Eastern Kentucky Weather

A Summer Like Pattern In Late May

The set-up this week is one of those that we see normally in the summer time. It will be muggy... it will be hot... there will be scattered afternoon storms!

The heat and humidity will be increasing as this week progresses. It will resemble what we normally see in June-July with those "Pop-Up" thunderstorms. That means that every afternoon we'll have a chance to see rain scattered around the region. Here's the graphical recipe that is necessary for these storms to get fired up in this juicy air mass we have around us at the moment.

Just like with any good recipe, the ingredients combine together and form something different. A thunderstorm is no exception. When it takes convection, updrafts and downdrafts and puts them together, it creates new things like convection cells. So take your knife and fork, cut into a thunderstorm and see what's really inside. 

Each updraft and downdraft in a thunderstorm is considered a separate unit called a convection cell. These cells are continually developing and dying if the conditions are right. A thunderstorm cell can last between 30 to 60 minutes. As one cell is dying, another could be forming. This increases the life and dangerous weather of a thunderstorm. 

There are three stages

Cumulus Stage: The cumulus stage is the initial stage of thunderstorm development. This is when the updraft reaches the condensation point in the atmosphere and begins to form the cumulus cloud. During this stage, cumulus clouds can expand both vertically and laterally. In a short time, the clouds can reach 8 to 10 thousand meters in height, or around 30,000 feet. Cumulus clouds may also merge together during this vertical development, creating a single cloud that can cover an area of 5 to 10 miles. 

 
Mature Stage: The mature stage begins when the first drop of precipitation from the cumulus clouds reaches the ground. In the convection cycle, this is when the water droplets become too heavy for the updraft to hold aloft. 

During the mature stage, cloud tops begin to exceed 60,000 feet. Strong winds at these altitudes cause the tops of the clouds to level off, and take an anvil shape. The "anvil" is so high and temperatures are so low that the top of the cloud is composed entirely of ice crystals. 

A thunderstorm is strongest toward the end of the mature stage. Rain will be the heaviest and lightning is abundant. This is when hail, strong winds and even tornadoes may form. 

Dissipating Stage: The dissipating stage is the end of a thunderstorm. This is when precipitation falls through the cloud, breaking it up. During the dissipating stage, the humidity in the air drops and the precipitation ends.

 

Tuesday-Thursday the set-up will feature scattered showers and thunderstorms. We'll see them blow up and rain a while and then die out. Some can last a while and during that time heavy rain can fall. This means flash flooding is a possibility. I have seen storms develop on radar and rain hard in the same area for around 1 hour to 1 hour and a half. The typical storm will probably last 20-30 minutes before raining itself out.

Friday, will actually include some organization! That just simply means that we'll have a front move in and bring widespread rainfall chances to our region. Once it clears the region... out Memorial Day Weekend will be a great one!

I'll have more later this week.

C-Ya Bye

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