Beau Dodson's WeatherTalk Blog

June 1, 2015: Welcome to meteorological summer

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This forecast update covers far southern Illinois, far southeast Missouri, and far western Kentucky. See the coverage map on the right side of the blog.

Remember that weather evolves.  Check back frequently for updates, especially during active weather.

The forecast numbers below may vary a bit across the region.  These are the averages.

Sunday Night – Some scattered showers.  Cooler with lows in the 50’s.  Light winds from the north/northeast.

Monday – Mostly cloudy with a chance for a few showers…especially over western Kentucky.  Some drizzle elsewhere.  Highs will be in the upper 60’s to lower 70’s with variable winds at 5-10 mph.  Winds should be from the west/southwest shifting to the north/northwest.  But, some variability today in wind direction.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?
  No, but monitor radars…especially over western Kentucky and Tennessee.

Morning School Bus Stop Weather –
   Mostly cloudy with a few showers possible.  Morning temperatures in the 50’s with light winds.
Afternoon School Bus Stop Weather – Mostly cloudy with a slight chance for a light shower.  Afternoon temperatures in the 70’s.  Northwest winds at 10 mph.

Monday night –  Mostly cloudy with a slight chance for a light shower.  Lows in the 50’s.  Cool for June.  West/northwest winds becoming north at 5-10 mph.  Winds may be variable in direction.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?  No

Tuesday – A mix of sun and clouds.  Below normal temperatures.  A small chance for a shower…mainly over southern and eastern counties in Kentucky and Tennessee.  Temperatures will be in the 70’s with north/north winds at 5-10 mph.  Variable wind direction at times.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans? 

Tuesday night – Partly cloudy.  A 20% chance for an evening shower.  Cooler than normal.  Lows in the 50’s to lower 60’s.  Northerly winds at 5-10 mph.  Variable wind direction at times.
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans?

Wednesday –  Partly sunny and warmer.  A 20% chance for a thunderstorm.  Highs will mostly be in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s.  A bit more humid.  Variable winds at 5-10 mph.  Winds should mostly be out of the northeast and east. 
My confidence in this part of the forecast verifying is medium
Should I cancel my outdoor plans? 
I would not cancel any plans.  Monitor radars.


Sunrise and Sunset Times – Click Here




The School Bus Stop Forecast is sponsored by TransAmerica Agency Network Paducah District – you can visit their Facebook page here and their home page here


Current Temperatures Around The Local Area

Don’t forget to check out the Southern Illinois Weather Observatory web-site for weather maps, tower cams, scanner feeds, radars, and much more!  Click here



An explanation of what is happening in the atmosphere over the coming days…


1.  Meteorological summer…what is it?
2.  Some uncertainty on the track of an upper level low…but mostly an uneventful few weather days ahead of us
3.  Small warming trend with each passing day

The official first day of summer is June 20th, but meteorologists (the odd bunch that we are) like to measure seasons a little bit differently than everyone else.

We consider meteorological summer to run from June 1st through the end of August.  We do this for a number of reasons.  One reason is this way of measuring seasons tends to make it easier statistically to compare one season from the next.  It is a more accurate measure of the actual weather than the calendar season dates.  Many of you consider the kickoff to summer to be Memorial Day Weekend.  So, the way meteorologists measure seasons isn’t too far off from that idea.  After all, who wants to wait until the end of December for winter to begin?  Meteorologists measure winter from December 1st through the end of February.  You get the general idea.

Welcome to meteorological summer.

Not that the weather is going to feel like summer!  We will once again have below normal temperatures today.  Sunday brought well below normal temperatures and a bit more rain.  Rain was not forecast to be as widespread on Sunday as it ended up being (at least not the Saturday forecast for Sunday).  Rain moved in from the southwest on Sunday late morning and afternoon and spread northeast.

The week ahead…

The bottom line for Monday through Wednesday is that the confidence in the placement of an upper level low is lower than normal.  Some showers may linger into mid-week.  Not expecting widespread precipitation over the region.  Perhaps the most coverage will be Sunday night and Monday morning.

Mostly an uneventful few days of weather ahead of us.

