Chat about Kansas weather

March 31, 2008

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Jennifer Schack

Jennifer Schack, 6News chief meteorologist, knows the weather in Kansas can be a bit unpredictable this time of the year. But Schack and her colleagues use their training to forecast the weather - both the sunny days and the stormy ones - every day. Schack will answer questions about forecasting, severe weather and other weather-related topics during an online chat, to coincide with the publication of the Journal-World's special section, "Severe Weather in the Sunflower State."

Moderator:

Hi, everybody. Jennifer Schack is here to answer your questions about Kansas weather. If you didn't see it, the Journal-World published a special section, "Severe Weather in the Sunflower State," on Sunday. Here's the link: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/weather/2008/ />I'm Terry Rombeck, the J-W's features/special sections editor, and I'll be moderating the chat.

Moderator:

Feel free to post more questions as we go. Welcome, Jennifer.

Jennifer Schack:

Thanks for having me.

Bassetlover:

Nowadays it seems like everytime I hear a forecast for rain and/or thundershowers, the words "possibly SEVERE" are always used. It never used to be that way. Have we gotten overly paranoid about storms since Greensburg?

Jennifer Schack:

I've been in the business for almost 7 years, and in my time I wouldn't say there is has been any big difference in the amount of "alarmist" severe forecasting. When it comes to watches and warnings those are posted through the Storm Prediction Center and then the National Weather Service. So, 6Weather has nothing to do with moderating those. But in forecasting specific severe weather, as an office, no I don't think we or any others in the field are using Greensburg as a way to be overly paranoid.

gdiepenb:

Jennifer,
After a rough winter, do you see anything that could point to possibly a more active than normal severe weather season from now through the early fall in the Midwest? Is there anything specific we should be watching for at this point?

Jennifer Schack:

In watching the trends to end the winter season, and now start spring, the same pattern is continuing. Since January there has been an increase in Gulf of Mexico moisture into the Central Plains and plenty of strong cold fronts from Canada. With that pattern continuing (except for the Canadian cold fronts) I do think it will be an active spring for the Central and Southern Plains, particularily. And as we head into late May and June/July the threat will likely start to migrate into the Northern Plains.

Moderator:

We had some weather myths and facts in our special section. In your mind, what's the biggest weather myth?

Jennifer Schack:

I still get the question fairly often about taking shelter from a tornado under a highway overpass. This is NOT a good idea. Hiding under the overpass is a VERY dangerous place to be. In a confined place like that, the winds will actually increase. Being hit by debris is also a great threat. You always want to find a low spot, like a ditch to lie flat. Another idea would be if you can find a large drainage pipe (without rushing water coming out of it) that you can get in. Those are much better options.

Ranger35:

Why are meteorologists so interested in so many irrelevant statistics? For example, the record high/low for a given day has no bearing on the forecast, so why is it always provided?

Jennifer Schack:

I think we just find them interesting.

If there is important weather to talk about during my weather show, yeah, I don't want to waste 30 seconds talking about statistics. But otherwise I think in general people find it interesting, and I enjoy relaying them to the viewer.

Ranger35:

Do you have a forecast for San Antonio this weekend?

Jennifer Schack:

Keeping it general, since we're quite a few days out: The temperature looks like it will range from upper 70s to mid 80s. There will be extra clouds and the chance for a shower or storm from Friday through Sunday for south central Texas.

Moderator:

That's it for today's chat. Thanks, Jennifer, for coming in and answering questions.

Jennifer Schack:

Thanks for having me. Lets hope for a safe spring severe weather season.

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