Friday, June 8, 2007

It Will Be a Great Weekend for June Weddings and Space Shuttle Gazing in the Lafayette Sky

I have finally come up for some air after tracking storms across much of the Midwest throughout the day and much of tonight. I am still here at work and it is almost 2 a.m. Ross Ellet should be arriving shortly. Normally, Kelly Greene comes in but she has a well-deserved day off. Our weather team works around the clock when the weather turns busy. Computerized crawls are okay, but having humans here is what really matters so we cannot only answer calls, but do cut-ins to programming if the weather turns nasty. I would not have it any other way.

Don't feel sorry for me on this sleepless night because I have been doing this since I was 7 years old. I think my brother is glad I no longer live with him because I would wake him up to tell him what was happening and if we would be off school. If snow was in the forecast I usually would run around the house all night, checking on the latest weather conditions outside my window, drawing weather maps, and practicing doing the weather in my room. No wonder I became a meteorologist. I know I am very lucky to do what I love and being able to live in a great weather state like Indiana. Tonight I have been running around the TV station instead of my old house in Bowie, Maryland. We have computers all over the building and I love looking for storm videos that come in and then running back to the weather center to check on the latest Live Doppler 18 image.

There is a tornado watch for Benton, Newton, and Jasper Counties until 6 a.m. but right now I do not see much of a tornado threat. We could still see some gusty winds and small hail early this morning, but I think nature will once again spare us the worst of a potent storm. We will have not have to worry about kayaks through trees like they saw in Wisconsin last night. There were about 10 tornadoes alone in the Badger state. My aunt Barb called and told me all the sporting events and graduations were canceled in the Osh Kosh area. I am glad everybody is safe and sound there tonight and that folks are more weather aware than ever. My hats off to the folks in Wisconsin for taking the storms seriously. Here in Indiana we also do a very good job of being alert for changing weather conditions. Interestingly, our weather watch/warning system and skywarn networks around the country came about because of the Palm Sunday tornadoes that hit Indiana back in 1965. It changed the way the country viewed weather. Weather was no longer considered trivial but finally taken seriously.

Our blog question of the day deals with weather watches and warnings.

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.

Jason Warner

Thanks for the note Jason,

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.

This weekend we can all feel safe. A cold front will move east and usher in refreshing breezes and plenty of dry weather for the weekend. This is a good thing with all of the June weddings going on around town. It is the least I can do. Nature will also add in a special wedding gift for everybody. Look to the sky on Sunday night. The skies should be clear to view the space station and space shuttle!

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.

No comments: