Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Powder Puff Derby Time & Time for March Madness!

Are you ready for March? The actual snowfall for February will go down as 17.6" of snow! It was our second snowiest February on record. Only last February ranks higher because of the great blizzard with 17" of snow. We ended up with 26.4 inches of snow for the month! So the last two Februarys have totaled 44 inches of snow. This will likely not happen again in our lifetime. You can blame a wild La Nina pattern that shows no signs of slowing down as we head into March. We are not done with the wild ups and downs and snow just yet! But let's get to some good news!

March should come in like a lamb. A couple models have highs possibly in the 60s by the weekend, but I will be conservative and go with highs in the middle 50s. Jeff Smith will certainly lose our friendly bet. He will have to wash my car if the actual high on Sunday in Lafayette hits 50 or above! I upped the ante by going for highs in the middle 50s, hopefully that will not come back to haunt me.

It is a big night at Mayflower Mill. The Powder Puff Derby night begins after my 6 p.m. weathercast. Girl Scout Pack 123 headed by Lisa Rhine will be having quite the race! I tried to talk my daughter Megan into having a tornado shaped car and she went with a high-heeled shoe. Oh well, I got over it. She showed lots of creativity with all of its sequins. I do not take credit for any of the sequins as my girls showed their creativity. Take a look below!

Megan Prangley's car: Voted most feminine

Judge's Favorite Car: Katy Paugh's Police Car

Your Top 5 Times (Danica Patrick eat your heart out)

Here are all the winners from the race! I will post their names and times. I am still re-doing this weather blog so hang in there girls! It was a great way to celebrate leap year!

It is also a good reminder to fasten our seatbelts in March. The La Nina which has played havoc with us is showing no signs of relenting and we may have our strongest La Nina on record in March. When you combine this with building warm air to the south and west, look out! Texas may feel more like summer with a building drought while their is plenty of cold air remaining in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. These two features willl be forced to collide with the mother of all jet streams throughout much of March. What does this mean? We cannot rule out another Super Storm like we saw back in 1993.

I remember March 13, 1993 like it was yesterday. I was working at WTLV-TV 12 in Jacksonville and we had 76 mph gusts and my glasses almost blew off the roof when I was doing observations. We had severe thunderstorms bring a storm surge to Cedar Key and within 12 hours most of North Florida had snow flurries. I share this story with you because I am expecting plenty of March Madness and will post our March forecast for you here tonight and on the air. February did go down as our stormiest on record with over 6 inches of liquid precipitation. I am checking into the T-Shirts, don't worry. If you have ideas send them to and we will go from there! See you soon and make sure to check back! I ran 7 miles today so I am certainly gearing up for March!!
Also remember that Dog N Suds opens tomorrow! It is always a great way to celebrate meteorological Spring in Lafayette. See you there.

Here is your March Outlook. Do not let our warm start fool you. We have plenty of cold air in Canada that will ride our way. Even though it will be cooler than average we will have plenty of days of 60 or above and it will be much easier to take than February. Just beware of one big super storm by the middle of the month.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Clipped With Snow Tonight, Bigger Story is 50s Still on the Way

We have a clipper on the way tonight and it looks like we will only be clipped with light snow amonts. The two main things to point out is that this clipper is tracking from Minneapolis through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Based on this track, areas from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan will have most of the snow. The second thing is due to this far northern track the system will wrap up some warmer air into Indiana. This will change our snow to rain by morning with temperatures rising above freezing. So it does not look like we will be adding much to our seasonal snowfall total of 37 inches. Most areas should have one inch or less.Tune in tonight for the specifics and don't worry I will still share some more Spring facts with you including the pollen count and our warmest weather in about 2 weeks on the way. Take care and see you soon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Singing Birds & Pollen Count Sure Signs of Spring & Summer Looks Hot, Hot, Hot!

John & Sue Frischie's singing Cardinals

You live and learn something from every storm and this winter has certainly been an education. We have had a whopping 12 storm systems in only about 8 weeks so far this year. We have seen storms in every shape and size just pound the Hoosier state. It has been the roughest winter many locals tell me since the blizzard years of the late 1970s. Even the 1970s are looking like walks in the park compared to this winter. So far this winter we have had two major floods, our December ice storm, two big snows including our second snowiest February on record, unprecedented ups and downs, severe weather in January and February, including five thunderstorms in our viewing area in February....etc. We have had thundersnow, thundersleet, and thunder freezing rain. The Midwest Climate Center is having trouble finding a February this stormy and the records date back to the 1800s! We have also been smacked around by weather systems that have had big snowfall differences from north to south. Yesterday our viewing area had snowfall ranging from about a half-inch in Crawfordsville to 10 inches in Rochester. This is what forecasting is all about and in my book it is what makes it so much fun! Apparently, Lafayette is not the only place seeing a lot of extreme weather this winter.

Check out this interesting link:

Enough of all this stormy talk! Today's theme is Spring is in the air! Check out those cardinals above. The Indiana state bird is certainly one of my favorites. Here are some other signs of Springs below.

Sherry Foley's Pileated Woodpecker in Dayton

Sharon Emenhiser's Robin in the Snow

Dennis Massie's Boswell Sunrise

We have brighter days ahead with no big storm systems in the forecast at least through Sunday morning. We will even see a nice bright sunrise like we saw this past weekend in Boswell tomorrow morning! The birds are singing for good reason because meteorological Spring is only 3 days away. Our average high temperatures will be up to 50 degrees within the next 3 weeks. The pileated woodpeckers you see above I am used to seeing in Jacksonville, Florida. But I have learned that their range goes well up into Canada. They must feel confident about warmer days ahead even here in the frozen Midwest. Robins have become more numerous around the area and the robin you see above was actually spotted in the six inch snowfall up near Fort Wayne on Tuesday morning. Now for a sure sign of about a pollen count. We have one here in Lafayette, believe it or not! I will post this here on the blog shortly and share it with you on tonight's news.

Our Blog Question of the Day: How hot does our summer look?
Keep those positive thoughts if you like swimming pools and bathing suit weather. But remember the sunscreen! :) Those wanting hot weather may get their wish. I will tell you why this summer may bring more 90 degree days than you are used to. Hint: It has to do with La Nina.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Warm Air Wins the Battle & We are Left With Slush & Chills

My wife has already checked on me to make sure I am okay. This is a sure sign of a forecast bust. It is like when you go to the bench after fouling out and the coach gives you that look of why in the world did you get yourself out of position. Yes, she knows how wound up I get about these storms and how important nailing the forecast is to me. I gave 100%, but it simply was not my day. Keeping with our baskeball sectional cannot win them all, but it is very painful when you lose. I am a scrapper and only know one speed. I am the one that always dives for those loose rebounds and looks at not just a few models, but all 20 of them to get an edge. I even look at past history, like I did on the blog yesterday, but instead of going in the safer 2 to 4 inch category, I went with the higher 4 to 6 inch amounts based on all of the data. I may have tried too hard. Well, history caught up with me. You can get 99 forecasts right, but it is the one you miss that folks remember. It comes with the territory of being a meteorologist. You have to be tough. No wonder I got into running marathons. You just have to tough it out and keep moving. Today is tough and is like pushing through miles 18 to 21. What went wrong?

