Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lee Ann Takes Over...for one post only :)

Hello everyone out there! What a CRAZY week we have had here. Kelly has been staying late and Mike and I have been coming in early to learn our new system. It has been stressful trying to learn something new and great for our viewers in only 1 week! Hopefully it will be a seamless transition and I know you all will love the new look. Today has been the WORST! Kelly needed some help in the morning so I got here at 7 am and I am still here at midnight!

Ok enough of the AMAZING weather system :) On to the weather and the blog. I really appreciate Mike taking the time to do this for you all. He comes in earlier than required and usually stays late to update and post things for you to read. Alot of the things he posts are the newest information that he can get. We love that you all take the time out and read this and post replys. The funny posts make us laugh and will help keep us awake tonight. We will have LOTS of snow measuring to do.

Our forecast from earlier in the day is not off by as much as some think. Earlier we said there would be some snow in the evening and the heavy stuff would be after 10 PM. Well...ok off by a couple hours, but you'll have that. Everyone was off...the NWS, Indy, Ft Wayne. It still looks like we will get lots of snow. Maybe a couple inches less than originally expected.

The latest info from our new in-house model shows about 3 inches less than earlier. The reason it is changing so much is because it is a smaller and of slightly less quality than the NWS models. The NWS models are even changing a bit from earlier. After looking at ALL the data, I PROMISE we will get snow. There are 3 things that almost guarentee it.
1. The low is in Arkansas....yes it isn't even here yet. This means it will be snowing from now until the time the low FINALLY gets here. As we all's slow :)
2. The snow moving in is getting heavier. There is ALOT of moisture being pulled up from the Gulf and it is going right to the center of the storm.
3. Live Doppler 18 is ALL green - Our doppler is weaker than most radars...espically the NWS radar. For our doppler to pick up any snow it HAS to be heavy.

Ok I am turing the blog back to Mike :) He went to get some food so I better go before he catches me ;)

*~Lee Ann~*

The Latest Numbers Are In....Here We Go

The models are showing a late burst of snow with the heaviest snow between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. In this six hour time frame we will likely see 4 to 6 inches or about an inch of snow per hour. The latest runs have Lafayette now receiving a little less snow....


Lafayette 8"
Remington 8"
Monticello 10"
Rochester 11"
Fort Wayne 12"

Model #2
Lafayette 7"
Remington 6"
Monticello 9"
Rochester 10"
Fort Wayne 12"

We will keep you updated with this storm. This is a developing storm. I will post the new storm timeline shortly and of course have much more on the news at 11 p.m. We still need to take this storm seriously with plenty of wind and heavy snow on the way. Thundersnow if it does occur would bring some isolated amounts up to 10" here in Tippecanoe we should not write off this storm and we will have to watch it very closely.

Big Storm Taking its Time, But Not Missing Us!

The storm is coming, the storm is still is just running a little late. No, I am not losing it. I am calm and collected. Yes, I have to admit I am a little nervous but after looking at the latest radar imagery to our southwest starting to fill in nicely it will all work out. I have taken tons of calls from worried children and have calmed them down. So let me calm you down, especially if you want lots of snow.

The low pressure is intensifying and slowing down. There has been one model all week that has been much slower than the rest and obviously it is winning the battle. This is the same model that has also forecasted the most snowfall out of this storm. So even though this storm is running late, I am doing my Paul Revere imitation for good reason. The storm is on the way. The newest model data is now starting to come in and I will check back with you shortly.

A Few Notes For You To Enjoy With Your Dinner

No food yet, but I snuck a chocolate chip cookie....some folks are concerned about the break in the snow out there now but do not worry the heavy snows move in late tonight and Friday morning. The latest Rapid Update cycle model has one inch snows per hour moving in by late tonight and the best chance of thundersnow between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. So patience will be important for us snow fans tonight!

The Storm Prediction Center has put out a weather discussion encompassing much of our viewing area...this is what they are thinking in Norman, Oklahoma!


In other words, get ready for the BIG ONE! Everything is on track.

Snow Moves In With The Heaviest Yet to Come

Update time! I better lay off the caffeine. This is the latest on expected snowfall totals....there have been concerns of being dry-slotted but at this time we are in the sweet spot of the storm which means areas farther southeast closer to Indianapolis would have to worry about this much more than our viewing area. The ice-snow line will be moving northward but the latest data still has most our area staying all snow and that is why I upped the totals closer to 10 to 14 inches. If you are in Frankfort, Tipton, and Kokomo it looks like some sleet will mix in at times late tonight but it should only be for a brief time before changing back to snow, so these areas could still end up with a healthy 8 inches of snow or more. Our weather team will be here the entire night and I am really excited about my wife bringing by some chili this evening. There is nothing like a good old-fashioned snowstorm with great food! Well, I am ready to ride out another storm with you all and let me get our storm picture parade off to a good start.

Courtesy of Lee Ann Okuly

Yes, our weather team's big measuring stick is ready. Make sure to send in your snow totals. It is amazing that this storm is still several hundred miles away. This first batch of snow is just a taste of what is to come.Let's make this our best picture storm montage yet! I cannot wait to see your pictures, photos, and stories. Remember to run those errands early tonight because the roads are already getting slick. Check back with you soon! The new model runs are getting ready to come in!

