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MAY 2012


6th-12th…A complex storm system moved through the middle portion of the country on Monday, instigating another round of scattered showers and thunderstorms. A cold front moved through the Plains, ushering moist Gulf of Mexico air northward into the Mississippi Valley. This moisture produced severe thunderstorms that rolled through Missouri and Arkansas. There were no reports of tornadoes halfway through the afternoon, but tornadoes will be possible into the evening. Residents in the Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley should monitor the progress of any thunderstorm in their area and be prepared to take any precautions necessary to protect life and property. Elsewhere, strong thunderstorms moved through the Ohio Valley and southern Michigan in the morning, but greatly diminished by the afternoon.

Heavy rains developed along the East Coast on Wednesday, as a cold front extended from Maine through the Gulf of Mexico. A low pressure system that moved over the Great Lakes and into the Northeast pushed a cold front eastward from the Eastern Valleys. Moisture poured in ahead of this front from both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, which kicked up heavy rainfall and strong thunderstorms. Mid-day rainfall totals have surpassed 2 inches in parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Strong winds blew large trees down and a tin roof was torn off a building in Aiken, South Carolina.

Shower and thunderstorm activity persisted for the Plains, while the East and West Coasts remained dry on Friday. A strong low pressure system lingered over Texas and pulled more moisture and energy in from the Gulf of Mexico. This produced more heavy rains and strong thunderstorms across Texas and Oklahoma. Some of these storms turned severe with strong winds, large hail, even a few tornadoes. Mid-day rainfall totals reached over 2 inches across the region, with the heaviest rainfall reported in Houston, Texas with a mid-day total of 2.56 inches. A tornado was reported on South Padre Island, Texas.


13th-19…Strong storms in the country moved through the Southeast and streamed some moisture into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic on Monday. This moisture produced rain from the Carolinas through parts of the Northeast, but was not widespread in nature. Thunderstorms in the Carolinas were strong enough to produce strong, damaging winds along with at least one report of a tornado along the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. Meanwhile, more scattered thunderstorms pressed through western Texas. Even though these thunderstorms had not produced large hail or tornadoes by the afternoon, their associated rain prompted Flash Flood Watches in the state. This means these thunderstorms were capable of producing minor flooding in streams and streets.

Showers and thunderstorms developed over the Northern and Central Rockies on Friday as a low pressure system slowly moved off the Rockies into the Plains. Some of these storms turned severe in parts of Utah and western Colorado with strong winds and large hail. Limited moisture associated with this system allowed for rainfall totals to remain less than an inch for most areas. Winds up to 61 mph were reported at Bluffdale, Utah. A cold front extended south of this system and produced strong winds across the Great Basin and Southwestern US. In combination with hot temperatures and low relative humidity, this kept fire danger high for Arizona, New Mexico, and into the Central Rockies. Meanwhile, a warm front extended eastward from this system, and produced scattered showers over the Dakotas. Heavy rainfall has not been reported and severe thunderstorm development was not anticipated across the Northern Plains.

Heavy rain and strong thunderstorms with gusty winds persisted across the southern tip of Florida and Wednesday. Saturated grounds from the heavy rainfall that occurred yesterday combined with today's rainfall resulted in Flood Watches in Miami-Dade County. Additional rainfall accumulations were expected to range from 1 to 2 inches through tonight with locally higher amounts possible in more concentrated bands of rain.

Scattered thunderstorms persisted over the central U.S. on Friday, as a frontal boundary draped from the Midwest through the Rockies. This was a result of two areas of low pressure. One system moved over the Upper Midwest and into eastern Canada, while another moved eastward from the Central Rockies. This allowed for a frontal boundary to extend from the Great Lakes, over the mid-Mississippi River Valley, and into the central Plains. Scattered showers and thunderstorms developed along this frontal boundary. Some of these storms turned severe over Iowa and Nebraska with strong winds and large hail. Rainfall totals ranged from 1 to 2 inches across the central U.S., with heaviest rainfall reported in Olathe, Kansas with a mid-day total of 2.13 inches of rain.

Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall very early Monday morning near Jacksonville Beach, Florida with sustained winds just below hurricane strength. The storm caused only minor flooding and damage, mostly associated with downed trees and power lines. Beryl knocked out power to nearly 30,000 residents and tore the roof off of at least one house.

The biggest effect from Beryl was the rain it produced. Several inches of rain fell north of Tampa Bay, with the wettest areas receiving over 4 inches of rain. This may be potentially good news for northern Florida and adjacent areas of Georgia as the region has been suffering through an exception drought.


Jim G. Munley, jr.

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