A rather complicated weather pattern is unfolding for the week ahead.  At one point it appeared that an upper level low would meander to our south and east.  But, with each passing day there were more and more questions as to where to place this feature.  And, where this feature ends up will make all of the difference in sensible weather conditions.

If the upper level low doesn’t spin on out of this region then shower chances will linger.  Most of the data has slowed the progress of the low.

I have shower chances in the forecast through Wednesday…albeit small chances.  Even a thunderstorm can’t be ruled out on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The upper level low will certainly be to our south.  The question is how far south.  That means the best chances for precipitation will be over the Missouri Bootheel, western Kentucky and western Tennessee.  Lesser chances as you travel north and northwest in the region.

Let’s look at this upper level low on the GFS model.  The yellow area is the upper level low…you can see it here on Monday night/Tuesday morning over Mississippi.  The EC model has the upper level low a bit further north and east.  Again, the placement is key to rain chances over the coming days.  Typically the EC model does quite well.  The GFS model has not been stellar of late.  Again, adding to the lower than normal confidence in the forecast.

Worst case scenario we have a few more showers than expected.

Maps are from


Here is the Tuesday night and Wednesday morning GFS map.  The low is stalled out to our south.  You can see it over Mississippi and Alabama.  But you can also see a finger of the vort pushing back into our region.  Thus, some precipitation chances are going to linger through early week.


Here is the Friday weather map.  Yeesh – that thing is still lingering over the south-lands.  The reason it is lingering is because it has been cut off from the jet stream.  We call this a cut off low.  Cut off from the main jet stream to the north and south.


Now, let’s look at the GEM Canadian model.  See the difference?  It places it further south and east.  It moves the upper level low over Alabama and Georgia.  Does not add much confidence to where this thing ends up.


Let me show you another map.  This is the 500 mb wind map.  These are winds at 18,000 feet above the Earth’s surface.

This is the Thursday 500 mb wind map.  See the cut off low to our south?  The closed lines and the L over Mississippi.  That is the cut off low.  Where this meanders will make all the difference in our forecast over the coming days.  Scattered precipitation chances can’t be ruled out if the upper level low is further north than forecast.

See the bright yellow/red/purple colors over Canada?  That is the jet stream.  Way way north.  The bright colors in California are the southern jet.  Wind fields over much of the central and southeast United States are weak.  Cut off from the main jet stream.


Let’s pull ahead to next Monday.  See the bright colors over our region?  That is the jet stream diving southward.  This will push the upper level low away from our region or it will be picked up by the jet stream.

But, the jet returning will mean rain chances also returning.  See the extended discussion


Temperatures Monday into Wednesday will be mostly below normal.

Monday high temperature map


Tuesday high temperature map


Wednesday high temperature map


Let’s take a look back at May temperatures and preciptiation

We straddled the below normal temperatures and above normal temperatures for half the month.  The first half of the month was warm.  This caused us to average above normal in the temperature department.  Let’s look at that on the maps

This is the month to data temperature anomalies.  You can see we ended up warmer than normal.


The second half of May was mostly below normal in the temperature department.  This was partly because of widespread showers and thunderstorms (clouds).


Precipitation was amazing across parts of the nation.  The Month of May will not be soon forgotten for areas in Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.  Just look at these incredible rainfall totals.


Our area was mixed.  Parts of the area had nearly double their normal rainfall.  I recorded almost 6″ in Massac County.  Other areas were below normal in the rainfall department.  A sliver of southern Illinois into southern Indiana and Kentucky missed out on some of the heavier totals.  But, even in those areas the totals varied greatly.

Let me zoom in on our region.  These are the May 1st through 30th totals (these do not include the Sunday totals).  Click maps to zoom in

may1tomay31stmorningof maps

Just look at some of these totals over southeast Missouri.  Some places picked up 5-8 inches of rain during the Month of May.  Isolated higher.


And zooming in on our southern and eastern counties

Notice that sliver of lesser totals from far western Kentucky into northwest Kentucky and parts of Indiana.  They missed out on some of the heavier totals.  Luck of the draw this time around.  Again this does not include the Sunday totals.


