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.

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