Monday, March 31, 2008

March Out Like A Lion as Storm Serena Arrives

It is great to be back from the Nation's Capital! Thanks for holding off the storms until I got back. March came in like a lamb and it certainly is going out like a lion! I finished the marathon in 4 hours, 1 minute, and 11 seconds which I am very proud of. It was a personal best for me. My previous record was a 4:06 at the Indianapolis Marathon in October. Thanks for inspiring me during my D.C. marathon! I finished all 26.2 miles and I did run an 8 minute mile for you on mile 17.The best part of the trip was spending time with wife and daughters and yes the cherry blossoms were gorgeous. You can see all of my better halves above. This was the view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was extra special since we all know that Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home was right here in Indiana! It was also where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous " I Have a Dream Speech." I wish I could go on more but weather has to come first....I am tracking storm Serena tonight with showers and thunderstorms. I think 40 to 50 mph winds, lightning, small hail and heavy rains will be our main threats. The best chance for severe weather will stay well south of the area. Stay safe tonight and remember your lightning safety rules. Get used to seeing a lot of this on the air tonight!

It is amazing how much more we can see as these storms are coming through the area. Clarks Hill, Linden, Mulberry, and Frankfort all had some loud crashes of thunder this evening but thanks to Precision 18 I was able to warn these areas well ahead of the storm and made sure they all prepared for plenty of lightning and heavy downpours. That is exactly what happened. Precision 18 can literally see through these storms which will go a long way into preparing us for the heart of our severe weather season. I will have more tomorrow here on the blog about why Indiana is the most tornado-prone state in the country. Yes, even more so than Oklahoma! We did not have any severe weather tonight but be ready for an active period starting most likely later next week.

More pictures and stories of my Washington, D.C. trip will be posted here ASAP.....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Weather Pick of the Week Today, Before "R" Storm Lambastes Lafayette

Get out and enjoy today! It will be gorgeous with periods of sunshine and highs in the middle 50s. I am packing for my big marathon this morning but will check back with you on yet another named storm on the way for Lafayette. I need a male "R" word so make sure to send in your suggestions. Latest model runs do not have it as strong as last week's Philberta which is certainly good news for our rivers. Thunderstorms cannot be ruled out so we will have to watch it carefully! The biggest severe weather threat at this time is in southern Indiana.

I am just check in and since we had such a great list of names submitted I will have to use the first name I came across in the e-mails....SO THE WINNER IS STORM REGGIE. Rob in Lafayette says it means powerful river and since we are watching the rivers closely it fits very well. I cannot thank you all enough for all the great e-mails. You certainly made my day and I promise to run a 7 minute mile for all our weather bloggers in Washington, D.C. on Saturday morning...I will do it on mile 17 since Reggie is our 17th storm since January 1st. I will have a stopwatch and let you know how it turns out.

I do have good news for the rivers. Latest model runs are coming in close to one inch with storm Reggie....The heaviest rain will once again stay south of our area closer to where the warm front will be located. I dropped highs tomorrow into the 40s because this warm front will never make it here. Even though it will be a chilly raw rain, it will keep the 1 to 2 inch amounts well south of us and reduce our chances for thunderstorms. This will also keep the best chance of severe weather confined in southern Indiana to Cincinnati for tomorrow afternoon. More to come.......REGGIE, REGGIE, REGGIE!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gone With The Wind in Lafayette, Windiana

I always tell folks Indiana should be renamed Windiana. If you look at a weather almanac this state is in the top 10 for windiest states and today was good proof. Wind gusts reach 40 mph here at WLFI and 46 mph in Peru. Sustained winds of 39 mph are needed to have an official Tropical Storm. Here in Lafayette we certainly had a wind storm. This was a strange day that featured sleet and winter to start and a beautiful finish with a postcard sunset and temperatures topping off near 60. Nature will finally decide on Spring for Wednesday with much lighter winds.

