Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
We are used to bizarre weather here in Indiana and it is one of the many reasons I love living and working here in the Lafayette area. Yesterday it was a meteorological mecca. The main thing was everybody stayed safe and sound. This picture says it all. The new 231 had sheets of rain on the east side of the road, while the west side stayed mainly dry with not enough rain to really wet the pavement.
In Frankfort, a business owner of the Sprint Store (Corner of S.R. 28 & 39) had his roof collapse on him due to heavy rain. Frankfort had an incredible .75" of rain in 20 minutes. This comes out to about a weeks worth of rainfall in just a few minutes. Since Thursday, Randy Rogers is reporting 2.75" of rain. He also said they had brief flash flooding in Frankfort. Here are more rainfall totals around the area showing the "haves" and "have-nots".
Mark in Monticello also had a blinding rain with over 1 inch of rain bringing his total up over 3 inches since last Thursday. We have gone from drought to deluge. But notice some areas were still desert dry like Boswell and Remington without a drop of rain. The good news is more widespread soaking rain is moving in on Thursday.
While some areas were basking in sunshine we also had a strong, renegade storm or two across the area. A few trees were reported down in Russiaville and large tree limbs down across northern Cass County. The blue squares below show where the wind damage took place. Wind estimates came in at close to 60 mph. I wrote at length about lightning safety tips here on the blog yesterday and how concerned I am that most people do not take them seriously. Unfortunately my fears came true in Fishers yesterday. A Fishers man was struck by lightning while talking on a corded phone. He luckily survived. But once again, all phones need to be avoided during thunderstorms unless it is an emergency. New research out shows cell phones have a high risk of attracting lightning strikes even though they are not corded.
The good news is that the severe weather was very isolated and compared to last year nature has really let us off the hook when it comes to severe weather. Ocean temperatures in the Pacific have really been more neutral than expected, instead of having more of a full-fledged La Nina or cooler than average temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. We watch this closely because the cooler the water, the more severe our weather usually is here in Indiana. We may go into a true La Nina by late summer, but right now you can even convince me another El Nino is on the way by time we head into our snowy winter later this year. What does this mean for Florida and the hurricane season? It is good news and would bring less hurricanes, but do not get too excited. I am still very worried about at least 2 hurricanes hitting Florida this year. Mom and Dad, I hope I am wrong.
Now on to what most of you are thinking about right now. That is right, the weekend! The good news is we will feel about 20 degrees cooler than the last couple of days and you will actually will be able to walk outside without feeling like you got slugged in the face. Say goodbye to the heat and humidity and hello fair weather in time for the Warren County Fair. The weather will just as sweet as the elephant ears and you can ride the ferris wheel in comfort. I am looking forward to trying something new at the Warren County Fair this year. Instead of being a goat milking judge I will be a baby judge. It should be interesting. My three daughters have trained me well, so I should be a pretty good judge. I will have more on this coming up and even a sneak peak at your 4th of July forecast that may turn hot as a firecracker. I will see you soon on the tube and make sure to check back with me here on the web. Have a great day!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Officially it is Lightning Safety Awareness week here in the Lafayette area. We have plenty of lightning in the forecast so this is a great time to go over a few tips you can use and that can really save your life. It is hard to believe that no weather watches or warnings are issued for lightning even though only flooding kills more people during severe weather. At the weather conference I was at in Cleveland this year, this point was made and I was told that this could in fact change in the future. We will see! The sooner the better because lightning reaches temperatures up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit yet many folks like sitting on their porch to watch storms move in. If you see lightning and hear a crash of thunder in less than 5 seconds you know that lightning is striking less than a mile away. Here is the math formula to remember.
If you count under 15 second you certainly want to seek shelter, but remember you are in danger whenever you can hear thunder. The big thing to remember is if you can hear thunder you can be struck by lightning. When the thunder roars outdoors, get indoors. If you cannot do this you will want to spread out from others and stay away from tall objects. You never want to lie flat on the ground. Stay low and crouch down on the balls of your feet. Remember lightning comes from the ground up and meets another bolt in the middle of the sky. It moves so fast our eyes only see one bolt. Many times lightning travels several miles outside the main cloud and most people are struck outside when it is not raining. Unfortunately this has helped to contribute to an average of about 70 lightning fatalities a year in the United States. Here is how Indiana stacks up compared to other states.
Florida ranks number one with 71 fatalities and only Delaware and Washington state recorded no fatalites in this 10 year span. So make sure to treat lightning as seriously as you would any other severe thunderstorm. If you see it flee it and if you hear it clear.
