Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wind Chills Tonight in the 30s, Blame the Woolly Worms!

No you should not blame me for this or my job shadow Andy Dommer. It is hard to believe one week ago we had a high of 93 in Lafayette. Tonight, chilly breezes will drop actual air temperatures into the lower to middle 40s and if you factor in the wind it will feel like 38 degrees by time you wake up. This is a 55 degree plunge!

Now the woolly worm proverb in Indiana that farmers swear by is that the darker the worm, the colder and snowier the winter. So far most of the reports that have come in have the darker worms winning by a 2 to 1 margin. Kandy in Chalmers has seen some blonde worms to give the warmer weather lovers some hope. But it looks like the worms are on to something. This of course has no bearing on my fall and winter forecast. I look at upper-level winds, northern hemispheric snow cover, ocean temperatures, and pressure patterns all across the globe. Analog years are also taken into consideration in which I like to match up the current weather pattern we are in with previous years. The woolly worm is a common name for the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth. Here is the kicker, these worms are found throughout the United States and variations in their band colors are linked to differences in species and the larval stage they are currently in. The weather has no effect whatsover on their colors. But I have to admit it is still a lot of fun tracking these things with you and I will not rain on our parade or in this case snow on our parade with all the dark banded worms that have been spotted.

Here is another phenomenon that you may be interested in! Take a look at this...it looks like a green tornado sent in by Monty Sloan. But wait, it is the aurora borealis. Instead of curtains of green you see funnels of green. This may be one of the most spectacular pictures of the northern lights I have ever seen. Here is what Monty has to say.

Hi Mike

I'm up at Blachford Lake, Southeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada on a trip to photograph the Aurora. Last night was our first night of this week long trip and was wonderful. Here are a few of the photos I was able to take.

Unlike the Aurora back down home, they are almost always bright green up here. Green seems pretty rare down in Indiana whereas red is very rare up here.

Anyway, I was really excited by these photos so I thought I would share.

- Monty -

Thanks so much Monty and we will have another update from Monty tomorrow here on the blog. Marty not only dazzled us with this picture but makes a great point. Our auroras in Indiana are usually red compared to the common green color you see at the higher latitudes. I will have more on this shortly.

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