Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fire Red Moon Sign of a Red Hot Weather Pattern

This is the time of year when sunsets and moonrises are dazzling. We have had spectacular red moonrises over Lafayette the last couple of nights. An old hoosier weather saying is that a red moon portends a red hot weather pattern. This is true many more times than not. The reason for this is that as big high pressure ridges in the atmosphere build in this time of year they do not allow much mixing. The air literally becomes stagnant as nature puts a cap over us, much like a lid covering a pressure cooker. Notice on the map below we have a huge high pressure. A cold front to the north that could help clean up our atmosphere and cool us down is detoured up near the Canadian border.

This allows dust, smoke, and other pollutants to build up. Humidity causes these air-borne particulates to grow large enough to reduce visibility, even though these particles cannot be seen individually. The moon looked red last night because its light was forced to travel through our thicker atmosphere created by a building heat wave. As the week wears on you will notice our haze increase along with the heat and humidity. It also is a sign of increased air pollution, so make sure if you have a sensitive respiratory system to limit any vigorous outdoor activities. The good news is that it may turn uncomfortable this week, but we at least can look forward to quite a display put on by the sun and moon. Get those digital cameras ready and send some pictures in. Meteorologist Kelly Greene and I always enjoy showing your pictures to tell the real story during our weathercasts. What makes them special is not only are they local pictures from where we live, but they are sent in by you.

Before I get too sentimental, the blog word of the day is heat wave. The official definition of a heat wave for Indiana per the Midwest Climate Center is that you have to have 3 or more days of 90 degrees or higher. How many heat waves do you think we have had this year? Do you think we have had one, two, or three. Well, the final results of our weather poll are in. You can find this on the main page of our weather on our WLFI.COM web-site. Here are the results: 55% percent answered 3 heat waves, 35% answered 2 heat waves, and 10% said we only have one heat wave per year in Lafayette. The majority rules and is correct! On average every year Lafayette experiences 3 heat waves. We are far behind last year as you can see on this chart.

We will no longer be shut out in the heat wave column by later this week. So make sure to find ways to beat the heat. My best advice is to find a cool spot inside your home and log on and tune in to WLFI. Also, remember to make sure your pets have a cool place and plenty of water. Check on the elderly because the real hot weather is hardest on them. This hot weather is a sign of things to come. I will have your August outlook tomorrow and talk once again about the moon. This time it will be to clear up a hoax that has been going around the internet since 2003. Thanks for spending time and I will see you soon.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Christmas in July Gift-Wrapped With Nice Weather, But the Party's Over

It was a memorable weekend thanks to wonderful weather from the Brickyard all the way to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where my family and I celebrated Christmas in July. It was also fun looking up at all the amazing planes taking place in the world-famous EAA show. The weather was so nice the pilots were skywriting happy faces in the sky. I watched in amazement at how the smiley face drifted with the upper-level winds from northwest to the southeast, just like the weather balloons would do when I sent them up through the troposphere while I was in college. The weather was so nice I didn't have to worry about receiving coal as my Christmas in July gift.

You can see the presents in the middle of a big circle. We drew numbers and had fun sharing and exchanging little knick-knack gifts. I drew a low number so my John F. Kennedy coins were taken from me and I was given an old golf visor. Basically if you draw a higher number you can pick out a random gift and if you do not like it you exchange it for a present that was picked ahead of you by somone who drew a low number. At first I picked out placemats when my number was drawn and I quickly snagged the collector coins. Eventually I somehow ended up with a golf joke book. This is the perfect gift for me. It will allow me to keep my sense of humor while golfing. I will certainly put the book to good use.

If you are wondering why in the world my family was celebrating Christmas in July, it is for all the relatives we do not get to see during the normal holiday season in the winter. We all know how tough it is in today's day and age to see everybody during the holidays. It works out quite well.

Our gift-wrapped presents were much like the weather we have experienced so far in July. We have had it easy. But it looks like the party is over! We will finally see the hot and humid weather we have been dodging much of the summer. Take a look at our 90 degree day graph.

The hot ridge of high pressure that has sat out West for much of the summer bringing the hottest July on record for many parts of Montana will move eastward due to a more progressive jet stream. This dome of hot air will effectively block any cold fronts from moving our way. Also, do not expect any miracle cut-off low pressures to develop like we saw last week. That cut-off low pressure that came all the way from Maryland and effectively kept us cooler was a once in a 25 year event.

Now we need to brace ourselves for our hottest 21 day stretch of the year beginning on Wednesday. Today is the anniversary of our last official 100 degree day in Lafayette, which took place in 1999. I remember that day very well with heat index values of 120 to 130 across the area. Our news team also did a live-shot at the Frankfort Hot Dog festival. We all thought we were going to turn into hot dogs. We were literally cooking out there! It is a reminder of how hot it can get this time of year and that we have a long way to go before we can call off the dog days of summer. I will have more about this heat wave here on the blog this week and we will take an in-depth look at the full red moon that has been hovering over the Lafayette skyline with dramatic results.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kiss a Pig Contest Raises Several Hundred Dollars for 4H Scholarships

It was a great time out at the Tippecanoe County fair last night and I wanted to make sure to thank everybody for helping to raise several hundred dollars for 4H Scholarships. It was an added bonus that I got to kiss a pig. It feels great to be a two-time Kiss a Pig champion! The balloting was very close as expected. I think the good weather we have had all week gave me a distinct advantage. Here are all the contestants which include Dare officer Barry Richard, Ivy Tech chancellor David Bathe, and the one and only Purdue Peete.

It was the most fun I have had since the blizzard of 2007. You can say I got lucky. I got to kiss a two week old pig named Lucy and she weighed a mere 7 pounds or was about the size of our family dog. So I picked Lucy up and gave her three kisses. It was the first time I ever held a pig and I want to thank Lucy for being a good sport. I wanted to thank all the organizers which included Suzie Jero, Rebecca Morgan, Jeanise Buck, Karen Korty, and Jill Reimenschneider. They also handed out nice wood-carved pig trophies for the first time ever thanks to Donald Clapp. I will show that pig trophy with pride!

Today we do have more pig weather with one more round of showers and thunderstorms. But this is actually good news for our weekend. The weather pattern is moving again thanks to a cold front and it will clean up our messy weather map in time for our fifth consecutive beautiful weekend. I am going to celebrate Christmas in July this weekend with family and friends and even though it will not be a White Christmas, the timing could not be better for fine weather. My wife's grandmother actually displays Christmas decorations and it is always one of the highlights of the summer. This is also race weekend! The duck race at Tropicanoe Cove to raise money for the Lynn Treece Boys and Girls Club may have its best weather ever and for the first time I can remember the Brickyard 400 will not have any threat of rain. Just put on the sunscreen and enjoy. Have a wonderful weekend! I better go Christmas shopping. Here is my present to you! Start those engines!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rare Low Spins Up Flash Flooding in Carroll & White Counties

You can make it out on our 3-D fly thru. There is an area of low pressure which has played havoc with our weather early this morning. It brings back memories of being up all night with you back in 2003. While I am not expecting a repeat, the rain tonight has been relentless. Northern Carroll County has been flooded with 2 to 4 inches of rain in only about 4 hours. Amazingly this is a whole months worth of rain. The training of rain began just before the 11 p.m. newscast. This is the process where thunderstorms form and move over the same locations over and over like boxcars of a train on railroad tracks. The unusually heavy rain was also caused by a phenomenon called a jet streak. It is an area of strong upper-level winds that actually adds a ton of energy to the atmosphere. Take a look at how the air was literally piling up over White and Carroll County last night. We also had a south to southwesterly low-level flow. This creates quite a collision, causing tons of lift in the atmosphere. It was no surprise some areas had their heaviest rain of the entire summer.

Look at these incredible doppler radar estimates. The orange area had 2 to 3 inches of rain, while the deep red and white areas had 3 to as much as 6 inches of rain!

White County will also have to watch out for flash flooding. So remember not to cross roadways covered by water. Most people die in flash flooding in their vehicle. The popular saying to remember this is, "turn around don't drown." The areas of most concern are in Carroll County, especially in the Camden area. Here are the actual weather watcher rainfall totals. You can also put down water-logged Chalmers for 2.25".

I know of at least one pig that is very happy about this rain. She can once again dig in the mud.

Today is the big day! The Kiss the Pig Contest is tonight at 8:20 p.m. Thanks for all your support. Here is a picture of Marissa, her pig Betty, and I.
If you did not catch the newscast last night, I kissed the biggest pig in the barn twice to get ready for tonight. Betty weighs 336 pounds and she could be a heck of an offensive lineman for Purdue. Marissa says it was all the marshmallows she eats that makes her so big. Marissa does such a great job with her! Betty also likes ties and she liked my tie so much, she nibbled on it and almost pulled me down in the pen after my second kiss, live on television. I still have lip burn and did eventually find a way to take my taught tie off. It is important to have a sense of humor in this business, and the things you do for live TV sometimes is more than you bargained for, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

But what this is about is something much bigger than you or I. It is about the kids. Last year enough money was raised for 4 scholarships. This year we hope to improve on this. Donations will be accepted all the way up until show time tonight. I cannot wait to see you!
Purdue Peete was also out campaigning hard for the kids. We had a fun wrestling match since we are in a friendly competition. Tonight we will all be winners.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lafayette Area Residents Find Out How Lucky We Have Been

Courtesy of Dick Rosenbarger

This was taken by Dick while he was watching a baseball game in Louisiana last Friday. This waterspout was estimated to have wind speeds over 100 mph! The only team to take cover was the Indiana team, while the other team just stood there. So you know who the winner in my book was no matter what the scoreboard read. Here is what Dick had to say as he snapped this unbelieveable shot of the water spout.

Mike, attached is a photo of what is believed to be an F-2 to an F-3 tornado (water spout) over Lake Ponchartrain on the north side of New Orleans last Friday (7-20-07) around 2:00 PM.

We were watching the Indiana Bulls 18yr old baseball team play at the University of New Orleans when it formed. The spout lasted for nearly 10 minutes. Ironically when it formed the boys from Indiana ran for cover, the team from Texas that we were playing stayed in the dug-out and watched tornado the entire time. Afterwards when play resumed we were talking with parents from the opposing team and they were laughing at us Indiana people, they said they see these all the time.

Your team definitely did the right thing and as all of us Hoosiers know that no matter how many times we have a tornado warning, we take cover immediately and ask questions later. The Indiana Bulls were smart in taking cover because water spouts have been known to move on land as devastating tornadoes. The team from Texas was obviously the foolish team in this case. I am glad everybody is safe and sound. But this is not the case across much of the world.

There has been extreme weather all over the world this summer, including hundreds of deaths in Europe from severe weather and heat waves. Reports out of Hungary are very sad with over 500 people killed by the worst heat wave in over 120 years. Britain has seen the worst flooding is some parts in more than 900 years of record-keeping. That is right, 900 year floods have taken place. Australia had parts of its country that saw not one drop of rain in 5 years. Then with little warning the Outback was blitzed with 10 years worth of rain in a week, with new "desert lakes" forming.

Closer to home in the United States have had some of their driest, hottest, and wettest weather on record. We remember the forest fires in Georgia and Florida, that made it hard to breathe and drive on interstates from central Florida all the way up to Atlanta. Planes were actually delayed due to low visibility from smoke. Oklahoma had its wettest June ever and rainfall surpluses in Texas are close to 20 inches. Dust devils in Arizona have turned into fire and ash devils which are made of the fire and ash from the abundant forest fires taking place. Hurricane season will really start to heat up in the Atlantic basin the next couple of weeks. I am looking for at least 3 land-falling hurricanes in the United States with the highest risk areas in the Carolinas and Florida. I shudder to think this, but my beloved Jacksonville may have a rude awakening this year with its first hurricane possible since 1964.

Back home here in Indiana we have a lot to be thankful for. We have had weird weather but not devastating weather. Yes, it has been dry, but we have not had a full-fledged drought. You have to wonder when this will catch up to us. Stay tuned and stay safe. One thing is for certain. We have lots of catching up to do when it comes to thunderstorms. Take a look at these incredible stats. We are not even close to where we were last year.

The latest models are showing very good thunderstorm chances beginning tonight and lasting through Friday night. There is concern that we could go from little or no rain to flash flooding in an instant. So keep your guard up. It is Indiana so we need to stay weather ready. I will talk about a rare low pressure that could bring heavy rain tonight and have more on this tomorrow on the blog.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kiss the Pig Contest Heats Up, But Not Our Weather

The Kiss the Pig Contest for 4-H is starting to heat up. Remember to fill my pig jar at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. We are running out of time. Just think of all the nice weather I have brought you over the past 4 weekends and an outstanding fair week ahead. Well, I really can't take much credit for that. The real reason you should fill my pig jar is for all the great kids of 4-H. Their projects only seem to get better year after year. My goal is to raise the most money for 4-H, not only for this year, but ever. I know it is a tall task, but together we can do it. This also means I will then get to kiss the pig on Thursday night. But, I am not thinking much about that right now and for good reason. The focus is on all the hard-working kids and raising money for scholarships. Thanks so much for all your support!

We have a lot to be thankful for including the
weather. The fair week in Tippecanoe County is usually known for its hot and stormy weather. Last year the fair ended on sultry terms. Compare that to today and it felt about 20 degrees cooler. We know how lucky we are. Where is all the hot weather we normally see? Well, head West. Look at the latest National Weather Service data that has come into my office from Great Falls, Montana. It hurts just to read all these scorching numbers! We have had only two days so far in July at 90 degrees or above. Yesterday, Miles City, Montana hit 110 degrees. It was not alone.

Number of Days of 100 degrees or higher:

Whenever you see the temperatures rival and surpass values from 1936, you really start to appreciate what folks are going through out West. In 1936 here in Indiana we set our state record high of 116 degrees in our very own Collegeville. It was a year that will always be remembered for hot, scorching weather. Now you can add 2007 to that list, if you live in Montana. I like saying nature likes to keep a balance and if one place on earth is unusually hot, another place has to be much cooler than normal. That would be us! Here at home all of the hot weather is being re-directed to our north due to a cut-off low pressure area you see below.

It has been the summer of cut-off low pressure areas and what they tend to do is actually retrograde or move from the east to the west instead of the more traditional west to east. They can spin around for days. They are usually a weather phenomenon in the Spring or Fall, not the summer. I cannot remember this ever happening here in Indiana in July. In fact about 98% of all low pressure areas move west to east across Indiana, but here is an example of a low pressure moving the total opposite way. The jet stream that usually carries systems from west to east is being detoured around the huge heat wave out in Montana. This allowed the cut-off low to form drift our way. It has higher wind speeds on its northern side which slowly allows its momentum to move it to the west.

Usually it takes a cold front to kick it out of the way and I do not see that happening until late Friday and Saturday. So what this means is we will have no hot spells for our fair week and no big rain. We are in essence "cut-off" from all the extreme weather out west, which is certainly a good thing. I do not think my fair forecast has ever been this tame. I don't want to jinx the forecast, but overall it is looking great! The only tiger in the pattern I could find was in this beautiful picture e-mailed to our weather team. Look for more swallowtail butterflies on tiger lilies. This beautiful scene sums up the great weather we are experiencing.

Courtesy of: Lyn Watson

This nice weather pattern should give me a chance to get out at the Tippecanoe County Fair and collect plenty of money for the 4 H'ers. Thanks in advance for all your help and I look forward to seeing you on the tube and in person! Save me a pork tenderloin.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mysterious Harry Potter Weather Pattern Continues This Week!

The latest maps look like they have had a spell cast on them. You can see the Harry Potter costume contest winner waving his wand at you. I had a great time judging the Harry Potter contest at Wal-Mart on Friday night. I am glad I stayed to almost 1 a.m. and met the tons of Potter fans. I have to admit I have not read one book and have not been to any of the movies. But now I plan to catch-up on reading and see what all the excitement is about. Talk about craziness! At one point the line stretched from the front of the store to the toy section just before the book release at 12:01 a.m. Here is at least part of the line. The line moved quickly once the books were handed out. An amazing 400 books were sold in about 20 minutes. For meteorologists, this would be the equivalent of 3 inches of snow in only an hour.

Here was the youngest Harry Potter fan I could find. He is only 4 months old! You can see the lightning bolt on his forehead if you look closely. This little guy was also in the costume contest and won lots of cool giveaways. He looks like a future meteorologist to me.

My two oldest daughters could not stay away from the big party and had a great time helping Daddy. It was great to be able to include them in what I do and to show them how much hard work is involved, but at the same time how much fun I have on the job everyday. So no matter what they end up doing in life, I wanted to teach them the lesson of making sure to find something they love. Invariably if you do something you love, you will most likely do it well. Now that it is obvious Harry Potter fever has even hit this blog, which I never thought could happen, we can now talk about another fever sweeping Lafayette. That is right, spring fever! Not many folks are complaining and even the Indiana state flower is confused. Look at the peonies below.

They actually bloomed in Lafayette a second time this year which is unheard of. Could it be because we have had two cool spells in July that have made it feel more like May? What a difference a year makes. We had 10 days of 90 or above last year in July. This year we will likely end up with only 2. Our average is more than 3 times that at 7.

This is significant and is unexpected. All the long-range models have been consistent in showing a western heat wave eventually moving into Indiana by late July, and it looks like every single one of them will be wrong. My forecast of having 25 to 30 days of 90 degrees or above definitely looks in jeopardy and we may very well end up closer to average or in the 15 to 20 range.

The timing could not be better for most of us and it was so nice we took our euchre matches outside on Saturday night and played by candlelight. The refreshing breezes did not help me play any better but definitely kept me and all our guests in a great mood. Tonight you can take the euchre matches outside again and keep those windows open.

Tomorrow on the blog, I will talk more about this amazing weather pattern for July. If you cannot wait that long make sure to tune in tonight for some answers. I will also have a sneak peak at your Brickyard 400 forecast and have all your fair weather! Have a great day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Better Weather Than Hawaii for Dancing in the Streets

It will be a July paradise out there this weekend. If you have been outside today you would probably agree. It is not often that I forecast better weather here at home than in Hawaii. How is this possible? The picture above tells it all. Tropical Depression Cosme will bring showers to Hawaii this weekend with unusually sticky weather. Here in Lafayette, we will have the crystal clear skies and refreshing breezes with highs only near 80. The only thing we will be missing are the beaches and palm trees. But it will feel so great outside that it will not matter. We have many great events happening around town, including the start of the Tippecanoe County 4-H Fair along with Dancing in the Streets. Jeff Smith is already Dancing in the Streets or at least the newsroom after he got word of my updated forecast. He is not much of a dancer, but in this weather pattern he certainly is. Gina, the former Fair Queen, is looking forward to judging the Fair Queen Pageant and cannot believe she will not have to worry about it feeling like its over 100 degrees. Well believe it! Honolulu eat your heart out!

The weather is so tranquil, I wanted to make sure I took this opportunity to thank the more than 200 parents and kids for coming out to my weather talks at the downtown branch of the Tippecanoe County Public Library. To see all of you take time out of your busy summer vacation schedule really meant a lot. I was humbled by the huge numbers. Here are the pictures of all the great kids. It is hard to believe that I have watched some of them grow up from pre-schoolers to already 7th graders. Time is going by way too fast!

So what did I talk about for about one hour? The blizzard of 2007 of course. I shared some rare behind the scenes video of our weather team that was snowed in together for 3 days. I even showed the mailman delivering during the blizzard. The kids really liked all of the pictures of the snow and told me they wanted another blizzard this year. I made no promises but let them know that this winter may bring another snowy February based on the latest long-range models. It is way too far out to speculate, but you can never say never when it comes to the weather in Indiana. I made sure to remind them of how important reading is and even today the library is one of my favorite places to go. I started checking out books at 5 years old. It is a life-long hobby that can really have a positive impact in your life. One of my recommended books is Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It is a story full of imagination that really shows how much fun reading can be. This weekend will be perfect to take a book outside. Find a shady spot and you will be all set! Enjoy our slice of July paradise and your book!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sleepless in Lafayette for the 3rd Consecutive Night Was Well Worth It!

It was the third consecutive sleepless night tracking storms across our area for me, but as always it is something I thrive on. Of course more normal folks are tired of these middle of the night wake-up calls. Tonight I am glad to report we can all catch up on sleep. We had some nice downpours and vivid lightning last night. This is great news for the drought-like conditions we have had over the last few months. Who needs sleep when you have the impressive rainfall totals you see above. I also slept like a baby because I was exhausted from being dunked in the dunk tank at the White County 4-H Fair. I lost count at 20 times, but all in all it was a blast. I am not even sore this morning. Here is the proof you have been waiting for. Notice my expression when I realize I am going down yet again! The North White Ambassadors raised lots of money for their show choir so it was all well worth it!

Will nature dunk us with wild weather this weekend? Tune in to find out tonight and I will have your answer. See you soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You Can Dunk the Weatherman, But Nature May Dunk the Rest of Us As Flooding Concerns Grow

Danica Craig in the dunk tank at the White County Fair

I will have more on dunking Danica and the weatherman, but first we need to talk about quite a night last night. It was one of those nights I was glued to the radar most of the night.

It started out as a couple of lone unorganized storms in Illinois and a mesocale convective system literally exploded in our warm, humid air as it moved east. An MCC as it is caused is a large area of organized thunderstorms that can rival tropical storms or hurricanes in the amount of rain it can drop in relatively short periods of time. Some areas of Iowa are pushing 12 inches or rain over the last few days. I am concerned that although we need rain here at home, that we may have to worry about lowland flooding with isolated rain amounts in the next 30 hours that could add about 4 inches of rain on top of what we have had. I know most areas will end up with the 1 to 2 inches or rain as forecasted, but MCC's can drop much heavier rain in narrow 20 to 30 mile bands and it can cause flash flooding. It is tought to forecast exactly if and where this will take place, but if you are prepared it can go a long way in making sure you stay safe. So here is a reminder to make sure to not cross waters of unknown depth. Here is a flood warning statement this morning in Illinois that could repeat itself here in Indiana by later today through Thursday.


Remember it only takes about 8 to 10 inches of moving water to sweep a vehicle away. We will also have a greater threat of strong storms as the main front that has been causing damaging winds and large hail all week finally moves our way by later today and tomorrow. So make sure to stay alert and stay tuned. Make sure to have a plan B over the next couple of days and your weather radio ready. I will make sure our Live Doppler 18 is fired up and ready to go.

Now that we are prepared let's talk about all the fun I had at the White County Fair last night. There was the horse show that followed the cat show. There were tons of cats being pushed around in strollers, but I still think the horses were the most impressive. You see Rachel Hegewald in the front on Conquest and Ali Laufman in the background riding Chief. They sure made it look easy out there.

There was also some excitement taking place in the trees! The guinea hen is still loose and like our stalled weather front, is not moving any time soon. I snapped a picture for you and I circled where this bird has made its new home over the last couple of days.

Last but not least I just wanted to thank all of our loyal viewers and just great people I met last night. We do appreciate you watching. So I am going to try to give back a little tonight to show my appreciation. If we get a break in the storms this evening which is still very possible, you can dunk the weatherman. That is right I am going to take the plunge close to 7:45 p.m. this evening at the White County Fair. I am raising money for the North White Ambassadors choir. There will be a few farmers that would really love to get me in a dunk tank for all those hit and miss storms that missed their fields. I will eat my humble pie for a good cause and I hopefully the line will not be as long with all of the needed rain we have had over the last couple days. I better go track our next batch of rain. In the meantime, have a great day and I look forward to seeing you on the air and in person.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

As Fair Season Kicks into High Gear, Nature Goes Hog Wild!

It was a wild wake-up call this morning. We had big crashes of thunder in Lafayette and even lost power for awhile on the southside. It is only the beginning of a soggy pattern. It is pretty amazing we are going from drought-like conditions to a deluge of rain almost in a heartbeat. Although all true Hoosiers know that come fair time nature really starts to kick the storm season in high gear along with the heat and humidity! Nature literally pigs out on all the heat and humidity and builds huge towering clouds that form storms.

Farmers are in hog heaven today with some reports coming in at over a half-inch. You can see Austin McCoy's hog from the Clinton County fair that I got to meet on Friday up above. Austin did a great job explaining to me what not to do in the Tippecanoe County Fair Kiss the Pig Contest. You never want to kiss a pig's snout or ears. I was told to kiss their shoulder so I do not get nipped. The reason I need this advice is I am participating in the Kiss the Pig contest. My goal is to raise as much money for all the 4H'ers as possible. The winner gets the honor of kissing a pig. So please help out and fill my jar if you see it at the fair and around town. I will do what it takes for the kids that work so hard year in and year out in 4H and in school. Thanks again Austin. He also taught me pigs eat ice cream, believe it or not. Here is a picture of Austin and I by the WLFI TV-18 mobile in Clinton County. I look forward to meeting more of you out at the White County Fair this week and Tippecanoe and Benton County Fairs next week. Just look for the TV-18 logo. We appreciate all our viewers and it will finally be great to meet you face to face. We can talk all about our crazy weather!

It makes sense why nature takes goes hog wild this time of year. We are now in our hottest part of the year which runs from now through early August. There is plenty of humidity to feed developing thunderstorms and it is so sauna-like this time of year we even can wake up to big storms at night or early in the morning. Here is the latest forecast for rainfall this week! Keep in mind there will be some locally heavier amounts.

Some portions of Iowa had about an inch of rain in 35 minutes with some areas already receiving 3 to 5 inches of rain. We will have to watch this closely here at home. Flood watches are already in effect for Newton, Jasper, and Benton County. Even though it has been so dry, the rock hard ground combined with training thunderstorms can cause flash flooding in a hurry. The water will simply runoff and have nowhere to go.

I will explain more on this and another unique kind of thunderstorm formations called mesoscale convective systems that will impact our area. Remember even though we have not had any severe weather reports we are going to have to stay alert for strong storms at almost any time of day or night through at least Thursday. The main threats will continue to be flooding, damaging wind, and large hail. Also, remember your lightning safety rules, especially with all the fair-goers out there. More on this will be posted on the blog the next couple of days and of course I will have all of your rainfall amounts. Send in pictures and send stories of how much you missed the rain. I will be glad to post them here. I will see you soon! Have a great day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Free Lawn Waterings on the Way, Live Doppler 18's Vacation is Over!

What a great way to start the week! I have the busiest 7 day forecast of the summer. Live Doppler 18's summer vacation is over. I will get to the big changes in our weather, but we need to talk about how wonderful our weekend was a Columbian Park. You can see the start of the Zoo Run Run race which included hundreds of energetic participants. I cannot thank you enough.