Double Digit Snowfall Closes in!

Our weather team is busy at work and fully staffed. Kelly, Lee Ann, and I have some BIG news. Our new and improved "in-house" weather model just came in with 13" of snow for Lafayette. Our Precision 18 Snowfall computer estimates about 1.5" of snow per hour now falling across portions of southern Missouri and Oklahoma and it is moving our way. I cannot tell you how excited I am about our new computer system you will see on the air next week. It has certainly made a difference already in helping us to forecast and has already saved us 3 hours this morning. This extra time will benefit our weather team and you, by allowing us to give you more updates and state of the art graphics so you can really stay ahead at whatever nature throws at us and that is important here in Lafayette. Our weather is much different than any other part of the state. Now back to the can run your errands today but things will quickly go downhill tonight as you can see above. Here is your most up to date snowfall accumulation map.

It should average out between 8 and 12 inches of snow with locally higher amounts here in Tippecanoe County. The one thing we will have to watch is how far north the snow and ice line will move. This storm will be a beast and really intensify as it moves our way. I see plenty of problems with white-out conditions and at times it will look like a blizzard. We will not quite reach blizzard criteria, but it will be our biggest storm since the blizzard of 2007! I will keep you posted with Precision 18 Storm Tracker. Please send in those pictures so we can show them on-air and post them. I thank you in advance. Now I had better make sure my digital camera is charged and get my sleeping bag ready, although I do not think I will use it much tonight, but I will be using the BIG snow measuring stick.

Biggest Snowstorm of the Year Bears Down on Lafayette

Well of course I am still awake here past 1 a.m. We have a big snowstorm on the way. It is amazing how many different things I hear from folks before big storms. There were plenty of rumors going around the last couple nights of Lafayette having its biggest snowstorm on record and tonight apparently many folks have been reporting hearing that the worst of the storm will in fact miss the Lafayette viewing area. Well, here is the truth and nothing but the truth based on the latest model runs here early this morning. WE ARE THE BULLSEYE! So get ready for the big one. It will be our heaviest snow since December 16th. It will not be our biggest snow on record but many areas could end up with close to 10 inches of snow. Up above you see the best 3 models I use to forecast snow. Just after 1 a.m. model #1 which I am most comfortable with came in with a forecast for 10 inches of snow for Thursday night for Lafayette. The highest total I have seen was 12.3 inches for Fort Wayne. Areas closer to Indianapolis will have more of an icy mix which will hold snow totals down. Here is a closer look below at my latest forecast.

This should be a very interesting storm. It could be a heavy wet snow with our area being just to the north of the ice and snow line. This will still not prevent blowing and drifting snow with snow drifts close to 2 feet not out of the question. This no thanks to a north wind howling near 30 mph Thursday night and Friday morning. It has been a snowy season so far with snow amounts running about 5 inches above average. We have had 19 inches of snow already and we only average about 22 inches per year. By this time tomorrow night we will have already eclipsed our average seasonal snowfall with plenty of winter left. Here is a timeline that should help you out. Head to the store for bread and milk and I better get at least a couple hours sleep. Take care and be safe!

I will have blog updates today with new model runs coming in and I will compare the new numbers with the old....I may even have a special Ground Hog Day recipe coming your way to help keep you warm in all this snowy weather. This is a good reminder for me that I still need to get my wife a Ground Hog Day present before it is too late! It is the day we celebrate Valentine's Day and I need to keep those priorities in line. She deserves the whole month of February to celebrate Valentine's Day. She is just that special! I will check in with you soon!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cold Front Bursts Through Area with 80 mph Wind Gusts & 1860s Style Free-Falling Temperatures

It was a day most of us will never forget, especially those in Frankfort. Estimated wind gusts near 80 mph raked Clinton County with reports of numerous trees and powerlines down along with shingle damage to homes. Even here at WLFI it sounded like the rooftop was about to lift with wind gusts of 54 mph. The reason for this was one of the most powerful January fronts on record. In Lafayette we dropped 15 degrees in 5 minutes. Millard See in Frankfort had a temperature drop from 54 to 37 degrees in about 5 minutes as the severe line of thunderstorms moved through. Two seasons collided within a matter of minutes. It was one of those rare days that had heavy snow in one part of our viewing area along with severe thunderstorms. Check it out below.

Notice the extreme temperature drop from 55 degrees in Lafayette to 28 degrees in Champaign. You will also want to take a look at Frankfort where that line of thunderstorms bowed out which is a signature of severe weather. Bow echoes can mean possible tornadoes and or straight-line winds. In this case it was straight-line winds that came down and caused a ton of damage. It looked like a tornado hit Frankfort last night, but the damage was caused by a microburst or a sudden rush of wind that hit the ground. Sustained winds were near hurricane force at only 18,000 feet above Clinton County yesterday evening and those storms literally captured the wind energy and focused it toward the ground. The stories around the area last night were incredible. Here are a few along with more storm reports:

Our tornado siren went off to signify the Weather Warning....and now SNOW IS ACCUMULATING RAPIDLY on streets rooftops!!! All within 2 hours.... I don't ever remember seeing extremes like this in such a short period of time!!!
Chris Mc New (Tipton)