I could have played it safe yesterday, but safety and preparing people is the most important part of my job and when maps showed a good swath of 8 inch snows likely across northern Indiana, I really liked our chances of seeing at least 4 inches and most likely 6 inches to the south of the heavier band. But like in basketball, it is a game of inches and the heavier snow band missed Lafayette 40 miles to our northeast. I am not one for excuses, but if you told me yesterday that our temperatures would still be in the middle 30s at noon today I certainly would have gone with the lower snow totals. But none of the maps had the warm air hanging on that long. In fact upper 20s were forecast by early this morning on all of our model runs. We likely will not see those upper 20s now until early evening. So chalk this win up to the warm air and not the snow. The good news is that we will be able to get out and enjoy some sectional basketball games tonight. Look for some great Hoosier basketball! Sportsmanship, win or lose is important. So I will keep my head up ready for another battle with Indiana weather. It certainly builds character. Thanks for all your support, win or lose, and I know there are a lot of you out there that were happy nature spared us the worst this time around.

I am going to go heat up some more spaghetti for Lauren and I at lunch. Yes! My three year old still has me laughing and smiling and keeps everything in perspective. I will post all the snow totals on here later today including a whopping 12" of snow for a location in Indiana. There were several spots in our northern counties and viewing area that did end up in the 6 inch range, so the forecast was not a total lost cause. Now bundle up and be careful of falling temperatures tonight and a few slick spots. Any additional snow accumulations will be less than an inch and wind chills will fall to near zero by morning.

Snow Likely This Morning, Blowing & Drifting this Afternoon

And the winner is......Rochester in Fulton County has a whopping 6.1 inches of snow. The other higher totals are coming in northeast of Lafayette with a solid 2 to 4 inches of snow being reported from about 5 miles west of Kokomo up through Miami County. The farther north and east you travel this morning the worse the driving conditions. A heavy swath of 6 to 8 inch snows extends through much of northern Indiana.

Here in Tippecanoe County, I have shot an air ball so far on this sectional Tuesday with most locations coming in at a half-inch to one inch. Well, you can say I at least grazed the iron. The original forecast had 1 to 2 inches by 7 a.m. with another 2 to 4 inches during the day. I still think as our low pressure deepens and moves by we will have at least 1 to 3 more inches of snow. I still see a late rally coming on and as expected the heaviest snow will be this morning and early afternoon. Never give up or let your guard down. Two rules to live by in basketball and forecasting. Expect snowfall totals of close to 4 inches in Lafayette before all is said and done by late this afternoon, which is on the lower end of the original 4 to 6 inch forecast, but with blowing and drifting snow, receiving a couple inches less will not make a huge difference on the roads. Monticello and points northward should end up with the 6 to 8 inches of snow originally called for with isolated 10 inch amounts for Fulton County. Roads which are still slushy this morning will quickly become icy with blowing and drifting snow a concern with wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph expected. The Des Moines airport already has had to close due to blowing, drifting, and white-out conditions. At times visibilities here at home will also be reduced to less than a quarter mile so please be careful. Here are other snowfall totals this morning:

6.1" Rochester
3" Peru
2" Kokomo
2.5" Monticello
2" Logansport


Monday, February 25, 2008

Back to all Snow & Up to a Half-Inch at WLFI

Here are some snowfall totals as of 11:30 p.m.

Remington 2"
Kentland 1.5"

Tipton 1.5"
Frankfort 1.0"

Kokomo 0.5"
WLFI 0.5"

Everything is on track for our snowfall. I still think I should have gone a little higher on amounts by morning, but when all is said and done I think it will come out to close to 6 inches in Lafayette to 8" in Remington. Could we see isolated pockets of 10 inch snows? I cannot rule that out either. I want to thank the National Weather Service offices and all my weather watchers for their snow amounts. This really helped immensely in putting the forecast together. Even though we did not get a winter storm warning out of this in Tippecanoe County I think everybody has been warned that it will be treacherous on the roads Tuesday and to be extremely careful.

National Weather Service Issues Winter Weather Advisory

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the question. I have been on the phone with some outstanding forecasters at the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. They have decided not to upgrade us or Tippecanoe County and surrounding areas to a Winter Storm Warning but instead have issued a Winter Weather Advisory. Even though there will be some 6 inch totals in our viewing area they think it looks like it will be more isolated than the norm. They still think we are a couple of degrees too warm despite this evening's snow burst. The National Weather Service in Indianapolis is going to go with 3 to 5 inch totals from Lafayette to Indianapolis. What you need for a Winter Storm Warning is widespread 6 inches of snow in 12 hours.

After some very good meteorological discussions (I even told them we have already had one inch reports in Frankfort and a quarter-inch in Lafayette....they still think an advisory works better but they also respected my forecast of us having a good chance of many of us in the Lafayette viewing area seeing anywhere from 5 to 8 inches...this does include our friends in Monticello and Rensselaer. I do not think White and Jasper Counties will be between heavy bands like it looked just about 90 minutes ago. We have plenty of moisture and cold air moving our way! So right looks like our original snow bands of 4 to 6 inches of snow in our southern tier of counties and 6 to 8 inches to the north is looking like it will hold.

Your fine-tuned snow timeline..... I like 1 to 2 inches plus by 7 a.m. in Tippecanoe County....2 to 4 inches northern counties...close to 1 inch in Indianapolis

An additional 2 to 4 inches of snow during the day in Tippecanoe County....another 2 to 4 inches north....

Final Call on Storm Totals:
3 to 5 inches Indianapolis
4 to 6 inches Lafayette

4 to 6 inches Attica
4 to 7 inches Fowler
4 to 7 inches Kokomo
4 to 7 inches Monticello
5 to 8 inches Remington

5 to 8 inches Peru
5 to 8 inches Logansport

Snow Mixing in Earlier, Means More Snow From Lafayette to Indianapolis

The snow is already falling across the area with some huge snowflakes. Dynamic cooling has allowed the precipitation to literally chill the air. It helps that we also have a few inches of snow on the ground from last week. The latest storm track has it moving a little farther south which means the bullsye for this storm very well end up between Lafayette and Indianapolis rather than for Monticello and extreme northern Indiana. The forecast amounts of 4 to 6 inches for Lafayette still looks solid and it should be extended southward toward Indianapolis. I can also see that mesoband of 6 to 8 inch snows now possible for even Clinton and Boone Counties. Areas farther north toward Monticello will still see a solid 4 to 5 inches out of throughout our area I really like 5 to 8 inches. The snow timeline should also be updated for at least 2 to 4 inches of snow by 7 a.m. in the morning and another 2 to 4 inches of snow during the day most locations will have between 5 and 8 inches of snow before all is said and done. That is the latest as of 9 p.m. I will have more updates coming your way by midnight. Blowing and drifting still look like big concerns.

