Archive for April, 2010

Small Tornado Strikes Area…

Throughout the latter half of last week the products coming from the National Weather Service had one glaring message…  The weather was going to get ugly over the weekend and it could be one of those days that go down in the history books for others to read about years down the road.  Some storms began to impact the area on Friday evening and Cuba Fire responded to a tree that was on fire in a pasture on the west side of town.  Saturday morning found storms active and intensifying as they made their way toward the Alabama State line.  The products from the Severe Storms Predictions Center had most of Alabama and Mississippi in a high risk of severe weather.  The numbers for Tornadoes was off the chart and the threat levels attached to the PDS tornado watch were all listed in the high range.  Around 0930, radar indicated a storm over the east Mississippi area that was getting its act together and was poised to move into the Sumter County area.  Chief Vaughan received a phone call from the NWS in Birmingham about the cell and the call was put out on the network to get spotters in place.  Ward was in the cross hairs of the storm and Chief Rew was in the car and on the road getting into position.  Captain Culpepper (Cuba) was at home in the path of the storm as well.  Two other units would join the chase, Safety Officer Holder and Engineer/Firefighter Scrivner (Cuba) got on the road as well.  

 

The SPC did a great job with the forecast for this system.  Nearly all of the tornadoes that developed occurred in the highest hatched area

Radio reports began to trickle in from Lauderdale County, MS Fire Departments that areas were receiving damage.  After the storm moved into the county Chief Vaughan spoke with the NWS again to confirm what he was seeing on radar.  At the same time the phone call was going on Chief Rew reported a visual on a lowered cloud base around 1033.  The lowered portion of the cloud rapidly developed into a funnel crowd and Chief Rew reported that there was possibly some debris near ground level.  All units in the area followed the storm until it was clear of the area.  Damage was observed on County Road 5 (Kinterbish) and on both sections of County Road 10 near Ward.  The highest concentration of damage was at the intersection of County Road 9 and County Road 10.  Around 20 trees were uprooted or snapped off and one home received damage.  Ward, Siloam, Kinterbish, and Cuba units were placed into action to conduct damage assessments and to work on clearing roads.  At one point dispatch advised that a woman was trapped by trees on County Road 10, but the individual was able to make it to their home without incident.  All crews worked hard to get the roads clear and were assisted by several civilians.   A temporary command post was established at the Ward Fire Station and the Coffee Pot was placed into swift action.  All departments and their officers and firefighters did a great job throughout this event.  The professionalism of the men and women in the departments covering south Sumter was clearly evident this weekend.    

Trees uprooted on County Road 10.

Uprooted Tree even took the fence posts up for the barbed wire fence around the home and pasture. 

 Waiting on the tractors to do their work.

Structure Fire 4-22-10

Siloam, Ward, and Cuba Fire responded to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Alabama Highway 17.  Chief Pendergrass was first to arrive on scene and reported that the structure was well involved.  Siloam Engine 1 arrived on scene and lines were put in action on the fire.  Siloam Tanker and Ward Engine 1 arrived to provide water supply for overhaul operations.  The home was not completely burned down by the fire, but the home was considered a complete loss.  Firefighter Breland of Ward Fire, who is also a ARC Volunteer, assisted the occupants with lodging and other items.  Units were dispatched back to the scene in the late evening hours for a mattress that rekindled.

Shortly after attack lines were placed in action.

Cuba Asst. Chief Charles Fisher and Ward Firefighter Richard Breland examine the debris.

Siloam Tanker nursing Engine 1.  The old girl is living on borrowed time and is due to be replaced by a new unit coming from a 2009 AFG Grant.

PDS Tornado Watch…

The National Weather Service has issued a PDS tornado watch for our area today.  The PDS stands for a particularly dangerous situation and are rarely issued by the NWS unless they believe that it is warranted.  This is going to be a long day for us. 

Here are the probabilities for all modes of severe weather with this watch forecast.

Tornadoes

Probability of 2 or more tornadoes High (80%)
Probability of 1 or more strong (F2-F5) tornadoes Mod (60%)
Wind

Probability of 10 or more severe wind events High (70%)
Probability of 1 or more wind events > 65 knots Mod (60%)
Hail

Probability of 10 or more severe hail events High (70%)
Probability of 1 or more hailstones > 2 inches Mod (50%)

Combined Severe Hail/Wind

Probability of 6 or more combined severe hail/wind events High (>95%)

The Risk is High…

The SPC has placed our area under a HIGH risk for severe weather today and tonight.  At the present time the storms are lining up and getting their act together across the area.  There is one storm on the radar currently prompting a Tornado Warning and it looks like this cell will eventually move through Sumter County.  Here is a look at the thinking of the SPC…

Our area is inside the high risk hatch area.