We will have to remember this advice with plenty of lightning and more widespread rain in the forecast. We will also have some heat relief and it could not come soon enough after yesterday's heat index values near 100 in the shade. It was amazing how portions of Jasper County had up to 5 inches of rain while here at WLFI we had nothing. Look for all of us to see some more needed rain by late tonight and Tuesday as a slow-moving cold front moves through the area. Join me tonight for the latest on Live Doppler 18 and we will track lighting and heavy rain moving our way. The weekend still looks super! Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Here is what it looked like one year ago just south of Odell. This land spout flattened corn and damaged a barn, but luckily nobody was injured. Today we will have no big storms, but big heat index values that could exceed 100 when you combine the temperature and humidity! Join me for more on this tonight and in the meantime head to Mary Anne's web-site to check how hot it feels in Remington at http://maryannes.homeip.net/
Here were the official heat index high temperatures across the area. It's like nature really slapped you in the face when you walked outside!
The amazing part is that this was the shade temperature you you combined the temperature and humidity. If you were playing tennis today it felt more like 115 to 120 in the sun! We will have to make sure to check on the pets and find a cool place for everybody at least for one more day before some real relief arrives by later on Thursday. In the transition, we will have to watch out for plenty of thunderstorms. We could really still use the rain and the latest maps are showing our hit and miss storms becoming more widespread by by late tomorrow into Thursday morning. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain! Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Monday, June 25, 2007
What a weekend it was. It was nothing short of amazing the big turnaround we have had in rainfall. Paul Hadfield shot this from Decatur, Illinois during a severe thunderstorm that popped up on Saturday evening. This picture should make the front of a 2008 weather calendar. Way to go Paul! Here in the Lafayette area we had very few lightning strikes this weekend and plenty of welcome rain. We had the best of both worlds. Here are some of the big rainfall totals from around the area.
There is no longer a haze of dust covering portions of the sky in Benton and White Counties and you can see why. Some areas literally doubled their rain since late April. The news was even good for Tippecanoe County as you can see below.
On Friday, it was one of those forecasts where I thought we would actually make everybody happy. The farmers would see some needed rain and our plans should be okay with scattered rain showers with the key word being scattered. Our wild Indiana weather lived up to its name and Saturday was more of a washout although folks told me they still went out and listened to some great music at the Fiddlers Gathering. But many folks were singing the blues in the rain as many softball and baseball games were rained out. This is a humbling business at times and this was a perfect example. I am just glad we really needed a rain and I still do think it will help our viewing area dodge the worst of any drought that does take place in Indiana this summer. Our soil moisture is looking much better! Take a look at a dent we put into our rainfall deficit we have had since April 27th. We still will have to watch things closely, but things are looking up!
We can thank the area of low pressure you see below for bringing us some drought relief.
Our waves of rain were caused by an area of low pressure that stayed stronger, longer than expected. Instead of spinning and rapidly weakening to our west like all the weather models depicted, it remained strong and even came right for us bringing plenty of rain. We knew the potential was there for this to happen and certainly nature pounced on the opportunity. The building heat wave to the West can be blamed because it caused this low pressure to really dig and hold together. Remember nature likes to keep the balance. Areas in the West were near 100 degrees while we paid for it with highs only in the 60s on Saturday.
Luckily for me, I was attending an indoor event or the preliminary Prairie State Swim League Championships at Mc Cutcheon High School. It certainly was a great day to watch not only some great swimmers from Lafayette but from all over the area. There were teams from Monticello, Attica, Lafayette CC, Fountain, Benton, Warren, and Rensselaer. Here is a picture of a few swimmers from the Mc Cutcheon Swim Team. In the background from left to right you can see Kaitlyn Miller and Megan Prangley. In the foreground you can see Taryn Weber. She had a really cool pig hat on and was full of energy. They all had a great time and that is what is all about.
Tonight is the finals for the PSSL at Mc Cutcheon High School. It is definitely worth your time to see some great swimmers. Already two records have been set in the preliminary round and things are just starting to heat up like our weather. I will have more on this and the muggiest weather of the season tonight on WLFI. I will see you soon on the tube and make sure to check back here on the web. Have a great day and stay cool!
Friday, June 22, 2007
This map says it all! We have a totally different weather pattern setting up as we head into the first week of summer. I see fire and I see rain. Do I sound like James Taylor yet? Yes! He is one of my favorite singers and it looks like we will all be singing in the rain, because many areas will see well over an inch of rain with four inch rain totals in spots not out of the question. This is all because of a hot summer dome of air that is pushing our way along with a stalled frontal boundary across the region. We will be sizzling in the middle 90s for highs by early next week. So this is the fire in the forecast. The rain is coming from showers and thunderstorms riding around its periphery of the hot high pressure or what we call "ridge runners." They are known to bring heavy rain amounts, and can also pop severe thunderstorms usually in the form of large hail and damaging wind. Here are the main threats I think we will have here in Lafayette the next couple of days.