Must be Sectional Time! Snow Back in the Forecast

Wow, I guess we will have to hold off on the T-shirts for now. The winter of 2007-08 is not done with us yet, not by a long-shot. Just think a couple days ago most of our model guidance had highs for us today close to 50 degrees. But this is the same model guidance that simply cannot handle a La Nina pattern which is known for its tremendous ups and downs and big storms to boot. That has been proven throughout this wild and wacky winter. So with a temperature of 34 degrees at 1 p.m. here in Lafayette and the latest model runs showing a big swath of heavy snow moving our way by late tonight and Tuesday, do I give in and believe? Let's turn to the past.

This is a Colorado low impacting us which is a lot different than a Texas or Oklahoma low. So I am turning to climatology or past history of storms like this that have impacted Lafayette. Most "sectional" storms that start off as rain, then mix over to snow coming from the West bring us a nice 2 to 4 inch snowfall about 75% of the time. In extreme and more rare cases it can bring us a 4 to 6 inch snowfall with slightly higher amounts. This happens about 25% of the time.

Is there wild card that could increase our chances of seeing the less likely heavier snowfall band? Well, there are a few. We will have a vicious low-level jet stream punching in from the south at over 60 mph by morning. This will be a very dynamic system and it will have plenty of moisture to work with. This rapidly rising air and deep moisture will mix with cold air wrapping into the system. This means some areas could see an inch of snow per hour for at least 3 hours during our Tuesday morning. This is what meteorologists call "mesobanding of snow". Forecast amounts of snow can double in a heart-beat. It is the anti-dry slot of snowstorms and by the way, I do not see a dry slot for us this time around. The second factor I am looking at is that our storm will be deepening as it moves through the Ohio Valley tomorrow. It will be one of our stronger low pressures of the season. This is always an important ingredient when forecasting heavy snow. Thirdly, all the models have trended farther south on the track which would allow us to change-over to snow sooner and bring that secondary heavy snow band through our viewing area. The verdict: I think most of our viewing area ends up in a 4 to 6 inch band of snow with 6 to 8 inch amounts not out of the question in a thin bullseye.

Tonight, tune in to find out where the 4 to 6 inches may fall and where that 6 to 8 inch band may set up. In the meantime, I will be watching those radars very closely with you. It is still a developing system, which means things can certainly change. This first estimate on snowfall I do have confidence in, despite the model madness. Now we will all wait it out together and see what this La Nina storm has in store for us. Sectional time and a big snowstorm are synonymous with each other and maybe, just maybe nature will come through this time around. But this is the winter of 2007-08 and as we have seen all winter long, it is not a slam-dunk by any means. It is crunch time for the basketball teams and meteorologists and I have my game face on! :) I will check back with you throughout the evening and overnight with the latest. It should be interesting. This time around I am looking to take out nature early with a Live Doppler 18 full court press. Let's go!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Congratulations! We've Had Our Snowiest Winter in 5 Years!

Well, here it comes again! The snow is really coming down across Lafayette this afternoon. This is no surprise. I really thought our heaviest snow that would fall from this complex system would be during our Friday afternoon and evening. Please be careful out there. There will be a quick two to three inches of snow by 7 p.m. Last night we surpassed last winter in snowfall and we were up to 32.8 inches. So we will add to this total. Keep in mind during a normal season we only see 22.4 inches of snow. Last year which will always be remembered as our blizzard year, we had 32.1 inches of snow. This is now Lafayette's snowiest winter since 2002-03 when we had just over 41 inches.

Now at the rate we are going I think we could break 40 inches. The La Nina will stay strong through Spring and I think it will bring at least 6 or more inches of snow over the next few weeks and once the snow melts we will have to worry about severe weather. But that is a story for another day. Stay patient and I will let you know why this winter is well on its way to being our stormiest ever in addition to how we stack up against all the other winters for snowfall.

I have been battling the Lafayette flu for the past week, but feel my second wind coming now. I ran a hard 6.25 miles today and my legs and strength are back!This means the blog will be lit up with pictures and great stuff once again. I look forward to catching up with you after a bit of lost time. Wait to you see the WOLF PARK LUNAR ECLIPSE and PAUL HADFIELD DECATUR ECLIPSE....incredible! I wanted to thank Steph for a great hair-cut today and sticking up for me after all of this crazy weather this winter. She reminded a couple customers that I only forecast the weather and absolutely do not make the weather. Sometimes that is a nice reminder for all of us. But based on some of the stats I just shared with you above I understand why some are really upset and on edge with this winter. Maybe I could print up some T-Shirts that say we all survived the Winter of 2007-08. It may go down as one of our roughest winters since the blizzard years of the 1970s that is for sure. Check back and I will have the cold hard facts, and also talk about 50 degree weather possible next week for the warmer weather lovers. Patience! See you soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Split Flow & Cold Air Saves Lafayette From Another Big One

What a night it was last night! The lunar eclipse was outstanding. I will make sure to post pictures here in a bit, but everybody's attention has turned to yet another winter storm that is impacting Indiana.

The good news for the Lafayette viewing area is we are not going to have another "big one", but at the same time there were be plenty of slush and slipping and sliding out there over the next 24 to 36 hours. This should not keep the FEDEX man from delivering. I want to thank Christian for delivering in the arctic chill and light snow this afternoon and his better half Tara for reading this blog everyday. I take great pride in making this site fun and informative and I will do my best to deliver like Christian does. We will be adding to our 30.4 inches of snow which is already 6 inches above our entire snow season's average. This storm will really be known as an ice-maker and ice storm warnings are in effect for portions of southern Indiana and some significant icing could come as far north as Indianapolis. So be very careful. The farther south you travel tonight through Friday night the worse the conditions. So here is the breakdown here at home.

We have a storm that is coming at us in pieces. This is due to the Alberta block that has brought us brutally cold air this week. It has caused the jet stream to split in two. The northern branch is bringing in a few ripples of energy tonight and the southern branch will nudge more moisture our way by late tomorrow and tomorrow night. Since these two streams of energy are not phasing we will not have to worry about huge amounts of snow and ice here in Lafayete. The rest of today we could see up to an inch of light snow. But we do have warm air advection running our way tonight which will give us an additional inch of snow and sleet to worry about and maybe a little freezing drizzle toward morning. We could see a break in the action Friday before our second wave moves our way by late day and during the evening with another one to two inches of snow.

This means most of our area will see between 2 to 4 inches of snow and slush in the next day, with a few spotty areas close to 5 inches that stay mainly snow. So I will keep you updated on this complex storm. Stay safe and slow it down. We will do some Precision 18 fly-thrus on the news tonight to make it all much clearer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight at 8:43 p.m.

We have some excitement in the air tonight. It looks like we will have mostly clear viewing conditions for the total lunar eclipse. Here is what it looked like back in August and it was simpy beautiful. Tonight since we are in the winter months look for a deeper red moon caused by a much stormier earth this time of year. You are in essence watching the shadow of the earth cross the face of the moon. Here are the details.
It begins: 8:43 p.m.
Totality: 10:01 p.m. to 10:51 p.m.
It ends: 12:09 a.m.
Please send in pictures and enjoy the show, but make sure to bundle up with plunging temperatures! I will also post who had 4 inches of snow below this evening. Thanks for all your support!

