Environment
5:54 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Paducah NWS Meteorologist Reflects on Spring, Looks to Summer Months

Pictured: sea surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Niño is characterized by unusually warm temperatures and La Niña by unusually cool temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.
Credit NOAA

A local meteorologist says while the region has had a relatively mild spring, the coming summer months could bring severe weather, especially lightning. 

Hear the conversation from Sounds Good:

National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Shanklin says the region has experienced 15 tornadoes this season, but they've been relatively weak.

“Rainfall is pretty normal across the region, even had some wetter periods. But as far as severe weather, it's been pretty quiet,” Shanklin said.

June 1 marked the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, the time when tropical storms form more frequently. Shanklin says predictions for this year's season are about average or maybe a bit less.

Some of the weather change in certain areas this time of year can be attributed to El Nino, described by Shanklin as “warmer than average temperatures in the equatorial pacific region”.

He says these weather patterns typically affect the west coast.

“It can at times cause more active weather, but we're kind of in a little bit more of a neutral zone as far as the impacts from El Nino,” Shanklin said.

Hurricane Ike in 2008 stands as the exception.

“We had winds through western Kentucky and adjacent areas. We had winds that were above 70 miles an hour,” Shanklin said.

“In fact, that was one of the worst disasters in Kentucky history as far as the total damage figures from that event.”

Shanklin says so far, the summer weather has been relatively normal. However, citizens should be aware of the increased chance of lighting strikes during the season.

“The main thing there: If thunder roars, go indoors,” Shanklin said.