This usually does not last long during the first part of Spring as it is also the start of our severe weather season and wind season. The reason for the wind season can be seen clearly above. Yesterday high temperatures in Texas soared to 80 degrees while areas in northern Minnesota struggled to get above freezing. This 50 degree temperature contrast helps to whip up a potent jet stream in the atmosphere. The higher sun angle in the sky helps to mix down this wind energy here in Lafayette. Yesteday the sustained wind speeds over Lafayette at 36,000 feet were a whopping 110 mph. Thanks to our strongest sun angle since September and a cold front moving through the area this wind was mixed down to the surface. So again make sure to tell your friends that the windier it is the better. It is a sign of Spring playing tug of war with winter and we all know which one will eventually when the battle. But it may come at a price with a named storm for Lafayette on the way by Wednesday night through Friday. We will skip the Q and go with a male "R" this time around. Send in suggestions so I can use your storm name on my Wednesday blog.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Great Weekend for Bowling, Now Spring Strikes Back!

It was our coldest Easter in over a decade but plenty of Spring weather is in store for us this week. My Mom and Dad had a great time but were in shock by our snow flurries on Saturday and once again on Sunday. It can be tough going from 80s to 30s and flurries, but not even a little snow could spoil our great family weekend. My Mom told me she was ready to decorate the Christmas tree, but instead we did find a couple dozen eggs to decorate. It is a good thing we missed the 12 to 16 inches of snow that southern Wisconsin was buried in over the weekend. Milwaukee has now had its snowiest winter since 1885-86 with almost 100 inches of snow! Here at home it was all about taking the girls swimming at the hotel, having my Mom's famous macaroni and cheese, watching basketball, playing games, and bowling! It was certainly perfect bowling weather. My parents stayed in the same hotel as the Purdue Women's basketball team and it was fun being able to greet them as they came in. My Dad apparently had a good chat with Kalika France this morning in what amounted to quite a pep speech. We will see if it works tomorrow night against Tennessee. Kalika is also from Maryland like my family so she was all smiles and really pumped up by time my Dad was through. My Dad was quite the basketball coach when I was growing up and always had his team ready to play. Go Boilers!

The cold Easter weekend also brought plenty of interesting sights in the sky. The Easter Eve moonrise sent in from Monty Sloan at Wolk Park above was one of a kind. The sky resembled January more than March this weekend and that meant we had plenty of ice crystals or cirrus clouds in the sky. This helped to accentuate our moonrises and sunsets.

The blog question of the night is this: What was this weather phenomenon photographed at the Benton County wind farm near Earl Park over the weekend. Janet Karlstrand did a great job of capturing this for us! Great job on all the answers to the blog question, including Teri of Lafayette that also gets an A+ for enthusiasm. I wish I could give everybody T-Shirts, but it may be awhile before we can actually start giving those out and I am still looking into printing the winter T-shirts. The picture above can be considered a sun pillar. We usually only see this here in Lafayette during sunrises or sunsets during cold spells. What is interesting is this can also happen with streetlights and a rising or setting moon. What you see above are the sun's rays reflecting off the bottom of millions of ice crystals that are slowly falling to the ground. They will not reach the ground, but we know they are there thanks to this beautiful sun pillar.
Sun pillars will give way to a more Spring-like sky the next few days and we know what that can bring....cumulonimbus clouds! Stay tuned.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Give Credit to My Parents...A Great Friday with Highs Hitting 60!

I told my Mom and Dad to bring warm weather and sunshine from Florida and sure enough they came through for us! I forecasted highs in the middle 50s with late day rain showers, but with the bonus sunshine we have hit 60 in Lafayette. But do not get too excited, it is March and it will turn cold with a few snow flurries once again by Saturday morning. If you drive just two hours north roads are icy and over a foot of snow is possible just north of Chicago. So make sure to take care heading North. We will not have any accumulations or bunny tracks so the Easter Bunny should deliver on time! Here is a nice little write-up sent in by Richard Beetle for you here on this Easter Weekend.