Incredible Snow Ratio Yields Delays & A Solid 3 Inches of Snow

The Prangley Grill Covered in Snow

Well good morning! If you have not looked out your window yet, you may be surprised. It is like a winter wonderland out there. This snowfall event has certainly overperformed. Here on the southside we have a fluffy, dry 3.1 inches of snow. The amazing part is that when you melt this stuff down there is only .10 of an inch of liquid. This is exactly what our WLFI model and other maps showed. But what is surprising is how that little bit of moisture fluffed up. We talked about the "fluff" factor on here yesterday and now we all know about it first hand.

Thanks to the "fluff" factor our liquid to snow ratio is an incredible 30 to 1. This means for every one inch of liquid you would have 30 inches of snow. Typically in Indiana we have a 10 to 1 ratio or 1 inch of liquid equals 10 inches of snow. This snow event in Lafayette is rare and is more typical in South Bend, Cleveland, or Buffalo during Lake-effect snowfalls. So this morning instead of waking up to about an about 3 inches!

I just got done shoveling with my wife and neighbors and it was certainly the easiest shoveling I have ever done. The snow was so light you could have used a leaf-blower. Well, I guess I will still have to hit the gym today. I did not get much of a work-out. If you are leaf-blowing or shoveling the snow make sure to to do it early today before our next blast of cold air comes in. Temperatures will likely fall into the teens today with brutal wind chills.

Check back on here for the latest on the total lunar eclipse tonight. I will have plenty of details and the latest on our late week storm which is certainly the big dog of the week with plenty of bark and bite. Be careful on the roadways this morning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alberta Clipper Ready to Add to Our Big Seasonal Snowfall

Our weather team wasn't kidding when we told you it would be cold today. At noon wind chills were still at one below zero here in West Lafayette. Now all eyes are on a clipper moving our way. The latest model runs are as follows:

Liquid Equivalent:
Model #1 .08"
Model #2 .10"
WLFI Model .10"

Normall this would be an inch or less of snow....but it is so cold out that the "fluff" factor is in place. Our liquid to snowfall ratio will be closer to 20 to 1 instead of 10 to a result some areas could see 1 to 2 inches of snow tonight. There may be a few spotty 3 inch amounts to our south and east near Bloomington.

As of 7 p.m. latest radar trends and data have most of our viewing area in the inch or less category with maybe only flurries for areas like Remington and Monticello. South of Indianapolis they will likely see 1 to 2 inches of snow with spotty 3 inch amounts. The cold, dense air has certainly suppressed the main storm track. Even though this system is not going to be a big deal, the late week system I think still bears watching. I have spent most of my time today on this second system and will detail it for you on the news tonight at 11 p.m. I think we could see 3 or more inches of snow Thursday night into Friday as long as we do not mix with any ice. It will certainly be a system to keep an eye on.

As of 1 a.m. things are looking very interesting with snow picking up across the area despite a very unimpressive radar. Remember snow fans we have the fluff factor in our favor and as a result our original 1 to 2 inch forecast may be met without trouble, with maybe a bonus inch for good measure! Sweet snow dreams.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rainbows & 60s Give Way to Layers & Sub-Zero Wind Chills

Thanks to Joely Fisher
Finally a sign of hope in a winter where we have just been pounded with storm after storm. Yesterday, we had brilliant rainbows in the sky. This one above is from Frankfort taken close to 3 p.m. Some folks had heavy rain, sunshine, and a rainbow all at the same time. Check back to see a double rainbow at 9th and Twykingham in Lafayette and the latest on those all-important weather watcher totals. All of our weatherwatchers stayed below an inch as expected and as a result only minor flooding is expected on the Wabash. We may have missed the major flooding this time around but not bitter wind chills. I will try to keep those warm thoughts with you but it will be tough. Tune in tonight for the latest.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Flip in Storm Track Favors Less Rain for Lafayette

We could still have some lowland flooding problems, but based on the latest maps in early Saturday afternoon significant flooding is looking less likely around the area. The storm has taken a big turn to the left just like we have seen all winter long. Two of our three models are trending closer to .75" of rather than close to an inch of rain. This is the break we have been all hoping and praying for. This would keep the Wabash from rising to the levels we saw the previous two flood. Now since these La Nina storms are known to be very erratic we will still have to watch things closely and I still plan on coming into work on Sunday just in case. Why has forecasting storms this winter been anything but easy? Well, I tried to explain it for you and Chris in this e-mail.

Mike-How can I explain to the children (who in the 5th grade I teach how to read a couple of them) why the models have been so off with a couple of storms this year? They are asking...and I honestly don't know how to explain it so that they can understand. I know that the models are not perfect....and that atmospheric conditions can change....Also--what is your gut telling you for this weekend?? Thanks! Chris

Good question Chris, a La Nina is known to produce a highly energetic jet stream that roarsin off the Pacific with a parade of storms. These storms come crashing into the West and Midwest at over 100 to 150 mph. In response to this stormy pattern, a much stronger Bermuda high sets up off the EastCoast...almost like you would see in May. Remember nature seeks balance so low pressure out West brings a corresponding High pressure to the East. This strong high pressure tends to steer developing storms much farther west as a result due to the clockwise circulation around the Bermuda high. It basically detours storms around its huge influence playing havoc with all meteorologists! Also our models have trouble handling things flying at us at over 100 mph and when you add in huge differences in temperatures every few days it can cause even more error.The math the computer is doing is correct, it just cannot keep up fast enough. It goes to show you that nature is in control!

Also, to all our Florida friends that check this blog everday to check on loved ones back here at home, this special Saturday update was just for you! Finally I have some good news to share with you! Mom and Dad thanks for my Valentine's package from Jacksonville and good luck to all the marathon runners at Jacksonville Beach this weekend. It looks a bit warm with race temperatures in the 60s to start and ending well into the 70s with sunshine. This means to go to plan B with more water breaks and it will not be a race to try to set a personal record. This is a reminder my marathon in Washington, D.C. is only a few weeks away. Nature has kept me in good shape that is for sure!

Latest Storm Track Keeps Lafayette Close to 1" of Rain

The heaviest rain looks like it will be over Illinois and it may be their turn for record flooding. Here at home we will still have to watch out for river rises with close to an inch of rain possible, but at this time it looks like the flooding this time around for us will not be as bad as the first two floods. But, do not let your guard down as flood watches will likely be issued for our entire viewing area for tonight into Sunday. There could be a brief icy mix to start especially to our north. But for now here is the breakdown of precipitation. The inch or so of snow will likely fall Sunday night into early Monday with any icing mainly between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.

As long as we keep rainfall totals closer to an inch or less the scene above on state road 43 will likely not be repeated. Lowland flooding will still be a factor with rivers already out of their banks and ice jam troubles could mount once again with the rainfall. I will keep you updated and be very careful if you are traveling across the Midwest this weekend. Madision, Wisconsin could see another 10 inches of snow!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another La Nina Storm Will Bring Heavy Rain & More Flooding

Courtesy of Diana Marion (Lake Shafer or Arctic ice shelf?)