Man, Mike…what a wind out there. 46 mph on WB. My wx station is frozen and has been most of the evening, actually went out at 7:10 p.m. Temp is at 9 with .56 rain and close to an inch of snow which if it all laid down (versus being up in the air) there may be more. My hubby said to tell you everything here is frozen up including HIM, lol….
Mary Anne (Remington)

Live here in Attica it is down to 32 degrees and we have ICE on the trees, sign post, dog pens and screens. 30 minutes earlier thunderstorms, Only in Indiana could we have this many seasons.
Tammy (Attica)

No news just yet on the damages...but we are stuck in the house.
It blew my rain gauge up out of the ground and then FROZE it to the grass so I have no idea how much rain we got!
Randy (Frankfort)

Chris McNew holding hail in Tipton

Now we have to be weary of frostbite that will be possible in as little as 30 minutes this morning with wind chills of 10 to 20 below zero. The wind will not really ease up until later this morning so be careful out there. Wind gusts of 50 mph will still be possible. Blame those incredible temperature differences. Lafayette was 55 degrees at 6 p.m. and now just before 2 a.m. the wind chills has fallen to 13 below zero. So it feels 68 degrees colder. A lot of folks have reported their car doors frozen shut so allow extra time this morning to pry open the car door and do plenty of ice scraping. But most of all be safe! Has Lafayette ever seen such extreme change? Well, legend has it that during the 1860s chickens were frozen in their tracks with an actual temperature drop of 103 degrees in March. We went from 80s to the 20s below zero. Last night we got a little taste of this. Yes, it could have been even worse. I did feel like I was going to freeze walking to my car like those chickens.

Now there is no rest for the weary. This is just the beginning of Hoosier hysteria when it comes to our weather. It still looks like we are in line for a hefty snowstorm Thursday night into Friday. Here is one of the five models I pay close attention to when forecasting snowstorms. Notice we are still in a 4 to 7 inch band, but isolated 10 inch amounts are popping up just to our South.

The one interesting thing we are watching is the possibility of an icy mix. This will make forecasting amounts even tougher. Stay safe, stay alert, and stay tuned. I will post breaking snowstorm news here on the blog as needed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Strongest Cold Front Since January of 1996 Plows Our Way

Blizzard of 1978

January has a reputation for wild weather as we were discussing here on the blog yesterday. Here is some amazing proof. You can see a viewer picture of snow drifts that made it to the top of powerlines on state road 43. January is one of those months where you can walk your dog outside one day at street level and a few days later like we saw at the end of January 1978 you can walk your dog on the roof. Drifts were over 20 feet here in Lafayette. Look at the snowfall totals across the area and this combined with a lot of snow earlier in the month created an Antarctic oasis.

In this forecast we are not being hit with a blizzard, but with a memorable weather change on the way. We could see temperatures plummet more than 10 degrees per hour beginning late today and this evening with thunderstorms giving way to a quick coating of snow and possible white-out conditions at times. Wind gusts will easily hit 50 mph. Remember for severe thunderstorm warnings you need 58 mph gusts, so even outside thunderstorms we will have possible wind damage. The last time we saw such a dramatic change in January was back in 1996. This is when a tornado was spotted in Montgomery County with highs in the lower 60s. By late evening temperatures plunged more than 50 degrees into the single digits with snow. Today I cannot rule out tornadoes across Indiana. Here at home my biggest concern will be wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph in isolated spots. I will have more on this tonight and here on the blog including the very lateset on Friday's snow estimates. The general trend is moving farther south, but I still see us receiving at least 4 inches of snow and according to a least two models a whole lot more.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"March Madness" Arrives About A Month Early, Walk the Dogs While You Can!

Lauren Prangley & BJ Enjoying the Weather

If you do not like the weather just wait a few minutes. We will live up to that saying and then some tomorrow and as we head into February. It looks like a March Madness weather pattern arrives about a month early with incredible temperature changes, brutal wind chills, and even chances for big snowstorms. Temperatures in Havre, Montana today have fallen 65 degrees in the past 24 hours and wind chills will crash to near 40 below by this evening. Once I saw this I immediately went outside with Lauren and our dog BJ today before the winds of change moved our way. Those 40s today were feeling about 60 degrees warmer than late last week. But this weather is too good to be true. This is the time of year is known for snowstorms and wild weather. I always circle the days around Ground Hog Day on my calendar because we always seem to have extreme weather. The Northern Hemisphere is now receiving more insolation or solar radiation and if you notice our average temperatures are now on the rise. The problem is the warming of our atmosphere sets the stage for bigger storms to form due to bigger contrasts in temperature. This in turn fires up the jet stream and things can get really interesting in a hurry this time of year. It is the equivalent of somebody adding high octane fuel to the atmosphere. The longer daylight hours and extra sunlight makes us all feel better and it really brings our weather to life, not that it needs it here in Indiana. For meteorolgists this is certainly one of our favorite times of year.