I am very proud of how far this race has come. I helped organize the Zoo Run Run with Craig Irvine of Irvine Travel, 5 years ago. Our intent was to come up with an event to help raise money for the Columbian Park Zoo renovation. All the proceeds would go back to the Columbian Park Zoo that holds a special place in our community's heart. The Columbian Park Zoo has always been a big part of Lafayette and thanks to you it is thriving once again. Our dream has become a reality. We started 5 years ago with only 91 runners and yesterday we had 400 runners and it has become one of Lafayette's biggest races. I cannot thank you enough. Lafayette's new zoo certainly would not have been possible without you. The Friends of the Zoo board that I am a part of deserves a ton of credit for helping to keep this event alive and the volunteers were nothing short of fantastic. I may not be able to control the weather, but I will contine to work hard in bringing more animals and exciting new things to our zoo. Thanks again.

Now we should really be thanking nature for the great news I am about to share! Our week ahead will finally include the heavy, soaking rain we have all been waiting for. We are right in the battle zone between hot air to our south and west and cooler, drier air to our north. We have not seen this set-up in a long time. You throw in a strong jet stream and a stalled front and get ready for plenty of rain. A lot of folks are just plain exhausted when it comes to watering their lawns. Now it is nature that is finally ready to help us out. You have every right to have complained. Look at how long it has been since we have had a real good rainy pattern.

I did throw in those wind gusts over 70 mph, because we really have not seen much severe weather this summer and we are in a risk for severe thunderstorms for a good portion of the week beginning on Tuesday and going through Thursday. Make sure to tune in and we will keep you posted not only on the rain, but any strong storms that develop. Thanks for reading, racing, and watching. I will see you soon.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Double Rainbows are a Good Sign for the Zoo Run Run This Weekend

Once again for the third consecutive night nature gave us quite a show in the sky. This time it was in the form of double rainbows and sunshowers. First let's take a look at this beautiful double rainbow sent in by Doyle McIntosh. What makes them interesting is the colors on the second rainbow just above the primary rainbow (tough to see in this picture, but it is there) are inverted. So the brighter rainbow has the colors in order from red to violet, while the secondary rainbow has colors from bottom to top that range from violet to red.

This brings us to our blog question of the day: What causes this phenomenon?

Well, remember that a rainbow is caused by the refraction of light off the backside of a raindrop. But what most folks do not know is that we are seeing the effects of refraction and reflection. As the sunlight hits the raindrop it is refracted and then it is reflected inside the raindrop before it is refracted once again off the backside of the raindrop as the light leaves the raindrop and helps make the primary rainbow. A secondary rainbow or double rainbow is caused by sunlight being refracted as it enters the raindrop, then it is reflected twice inside the raindrop before being refracted once again off the backside of the raindrop. So it is the double reflection inside the raindrop that makes this rare and beautiful sight. Remember to turn your back to the sun when looking for rainbows.

It this was not enough, we also had reports of sun showers. That is right, we had the sun shining at the same time it was raining which are the two ingredients we need for our rainbows. Here is a great picture showing this sent in by Dan Miller.

Join me tonight at 5,6, and 11 from the Clinton County Fair and I will tell you more about why these clouds have plenty of silver linings in them for the weekend. I will also have your Zoo Run Run forecast which is at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning at Columbian Park. It includes a 5k Fun Run and a 5k and 3k Fun Walk. The kids can even partake in a 1K Fun Walk. I look forward to helping with refreshments and prizes. There will also be a nice pancake breakfast courtesy of Bison. I cannot wait to see everybody. It is hard to believe this is the fifth year of the race and it has grown into one of Lafayette's premier running events. Pre-registration has already topped 200! Your support is greatly appreciated and remember all proceeds go to the Friends of the Columbian Park Zoo. The Friends of course are helping with the exciting new renovation of the zoo. Future plans include bringing new animals to the zoo such as wallabys, emus, and even penguins. So have some fun in the sun and it is for a good cause. All participants should be able to put those free pool passes to good use at Tropicanoe Cove.

Have a great day! I will share all the good news with you tonight and also talk about a big typhoon in Japan that will help superheat our weather forecast by later next week. I will post a picture of the Typhoon that has already slammed Okinawa, Japan this morning with wind gusts close to 110 mph. Make sure to enjoy this nice weather while you can. Next weekend temperatures may flirt with 100 degrees. More details coming your way on the tube tonight and here on the blog. Check back and tune in! Make it a great weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A September Sky Tells Us We May Need to Get out the Sweatshirts

Was it really feeling like 102 degree in Chalmers just a couple days ago? Wow! We have gotten rid of the hideous humidity and summer altogether. You could feel the difference just walking outside. Forget about frying eggs on the sidewalk and somehow find a sweatshirt for the late nights and early mornings the next few days. We are in a classic September pattern. The pink clouds in the sky told the story on Wednesday evening. A big thank you to John. It doesn't get any better than a pine creek, blue skies and wispy clouds (called Mares tails). These are very unusual to see this time of year. These clouds only grew brighter and more impressive just after sunset and of course Dena Flanagan was ready!