Ice Jam on Lake Shafer has FEMA's attention

I just got off the phone early this afternoon with White County Emergency Management director Gordy Cochran. The water levels have gone down another 1 to 2 feet which has helped move some of the ice that has been jammed up in some spots up to an amazing 4 feet high. I have incredible pictures I will post here for you tonight. Here is the problem: With much more than an inch of rain on the way we could be back in the same boat we were a couple days ago. Once the water levels rise again the ice will get caught and jam once again. So the key this weekend is to keep our rainfall totals to close to an inch. If we go well above an inch or closer to 2" we could have some major flooding issues once again. The latest models show just under an inch of rain for most of us with a quick inch or two of snow in the storm's backlash on Sunday night and Monday morning. This would be better news if it happened, but the storm hasn't even formed or deepened yet so it will certainly be a wait and see game. Hopefully we will miss out on the worst part of the storm.

Also, concerns of more serious flooding on the Wabash River at Lafayette and Covington continue. Notice the high flood waters above have left their mark on area trees. I spoke to Al Shipe who is our state hydrologist and he says another inch of rain could bring our river levels back up to near 20 feet at Lafayette and 25 feet at Covington by the middle of next week. Things will not get worse than we have seen as long as we keep rainfall totals less than two inches. The reservoirs in northern Indiana are still running about 30 feet higher than average and the Corps has been dumping water as a result. This has kept Lafayette and Covington's Wabash River levels about 3 to 4 feet above flood stage. Since the Wabash is already out of its banks and the dumping of water to the north will continue at least until the rain starts this weekend it looks like the flood warning will not end anytime soon.

How many more of these La Nina storms can we expect? I think at least 3 more as finish out February and head into March and here is why.

This has been one of our strongest La Nina's on record. A La Nina is caused by below average water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. Here are the latest numbers.

Between 170 East and135 West Longitude (Temperatures are running more than 2 degrees Celsius below average.)

Between 165 East and 115 West Longitude (Temperatures are running just over 1.5 degrees Celsius below average.)

We need these temperatures to warm up because they are playing havoc with the overall atmospheric circulations around the globe. The earth according to some of the new data coming in had its second coldest January in the last 15 years and it has been its coldest northern Hemispheric winter since at least 2000. Madison, Wisconsin has had its snowiest winter on record with close to 80 inches of snow. Lafayette has had one of its wettest winters on record. So it is easy to see why a La Nina pattern is known to bring stormy weather to the Midwest. It is so strong that even if it starts weakening over the next few weeks it should still be a major player in our weather at least through April and maybe longer. This would bring us more wild and stormy weather and plenty of severe weather during the heart of our Spring season. We have already had 4 thunderstorms this month alone!

Since it is very tough to forecast how fast the La Nina will weaken I will keep you posted on the latest data. Right now it looks like our stormy pattern will not end anytime soon. One glimmer of hope is the East Pacific water temperatures off South America have warmed up considerably to about 1.5 degrees Celsius above average. Could it help the La Nina collapse more quickly? Possibly and if that happens we will finally have hope of drying out. But right now latest NOAA weather data has a much slower weakening. Enjoy the sunshine while you can! I will be working on Sunday as well to help keep you ahead of yet another storm! If needed I will do cut-ins and a blog update.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Monster Weekend Storm Still Looks Likely

Lauren enjoying her Valentine's Gifts
Well at least we got the Valentine's parties in this year. Last year they were postponed in some cases for over a week! This year is still looking great. But the party is almost over! We are tracking a strong cold front bringing winter's return tonight. The big concern is still for the weekend. We have the potential for the strongest storm of the winter, believe it or not. Tune in for the latest and I will keep you posted here on the blog. Right now I think we have a shot at not only seeing heavy rain, but maybe problems with heavy ice and snow. Right now the models have mainly rain, but the storm track has yet to be determined.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One Year Later...We Remember the Blizzard of 2007

Here are just a few pictures you can look at to reminisce. It will be one of those storms I will tell my grandchildren all about. How does it stack up against Lafayette's other blizzards. I will pull out the big charts for you shortly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Catching Up On Sleep, But Not A Deep Snooze in this Pattern

Well, I actually can get home and get some rest. This will not be an all-nighter like last week. This picture was taken on the southside of Lafayette on Monday night and it pretty much tells the story. We have already had a season's worth of snow and then some so we were due for a break from this relentless winter. We will quiet down much of the week, but all bets are off by the weekend. Check back here on the blog and tune in tonight to find out why. Remember Valentine's Day is Thursday so we have perfect weather to shop for those special loved ones.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Quick Quarter to Half Inch of Snow Not a Sign of Things to Come

Okay, I will be brutally honest snow fans! It looks like we will be lucky here in Lafayette to get an inch of snow. Yes, the first batch of snow this evening was impressive with a quick coating of snow, but latest radar and model trends have stooped even lower on snow amounts. We had a quick .25" on the southside, but I am wondering if we will add much to it.

Tonight at 6 p.m. My forecast was 1 to 2 inches of snow by morning for Lafayette. I think we will be on the lower end of this forecast with most areas by morning picking up a dusting to an inch at most and we will see little or no additional snow Tuesday.

The air was just too cold and dry, but this weekend could be a much different story. I look forward to seeing you at 11 p.m. Also for those heading to Indianapolis I think once again the Circle City misses out on the big one and the bullseye will likely be south of Interstate 70 or closer to Bloomington and points south. These are the areas that could pick up a healthy 4 to 7 inches.

Dry Air Will Keep Lafayette Snow Amounts on the Lighter Side

I know you may be surprised you have not heard from me all weekend and most of today, but this is because I have been very skeptical of this approaching snow-maker. You just have to look at the dewpoint here in the middle afternoon and that should put up some warning flags for all snow-lovers. Right now the dewpoint is 5 below zero. The air is desert dry! You couple this with a weak system moving our way and you can go from some areas of Indiana having 5 inches of snow to just an inch in quite a hurry. There will likely be a sharp cut-off in snow amounts. If you live in Crawfordsville, FRANKFORT..yes you Randy and Chris, and Kokomo you have the better chance of seeing more significant snow out of this system.

I just drew in some snow contours across our area and I will need to wait to take a look at the WLFI and new Precision model we have at TV-18 before making my final call. I will check back with you shortly.

Could there be school delays tomorrow? Yes. How about closings? Probably not. Here are a couple more stats for you while you wait...

Chance of light snow for Lafayette at 3 a.m 66%
Chance of moderate to heavy snow in Lafayette at 3 a.m. 0.8%

Chance of light snow for Lafayette at 6 a.m. 82%
Chance of moderate to heavy snow in Lafayette at 6 a.m. 29%

Highest Snow Amount Possible In Lafayette: 5.8"
Lowest Snow Amount Possible in Lafayette : 1.2"
Average Forecast Amount of Snow for Lafayette in Models Looked at So Far: 3.6"
General Trend in Models: Steady
Confidence in Models: Fair


Friday, February 8, 2008

Good Car Washing Weather & Spring Only 6 Weeks Away!