In the long range we need to keep a close eye on the Pacific Ocean with hurricanes developing and the Gulf of Mexico.  A lot of tropical moisture is poised to move northward into the Central United States.  If this interacts with a front or boundary then extremely heavy rain could fall in pockets.  Monitor updates as we move towards the second and third weeks of the month.




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I had to add some precipitation chances back into the forecast.



No major concerns in the forecast.  A few showers possible over the coming days.  Small chance for thunderstorms.  Most areas will remain dry.  This is a little shift from earlier forecasts which were completely dry through Wednesday.  If showers occur then the southern counties of my forecast area would be the main concern.  That would include western Kentucky, the Missouri Bootheel, and western Tennessee.

Instability will be weak over the coming days.  Perhaps a bit more by Wednesday and Thursday.  Lightning would be the main concern.  Of course any time a thunderstorm forms you can experience gusty winds and heavy downpours in isolated areas.



Here are the current river stage forecasts.   You can click your state and then the dot for your location.  It will bring up the full forecast and hydrograph.

Click Here For River Stage Forecasts…



The wild card tells you where the uncertainties are in the forecast

Wild card in this forecast –  Well, the wild card has shifted since the last update.  It appears our upper level low wants to try and linger near our region.  Perhaps a few showers and even a clap of thunder over the coming days.  Confidence is lower than normal on this subject.



Can we expect severe thunderstorms over the next 24 to 48 hours?  Remember that a severe thunderstorm is defined as a thunderstorm that produces 58 mph winds or higher, quarter size hail or larger, and/or a tornado.

Thunderstorm threat level is ZERO for Monday.  There is a small chance for a thunderstorm over the KY/TN border counties.  But, for now I will place the risk at ZERO.  I will reevaluate on Monday morning and update if need be.

Monday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe Weather Is Not Anticipated
Tuesday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe Weather Is Not Anticipated
Wednesday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe Weather Is Not Anticipated
Thursday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe Weather Is Not Anticipated
Friday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe Weather Is Not Anticipated
Saturday Severe Weather Outlook –  Monitor updates
Sunday Severe Weather Outlook –  Severe Weather Is Not Anticipated




How much precipitation should we expect over the next few days?

As we enter the late spring and summer months, keep in mind that slow moving thunderstorms can always produce locally heavy rainfall totals.  This is no secret to all of you who are farmers.  Your neighbors could pick up 1″ of rain from a thunderstorm, meanwhile you are sitting on dry ground.  Forecasting exact rainfall totals during this time of the year can be tricky, at best.

Rainfall totals over the coming days will be light.  Northern and northwestern counties may not experience any rainfall through Wednesday.  Southern and eastern counties may experience a few showers on Monday into Wednesday.  If a thunderstorm forms then a bit more rain will fall, of course.

Rainfall totals in general will be less than 0.25″ through Wednesday.



This section of the blog is speculative forecast information.  Because it is past the range of what meteorologists can forecast accurately, it should be considered speculation.  Anything past day 5 is considered a long range forecast.

1.  Lingering clouds into the work week
2.  Warming up with more humid conditions as we push into the late week period
3.  How is the weekend looking?  Rain chances?

We are going to see temperatures warm up by Wednesday into the weekend.  With the increasing temperatures will also come an increase in dew points (humidity levels will increase).  It will start to feel more humid as we push deeper into the work week.

A trough may approach the region by the weekend.  This might mean a better chance for a few showers and storms in the region.

High temperatures by Thursday and Friday will be on the rise


And Friday


And Saturday



We have regional radars and local city radars – if a radar does not seem to be updating then try another one. Occasional browsers need their cache cleared. You may also try restarting your browser. That usually fixes the problem. Occasionally we do have a radar go down. That is why I have duplicates. Thus, if one fails then try another one.

If you have any problems then please send me an email


We also have a new national interactive radar – you can view that radar by clicking here.