It has been quite some time since I have seen the probability for tornadoes so high.  The last time we have this type of risk in our area was the day of the Enterprise Tornado.

Risk of Hail is likewise high.

Little doubt that we will have downed trees with severe wind risk of magnitude.

Radar is lighting up…

The atmosphere is beginning to get very active over the Sumter County region this afternoon.  We will likely be under the gun for the next 36 hours or so with this system.  A late look at the severe weather indexes from the latest model runs shows that the highest probability of severe weather is between the I20-59 corridor and the MS State line for tomorrow.  Later this evening this information will be presented in a graphical manner.  Enjoy the calm before the storm and be ready to respond. 

Severe Weather Threat Increasing

The Severe Storms Predictions Center has increased the risk of severe weather across the area for Saturday to a moderate risk.  They have placed the numerical value of 45% on the threat of severe weather within 25 miles of any point on the map.  After discussing the forecast with the local NWS in Birmingham and reading the products from the SPC it is my conclusion that a high risk of severe weather will appear on the maps tomorrow morning for some area of west central Alabama.  It is likely that we will be on the southern edge of this high risk hatched area, but due to the fact that the environment will be quite charged tomorrow the area could move quite a bit as the system evolves.  Lastly, more reports will come out throughout the day on this system and we will have a really good look at this system just after midnight when the SPC convective outlooks are up. 

The moderate risk area is quite large and that tends to speak to the severity of this potential threat.  Also included below is a Special Weather Statement from the NWS office in Jackson, MS about tomorrows system.

WWUS84 KJAN 222024 AAA
SPSJAN

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
324 PM CDT THU APR 22 2010

ARZ074-075-LAZ007>009-015-016-023>026-MSZ018-019-025>066-072>074-
231500-
ADAMS-ASHLEY-ATTALA-BOLIVAR-CARROLL-CATAHOULA-CHICOT-CHOCTAW-
CLAIBORNE-CLARKE-CLAY-CONCORDIA-COPIAH-COVINGTON-EAST CARROLL-
FORREST-FRANKLIN LA-FRANKLIN MS-GRENADA-HINDS-HOLMES-HUMPHREYS-
ISSAQUENA-JASPER-JEFFERSON-JEFFERSON DAVIS-JONES-KEMPER-LAMAR-
LAUDERDALE-LAWRENCE-LEAKE-LEFLORE-LINCOLN-LOWNDES-MADISON LA-
MADISON MS-MARION-MONTGOMERY-MOREHOUSE-NESHOBA-NEWTON-NOXUBEE-
OKTIBBEHA-RANKIN-RICHLAND-SCOTT-SHARKEY-SIMPSON-SMITH-SUNFLOWER-
TENSAS-WARREN-WASHINGTON-WEBSTER-WEST CARROLL-WINSTON-YAZOO-
324 PM CDT THU APR 22 2010

…PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK EXPECTED FRIDAY
AFTERNOON THROUGH SATURDAY INCLUDING THE RISK FOR STRONG AND
LONG-TRACK TORNADOES…

A POWERFUL STORM SYSTEM WILL ADVANCE EASTWARD TOWARD THE ARKLAMISS
REGION THROUGH LATE THIS WEEK…AS COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MOISTURE FROM
THE GULF OF MEXICO SURGE NORTHWARD INTO THE REGION. A SERIES OF
UPPER-LEVEL DISTURBANCES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS STORM SYSTEM WILL
RESULT IN A NEARLY 24-HOUR LONG PERIOD OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN
THE ARKLAMISS REGION. SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER IS EXPECTED TO
RESULT FROM THIS ACTIVITY. TORNADOES…SOME STRONG AND LONG-TRACK…
ALONG WITH HAIL TO THE SIZE OF GOLF BALLS OR LARGER…AND
DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS OF AT LEAST 80 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE
WITH THE STRONGEST THUNDERSTORMS DURING THE ENTIRE SEVERE WEATHER
OUTBREAK.

SCATTERED SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO IMPACT AREAS ALONG
AND WEST OF THE INTERSTATE 55 CORRIDOR FOR FRIDAY AFTERNOON BETWEEN
2 AND 9 PM. THEREAFTER…THE COVERAGE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS COULD
DECREASE BEFORE RAMPING BACK UP PRIOR TO SUNRISE. SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS WILL BECOME NUMEROUS DURING THE DAY SATURDAY. ALSO…A
DAMAGING SQUALL LINE IS EXPECTED TO SWEEP ACROSS THE OUTLOOK AREA ON
SATURDAY…WITH THE CONTINUING POTENTIAL FOR STRONG AND LONG-TRACK
TORNADOES.