We have had such lousy weather I had to find a bright picture for you. Here are the redbuds in bloom at Happy Hollow Park last Spring. It was even a nice sunny day! When is the last time we had sunshine? Let's not go there. The cloud season here in Lafayette is just about over. It settles in from the middle of November through the middle of February and combine this with the shorter days and it can make it tough on many of us. But enough of those negative thoughts. In Florida, they actually have pollen counts already and folks are having to wash all that pollen off their cars. Speaking of car washes, I do owe our anchor Gina Quattrocchi a car wash since we did not have any significant sunshine yesterday. I tried to be an optimist and even though I knew it would be a tough bet, I went ahead and took it. In this pattern, I certainly lost that battle. She won our bet thanks to all our low-level moisture trapped beneath a temperature inversion. I will definitely get some pictures for you.

Today here at home you can also get out and wash your car and even though it will not be Florida warm nor sunny, we can take solace in the fact that Spring arrives on March 20th. Our solar winter officially ended on February 3rd which is known as the darkest time of year. Meteorological Spring begins in just over 3 weeks on March 1st. See now those clouds outside do not looks so bad!

But wait! We all know what happens after you wash your car in Indiana. Maybe we shouldn't do it but in this case do not blame yourselves but La Nina! Those chilly ocean temperatures in the Pacific are actually even cooler based on the latest numbers which means the wild ride for us has just begun. It is causing a 140 mph jet stream to slice right through the Midwest. Nature's main highway is as busy as ever and our traffic jam of storms and weird weather continues. This gridlock in the atmosphere may not start changing until March. If it does not we are in for one awful severe weather season. But in this pattern, take it one day at a time. We have an arctic outbreak Saturday night and Sunday and some maps are even hinting at a possible snow event early next week. I will post more on this and have more on the news tonight. Have a great day and remember the redbuds!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nature Goes for the Cycle! Now Brace for an Arctic Outbreak

Hey Mike and crew, this is storm chaser Eric Graham. Thought I send you guys in a pic of the Pedestrian Bridge and the Wabash River. Its been a while since I've seen the Wabash and the Wildcat Creek this high. Its pretty amazing stuff. I'll send in some more pics whenI get a chance.
Stay warm guys! It's a cold one out there!


Eric Graham

I took this picture this morning just north of Greencastle on US 231 this morning. Straight line winds riped the roof off of this barn. The debris was blown over about a 1/4 mile to the east.

Chris Huang

Hi Mike,

When people complain about cold weather here, talk about -20 wind-chill and the like, my friends up in Alaska just laugh. One of them sent me this little AP story and I thought I would share.

- Monty -

FAIRBANKS - Even for Alaska's Interior, this is cold. The National Weather Service reports the coldest spot in the state Wednesday morning was minus 67 at O'Brien Creek, a spot on the Taylor Highway nearly 200 miles east of Fairbanks.There was also an unofficial reading of minus 70 in Tok, but residents were treating it as just another winter day."We're generally close to this temperature at this time of the year," said Sgt. Freddie Wells of the Alaska State Troopers post in Tok.But troopers are placing a priority on responding to calls from stranded motorists, and there is heightened concern for the community's older residents.Otherwise, Wells says, it seems people are staying inside more.Readings of minus 50 to minus 60 were common throughout the Interior overnight, including minus 65 at Chicken, a tiny community on the Taylor Highway east of Fairbanks.Chicken also holds the distinction of having the last official temperature in the state of minus 70 or colder - 72 below on Jan. 1, 2000.The state's second-largest city also wasn't immune from the cold. The noontime high Wednesday in Fairbanks was minus 45.There doesn't appear to be any warming in immediate sight; the Weather Service says the extreme cold should stick around until early next week.---Information from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,

Thanks for all the great pictures and articles. The straight-line damage you see above had wind speeds estimated at 85 mph last night. There was also a confirmed EF-1 tornado with 100 mph winds confirmed in Greene County on Tuesday night. Today I checked in on my relatives in Wisconsin where on the cold side of the storm Oconomowoc had 16 inches of snow and blizzard conditions. What a historic week it has been and we are not done yet so keep those pictures and weather stories coming! Remember I am just the messenger and I know everybody's been on edge with this rotten weather. Even I am ready for just some good old-fashioned sunshine for a couple weeks.

We woke up to icy roads this morning. So let me get this far this week in our viewing area we have had thundersnow, thundersleet, freezing rain, hail, thunderstorm warnings, wind gusts near 50 mph, record flooding, a record high of 61, near record flooding once again on the Tippecanoe, major flooding on the Wabash, and the WORST FOG some folks have ever seen in our area. Some areas had 8 inches of snow that vanished within 5 days! We need some good news! I found some in the form of sunshine today. Do you remember that bright object in the sky? :)

But that weird weather pattern in place since the start of the new year will likely re-emerge by this weekend. That is why I shared Monty's good find for you. A chunk of that Arctic Air is coming our way. So nature is going for the cycle. I am using this in baseball terms when a player gets a single, double, triple, and home run. What nature has done this week is like hitting for two cycles in one game with an extra home run thrown in there. The only thing we will not see this week will be hot weather, otherwise we have had all the seasons in one week. I will have more on how low it will go this weekend and why it will be good weather if you are a polar bear.
See you soon and get those layers ready. We will talk more about when this pattern could break for good here on the blog tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Torrential Rain & A Tornado Rips Indiana

Germantown, Tennesee Tornado
on Tuesday

The Tippecanoe River is running about 5 feet lower than January 8th. This will not be a repeat or 100 year flood like we saw a few weeks ago, but significant flooding is taking place. Here are some of your latest weather notes. They seem like they are out of a movie instead of real life. Our weather has been out of control for quite some time. You can see the heavy rain as it moved in last night with plenty of thunder. We had a quick one to two inches of rain in about a four hour time frame. If it had been snow we would have had more than the Blizzard of 2007 or close to two feet! This follows us melting down a snowpack with about a half-inch to one inch of liquid. It is a really bad combination.

White County Emergency Management: No new evacuations at this time but monitoring the situation. Their advice is to watch the water and if you feel unsafe be ready to move to higher ground. The Norway and Oakdale Dams could both rise above the critical levels of 22,000 cubic feet per second and will peak out today and start to improve by tonight.

Tippecanoe County Emergency Management: Flooding reported on county roads and make sure to avoid low-lying areas and do not cross roadways covered by water. Worst of the flooding on the Wabash River at Lafayette will be late Thursday with our highest forecast crest since January 2005…it will crest at 22.4 feet or 11.4 feet above flood stage. This number could still change based on how much rain we received last night.

Rainfall Amounts as of 1 a.m. Wednesday

Tipton 3.70”

WLFI 2.66"

Monticello 2.47"

Monon 2.35"

Williamsport 2.35"

Earl Park 2.16"

Remington 2.05

Kokomo 1.94”

Kentland 1.92”

At least 18 killed in tornadoes Tuesday afternoon and night.….7 in Arkansas, 8 in Tennessee, 3 in Kentucky….more are missing. You can see one of at least 6 tornadoes that tore across Tennessee last night above. Tornadoes are more common along the Gulf Coast this time of year, but not as far north as Tennessee and Indiana! There were 53 reports of tornadoes, and over 200 reports of hail and wind damage.