Now that you know we are in a volatile pattern it should not surprise you that we have the potential for our biggest snowstorm since December 16th by Friday. Fasten your seatbelts and make sure to tune in for the latest. This certainly is not a forecast you will want to miss.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Forecast We "Deer"ly Need is on the Way!

Courtesy of Diana Cable

This picture shows how animals have been reacting to the frigid air that has rocked the Midwest twice in one week with sub-zero temperatures. Diana Cable's friend from Iowa captured her cat talking to a couple of friends through the window. We always tell folks to make sure to remember the pets and bring them in during this type of weather. It has been so cold it looks like the deer are not just looking for food, but for a nice warm place. We "deer"ly need some warmer weather, espcially after waking up with wind chills on Thursday morning close to 30 below zero in Francesville. You can see below why there were plenty of school delays.

Frostbite was possible in as little as 25 minutes even in Lafayette. I did a couple experiments to see just how cold it was and if you look closely you can see I made a cloud of snow in the picture by throwing a cup of boiling water in the air. This is one of my favorite tricks especially since there are no big snowstorms in the forecast at least through early next week. I felt a little better by at least making a little snow. This experiment usually works when temperatures are in the single digits or lower. A few e-mailers are disappointed that we have not had a big snow and the big reason is that those cold numbers you see above have pushed the storm track well to our south and this cold, dense air has not allowed much Gulf moisture to move anywhere close to home. That is one of our key ingredients that is missing. With warmer temperatures on the way this weekend and next week the moisture will return. The question is when will it work with another blast of arctic air to produce a good snow? Things could get interesting in a hurry by the middle of next week, but with the type of pattern we are in we will have to be patient. In the short-term, we we will have a better chance of thunderstorms than snowstorms.

Since the cold certainly has taken hold our weather team did another experiment outside on Thursday morning. Our blog question of the day is how long does it take to freeze a water bottle with 8 ounces of water in it with a temperature of 1 degree?

Weather Team 18's Kelly Greene has the proof in hand by holding up our frozen bottle. We put the water outside at room temperature and it froze in only 32 minutes. Now that is too cold! Other viewers also got in on making the most of this cold weather by having fun with science as you see below.

Dear Mike,

A neighbor and I have wanted to test your frozen bubble theory.
Our outdoor temperature was 0, the bubbles were blowing and had to be in the air for awhile to freeze. But if the frozen ones landed on the snow you could watch them deflate and pick up a bubble casing. Guess it would have helped in winds were not to strong.



Great job joy! The good news is this weekend we can take the kids back outside to the playground and blow bubbles without them freezing! The 40s will feel like a heat wave and it will feel an amazing 60 degrees warmer by Monday compared to Thursday morning. What comes down this time of year certainly goes back up...just like the stock market. But beware of winter's bearish return as we finish out January. I am ready!

This new computer weather system I have been working on the last couple of weeks really lives up to the hype. It is so nice to know I can track rotating thunderstorms with you and have their movement and severity updated while I am live on the air. If there are any new warnings they automatically pop up. This is crucial when forecasting Indiana weather and more importantly we can finally fly into your neighborhoods which will help keep everybody safer. Look for our new and improved weather system on the airwaves come February. Tonight I built a fly-thru into West Lafayette and picked out some familiar cars in our parking lot! The Groundhog finally has some competition, especially after you see what this thing can do! Have a great weekend. I will be in the office working on this top secret project today and be back on the air Monday. See you soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Colder than Iceland Today & Soaring Eagles & Temperatures this Weekend

Courtesy of Richard Beedle

This is the time of year eagles fly south from the frozen lakes of Minnesota and Wisconsin looking for food. You can see one of many eagle sightings that have taken place on the Wabash this week. Richard has added to our marvelous collection of pictures this week. The eagle is swooping down in this picture just like our temperatures today. Make sure to bundle up as frostbite will be possible in as little as 30 minutes. It will be so cold that your hot chocolate can freeze in just under 60 minutes this morning if you leave it outside. That is another reminder that this arctic blast needs to be taken seriously. We all remember how miserable it felt this weekend with the first arctic blast, but this one looks to be stronger due to lower wind chills.

So brace yourselves for the coldest weather of the year. Today is not just unusually cold for Lafayette but for places like Iceland. We should be about 25 degrees colder today than the island nation of Iceland. Now that is ridiculous! But do not stop reading because I have a big warm-up on the way and our temperatures will be like soaring eagles by the weekend. It will feel like a heat wave so make sure to tune in and I will post a nice graph for you this evening. We certainly will not have to worry about our hot chocolate freezing again. In the meantime, keep those warm thoughts! Here let me help you or at least Jim and Lisa will!


The attached picture was taken from the town of Lahaina Hawaii on the island of Maui. This is a sunset over Lahaina Harbor looking toward the island of Lanai. My wife and I recently visited the Hawaiian islands in celebration of our 25th anniversary. I took this picture on 10/5/07 just before sunset.