I Believe this bunny won`t have any problems delivering Easter baskets in northern Indiana.
He weighs in at 22 pounds and measures a little over 3 feet. He is a breed of rabbit called German giant (how appropriate!). This is his owner, Hans Wagner, struggling to hold him up for the NY Post article:
We don't feed him an unusual diet said Wagner. He goes through more than his brothers and sisters, but he eats the same food mix. His food is actually lettuce. He can never get enough of it.

Thanks Richard! That has to be one of the biggest rabbits I have ever seen and I am sure he will be helping out the Easter Bunny when he tries to hop through the foot of snow in Wisconsin. I will check back with you soon! Have a great day and be safe if you are traveling!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Spectacular Spring Start, But Weather Team 18 Is Busy Gearing Up for Severe Weather Season

Walter Poppinga in Lafayette took his dog on his first Spring walk at 2:30 p.m. today and shot these beautiful Spring flowers for us. Temperatures reached 53 degrees in the sunshine! Now that is the way to start a new season off on the right foot. But it is Indiana and.....

It has been a gorgeous start to Spring, but a polar vortex in Eastern Canada will end all thoughts about this weather sticking around. Highs on Easter Sunday may struggle to hit 40 degrees and a major snowstorm is likely just north of Chicago and the Indiana-Michigan border. Up to 8 inches of snow is possible in these areas! The Easter Bunny will need his snow boots in these areas. Here at home we will only have a few snow flurries and good travel weather. So I guess we should not complain about the cold weather.

Photographers Capture Atlanta Tornado As an EF-2 tornado swept across downtown Atlanta, one local photographer snapped the shot of a lifetime.Shane Durrance was on top of his condominium off Howell Mill Road when he saw the potential for a great photo of the downtown area. He took the photo just as 11Alive's Paul Ossmann was talking about tornado warnings in Atlanta.Durrance, who is an acquaintance of Ossmann's, sent the photo to 11Alive and said he believed he'd missed catching the tornado on film. But after Ossmann reviewed the picture, he assured Durrance that he had indeed gotten the shot.The picture shows a light-gray vertical strip of what looks like clouds connecting the cityscape to the larger clouds above. That is the actual tornado. Ossmann said it didn't look like the usual sort of funnel cloud because it was embedded in rainshowers at the time of the photograph.

It was a winter to remember for wild weather, but as we head into the Spring the La Nina which played havoc with our weather is showing no signs of dying. This is bad news for our severe weather season. We already saw what happened in Atlanta last weekend when an EF-2 tornado ripped through the downtown area. This is a sign of things to come. That picture above is certainly breath-taking and amazing is real. It is not some internet hoax picture going around. Nature means business in this pattern that is for sure. A La Nina season in Lafayette usually brings an increase in tornadoes. The same jet stream that brought 16 storms to Lafayette since January 1st will remain energized and a major player in our weather. It tends to add wind shear and spin to our thunderstorms here in the Hooosier state.

Our Weather Team is gearing up for severe weather and we will continue to add a lot of tools to our on-air presentation to keep you and your family safe. Doprad Fury is on the way in the next few weeks with new basemaps and street-level mapping. This is a special upgrade to your Live Doppler 18. We can now click on streets such as Teal Road to show you exactly where the thunderstorms are located and where they are moving. This data is updated instantaneously while we are on the air. Live Doppler 18 will now be up to 5 times faster than VIPIR and the National Weather Service radar. Time saves lives and thanks to Live Doppler 18 it will go a long way into not only keeping folks safe but calm. Speaking of severe weather here is some real interesting news from NASA on how we are continuing to improve tornado forecasting to help save lives and property.

Gravity Waves Make Tornadoes

Did you know that there's a new breakfast food that helps meteorologists predict severe storms? Down South they call it "GrITs."
GrITs stands for Gravity wave Interactions with Tornadoes. "It's a computer model I developed to study how atmospheric gravity waves interact with severe storms," says research meteorologist Tim Coleman of the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
According to Coleman, wave-storm interactions are very important. If a gravity wave hits a rotating thunderstorm, it can sometimes spin that storm up into a tornado.

You can check out the rest of this article along with pictures and graphs by clicking the link below.