THUNDERSTORMS WILL ALSO HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE VERY HEAVY
RAINFALL. WHERE THUNDERSTORMS MOVE REPEATEDLY OVER THE SAME
LOCATIONS…TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF AT LEAST 2 TO 4 INCHES COULD
RESULT CAUSING FLASH FLOODING.

THIS SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK WILL BE PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS.
EVERYONE ACROSS THE ARKLAMISS REGION SHOULD BE AT A HIGH STATE OF
READINESS FROM FRIDAY AFTERNOON INTO SATURDAY AND BE PREPARED TO
TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO PROTECT LIFE.

Severe Weather Likely…

The early portion of the severe storms season has been rather quiet for our area due to an anomalous upper ridge that has set up over the area for a while.  The hedge of protection appears to be coming down and conditions look to be quite severe tomorrow night through Saturday afternoon.  It is likely that the severe weather will not impact the area until Saturday, but conditions are becoming more likely for significant severe weather to be possible in the region.  At the present time the SPC has the area outlooked for a slight risk of severe weather, but the categorical numbers supporting that risk are at the max over our area.  It would not surprise me at all to see the area moved to a moderate risk of severe weather by as early as tomorrow’s first set of new risk discussions.  Here is the current thinking from the SPC for Saturday…

SPC Text Data…

 …CENTRAL GULF COAST STATES/MID SOUTH TO THE SRN APPALACHIANS…
   SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER EVENT IS EXPECTED THIS PERIOD…WITHIN AN
   AREA ROUGHLY BOUNDED BY THE MS RIVER ON THE W…THE OH VALLEY ON THE
   N…AND THE APPALACHIANS ON THE E.  WITHIN THIS AREA…A
   MOIST/DESTABILIZING AIRMASS COMBINED WITH STRONG WIND FIELD
   SPREADING ACROSS THIS REGION SUGGEST A LARGE AREA OF SEVERE
   POTENTIAL…INCLUDING HAIL…DAMAGING WINDS…AND SEVERAL TORNADOES.
  
   WITH ACTIVE CONVECTION FORECAST DURING THE PRIOR FORECAST PERIOD…A
   SOMEWHAT COMPLEX SCENARIO WILL LIKELY EXIST DURING THE FIRST HALF OF
   THIS PERIOD.  HAVING SAID THAT…ATTM IT APPEARS THAT SEVERE THREAT
   WILL LIKELY INCREASE THROUGH THE MORNING INVOF THE MS/TN
   VALLEYS…AND THEN CONTINUE INTO THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING AS
   SEVERAL WAVES OF SEVERE STORMS WILL LIKELY OCCUR IN CONJUNCTION WITH
   SMALL-SCALE MID-LEVEL FEATURES EMBEDDED WITHIN FAST/CYCLONIC SWLYS
   ALOFT. 
  
   WITH SLY LOW-LEVEL FLOW AHEAD OF THE ADVANCING FRONT BENEATH RAPIDLY
   VEERING/INCREASING FLOW WITH HEIGHT…BOTH LOW-LEVEL AND DEEP-LAYER
   SHEAR WILL SUPPORT ROBUST/POTENTIALLY-TORNADIC SUPERCELLS…AIDED BY
   MID 60S TO NEAR 70 SURFACE DEWPOINTS SPREADING NWD ACROSS THIS
   REGION.  WITH TIME…THE OVERALL THREAT AREA WILL SHIFT EWD…AND
   WHILE A SLOW DECREASE IN SEVERE THREAT IS EXPECTED OVER NRN PORTIONS
   OF THE AREA INTO THE OH VALLEY…SUBSTANTIAL SEVERE POTENTIAL MAY
   LINGER WELL INTO THE OVERNIGHT HOURS ACROSS PARTS OF TN AND AL…AND
   EVENTUALLY WRN GA AND THE WRN FL PANHANDLE

From the NWS office in Jackson and Birmingham…

Jackson: 

THE SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK WILL CONTINUE INTO FRIDAY NIGHT AND
SATURDAY…WITH THE CONTINUING POTENTIAL FOR STRONG AND LONG-TRACK
TORNADOES…HAIL TO THE SIZE OF GOLF BALLS OR LARGER…AND DESTRUCTIVE
STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS OF AT LEAST 80 MPH FROM THE STRONGEST
THUNDERSTORMS.

AFTER 9 PM FRIDAY NIGHT…THE COVERAGE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS COULD
DECREASE BEFORE RAMPING UP PRIOR TO SUNRISE. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
WILL BECOME NUMEROUS DURING THE DAY SATURDAY. ALSO…A DAMAGING
SQUALL LINE IS EXPECTED TO SWEEP ACROSS THE OUTLOOK AREA ON SATURDAY.