This is really hard to believe. But the latest models do not lie. We were experiencing drought conditions last week and now I am forecasting the potential of flash flooding as our biggest weather threat. Only in Indiana! I still think some areas could have severe weather in the form of hail or damaging wind, but it should be isolated in nature. We have a lot of campers out there this weekend and the combination of lightning and flooding is not good. Make sure you stay alert to changing weather conditions and have a plan B or place to go when the weather turns threatening. Never cross waters of unknown depth. Most people die in their cars during flash flooding and it is still the number one weather killer in our country. So even though our tornado chances remain small this weekend, we have plenty of weather to keep us concerned about and many good reasons to stay tuned.
Here is another reason for all of the busy weather. Notice the stalled out stationary front across our area. Its exact position will make all the difference in the world for severe weather. Since we are going to be north of the front on the cooler side of the storm, I think we will have more isolated severe weather. Where it will be warmer and more humid which will be south of the front they can expect more severe weather. This will be roughly in a line from Cincinnati to Indianapolis and over to Champaign. The main thing is everybody across Indiana should get in on the heavy rain. Yes, it is going to rain cats and dogs! Speaking of dogs...
Mary Anne Best our weatherwatcher sent in this picture of Princess Maggie and the dried out grass is tough to walk on and hard on her paws. This picture really sums up how much we still need the rain. We are running about 2 to 3 inches below average on rainfall since late April. Maggie seems to be smiling in this picture and really does look like a princess! I think we will all be smiling with all of the rain in the forecast. Today is a perfect day for WLFI's bring your dog to work day! Bowie, Jr. (BJ) is ready to run around the building with Daddy barking up a storm about all the rain. He is a real ham and full of personality. You can really see it in the picture below.
But remember this forecast has not gone to the dogs. We should have plenty of dry hours this weekend. We will have occasional thunderstorms once again Saturday, but not an all day rain for the Fiddler's Gathering. Sunday looks to be mainly dry with the hot weather really starting to take hold. Make sure to have a great weekend and our weather team will continue to keep you posted on all the storms that do pop. Now I better go get BJ ready for his big trip to work with me. I will bring plenty of treats. If time permits maybe he can even make a guest appearance. It should be exciting either way, weatherwise and otherwise. Thanks for taking time to check the blog and I look forward to seeing you on the tube tonight.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Mark our weatherwatcher in Monticello called in and actually saw two shooting stars after the Space Station and Shuttle passed overhead. Gene and Charlotte in Monon are still in awe of the big event in the sky and Kandy in Chalmers said it was nothing short of spectacular! So without further adieu here are the pictures that are worth a thousand words. A special thank you to Monty Sloan. He really captured the moment.
This was a long exposure. The Space Station was a little brighter than the Shuttle because it is bigger giving it more reflectivity. The second streak was the shuttle that was also quite bright. What made it all just right was the moon, Venus, and Saturn all nearby.
Here is another perspective. These spectacles were moving at 18,000 mph hour but it was almost surreal as it all took place in slow motion and it was almost as if our fellow humans on board could see us waving at them.
They say all good things must come to an end. By 10:56 p.m. Atlantis finally faded out of view. You can barely pick it out in the upper right hand side of this picture. I cannot thank you enough Monty!
Today we all can also be excited about the summer solstice. It is the official beginning of summer which arrives at 2:06 p.m. It is amazing that we will have over 15 hours of daylight making it our longest day of the year of course when talking about daylight hours. In Barrow, Alaska they will have 24 hours of daylight in the land of the Midnight Sun.
The sun's direct rays reach their northernmost point this afternoon. It is all downhill from here. The term solstice is latin for the sun stands still. There will be very little change in our daylight hours for the next couple of weeks. By late July though you will start to notice the days growing shorter which will eventually bring my favorite season of winter!
But let's take one season at a time. Summer is known for its heat and humidity and even though it will be comfortable today a hot ridge of summer weather will start to build our way that will eventually bring middle 90s for highs by early next week. The next couple of days and nights we will be in transition with scattered showers and thunderstorms that could even fire in the middle of the night. This is a classic summer pattern. I am concerned about severe weather with large hail and damaging wind as the main threats. Portions of Minnesota last night had grapefruit size hail. Hopefully we will not see anything like that. You can see all the ingredients coming together below.