Have a great day and Happy Spring. I will post a few Spring pictures for you here this evening and check on that snowstorm to our north.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Last Day of Winter & the Last Frontier Show Their True Colors

"Bryce and I got away and headed up to Ester’s Dome northwest of Fairbanks to get a good view of the night sky and the city of Fairbanks below. A dim green strip began to form in the northeast sky as the Aurora Borealis developed. It quickly transitioned into one of the best displays I have ever seen with bold green lights dancing in the night sky above Fairbanks. I was blessed with the opportunity to take dozens of photographs of the lights. Around Midnight I came back home put little Bryce down in his bed and awoke Sara and took her outside and showed her the waning display of northern lights that captivated even the locals around the area."

-Ross Ellet Chief Meteorologist WOAY-TV Oak Hill/Beckley, West Virginia

I want to thank Ross, my good friend and blizzard buddy for sending us this great picture and story from his Alaska vacation he just got back from. He of course was our weekend meteorologist for a couple years at WLFI TV-18 and camped out with our weather team during the blizzard of 2007 and helped warn people days in advance with us of the coming blizzard. I will never forget Ross rescuing me from a huge snow bank during the blizzard and we will certainly never forget February 13, 2007. We will always have plenty of great stories to share with our kids and grandkids about how cars were literally buried and drifts that went all the way up to our roof tops here in West Lafayette. Yesterday on the blog we talked about Purdue's wonderful meteorology program and the sharp people it produces. Ross is prime example number one. He may have missed out on snow in West Virginia this winter, but he made up for it in Alaska. Alaska is fittingly called the Last Frontier with glaciers carving up the landescape, more bears, moose, and whales than people, and where you know that nature is truly in full control of everything taking place. This is highlighted almost every night with a spectacular northern lights display. It is God's playground full of captivating moments and memories that last a lifetime. I definitely have it circled as a place I definitely want to go to. Now I will have to find a marathon I can run there as well, because I will have a lot of energy to get out based on Ross's stories and pictures.

Here in Indiana this winter, nature has reminded us you don't have to go to Alaska to find out who is in control of the weather. We have wrapped up at least our 4th snowiest winter in Lafayette and impressively the entire state of Indiana has wrapped up its 4th stormiest winter in the last 113 years. Temperature-wise we came out to about normal, but still it was a real winter and the United States and Northern Hemisphere as a whole had its coldest winter since 2001. Today it is fitting we will end the last day of winter feeling like the Last Frontier with a few snow flurries along with vicious northwest winds making it feel like its below freezing at times. If you are traveling to Washington, D.C. to cheer on the Boilermakers it does not look as cold out East with plenty of 50s and it may even hit 60 degrees on Friday. So head East if you want warmer weather. Here is a fly-thru forecast we showed last night on the news for you.

The news is good weatherwise and hoopswise for Purdue. Enjoy the weather and the game. I will be filling my bracket out this morning and give a few tips on picking games. The last few years I have been picking the teams based not on mascots but a weather formula. More to come on this later. But first my heart goes out to all the flooded areas stretching from Texas into southern Indiana and stretching as far northeast as Pennsylvania. Some folks in Missouri may end up with more than 10 inches of rain. All the red counties are flash flood warnings with the brighter green counties in flood warnings you see below. It looks like something we saw during the Great Flood of 1993.

Be careful if you are traveling south toward Indianapolis today. There could be numerous flood warnings down that way. Things could go from fine to hazardous in a hurry. Remember it only takes about 1 foot of water to float a car and 8 inches of water to knock you off your feet. Be careful out there today and check back on the blog for the latest on the basketball brackets and a sneak peak to your Easter that may include winter hats instead of Easter bonnets.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Worst of Philberta Stays South! Only Minor Flooding Expected

It may have been an ugly day and more rain is on the way but we have nothing to complain about. The big question on everybody's mind is how much more rain will we have. Well, it looks like about another 1 to 1.5". Our in-house model goes a little higher but I am confident we have dodged the worst of Philberta. But beware of its backlash. Spring begins on Thursday but I have plenty of winter in the forecast. I will have more here shortly and you may have a guest appearance from my intern Patrick Wright.

