It still surprises some people when we get severe weather in the fall and winter, but it's very common for this to happen. We call this time of year our "secondary severe weather season". However, there have been years when there are more tornadoes in the fall than in the spring.
I'll never forget the late November outbreak in 2005 when a tornado outbreak affected much of western and central Arkansas. Barry Brandt and I were on the air for hours and hours tracking those storms. Look at all the tornadoes that day. Again, this did not happen in spring! It was around Thanksgiving!
In November of 1983, Arkansas was playing SMU (if my memory serves me correctly) at War Memorial. We had a tornado warning in effect for Pulaski county during the game. I'll never forget the phone call from my dad after the twister struck his business. He said, "we're ruined". 1 month later, we had a major outbreak of cold air and ice on the ground for days around Christmas. My point, we can get some very wild weather this time of year and we all need to be weather aware.
This has not been updated in a few years, but it still drives home the point the number of tornadoes ramp up this time of year.
Yes, we're in a drought and will likely stay in a drought. We'll still get rain and we'll still get thunderstorms this fall and winter. While nothing severe is in the forecast at this time, this is just a reminder our weather will get active at some point and our primary concern is keeping you safe!
The predictive map uses a complex algorithm that carefully analyzes several million data points and outputs approximately 50,000 predictive data pieces. This data then enables our program to forecast county-by-county the precise moment when peak fall will occur.
What data does SmokyMountains.com use to create the map? Some of the data points processed by the algorithm include:
NOAA historical temperatures
NOAA historical precipitation
NOAA forecast temperatures
NOAA forecast precipitation
Historical leaf peak trends
Peak observation trends
We all know Arkansas is in a bad drought and it will likely not improve anytime soon. Drought conditions will have an effect on colors and some leaves are already falling due to stress. Hope I'm wrong, but vivid colors will not be as widespread as years past. Also, the duration of any colors may be short.
Please send pictures and video to www.katv.com/chimein
DATA COURTESY OF SmokyMountains.com
From the map creator and brand found David Angotti...
"In 2013, potential visitors to the Smoky Mountain region began asking us questions about when the leaves would be most brilliant. From these questions, we built the first version of the fall leaf map and have consistently improved it each year. What started as a fun side-project quickly became the most respected nationwide fall leaf map and one of the best fall resources in the country. Now, tens of millions of people use our map each year to plan vacations, weddings, and photography trips. However, the most common use is individuals using the leaf map to check when leaves will peak near their home."
"SmokyMountains.com utilizes a refined data model that depends on a combination of factors, including historical temperature and precipitation, forecast temperature and precipitation, the type of tree known to be prominent in that geographic region, the historical trends in that area, and user data. In addition to the past factors, we are introducing the capability for end-users to provide real-time leaf reports that will impact both updates and future models. However, similar to any meteorological forecast that is dependent on weather variables, the leaf predictions are not 100% accurate. That being said, after publishing our predictive fall foliage map for nearly a decade, we are confident in our data sources, process, and algorithm."
"While we do refine our proprietary predictive algorithm each year, the data sources behind the map remain the same. Our model ingests multiple data points including NOAA precipitation forecasts, historical precipitation, average daylight exposure and temperature forecasts. We process hundreds-of-thousands of data points from a variety of private and government sources to accurately predict the precise moment fall will occur for the entire United States."
Climavision, a private company, has ambitious plans to fill radar holes across the country. We have a few of these gaps in Arkansas. Filling these gaps will improve detection of impactful weather, especially tornadoes. This company also plans to use the data for the development of a new hires computer model. Very exciting things are happening and I'm hopeful we'll be able to provide more accurate and more timely warnings.
Watch this very interesting interview with the Vice President for Global Sales for Climavision, Tad Maguire.