Author: David Reimer

July 21, 2011 – Cleburne, Texas Wildfire

This wildfire has been active for several weeks now, in various modes of severity. We were at this exact location two weeks ago filming the fire as it flared up (See our channel for the video). Since that time, it’s been fairly contained. On 1, the fire took off once again and additional resources were quickly called in. Several mutual aid companies and aircraft responded to the scene. At sunset, the Texas Forest Service began to light backfires ahead of the fire in an attempt to contain it. This wildfire has burned several hundred acres....

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Descending Reflectivity Core vs. Debris Ball

I hadn’t really considered how alike a DRC and a Debris Call can look visually on base reflectivity until a situation in North Dakota earlier this evening. DRCs are much more common then debris balls. In fact, we usually only saw one or two debris ball signatures a year during the past few seasons. Obviously this year is a big exception. Dual-Pol products such as differential reflectivity and correlation coefficient will be able to detect debris signatures that conventional reflectivity was not designed to differentiate, but there is still an easy way to tell if what you’re looking at is just precipitation, such as a DRC, or debris from a tornadic circulation. This image was taken 45 minutes ago showing a classic DRC. For those not familiar with a DRC, here’s a definition from a 2007 study from the University of North Dakota. As defined in Rasmussen et al. (2006), the DRC is a protuberence of reflectivity that descends from the echo overhang in the right-rear flank of a supercell (Fig. 1). This image (below) is from the April 27 Super Outbreak as a supercell was approaching the Birmingham Metro. This shows a classic debris ball signature along with a couplet exceeding 200 knots. This storm was close enough to the radar site that the radar was actually able to pick up debris being lofted up into the updraft....

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July 7, 2011 – Weekly Drought Update

Compare to June 30’s Drought Update   A little late, but better then never! Like a broken record, the state as a whole saw little chance in drought conditions compared to last week. Over seventy percent of the state remains in Exceptional drought, the highest level of drought designation assigned. North Texas, who received some relief two weeks ago, is returning to drought conditions, although looking outside my window here in Dallas, the dead grass proves we never really left the drought. The one good change compared to last week in drought conditions is in deep south Texas.   Over the past 14 days, the only rainfall produced by a weather system (in other words, not counting the popcorn storms that have occurred in northeast Texas) occurred in extreme South Texas as a result of Tropical Storm Arlene. While TS Arlene made landfall several hundred miles south of the Texas/Mexico border, the outer bands of the system and it’s tropical mositure were able to make a dent in the drought. Hidalgo, Willacy, and Cameron counties who were in the Exceptional drought category last week were reduced two categories to severe drought. This is good news for that region, but unless more rainfall occurs, the area will quickly return to the exceptional drought category. Besides this small area of relief, the rest of the state remained continued to deal with...

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June 30, 2011 – Texas Drought Update

To compare the latest information with last weeks’ update, visit our June 23 Drought Update Another week has gone by and it’s once again time to post the weekly drought update for Texas. Just a reminder for those who are new, this graphic was created using data that ended on Tuesday, June 28. The only change in the drought areas from a week ago is a deterioration of conditions. As shown above, another two percent of the state has been added to the exceptional drought category, the worst level. In Northeast Texas, the area along the Red River has returned to drought status after a brief reprieve from thunderstorms ten days ago. With our only source of rainfall coming from tropical systems, it’s likely all of North Texas will return to drought conditions again quickly. For the first time in months, portions of the Texas Panhandle were impacted with a system that produced widespread convection in the form of a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS). The southern portion of the Texas Panhandle received a quarter of an inch up to two inches of rain. While this doesn’t even make a dent in the drought, I’m sure the residents appreciated the smell of moisture in the air again. On a side note, this same system produced a wake-low that produced destructive winds over 70 MPH in the eastern sections of Amarillo...

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Invest 95L – Discussion #1

Good evening, Another year has gone by and once again it’s time to start discussing the tropics! The Atlantic Hurricane Season started back on June 1 and will continue through October 31. The average peak for tropical activity is the second half of August into September, but tropical systems are possible throughout the entire season. In fact, it appears we may have our first 2011 Atlantic Tropical Depression in the next few days, for what is now declared as Invest 95L. An invest is simply an area of interest marked by the National Hurricane Center. It’s simply a level below a tropical depression. For more information on Invest 95L, lets dive in and take a look! Invest 95L is located in the eastern sections of the Bay of Campeche, or the extreme southern sections of the Gulf of Mexico. At this point, the system is still disorganized with a majority of it’s convection located over the Yucatan Peninsula, however, as the system slowly moves into the BOC (Bay of Campeche) it may be able to organize into a tropical system. A lot will depend on how fast the system is able to organize once it is fully over water. Speaking of water, in order for a tropical system to develop, you generally need SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) to be at or above 27 Celsius. Currently, the SST’s aren’t looking...

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