Thanks very much,
Jim & Lisa Zimmerman

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy Birthday BJ! The Dog Days of Winter Are Upon Us

It has been a big week in the Prangley household. You can see our family pet BJ above. He is a Coton de Tulear from Madagascar and was born in Czechoslavakia. Yes, this is true! He celebrated his first birthday in style. This dog has traveled the world and he has been to more countries than I have. He luckily likes his dog treats much better than cookie cakes. You can see above how he sat there like a good boy while we sang to him. I think he sat so still because he was terrified of my singing. Look at that priceless expression. I tried to throw in some cha-cha-cha's to make him more at ease but it did not work. You think Snoopy has an attitude, you need to meet BJ. He is one of a kind and he fits into our crazy household quite well you can say. This is a good reminder that winter's version of the dog days are officially here. You can see our coldest weeks of the year above. This week you might as well be in a refrigerator with average temperatures in Lafayette only making it to 22.5 degrees. The icing on the cake is that we have now made it through our two coldest weeks of the year. The bad news is that the dog days last through much of February. The wolves can verify this. Take a look at this incredible scene last night sent in by Monty Sloan from Wolf Park!

This is Tristan the Wolf howling at the full moon. Notice the only clouds in the sky were wolf condensation clouds created by Tristan's breath. Tonight, we will be able to see our breath without any trouble once again and we can even make a cloud with a cup of boiling water. I will tell you all about this here on the blog today so make sure to check back. I will tell you how low we will go and how much more snow is on the way tonight and Friday night. Have a great day and do not forget our average high temperature goes up one degree today to a balmy 32! Even though we will not be close to that make sure to keep those positive thoughts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Snowy Start Puts Us 15 Inches Ahead of Last Year's Pace!

Happy Hollow Park in West Lafayette, Indiana

We are waking up to another winter wonderland this morning. Here is how it looked at Happy Hollow this morning. It was nice and bright with the new snowpack. Most areas have received between one and two inches of snow. The wind has actually kicked up some snow drifts in spots across the area close to one foot near Kentland. This goes to show you that even an inch or two of snow is cause for concern when it is windy in Indiana! Here are a few totals around the area.

Mary Anne in Remington had 1.5" and Randy in Frankfort reported an inch of snow. What was interesting was the snowfall ratios were 20 to 1 in many areas which means we had twice the amount of snow to liquid we normally have when it is melted down. In Kokomo they had .05" of liquid which normally would have brought them a half-inch of snow. Instead, Kokomo had an inch of snow. This was a light fluffy Colorado snow that was full of air or in this case lots of cold air!

This may have been a light snow event but it brought up our seasonal snow totals even more. We are running a good 6 to 8 inches above average across much of the area and what a difference a year makes as you can see below. Last year we were wondering if winter would ever get here. Then came February and all doubts were erased with the big blizzard.

This year, we have had almost 19 inches of snow and counting in Lafayette. Remember we only average 22.4 inches of snow for an entire season and we have already almost reached that threshold with still a good 2 months left in our winter season. Tonight you will have to tune in to find out about even more snow in the forecast both tomorrow night and Friday night. Will we get our seasonal average before the end of the week? I will have your answer. We also have something to howl about with the full wolf moon on the way tonight and good viewing conditions expected. Here is another classic wolf picture from Wolf Park sent in by Monty Sloan.

Tonight we will have a full wolf moonrise at 6:10 p.m. Look to the east and make sure to bundle up. The wolves will have great howling weather!

Our weather blog question of the day: What has been the bright object in the sky closest to the moon over the past few nights? You can see it in the picture in the upper right hand side. Do you give up?

Well, it is Mars and luckily the one and only Paul Hadfield captured this in Decatur, Illinois for us. A big thanks to Paul and of course to Monty above. Enjoy the pictures and check back on the blog tomorrow and we will talk about the dog days of winter and why there is hope for warmer weather lovers!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Great To Be Back From Madison, Now I am Ready to Wrestle With Gators!

It is always so much fun traveling to different weather conferences or weather training seminars. Most people would love to go to a warm place like Orlando or Las Vegas. But I love cold and snowy places so it is a good thing I was sent to Madison, Wisconsin last week where wind chills hit 30 below zero. I even got a nice 4 inch snowstorm. So the last two times I have been to Wisconsin I have seen a foot of snow. Not too shabby! You can see our TV-18 truck in the above picture covered in snow. Its four-wheel drive came in quite handy.

It is always an honor to represent Lafayette, Indiana. Most folks are not quite sure where Lafayette is when I meet them and sometimes I am even asked if there is alligator wrestling here, since they are thinking of Lafayette, Louisiana. This is too funny! But by the end of the conference everybody knows about Lafayette, Indiana and what a great place it is not only to live but how great of a place it is for wild weather. Sometimes it feels like I am wrestling a 200 pound gator with our crazy weather but with this new weather computer we are about to get, I say bring it on! I am ready for gators and anything else nature throws at us. High school football coaches, softball, and baseball leagues will really be excited about us being able to finally show lightning strikes around the area and for those that like detail, I will literally be able to fly into your neighborhoods. You will not only be able to make out your streets, but your homes. The more we can see, the safer we will all be! So our weather team will be quite busy the next few weeks putting this all together and getting it on the air in February. I will do my best to give you updates here on the blog. It is certainly good to be home and back at work.