Here in Indiana: A possible tornado hit 10 miles south of Montgomery County last night in Bainbridge. We picked the rotation up on Live Doppler 18 and luckily it weakened as it moved into Clinton County. There were reports of trees down and damage to barns and mobile homes. There was also an 82 mile per hour wind gusts near Terre Haute brought down numerous trees and powerlines.

More extreme weather is on the way and this time in the form of brutally cold weather. More details on the way here on the blog and tonight at 5,6, and 11. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Storm Track is Changing, Flooding is Looking Worse Rather Than Better

Latest model runs are not changing for the better. The storm track like we have seen all winter long is looking much farther north and west so instead of most of our rain ending toward midnight we could have an extending batch of heavy rain for much of the night. We will also have a chance of some strong storms with damaging gusty winds. Please tune in for the latest.

We have done several cut-ins and as of 9:55 p.m. many areas have had between 2 and 3 inches of rain. We may have one more inch of rain on the way before things settle down. Flooding will be significant on the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers. The Wabash River will likely have one of its highest crests on record. The Tippecanoe River will have to be monitored carefully and even if it does not reach the levels of 3 weeks ago, residents need to be ready to move if needed in the overnight hours.

Flooding on the Wabash & Evacuations on Evacuations on the Tippecanoe River

Evacuations are taking place right now on the Tippecanoe River. Evacuations in White County are taking place at Diamond Point, Buffalo, Bluewater, and Monon. I spoke to residents in Monticello and Carroll County and it is not rising as fast and furious as it did just over 3 weeks ago. But the water is high enough that south of the Oakdale Dam in Carroll County, evacuations are taking place between 1200/1225 West and south of County Road 725.

I just got off the phone with Gordy Cochran of Emergency Management and the good news is that the levels downstream of the Oakdale and Norway Dam will not be close to the 100 year flood we saw on January 8th. The bad news is there will still be some significant flooding on the Tippecanoe River. Both dams peaked out between 32,000 and 36,000 cfs on January 8th and based on our WLFI weather forecast we are expecting the levels to peak closer to the 22,000 to 25,000 cfs level. This is all based on how much rain we have tonight. The break in the rain for most of today is critical and it will allow the dam levels to steady off and stay just below the warning criteria of 22,000 cfs.

Tonight based on our special local in-house model there will be another .50 to about 1" of rain in Monticello. This could still change so we will have to watch it. We have a very volatile weather situation. Temperatures have fallen to 36.9 degrees at noon in Monticello and this means the main front or focus of heavier rainfall will likely stay farther south. You can see that in the graphic above with area from Terre Haute to Muncie in the 1 to 3" range. I would not be surprised of 5 or 6 inch rain amounts coming in just south of Indianapolis. If we can keep our local rainfall in the lighter range it looks like most residents along the Tippecanoe River will dodge the worst this time around. Stay tuned and we will keep you posted as this will be an ever-changing situation. It is a good thing we have Live Doppler 18. Remember flood forecasts can change in a hurry and we need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Paul Hadfield south of Decatur, IL last night

The update on the Wabash River is not very good. I spoke to the state climatologist Al Shipe and we have the potential for our highest crest since January of 2005. At one point our WLFI lightning tracker picked up 7,000 cloud to ground lightning strikes per hour between western Illinois and Indiana. Paul went out and captured some more rare mid-winter thunderstorms. The thunderstorms last night were just too much for our saturated ground to handle. Now tonight, we could have a few more pockets of heavy rain and possible thunder. Hopefully we can keep most of those storms south of us because the Wabash River flooding all depends on how much rain we receive tonight. The Weather Service plugged us in for one more inch of rain tonight. This would give us a crest close to 22.4 feet on Thursday afternoon. This would be high enough to once again shut down state road 43. If we get less rain tonight the total would be adjusted downward, but unfortunately I think the front will be close enough to us for at least an inch to maybe 1.5" of rain tonight. You can see we are sitting in a bad area or right along the big temperature contrast from Tippecanoe to Marion County. Our Precisoncast temperatures tell the gloomy story.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the six folks that lost their lives across central and northern Indiana yesterday in some of the worst fog Lafayette has ever seen. Folks got lost in grocery store parking lots it was so bad. The wolves were even tough to find out at Wolf Park.

Monty Sloan's View from Wolf Park

Visibilities actually reached zero in some areas due to all the melting snow, heavy rain, and a tremendous surge warm air that overtook the area. We actually hit 61 degrees late last night before the storms came in. The wild swing in temperatures and stormy weather finally caught up to us. Our weather has been nature's melting pot to say the least. Please stay safe and slow down when traveling tonight and tomorrow. We will have more patchy fog and remember it is hard to see flooded out roadways in the dark. Slippery roads could return on Wedesday with flurries and temperatures falling below freezing. We need to stay patient, please be careful. This historic pattern for wild weather is not showing any signs of letting up any time soon. God bless.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Thunder Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain, & Dense Fog A Sign of Things to Come

Nature Throws Lafayette in the Soup

Just when you thought you have seen it all, nature comes up with even more tricks up its sleeve. This morning's school delays were caused by near 0 visibility in much of the area. This came on the heels of thunder and lightning reported with heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain late last night across portions of White and Jasper Counties. We had a vigorous upper-level disturbance and a ton of mild air collide with our much colder lower-levels. This huge temperature contrast brought steep lapse rates and rapidly rising air bringing thunder to the area. Some sleet and snow accumulations were close to an inch to the north of Tippecanoe County before the change-over to all rain. This is a sign of things to come across the area this week. Make sure to tune in tonight for the latest on why strong thunderstorms are back in the forecast and who could be up near 60 degrees on Tuesday before colder air and chances of snow move back in. We will have to keep an eye on flooding once again with rain amounts likely exceeding one inch.

Speaking of big flips....on a more positive note, this weekend was absolutely terrific. I went on the road with my family to Greenwood to cheer on the Lafayette Area Gymnastics Club and they did a terrific job as usual. There were also some other very impressive teams from around the state including the Kokomo Flipsters. If you have never been to a gymnastics meet you are really missing a lot.

WLFI Bowling for Junior Achievement

It was also a big bowling weekend. Our WLFI team was one of several teams that helped raise close to 20,000 dollars for Junior Achievement. Jan Koehler did a great job organizing this event. Now for the scores...Michelle and her husband David Kidder led the way. David had a 276 and Michelle with a 209. Sue Scott had a strong finish with a 174, while Kelly Crull of Sports Team 18 had a nice 194! I had some issues but the good news is I got some much needed help from Megan, Kirsten, and Abbey you see pictured below. They really need to form a bowling team at Mayflower Mill.

It was also a Groundhog Day to remember and the card my wife got me was absolutely actually sings the tune, " I got you Babe" when you open it. As far as the restaurant goes for our big date....well the gymnastics meet ran over 5 hours! So we went to plan B and took the girls out to Denny's. We did not really get to eat anything until past midnight. At least we had great company and that is all that really matters. I told her I will take her to a nice place when things settle down...which at this rate may be years! :)
Have a great day and I will see you soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Groundhogs Do Not Agree on Arrival of Spring

Chuckie Wheezer Ready for her big day!