I thought I was back in Duluth, Minnesota. The higher jet stream winds actually helped to whip up these mare's clouds
that are in fact named after horse's tails. The wispy tails are formed by falling ice crystals at about 20,000 feet high. That is right we had some snow in the atmosphere and winter is right around the corner! Okay, maybe I am getting carried away but you know how I am with snow. Here is another picture helping to sum up our best July day of the month.

Chris tells me there is always something interesting to find out at Propetstown and he certainly has that right. You can thank a huge dip in the jet stream coming into the Midwest helping to bring this touch of July paradise to Lafayette.

This does a couple things. It keeps us in a refreshing pattern with cool breezes and it blocks the heat wave conditions our west from moving our way. We need to enjoy this while we can because our summer intermission will not last very long. Some models are showing at least 4 days in a row of 90 degrees or above next week. We will see, it is still early. But we know we have our hottest weather of the year still ahead of us. I will check back with you here on the blog and talk about scattered rain in the forecast tonight. The northwest flow also means that fast-moving systems to our north have very little moisture to work with. As a result, there are no promises on rain, just comfortable weather. I will check back soon, but for now I am going to follow my own advise and head outside. My dog is licking his chops and so should we with all of this nice weather!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Amazing Mammatus Clouds Highlight The Dry July Sky

We had huge 55,000 foot thunderstorms just to the northwest of the Lafayette viewing area and it made for the brightest show in the sky since July 4th. This made for an incredible sunset, which was full of anvil-head cirrus and a few mammatus clouds. Dena Flanagan did a great job as usual capturing this beautiful sight. Let's take an even closer look at how incredible last night's mammatus clouds were. Normally we only see these mammatus clouds about 25 days out of the entire year. What a sight!

Mammatus clouds look like pouches in the sky and are usually a sign of weakening thunderstorms and usually tell you that the severe weather threat has passed. What happens is the cirrus clouds at the top of thunderstorms start falling and these downdrafts cool the air, leading the way for these beautiful clouds to form. They are an indication that plenty of turbulence once existed in the atmosphere, but now the downdrafts are taking over and it means the storms are in a weakening phase. On rare instances mammatus clouds can form on the backside of storms and can indicate more severe weather on the way usually in the form of damaging straightline winds. But it does not happen very often.

Last night was a textbook example of these foretellers of weather as not only did most of the area dodge severe weather but also missed out on some needed rain. Notice all the severe weather reports around the Midwest. There were a few wind gusts near 60 mph (flags) in extreme northern Indiana and some quarter-size hail reports (white shading).

The rainfall amounts were so disappointing. My dog B.J. even had a hard time looking me in the eye when I got home last night. I had to give him an extra treat. I was expecting more of us to see a good quarter to half an inch of rain, but most of us saw less just a few sprinkles. The doppler rainfall estimates tell the story.

Even though the map is tough to see. All the dark areas missed out on the rain. Yes, the dreaded doughnut hole was right over most of us. The shades of blue were areas close to a quarter-inch. These lucky areas included Boswell along with portions of Montgomery County. The second area with about a quarter-inch of rain was from Winamac to near Rochester.

Now the big question is will what does this mean for the drought. Well, the good news is that most farmers are reporting good crop conditions thanks to some good rain to finish out June and cooler conditions as we started out July. This helped immensely. The forecast through September is still optimistic based on the latest maps from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

By no means will we stay bone dry the rest of the summer, but we will have to watch out for occasional dry spells and it looks like we are in another one. One thing that slows down droughts and keeps them from overtaking huge chunks of valuable farmland are temperatures. Cooler than average temperatures are in the forecast all the way through the weekend. So the good news is even though we only have spotty rain in the forecast later on Thurday, the cooler temperatures will save us from going into a drought in the near future. Our weather team will continue to watch this closely for you, but for now, cooler is better, much better in all ways! Now if I could only find the switch that I could flip to bring more rain. It has gotten so bad, apparently some farmers have been drawing turtles for better luck on bringing rain to their fields. Now this is the first time I heard of this. If you know of any turtle stories to help explain this to me I will definitely share all the details here on the blog. Take care. I better go practice drawing turtles until I find out more.