I got to meet some great folks around the country, which included Rachelle and Jim from Austin, Texas in the above picture. Notice Jim still has a tan he got last week while in Mexico where temperatures were in the 80s. I was worried about them but they survived over a 100 degree drop in less than a week. Jim saw his heaviest snow in 20 years because Austin, Texas only sees about a trace of snow every other year. This makes me appreciate our snow and cold that much more. I cannot imagine waiting for more than a year to see snow. Speaking of snow, tonight we can get ready for a quick inch of snow so be careful of a few slick spots by morning so be careful

Monday, January 14, 2008

Winter Will Bare its Fangs By Late Week & The Weekend

The clean-up from record flooding continues around many parts of the area and it is a good thing nature has shown a little mercy on us with a nice January lull taking place. But it doesn't last too long this time of year. The latest long-range ensembles or forecast maps continue to show a punishing air mass on the way with sub-zero weather likely this weekend. Highs may struggle to reach double digits or 10 degrees by Saturday. Wind chills will be well below zero with wind chill advisories likely. This could cause some school delays early next week, because this will certainly be frostbite weather. We have an unusual set-up in the atmosphere with a negative East Pacific Oscillation taking place. In other words, record highs will be possible in Alaska and all of their brutal cold air they normally have will pour into the United States. This brual shot of cold air will last about 3 to 5 days here in the Midwest.

It will be so cold that any major snowstorms should be detoured well south of Lafayette at least until early next week. But we will have to watch things more closely for a big snow by the middle and end of next week. I would be surprised if we did not get a snowstorm of at least 4 to 6 inches by the end of the January.

I am heading to Madision, Wisconsin for a very important weather seminar this week, so you will not see me on television. But don't worry I will check in with you from time to time here on the blog and be back next week. There is a very good reason I am going on this trip. It is the most excited I have been for the Lafayette viewing area since we got Live Doppler 18 back in 2000. I cannot let the cat out of the bag at this point, but I can tell you that come February you will be able to see the weather from where you live like never before, just in time for our ice storm and busy severe weather season. I am very fortunate to get this opportunity and will make the most of it. This is the least I can do for all of our wonderful loyal viewers. Have a great week and take care of Kelly, Lee Ann, and Steve while I am out and most of all keep the big storms away! We may have a couple inches of snow on Friday and please bundle up!

Friday, January 11, 2008

World Weather Gone Mad from Monticello to Baghdad

Courtesy of Pamela of Rossville

My son, Jason, a former Marine, has been working in Iraq doing work to help his 'brothers'. He is currently working on a Marine Corp base called Al Asad and helping to improve the infrastructure in Bagdhad by fixing the network for communications of all kinds.

He said "This morning we got a little bit of a surprise. It was snowing. Not what you expect in Iraq right? At least the southern regions near Bagdhad anyways. The weather has been very cold this week dipping into the low 20's, but this is the first precipitation "of any kind" that has amounted to anything since about last March. I guess the planets were aligned just right for this one."

Mike, has the weather gone mad worldwide? The southeast is being ripped by bad weather and that is where my children live and the flooding there is worse than here.

In Rossville

Thanks Pamela. The world weather has gone mad based on this picture and the year we have had so far at home. I could not find any snow ever recorded in Baghdad. So you are looking at a historic snow. Northern Iraq gets some snow but for Baghdad to get snow would be like having snow in the Bahamas. Tell your son we all thank him for his service to our country and he is in our thoughts and prayers. We have been talking about heroic efforts this week of many folks here in the Midwest helping others during the unprecedented flood on the Tippecanoe River. Jason Jones is yet another hero that serves and helps our country each and every day.

Here are a couple more graphics of our weather gone mad!

Why was the flood so bad? Why did propane tanks look more like submarines in Monticello streets on Wednesday and Thursday? Why were swatting cats and people rescued from rooftops? You can see what happened we had 3 days of record highs with the biggest January thaw on record ever as we warmed up 70 degrees in 4 days! Many areas had their second warmest January day on record ever during the warm-up. This was in the same week that portions of northern Indiana had what amounted to a blizzard-like snowstorm. Even though Monticello and Rochester had between 6 to 8 inches of snow. Areas in the northern Tippecanoe River watershed had some isolated amounts of 15 to 20 inches of snow. That snow all melted almost overnight and had to go somewhere. Well, it all went into the Tippecanoe River like water going down a drain in your bathtub. In addition, record rains with training thunderstorms hit on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. This wasn't just any rain event. Some areas had 10 inches of rain near Buffalo. It was almost biblical! Tippecanoe County really got lucky. If the snowstorm that hit extreme northern Indiana on New Year's Day hit us as some maps suggested and the training rain came a little farther south it would have been Lafayette that was evacuating folks and it would have been a lot more than 300 to 350 people.

Just this week alone we have had almost 50 tornadoes across the country. We have had two top 10 January outbreaks with at least 2 fatalities in Missouri. An EF-3 Tornado was confirmed in Wheatfield, Illinois and an EF-1 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It will be a week all meteorologists will remember forever. So do I FINALLY HAVE GOOD NEWS? YES! In the short-term at least...