Hi everyone, I'm Patrick Wright and I am a senior at Purdue University studying meteorology and I'm interning here with Mike. Hopefully one day you might see me on air somewhere but for now I'll start off with just a blog. It's great to see all the weather enthusiasts and we appreciate everyone coming to our blog for updates. Looks like we dodged a bullet with this system as the bulk of the precipitation will fall to our south where places in southern Indiana will see 4+ inches!!! Locally, as Mike said above, we will only get 1 to 1.5 inches overnight which is great news because that should keep most of the rivers and streams in minor flood stages. The cold front off to our east will slowly make its way through our area overnight and along with that the rain will leave too. We may see some lingering showers and even flurries tomorrow afternoon as winter tries to hang on, but most of our rain will fall overnight so hopefully by the morning commute things will look better. I hope you enjoyed my first blog, don't be afraid to give me any feedback...I'm looking to improve my blogging skills in any way possible and your feedback is important.

Great job Patrick...he is from the East Coast so we can forgive him telling us the front is coming in from the East. I call it East Coast bias just like some of our weather models. Purdue has a great weather program and I am lucky to have such wonderful interns to work with. Patrick helped do a great fly-through tonight and set up our lightning tracker. I will get him in front of the wall very soon and I promise to talk about sunshine very soon! More good news...the Wabash will crest closer to 12 feet on Friday rather than the previous forecast of 16 feet! Yes!

Ready for more good news. How about some sunshine for the first day of Spring? I will have more on this and why we may need to trade in our Easter Bonnets for winter hats and coats tonight on the late news. Check the blog tomorrow for some incredible aurora pictures from Alaska! Until next time....Pat thanks you for your time and so do I.

Philberta Pounds Area With Heavy Rain & Lightning

Lighting Strikes Between Clarks Hill & Colfax

Well this storm certainly has a cutting edge to it and the latest model runs early this morning all agree on at least 2 inches of rain to close to 3 inches of rain from Kokomo to Lafayette through Attica. Boswell to Monticello Logansport and Peru are in the 1 to 2 inch range with less amounts farther north. The devastating 3 to 6 inches of rain still looks to be from St. Louis to Terre Haute Indianapolis and over to Columbus. Major flooding could hit those areas as a result. You can see last night at 9:32 p.m. Philberta was rumbling across the area with 14 cloud to ground lightning strikes per hour. This was in sharp contrast to the over 100 strikes per hour back in Illinois late in the afternoon. The same cold front that caused that lightning outburst will move our way today so expect an increase in lightning and remember your lightning safety rules. At this time no severe weather is expected but we all know that lightning kills more people in Indiana every year than tornadoes so take it seriously.

It is good to know we now have lightning tracking capabilities at TV-18 and I am working as quickly as possible on making it available on our web-site. Last night our lightning tracker worked to perfection. My wife was on the phone while I was looking at a lightning strike in Tippecanoe County on our computer and she not only saw it instantaneously but let me listen to it over the cell phone. This is some excited stuff! It certainly will help keep everybody safer, especially during our peak storm period in May and June and when all those softball and baseball leagues start up.

Now back to Philberta....Here are the keys for us: Emergency Management officials in White County say the Tippecanoe River can handle 3 inches of rain and the forecast is for 1 to 2.5 inches. The Wabash River from Lafayette to Covington can handle close to 3.5 inches of rain. But if we get over 3.5 inches and push 4 inches we will need to watch for more significant flooding. But if areas farther north in White County can stay below the 3 inches that will be the key for keeping Philberta from creating havoc and major flooding in our viewing area. Folks are still out of their homes from our two big floods earlier in the year and some are just getting ready to get back into their homes. So the good news right now is the forecast crest right now keeps the Wabash River at Lafayette below the critical 20 foot crest by late week and the Tippecanoe River is not expected to push folks out of their homes again. But the State Hydrologist did say this can still change and we will have to monitor it really closely. I will hopefully give you the all clear by later today and during this evening's newscast. Here is a look at our 3 headed monster above.