THUNDERSTORMS WILL ALSO HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE VERY HEAVY
RAINFALL. WHERE THUNDERSTORMS MOVE REPEATEDLY OVER THE SAME
LOCATIONS…TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF AT LEAST 2 TO 4 INCHES COULD
RESULT CAUSING FLASH FLOODING…ESPECIALLY SATURDAY.

Birmingham: 

A DEVELOPING STRONG STORM SYSTEM WILL IMPACT CENTRAL ALABAMA AS
EARLY AS FRIDAY EVENING…CONTINUING THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT.

A FEW STRONG STORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE LATE FRIDAY…MAINLY WEST OF
INTERSTATE 65 AFTER 4 PM. THE MAIN THREAT FROM THESE STORMS WILL BE
SMALL HAIL AND WIND GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH.

SATURDAY MORNING INTO SATURDAY NIGHT….ALL MODES OF SEVERE WEATHER
WILL BE POSSIBLE…INCLUDING TORNADOES…DAMAGING WIND…LARGE
HAIL…AND LOCALIZED FLOODING. ALTHOUGH ISOLATED SEVERE STORMS WILL
BE POSSIBLE BY 9 AM SATURDAY MORNING IN WESTERN ALABAMA…THE
GREATEST RISK APPEARS TO BE SATURDAY AFTERNOON INTO SATURDAY EVENING
ACROSS ALL OF CENTRAL ALABAMA. ALL INTERESTS IN CENTRAL ALABAMA
SHOULD MONITOR THE LATEST FORECAST CONCERNING THIS POTENTIALLY
DANGEROUS WEATHER SYSTEM.

BREEZY CONDITIONS CAN BE EXPECTED AHEAD OF THE FRONT SATURDAY AND
BEHIND THE COLD FRONT SUNDAY. SUSTAINED WINDS WILL BE BETWEEN 10 AND
20 MPH.

The glaring message is that all modes of severe weather are possible and we should be ready to take action if the threat grows.

Alabama NFA Weekend (Part II)

On top of being in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, the campus of the NFA is one top notch facility that is well worth the visit.  Classes began around 0800 and lasted until 1715 today and much information was gained.  The classes ended in time for everyone to make it to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in time for all to attend the Alabama, New Hampshire, and Vermont memorial services.  The names of all of our fallen brothers and sisters were read out from each state and the bell at the memorial was tolled for each of them. 

The main building on the campus of the NFA. The campus is over 200 years old and was a Female Catholic University at one point.

A picture of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel. The belfry rings the quarters, halves, and hours. Lovely building

Inside the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel.

The September 11th Memorial. "To Lift A Nation"

All Participants... Talk about a blending of cultures. As our New Hampshire friends would put it..."Wicked Bad!"

The Alabama Fire Academy Group

Alabama NFA Weekend (Part I)

Let me start this off by saying that next year there WILL be a group from our area attending this event.  There is no reason why we should continue to miss out on this type of training when we get invited.  Our journey starts on the Amtrak Crescent #20.  We enjoyed 20 hours of conversation and awesome scenery, along with some sleeping and some snoring (the guilty know who they are).  The people on the train could not have treated us much better than they did and Ernest (our attendant) was an old acquaintance from Meridian, MS.  I certainly hope that next year’s trip is filled with people from our little corner of the world.

Inside the Coach

Crossing the Potomac

Arrival at Union Station in Washington, DC

County Association Meeting – THANKS NORTH SUMTER

The North Sumter Volunteer Fire Department has once again gone above and beyond the call of duty in providing for the Sumter County Firefighters Association to have a place to meet.  The North Sumter crowd sure knows how to feed you and make you want to come back again and again.  There were some in the crowd who disguised their voices in order to have North Sumter host again!  All kidding aside, the North Sumter Fire Department is working hard to improve the already stellar service that they offer to their coverage area. 

NSVFD’s well maintained fleet of apparatus.  Tanker 205 was purchased through a grant from the AFG program.

Association Officers and Board Members fromt bottom left, Board Member (Chief NSVFD) Jerry Ratzlaff, Vice President (Coatopa, SCRS Captain) Max Larkin, President (Safety Officer Cuba, Siloam, Ward) David Holder, Treasurer (Siloam) Janell Hughes, Secretary (Chief Cuba) Reid Vaughan, Board Chair (Chief Bluffport) Roy Porter.  Not pictured – Board Vice Chair (Chief Whitfield) Isaiah Steele.

General Meeting in progress.

 

North Sumter always serves the best food you can eat!