We are living on the edge of a huge area of hot weather with highs hitting near 100 in Denver, Colorado. As this hot air meets our cooler atmosphere we will have to watch out. We are in a slight risk for severe weather. We will also add humidity to the mix by late tonight. It doesn't take much to fire up storms this time of year. Stay tuned, stay alert, and stay safe. Get ready for another big show in the sky, nature-style by late tonight.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Now what you all have been waiting for and that is an update on our drought which did reach the moderate stage last week across much of Indiana. The rain we had this morning is a sign of better days ahead for farmers. The Climate Prediction Center has the drought easing up for much of the southeast, including Florida and much of the Hoosier state, including Lafayette. The long-term drought outlook for the rest of the summer keeps the highest risk south of us as you can see below.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Speaking of family, I just got back from the Washington, D.C. area where I also had the good fortune of having Maryland crab cakes. The company was even better. The girls and I were treated like royalty by my aunt Tina and uncle Kevin. I appreciate them letting my wild family stay at their house.
My daughters swam most of the time and took a brief break so they could take a picture with Dad and and all their cousins. You can also see BJ our new dog, who actually had control of the house while we were there. My aunt's Akita, Springer Spaniel, and Beagle were no match for his 4 pounds of spunk.
One of the highlights of my trip was taking the subway into Washington, D.C. like I did tons of times while I was growing up in the area.
Here is a picture of Capitol Hill which was a short walk from the Air and Space Museum. I could have spent a week there. The Air and Space Museum was full of interesting things ranging from moon rocks brought back by Neal Armstrong to the very uniform George Washington used to wear. I could have spent a whole week at just that one museum, but of course my kids needed ice cream and hot dogs so being there for an hour was quite a feat. The weather was great for walking around the Mall area with cloudy skies and temperatures in the lower to middle 70s. Usually it would be tough to walk more than a few steps without breaking into a sweat this time of year. But last week it was just perfect! The Washington Monument was a 555 foot marvel. It never gets old to me no matter how many times I have seen it in person.
The big reason I was visiting was to celebrate my 20 year high school reunion. I was very proud to go with my wife Julie and show all my old friends lots of pictures of my three daughters. Family is what it is all about and I am blessed many times over. When it came down to it the thing that really mattered to most people at my reunion was not their job, or what kind of car they drove, but their families. It was kind of funny how most of my friends, including me shared pictures of their loved ones on digital cameras. You have to love those memories and memory cards.
Before I left for vacation, I told my weatherwatchers and some farmers that I was not coming back without bringing some rain. Well, my rain dance or at least prayers worked. The maps before I left did show the blocking pattern breaking down with better rain chances and sure enough about a week later I woke up to downpours this morning. Tonight join me for the latest on some impressive rainfall totals. I will post these and talk about the effect it will have on our long-term drought prospects. Get ready for more good news. It is great to be back.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The finally tally had 56% in favor of a heat wave and 44% wanting a blizzard. It is good to know I am not the only crazy one that loves snow. It makes me feel great! Thanks so much for participating in our weather poll. We will have many more fun questions coming your way. But these polls are a sign I am in big trouble. This means my forecast will be unpopular with more than 4 in 10 folks tonight. Those that want rain which is probably more than 8 out of 10 people will not get what they want either.
But I will take it like a man and let you know that there is plenty of hope for us to get out of this drought and heat wave pattern. When all is said and done I will make plenty of folks smile. I do aim to please everybody! But I know I am just the messenger. Now back to the heat wave. Most models have us reaching 90 degrees or higher for 3 consecutive days beginning on Saturday. What makes this significant is it would meet the criteria for a heat wave in Lafayette, Indiana. Of course it would be much different if we lived in Phoenix. Location, location, location, that is what it is all about and here at home we are the hot spot. Notice the hot weather spreading our way. This is all a function of how dry it has been with a 7 week rain deficit now over 3 inches. The sun's energy is able to directly go into heating our ground, and with very little moisture to evaporate it becomes more efficient. We certainly will be able to feel this, especially by Saturday.
The biggest fear most folks have is that they are worried it will just stay hot and dry all summer. The latest long-range maps have plenty of hope that this simply is not the case. You can sleep easier tonight. This does not mean it will not be on the hotter, drier side this summer, but I like the 1964 analong year which gives farmers and the rest of us lots of hope for some rain and breaks in the heat at times this summer.