While Pennsylvania has Punxsutawney Phil, locally we count on Chuckie Wheezer.
The groundhog lives at the Wildcat Wildlife Center in Carroll County. Assistant Director Denise Hays says that the cute critter has a special name because of her interesting characteristics. Chuckie Wheezer is a ground hog that was brought to us, she was born in the summer of 2006 so this is her second Groundhog Day. She got her name, Chuckie-Wheezer, because the volunteers were split on a name they liked. Some of the volunteers liked Chuckles, because she made everyone laugh, and then some of the volunteers liked Wheezer because she actually has some respiratory issues, and she wheezes especially when she gets playing and running around and stuff like that. So they put it together and came up with Chuckie Wheezer.

Last year, News Channel 18's official Groundhog, Chuckie Wheezer, saw her shadow.She forecasted 6 more weeks of winter. The Blizzard of 2007 arrived within two weeks of her forecast and daily temperatures remained below average through late February. Her forecast was right on target until March when it turned warmer than normal with 70s to near 80 by the second week. So Chuckie's forecast of six more weeks was pretty good although she was off by about two weeks last year.

Did Chuckie see her shadow this year? NO!! Our TV-18 videographer Blake Naftel decided not to turn his camera lights on this morning and with cloudy skies in the area, Chuckie did not see her shadow. So I applaud Blake for letting nature take its natural course which does not happen with Phil in Pennsylvania. I am glad she made it out of her home after all the snow on Friday, but she did!

This means winter has been canceled until next year with an early Spring on the way. Like last year I think Chuckie will only be partly correct. I do see some warm weather between now and March 20th or the start of Spring, but I also see plenty of winter weather including snowstorms and ice storms. I will have more on this here on the blog next week. I would not pack away the winter coats and snow blowers just yet.

Other ground hog forecasts today:

Punxsutawney Phil (Saw his shadow which means 6 more weeks of winter)

Beauregard Lee-Southern ground hog- Did not see shadow (early Spring on the way)

Sun Prairie Jimmy (Wisconsin) Early Spring

Pee Wee (Vermont) Six more weeks of winter

Wiarton Willie (Canada) Early Spring

Shubenacadie Sam (Nova Scotia) Early Spring

Staten Island Chuck (New York) Early Spring

Woody (Michigan) Early Spring

So there you have it...I will add a few more rodent forecasts as they come in but the majority of them say to get ready for an early Spring. Only time will tell and I have to warn them that forecasting is a humbling business. They may have to eat a little humble pie like I did this past week. But the challenge is what makes weather forecasting so much fun! I agree with Phil and Pee Wee on this year's forecast and even though we are outnumbered we will keep the faith. LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!! Now off to go celebrate Valentine's Day with my wife. I can't get "I've got you Babe" out of my head...BABE, I GOT YOU BABE, I GOT YOU BABE....

Friday, February 1, 2008

Storm's Last Gasp Moves Through, Roads Remain Treacherous

The snow angels are out today!

Yes, I got a few winks of sleep and woke up to a winter wonderland. I just got off the phone with numerous weather watchers and Kelly Greene to go over the numbers and for a storm that really did not behave anywhere close to expected the snowfall totals are quite impressive. How close were we to having double digit snowfall? Just across the Illinois border 10 inches of snow has been reported in Watseka.

Heavy bursts of snow will move through the area this morning and be out of here this afternoon. While we will have some wind gusts close to 20 mph, the snow is a heavy wet snow which should cut down on blowing and drifting snow. But I still would not be surprised for some areas to have snow drifts in the 12 to 18 inch range, especially those areas that ended up closer to 8 inches of snow.

What is really disturbing to me this morning is NOT a few of those complaints on the blog....nobody will take away all of our fun on the weather blog. I am upset about reports of the many slide-offs around the area. It is a reminder that the 5 to 8 inches snow that most of us received can cause huge problems on area roadways. I am relieved the schools are closed keeping all the kids out of harm's way. I was going to go try to work-out but I cannot get out of my neighborhood at this time. I will have to run around with the kids outside and may have to do a live-shot from my house tonight!

We have just over 6 inches of snow here on the southside of Lafayette with all the kids enjoying their snow day. WLFI in West Lafayette is closing in on 7 inches. There have been problems reported on even the main interstates because you go from very little snow to our southeast in Boone and Clinton County to an icy and snowy winter wonderland as you move just to the north and east of Frankfort. So please warn folks coming from the Indianapolis to slow it down as they drive northward because conditions deteriorate in a hurry. You can see what is causing the trouble with these preliminary weather watcher snowfall totals as of Noon today.

Independence 8"

Earl Park 8"

Boswell 8"

Monon 8.2"

Kentland 7"

Fowler 7"

WLFI 7.1"

Lafayette 6.1"

Remington 6"

Otterbein 6"

Covington 6"

Kokomo 4.5"

Galveston 4"

Crawfordsville 5"

Logansport 5"

Tipton 2.5"

Frankfort 2"

You can see what a difference in a storm track can make. Instead of the storm going to Cincinnati, the center of the storm went right up to Terre Haute. The storm did not take the turn until about 3 a.m. so there was very little I could do but be at the mercy of nature. This in turn brought a surprise snowstorm to areas like Aurora just west of Chicago that had 12" of snow! A good portion of central Illinois is literally shut down with travel not advised today. This is the area that had widespread 10 inch plus snows. But you still did not have to travel that far to see double digit snowfall. Here was the final snowfall map and believe it or not Watseka and Rankin just across the Indiana-lllinois border reported 10 and 11 inches repectively.

This storm is a reminder that forecasting is a science and things do change. This is more reason to get on the blog and report the weather and tune into Live Doppler 18 since it is your only live scan of the atmosphere from where you live. The new computer system will have all new basemaps so you can see our wild weather up close. Nobody is harder on me than myself and even though we did not get the expected 10 to 14 inches, I do feel better because I kept folks out of harm's way and gave 100%. Everybody was prepared for this storm and knew it was coming which did make a huge difference. I have come a long way and no longer lock myself in my room with the shades down for a couple of days when I miss a forecast. I am sorry I was wrong this time and expected a whole lot more snow but I learned a lot from this storm, ate my humble pie, and look forward to forecasting the next storm!

Today, I can assure you I will be as optimistic as ever and be more determined to give you the most accurate local forecast available. The new computer will help with this and I will prove it to you over the next few weeks. Lafayette is a special place to live and forecast weather that is for sure. I appreciate all your reports and those who called and e-mailed me through the night. I did not even need coffee because you were so terrific and kept me going. It was quite a sight having our whole weather team together as Kelly went on the air at 5 a.m.

I was very proud of not only our weather team but our news staff that worked so hard through the night. We believe in serving you and unlike the bigger stations we do not send you to a so-called fancy automated system to get the job done with all the closings. Our station is one of a kind and I believe full of the best people in the entire country. We are WLFI. I also know that we have the best and most loyal viewers around. I cannot thank you enough for sticking by us. We take great pride in being your one and only station.

I better go do some shoveling. Thanks again and make sure to send in as many pictures as you can so I can post them here and on the air. Now I have to try to figure out how to get back to work. :)