Popcorn T-Showers; What do SPC severe weather “risk areas” really mean?

Hit or Miss

“If you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes.” – Anonymous

Time to trot out that old tried & true Minnesota weather lore.

A lazy upper level low pressure system spins overhead with a swirl of popcorn “hit or miss” showers through Thursday.

A few “garden variety” thundershowers may delight you to a lighting flash and clap of thunder as the system rolls through.

While this system looks pretty tame, this is severe weather season in Minnesota.

Ever wonder what NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) looks at when issuing those dreaded “risk areas” for severe weather?

In this Updraft we take a peek behind the curtain at SPC, and preview the weekend forecast for the best spots to celebrate with mom or toss in a line on your favorite lake.

The Weather Lab lawn and roses could use a little rain…bring it.

78F Wednesday’s high at MSP Airport (1:18pm)

“Budding Plants New Moon” Thursday (Ojibwe)

Time Lapse of Mille Lacs ice beginning to move in Wednesday’s light breezes

466 ML tl.png

466 ql3.png

Into each life

I’m hoping the models verify for a minor soaking this week.

Talk about “hit or miss” … check out Wednesday’s MODIS Terra 250 meter resolution visible shot over north central Minnesota. You can see the “popcorn” nature of the showers…a downpour in one spot and sunny skies a few miles away.

466 modis clusters.png

You can see the spotty showers with a few local downpours moving slowly northward on the latest Twin Cities radar loop.

SPC: What’s in a risk area?

Want to find the best “severe weather” minds on the planet? Check out NOAA’s SPC.

Every day a team of talented meteorologists pours over dozens of models, satellite and radar images and animations looking for clues to the day’s severe weather puzzle.

When they find trouble spots, they issue a “risk” for that area.

466 spc3.png

SPC issues 3 types of “risk areas”… Low-Moderate & High. Here are the probabilities associated with a given risk factor…within 25 miles of your location.

466 risk.png

Keep these probabilities in mind as we move into the heart of severe season in Minnesota in the next 60 days.

Severe weather season: Ramping up in May & June

So when is the “peak” of severe weather season in Minnesota?

Looking at the history…or “climatology” of severe weather it peaks between Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 svr holiday.PNG

At least statistically you have a better chance of a “storm free” Labor Day picnic than on the 4th.

Something to keep in mind as you plan your outdoor festivities this summer.

Paul Huttner

  • Disco

    That must be one of the most widespread SLGT areas I’ve ever seen. I only count five or six states that are not covered at least partially.

  • DI

    The SLGT is in yellow. The green represents non-severe thunderstorms.