The latest maps are encouraging! We had only light rain showers as expected last night which will allow all of the rivers to continue to fall. We are in a much quieter pattern with no major systems through at least the 20th of January. This will certainly help recovery effort. We are in a weak clipper pattern for the next several days and the powerful Pacific jet stream will finally be shut down thanks to a building ridge in Alaska next week. But what this means is we will have frigid highs in the teens and 20s next weekend. There is a ton of cold air in Canada ready to release and move down into the Midwest with the first true Polar Vortex developing once again in North America for the first time in several weeks. Our chances of a big snowstorm looks more likely now between January 24th and 28th after much of the country goes into a deep freeze. So enjoy this nice window of tame weather and while you can. Things will start getting wild once again by late month into February with a return to our stormy weather. The Spring looks to bring plenty of ups and downs with an active severe weather season. More details to come as we get closer.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Amazing Stories & Pictures From Where You Live

Courtesy of Michele Michalski

Here is the devastating scene from Monticello's Diamond Point Road. Old Glory still stands above the flood waters, albeit barely. You know things have been rough when your weather watcher calls you from a hotel. Mark in Monticello had to leave his home on Tuesday and may not be able to return until this weekend at the earliest. Mark and many of his neighbors have been watching our newscasts from hotels trying to get the latest information. Our news and weather team take great pride in serving our community in good times and bad and I can tell you everybody here at work has gone way above and beyond and is giving 110%. Our viewers deserve the best. Unfortunately, it has been very tough on all of us here at WFLI because many of us feel really helpless and wish there was more we could do and that we would have better news to report. The reality is there will be some folks that will not have anything left to actually go back to.

I do not think this many people have been forced from their homes since the great ice storm of March 1991. That is when ice chunks the size of small automobiles actually fell from our television tower and some folks were not able to return to their homes for 3 to 4 weeks. But at least they had homes to return to once the power was fully restored. The stories coming out of portions of Carroll, White, Newton, Jasper, and Fulton Counties are the kind of stories you just do not think would happen this close to home. Clean-up will take not days, but months.

Courtesy of Karena Price

Here is the scene in Wolcott and it shows another major concern. Many of the roads are literally crumbling due to the force and churning of the flood waters. The stone and soil in the asphalt are being washed away. Also, the ground is so soft due to saturation of the soil that the roads are not able to hold up when vehicles drive across them. So there will be a lot of roads that will need to be replaced. It is the aftermath of flooding that can be in many ways more dangerous than the flood itself. Please do not lose your patience because it can save your life. Please do not try to return to your home until you are told to do so. The flood waters have created many hidden dangers that you would not think of, including being electrocuted, an increased fire danger, and bacteria in the water the can cause illnesses just to name a few.

Courtesy of Mary Anne Best in Remington

More amazing stories are coming out of Jasper County. Our weather watcher Mary Anne gives us a first-hand account of what is going on.

Mike….it is NEVER a good thing to make national news!

What a mess this town is. Below is what I posted to a group:

I am here! It has been a very busy day, I have survivor's guilt! Remember my neighbors who had to flee yesterday? Well, they are all back today cleaning up. What a mess!. The only thing "good" about a flood that I can see to compare with a tornado is that in a flood your stuff is still there for you to sort through. Around town there are piles and piles of "stuff" sitting out front of homes. Carpeting, TVs, appliances, name it, it is there. The sun is out and most people are smiling. One neighbor told me he had to escape from an upstairs window onto the roof and down. He has 4 children. His wife was working and called to wake him. They had 3 feet of water in their downstairs. Two vehicles under water.

Two elderly couples around the corner from us, one couple in their nineties, both were carried out on the backs of town men. Both stepped out of bed into water up to their ankles but that was only the beginning. Their belongings are in the street, too. Driving around town it is like that in almost every block. I see now how one tragedy (in our case the mobile home park) is the center of the news, but believe me, many other homes are affected, too.

I finally begged one neighbor to let me do SOMETHING. I am no good physically but have cold water (soap works in cold water) and a dryer that works, so she let me do towels. I have some in for the second washing now. Black, muddy, sopping wet towels! They were in a drawer.

The sun is going down and the house will start to chill now. Hubby is working on our furnace finally. he has been working on other's today (his job). He is very good at what he does and will know before long if the furnace does work, next will be the water heater.

Thanks Mary Anne! You are one of many unsung heroes in our viewing area that are making a huge difference by helping others out. This part of the country is special in that here in the Midwest it seems to be in our blood or our way of life to help others out in times of need. Here in Indiana, it is what I call Hoosier hospitality. This is not saying other parts of the country are not caring, but here in the Midwest helping others is handed down from generation to generation. I believe it all started in response to the wild weather we have. It has allowed us to endure whatever nature dishes out. This giving Hoosier spirit will be needed over the next several weeks.

State Road 43 Being Overtaken by the Wabash River

I do want to leave you with some positive news. The Wabash River should start to recede in Lafayette today after a crest just over 22 feet early this morning. This is extensive flooding but it could have been a lot worse. The flooding will not be as bad as it was on the Wabash back in January of 2005. We didn't quite reach the threshold for a major flood event which is the best news of all. The water will slowly fall over the next few days so again make sure to heed all road closed signs and be patient. The Wildcat and Deer Creeks are also in good shape and should continue to quickly fall. The news on the weather front is also positive! Tune in tonight to find out why the rain back in your forecast should not aggravate the flooding. God bless and I will check back with you soon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

State Road 43 Closes & Tippecanoe County Braces for its Biggest Wabash River Crest in 3 Years!