An analog year is simply a year that matches up well with this year in terms of key meteorological factors. Basically, our weather maps look very similar. By understanding the past we are able to better understand the future and this helps with long-range forecasting. Make sure to join me here on the blog for more good news coming our way with plenty of relief for our plants, lawns, and June sizzle. Just be patient. If you cannot wait you can also tune in at 5,6, and 11 to stay cool. I look forward to seeing you! Have a great day!
Monday, June 11, 2007
We saw this take place in May as many areas were close to 2 inches below average in rainfall. In June we started off the month promising with near normal rainfall but we are now paying the price for our driest May in 15 years. It just doesn't take much to teeter back in the danger zone of going into a drought. The National Drought Mitigation Center provided this map of showing how serious the situation is becoming.
This drought cycle will only become worse as the summer goes along because of the extremely strong sun angle evaporating at least a .25" of soil moisture a day. So our deficit of almost 3 inches of rain since April 27th is really starting to catch up to us. The abnormally dry soil conditions you see above could likely turn into moderate drought conditions in the next week. We will keep you posted.
Now the good news I like to end my blog with everyday. We all got those weekend plans in and all the June weddings went off without a hitch. No runny mascara or dowpours. I celebrated the good weather forecast by going to Tropicanoe Cove yesterday with my family. Lauren loved going down the Dolphin slide, we all went in the lazy river, and then my daughters talked me into going on the huge waterslide. It was a lot different than the little slide you see below!
I not only had to go down the big slide, but actually do it backwards with no hands. I screamed as the lifeguard pushed me....and then....well I let out an obnoxious scream or two. A fan told me that I screamed so high-pitched that the whole park could hear me. They thought it might have been their little girl or sister. Now do you see why I do not like these hot weather patterns? They only bring trouble. I am still laughing about this. I did not realize I did this as it was all a blur. But I won the respect of my daughters even if I did almost lose an arm. I finally wiped out at the end of the ride as I hit the water. The last time I wiped out that badly I was in the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. It was a fun day. I will definitely be back to do it all over again. I think I had more fun than all the kids. Before I forget, my apologies to those that had to hear me scream. Have a great day. Check in tomorrow to find out what a building La Nina means for our summer weather and how many of you are in fact like me and would rather have a blizzard instead of a heatwave.
Friday, June 8, 2007
I know it might seem that this issue has been driven into the ground, but I really need some clear answers to stop my head from spinning.
My understanding has always been:
Watch = conditions favorable
Warning = happening and sighted
But I keep hearing on the radio from the NWS:
“..the national weather service has issued a tornado warning for ‘x’. At ‘x’ o’clock doppler radar indicated a storm capable of producing a tornado…” or even “…with conditions favorable for a tornado…”
Shouldn’t these be watches?
I know that in any event, I should seek shelter, but lately I just walk outside, look at the sky, and say “what are they talking about?!”
Please help me out, because it’s driving me batty.
Thanks a bunch.
You are not alone on this, believe me. The fact is that 70% of all tornado warnings are false alarms. A warning has been redefined to include storms capable of producing tornadoes to give people extra time to take cover. The spinning in the clouds can reach the ground in an instant. So to be safe rather than sorry a warning is issued. If the weather service offices that are in charge of issuing warnings waited to make sure the rotation reached the ground as a tornado, folks in most cases would not have time to get to their safe spot. I hope this helps. So there are two types of tornado warnings. There are SIGHTED TORNADOES which fit right in with the traditional warning definition and the DOPPLER INDICATED TORNADOES, which means to treat it as a warning to ensure you and your family stay safe.
That is right the International Space Station passes over Lafayette on Sunday night. If all goes as planned the Space Shuttle will attach to the Space Station and you will see both of them light up the sky like a slow-moving shooting star. Make sure to check in tonight on the news for more details and I will post the times in detail here on the blog this evening. I hope you are enjoying our new web-site. I will make sure to read all of your comments and answer as many questions as I can. I want this blog to not only be fun, but informative. We will also be fixing up our weather section with new and exciting weather data over the next several weeks. Enjoy! You deserve the best.
In the meantime, I have a golf tip for you this weekend. I have no right to even begin to try to teach you golf. My Dad would be much better at this. At least I can help you with the science!
Make sure to use a higher club this weekend with our cooler, drier air. In my case of course I will use a higher club and lots of prayer.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
The good news for us is it looks like the most powerful line of thunderstorms will move through very late tonight. Since we will lose a lot of daytime heating that tend to feed these storms our chances of a tornado outbreak are small. The bad news is that a nasty squall line of storms will still likely hold together due to the strength of this storm bringing a threat of 65 mph wind gusts. Our weather staff will be watching it for you even at 2 a.m. I am rested and ready to go! Here are the main threats.