Local interactive city radars include St Louis, Mt Vernon, Evansville, Poplar Bluff, Cape Girardeau, Marion, Paducah, Hopkinsville, Memphis, Nashville, Dyersburg, and all of eastern Kentucky – these are interactive radars. Local city radars – click here

NOTE:  Occasionally you will see ground clutter on the radar (these are false echoes).  Normally they show up close to the radar sites – including Paducah.

Regional Radar – Click on radar to take you our full radar page.


Regional Radar


Live Lightning Data – zoom and pan:  Click here
Live Lightning Data with sound (click the sound button on the left side of the page): Click here



Current WARNINGS (a warning means take action now). Click on your county to drill down to the latest warning information. Keep in mind that there can be a 2-3 minute delay in the updated warning information.

I strongly encourage you to use a NOAA Weather Radio or warning cell phone app for the most up to date warning information. Nothing is faster than a NOAA weather radio.

Color shaded counties are under some type of watch, warning, advisory, or special weather statement.  Click your county to view the latest information.

Missouri Warnings

Illinois Warnings

Kentucky Warnings




Please visit your local National Weather Service Office by clicking here. The National Weather Service Office, for our region, is located in Paducah, Kentucky.  They have a lot of maps and information on their site.  Local people…local forecasters who care about our region.



Here is the official 6-10 day and 8-14 day temperature and precipitation outlook.  Check the date stamp at the top of each image (so you understand the time frame).

The forecast maps below are issued by the Weather Prediction Center (NOAA).

The latest 8-14 day temperature and precipitation outlook.  Note the dates are at the top of the image.  These maps DO NOT tell you how high or low temperatures or precipitation will be.  They simply give you the probability as to whether temperatures or precipitation will be above or below normal.



Who do you trust for your weather information and who holds them accountable?

I have studied weather in our region since the late 1970’s.  I have 37 years of experience in observing our regions weather patterns.  My degree is in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University and an Associate of Science (AS).  I am currently working on my Bachelor’s Degree in Geoscience.  Just need to finish two Spanish classes!

I am a member of the American Meteorological Society.  I am a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.  And, I am the Meteorologist for McCracken County Emergency Management.

I own and operate the Southern Illinois Weather Observatory.

There is a lot of noise on the internet.  A lot of weather maps are posted without explanation.  Over time you should learn who to trust for your weather information.

My forecast philosophy is simple and straight forward.

  • Communicate in simple terms
  • To be as accurate as possible within a reasonable time frame before an event
  • Interact with you on Twitter, Facebook, and the blog
  • Minimize the “hype” that you might see on television or through other weather sources
  • Push you towards utilizing wall-to-wall LOCAL TV coverage during severe weather events

I am a recipient of the Mark Trail Award, WPSD Six Who Make A Difference Award, Kentucky Colonel, and the Caesar J. Fiamma” Award from the American Red Cross.  In 2009 I was presented with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Award.  I was recognized by the Kentucky House of Representatives for my service to the State of Kentucky leading up to several winter storms and severe weather outbreaks.

If you click on the image below you can read the Kentucky House of Representatives Resolution.


I am also President of the Shadow Angel Foundation which serves portions of western Kentucky and southern Illinois.


Many of my graphics are from – a great resource for weather data, model data, and more



This blog was inspired by ABC 33/40’s Alabama Weather Blog – view their blog


Current tower cam view from the Weather Observatory- Click here for all cameras.

Southern Illinois Weather Observatory

The Weather Observatory


Southern Illinois Weather Observatory

WSIL TV 3 has a number of tower cameras. Click here for their tower camera page & Illinois Road Conditions

Marion, Illinois


WPSD TV 6 has a number of tower cameras. Click here for their tower camera page & Kentucky Road Conditions & Kentucky Highway and Interstate Cameras

Downtown Paducah, Kentucky


Benton, Kentucky Tower Camera – Click here for full view

Benton, Kentucky


I24 Paducah, Kentucky

I24 Mile Point 9 – Paducah, KY

I24 – Mile Point 3 Paducah, Kentucky



You can sign up for my AWARE email by clicking here I typically send out AWARE emails before severe weather, winter storms, or other active weather situations. I do not email watches or warnings. The emails are a basic “heads up” concerning incoming weather conditions.

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