Philberta is a complex storm with a meandering frontal boundary. I do think a cold front will help push the warm, tropical air farther south by this evening. So this will in effect put an end to the heaviest rain. But we could still see another half-inch of rain tonight into Wednesday morning. So right now it looks soggy, but at least I am not expecting a repeat of our January and February floods.

Another saving grace we will have is that it has been quiet for the last two weeks and we have already melted all of the snowpack. Even with last night's rainfall as of midnight we were still having a drier than average month. Take a look above.

The latest in-house model runs did increase our total forecast rain amounts overnight, but notice we stay below the critical 3 inches of rain in Lafayette which means areas to the north in White County should remain below 3 inches. THIS IS GREAT NEWS for our viewing area, but remember we still have to watch for lightning and flooded roadways, and since we are right on the edge of the 4 to 6 inch rains to our south we will need to still watch things closely. Join me tonight for the latest and make it a great day even if it is rainy and gray outside.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Storm Philberta Takes Aim on Lafayette, Flooding a Concern

Well it was a nice couple of quiet weeks while it lasted but some of my big dog models are telling me at least 1 to 2 inches of rain is on the way and maybe more. I will delve deeper into this tonight on the news. Happy St. Patrick's Day and for a holiday known for big storm systems I guess it is fitting that we will be tracking one together.

Congratulations to Purdue on their tournament bid! They are not the only ones heading to Washington, D.C. I am down to my final two weeks of training for the national marathon. Now it is time to do a speed run. I will have Philbera updates tonight on the news and here on the blog. The main threat will be more significant flooding around the area. I do not see it as bad as the first two major floods this year, but we still need to take notice. I will not only be running, but talking to emergency management officials and the state hydrologist. See you soon and have a great day!

Here is the latest forecast as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday evening. I think lowland flooding will be an issue and river flooding by Thursday and Friday on the Wabash. I still think we can dodge most of the significant or major flooding based on the latest models pushing a front through the area by tomorrow evening. As long as this front keeps on moving we should be able to breathe a sigh of relief. You can say as of right now we have a little luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's night.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Non-Named Storm System Scoots South

Mackerel Sky Over WLFI on Wednesday

What is a mackerel sky? Well it is named this because the altocumulus and cirrocumulus clouds look like king mackerel fish scales. The old weather proverb states,"Mares’ tails and mackerel scales make tall ships take in their sails."

Does this mean nature is ready to knock the wind out of our sails again? Not this time. Even though these fish scales indicate the approach of a warm front and in the Spring and Summer can be a sign of severe thunderstorms, I just do not see that happening. We do not have enough moisture and instability. The latest maps in this morning do have a lot of large hail reports in Arkansas, but this system will be taking a southern route not allowing that deep moisture to make it into Lafayette.

So my final verdict for us is a NON-NAMED storm. We of course named last weekend's storm Oscar which turned into a blizzard and brought 14 inches of snow just 60 miles southeast of Indianapolis. We used the "O" as the first letter because it was our 15th mid-latitude cyclone of the year. This warranted a naming of it even for us because it was such a big storm and hitting so close to home. This is in stark contrast with today's low pressure system or mid-latitude cyclone which will bring only a few light rain showers. Most of us will end up with less than a quarter-inch of rain. The pressure on this system is still has an unimpressive pressures above 1000mb.

So in essence this means our Friday should be mainly dry and we will have highs back in the 50s. Another cold front arrives tonight which could bring back a bit of a chill. I will have more on this tonight. But for now Storm Philberta will have to wait until at least next Tuesday for us and it looks like it will be a thunderstorm producer for us. Philberta was named by Teri in Lafayette and means "very brilliant". It also means able to outwit and keenly cunning. I will keep this in mind next week and will be ready for Philberta. But for now you have a brilliant weekend and keep on running!
I finished my long run on Wednesday at just over 18 miles. Yes, this great weather has inspired me. Here are the race links you have been waiting for starting with the United Way Race on May 31st. I look forward to seeing you out there!