It is a date I will never forget and that is 1-8-8. Rainfall totals of nearly 10 inches was reported near Buffalo as you see above along with 7.5" just west of Monon. Mary Anne in Remington and Gene and Charlotte in Monon had close to 6 inches of rain. We got about a season's worth of precipitation in about 10 hours with much of it falling in a 6 hour period late Monday night into Tuesday. Want some perspective...this would have been 100 inches of snow along the White and Pulaski County border! The world record for one snowstorm is 189 inches at the Mount Shasta Ski Bowl out in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Now you see why we are talking about a record-breaking flood on the Tippecanoe and Iroquois Rivers. Mary Anne sends us this scary picture from Remington that looks more like the Great Flood of 1993 in the Plains states. The Iroquois River could have its worst flood in its history in both Foresman and Rensselear today so avoid those areas at all costs.

Here in the wee hours of the morning I am still in awe of the power of nature and my thoughts and prayers are with those that lost loved ones and their homes. We had 3 weather related fatalities in our viewing area on Tuesday which were all caused by vehicles being swept away in flooded and washed out roads. This is very tough on me because the reason I am in this business is to protect lives and property. Yes, I love tracking storms, but what drives me is keeping people out of harms way. I have 3 kids and a wife and I try to treat all my viewers like I would my family. I am not a really serious person most of the time, but when it comes to severe weather I am all business. So when I found out a 2 and a 5 year old drowned in a sport utility vehicle yesterday in Rochester my heart just broke. We also lost a friend in Remington who was swept away in Carpenter Creek on his way to work. There were many pictures of submerged vehicles sent in including this one from Vicky and Rick Wilson in Monon.

We have been lucky here at home for the most part because they were the first weather fatalities since the Memorial Day tornado outbreak in 2004 when we had 11 tornadoes in the Lafayette area. A man lost his life not in a tornado but after being struck by lightning. It goes to show you that you can never give too many safety tips and Live Doppler 18 is not just something you can turn to to find out whether you need an umbrella or snow shovel, but it can save your life. More people die in Indiana in floods and due to lightning strikes than tornadoes. This is another very sad example. Leeann Cooper of Monon shows us why it was easier to get around in a boat in Monon yesterday than a car. It only takes 10 inches of water to sweep cars away. Ed is also seen below checking on his flooded mini-van on his all-terrain vehicle. He was wishing he had a jet ski!

I really want to thank all the pictures everybody has sent in. The main thing to remember over the next few days is that the weather may be quiet but the worst is still yet to come for the Wabash River. The highest crest since January 14, 2005 is on the way for the Wabash River in Lafayette. State Road 43 is already being closed between Soldiers Home Road and 443. All the water that fell yesterday has to go somewhere and now it is on its way downstream and moving quickly toward Lafayette. A crest of 22 feet is expected which causes flood concern not only for State Road 43 but the Williamsburg Apartments. The Wildcat and Deer Creeks will be just fine and should stay below flood stage. The Norway and Oakdale dam flows will continue to improve.

I will continue to play catch-up and post as many pictures as I can here on the blog and show as many as I can on the news, but I wanted you to show you one more picture before I take a brief rest. This is a picture sent in by Jodie Waibel and she said her little ones really enjoyed their "rain" day or day off of school from all the flooding. Who would have thought kids would have "rain" days, instead of "snow days" in January which is usually our snowiest month. Only in Indiana!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

100 Year Flood Continues, The Rain is Finally Letting Up

Thanks to Chris Fullerton Of White County
Emergency Management for all the Helicopter Views

Well it is safe to say that many portions of Benton, White, Jasper, Pulaski, Cass, and northern Carroll Counties are seeing the worst flooding since July of 2003 and in some cases the worst flooding in about 100 years. Many folks have been rescued by boat after taking refuge on rooftops with their pets included. Here are a few pictures. Thanks for sending them in and I will post as many as I can. The good news is the worst of the rain is over, but the flooding is not. Areas downstream of Norway and Oakdale Dams are still in a flood emergency and folks that were evacuated will not be allowed to return to their homes until late tomorrow at the earliest according to Gordy Cochran of White County Emergency Management. Patience will be important. You can easily get electrocuted by going back in your home if it is full of water so be safe and do not return to your homes until you are told to do so. Also, heed all flooded roads signs and if you do not have to drive tonight in White, Benton, Carroll, Cass, Newton, Jasper, Pulaski, and Fulton Counties you are advised not to do so. It is harder to see washed out roads in the dark and is makes things even more dangerous. Here are some pictures to help you make the right decision.

You can see one of the many boats that rescued folks and tons of pets on rooftops. There were dramatic stories as hundreds were evacuated from their homes. The Norway Dam above really shows the power of the raging water. For the first time ever all 3 gates opened up as Norway dam reached full capacity! Lisa Baker below gives us a glimpse of Bluewater Beach that was almost washed off the map.

Karena Price shows us a view from Wolcott that looked more like a lake than a nice little town. What a welcome nature gave everybody!