At this time, Saturday looks fine but another system moves across Sunday bringing a chance of rain or snow.

NORTHEAST: That same front affects the northeast on Friday and clears the coast Saturday. Behind it, snow showers will be possible especially downwind of the lakes.

SOUTHEAST: As we go through the next two days, other than some showers or storms in deep southern Texas, you’ll be fine. The front then moves into the northern parts of the region Friday night into Saturday, but the air will not be nearly as cold here behind it. About the furthest extent of the 40’s is north GA, N AL, TN, parts of NC and VA. Florida stays nice and warm throughout, with highs in the 70’s. Much of the region will be in the 50’s or 60’s.

Okay, there you go! I will be putting a quick blurb into each day’s forecast update through Sunday to tell you what you can expect nationally. I’m back tomorrow morning with that and the usual Cincinnati update. Till then, take care!

Jeremy

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR TWITTER FOLLOWERS

This is an important message for Twitter followers ONLY. If you’re seeing this via a Facebook post, this doesn’t apply to you.

I have become aware of an issue involving the posts to this blog being tweeted/publicized twice. Once to the Twitter feed as normal, but then publicized via the Facebook post, as well.

I have submitted this to WordPress, so we’ll see what comes of it. I had been deleting the tweets that came via Facebook re-publicizing to Twitter…but for the next few days, or while this is being addressed with WordPress, I WILL NOT be deleting those posts so that they can see the pattern.

So, you’ll see double posts for a few days. Once this is resolved, you should only see the post in your feed through WordPress directly, and NOT Facebook.

Jeremy

LOUISVILLE DERAILMENT UPDATE: Evacuation Over!

The following comes from the NWS in Louisville, KY:

“Kentucky Emergency Management and Louisville MetroSafe have lifted the evacuation order and shelter in place warnings effective at 5:45 PM EST Sunday November 4, 2012. Crews have moved the hazardous materials from the derailment site.”

This means you can now go back into the 1.2 mile radius of northern Bullitt, southwestern Jefferson, and western Hardin counties in Kentucky.

A shelter in place warning they are referring to above was in effect for much of the day, as the removal of the hazardous chemicals was taking place. That warning also included portions of Meade County in Kentucky and Harrison County, Indiana.

Saturday 11/3 Forecast: Rainy, Then a Break, But Not Where It’s Needed

A lot to get to, and I don’t have much physically or mentally left after this week, so let’s get to it…

LOUISVILLE DERAILMENT UPDATE: Everyone within a 1.2 mile radius of Katherine Station Road and Dixie Highway near West Point, KY is STILL, almost a week later, under a MANDATORY EVACUATION. This is in effect until further notice, BUT it is safe to turn on your HVAC systems if you live anywhere outside 1.2 miles.

TODAY: Our next disturbance is here. The result is some showers and some rumbles of thunder currently moving in from Indiana. I expect that to arrive within the hour after this is posted. I do think the best threat is across areas from Carrollton to Falmouth to Vanceburg and all points southward from those communities, but with this initial batch everyone might get something, so we need to watch the skies between now and noon. Our highs today will make 54 at best.

SUNDAY: Sunday looks dry at this point. Lows tonight fall to the middle 30’s under clouds, but then we struggle to return to the 50 degree mark tomorrow. I’ll go 50 exactly, BUT north of Cincinnati you may not get out of the 40’s. Lows the next two nights will be near or below freezing.

NEXT WEEK: Models seem to agree that things are ok through Monday and then…uh oh…another storm heads up the east coast midweek. I want to make one thing perfectly clear. This is NOT another system on the same scale as Sandy was. What happens with this is up in the air…but for the northeast, even though the impacts won’t be anywhere near what they were with Sandy, it’s something they just DO NOT need for the recovery efforts, emotionally or physically. Highs will be in the 50’s for us here with lows in the 30’s, and I’ll leave us dry. I don’t expect much movement in temperatures, quite frankly…and honestly, I’d take some action here in Cincinnati, if it meant the east coast got a break.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow along with us in the aftermath of Sandy:

NKYWx on Facebook
NKYWx on Twitter

A REQUEST TO OUR READERS: I am not going to mince words: The Red Cross needs a lot of help. They deal with a lot of disasters, but Sandy was a once in a lifetime event for the northeast…and the damage is extensive. They need help to get the residents of NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, and CT back on their feet. I encourage you, please go to redcross.org and make a donation, or text “SANDY” to 90999 and a $10 donation will be added to your phone bill. Also, the previous post has information about donating to Matthew 25 Ministries if you want to send actual supplies to the coast. Let’s get the northeast back on their feet.

NEXT UPDATE: Our next update here on the site will be Sunday morning. In the meantime, take care and try to enjoy your weekend.

Jeremy

From Matthew 25 (@M25M_org): What’s Needed for Sandy Relief

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, some of you are no doubt wondering how you can help. I have a list of items needed from Matthew 25 Ministries. Please go to the Matthew 25 Ministries Sandy Relief webpage to find out where you can donate monetarily or take the following items being requested for Sandy relief efforts:

  • Non-Perishable Food: PULL TOP canned vegetables, fruits etc.; ready to eat dry goods such as nuts, peanut butter, dried fruits, granola and trail mixes, jerkies, ready to eat snacks; bottled water; ready- to-eat meals or MREs
  • Personal Care Products: Antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, lotion etc.
  • Cleaning supplies: Laundry detergents, general cleaner, sponges, bleach (powdered form is preferred), mops, scrub brushes, buckets, rubber gloves etc.
  • Paper products: Toilet paper, paper towels etc.
  • Baby and infant supplies: Diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment, baby wash, baby shampoo, baby lotion etc.
  • First-Aid items: Bandages, gauze, pads, first aid tape, antiseptic creams, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, latex gloves, instant cold packs etc.
  • Tarps
  • Again, go to the Matthew 25 Ministries Sandy Relief webpage to find out where you can drop off these items that are being sent to the east coast, or how you can otherwise help them. They accept donations at their warehouse at 11060 Kenwood Road in Blue Ash from 9:00am – 4:00pm Monday through Friday, or 9:00am – 1:00pm on Saturdays, and the other locations will be on their website above. As of right now, the website above notes that volunteers MAY be needed at that location next week starting Tuesday. This is in addition to the Red Cross efforts mentioned earlier.