The Zoo Run Run At Columbian Park last July

It is the day after the full moon in July! I will also see you there on Saturday, July 19th.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Fever Hits Lafayette

A Great Day at Armstrong Park

The kids at TSC had a half-day for Parent-Teacher Conferences and the timing could not have been better. Instead of tracking floods, severe weather, snowstorms, killer fog, and ice jams I was able to just bask in the sun with my three daughters. Yes, it was a nice break for me and I took advantage of it. This made up for the long hours spent camped out at the station over the past few months. I did some Spring cleaning this morning and then we all went out for lunch. After downing a 14 inch cheese Pizza and breadsticks in just 20 minutes we went to Armstrong Park. The birds were singing, the ducks and geese were out and Abbey was busy doing flips with her friend.

Future Gold Medalists

I was a little nervous watching them do these incredible flips and of course told them to be careful as I held my breath. They seemed to do these moves effortlessly. The good news is we did not have to rush to the hospital and nobody got hurt. Speaking of flips...the one big thing March is noted for is incredible flips in temperatures. Last year it hit 80 degrees in Lafayette on March 13th and in 2005 we had snow and highs of only 37. Today's high of 60 at WLFI and 61 in Williamsport was just right. I still see a tame March pattern for us relatively speaking at least through the weekend with no lions lurking. We know our weather can go from a lamb to a lion in a blink of an eye. But, I see lots of dogs and good dog walking weather. I met a couple of those dogs today at the park as you see below.

You see the dogs Diesel and Brandy enjoying their walks

Brandy is actually going to have baby Boxers in May. I did not get the names of their owners. It was all about their dogs and for good reason. Those are some good-looking dogs.

Just when I thought my day could not get any better my daughters offered to wash my car once we got home from the park. I of course took them up on their offer and pitched in on the tires. They did a great job. Here is a glimpse.

My little Lauren may be just 3 but she can really shine up a car! Megan not only washed the car but dried it off. Abbey was the leader and mainly just shouted directions. I was busy just trying to find a tie and clothes to get into so I could get to work. I am very lucky to have 3 wonderful daughters and a beautiful wife. As much as I love weather, nothing compares to my family not even a blizzard.

Now tonight on the news we will take a look at a weather system that really stays to the south of us. Will we give the storm a name or will it fall short of meeting our criteria. Find out here on the blog tomorrow. I look forward to heading out to Wea Elementary tomorrow. I will take some pictures.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Space Shuttle Highlights the Warmer Lafayette Skies

This morning we have a chance of see the Space Shuttle over Lafayette at 7:04 a.m. Look to the north. It should only be about 10 degrees above the horizon for about a minute. Since we will have mainly high thin clouds we will at least have a fair shot at seeing this. Now do not get too upset if you miss out on this because the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be up in Space for the next 16 days. Here is the NASA link to check out all of our viewing times and I will give you a heads up here on the blog when I think the best weather times will match up.

Also, check out this picture sent in from Monty Sloan at Wolf Park. It is the Lafayette areas first real sign of Spring.
That is right, swimming wolves!

Some folks look at robins or red-winged blackbirds, but not Monty and now me and here is why.

Hi Mike,

You can always tell when spring is around the corner by the sight of wet wolves. They hang out on the ice a lot. When it thaws, they fall through the ice a lot. Fortunately, wolves can easily haul themselves out of the pond and outside their pride; they are unharmed by this experience. Their double layered coat keeps them warm even when wet and they seem to have no problem hauling out onto ice thick enough to support a wolf, or simply breaking enough ice to reach the shore.

Just by chance I was able to get a photo of one the wolves falling through the ice on their pond this afternoon. I was driving along the access road around the enclosure and noticed that Ruedi was all wet. You could see where he fell through. I stopped to take a photo of a very wet wolf when he fell through a second time. I was able to get photos of him in the water and photos of a very wet wolf once he hauled himself back out. It only takes a few seconds for them to get out of the water.

-Monty Sloan

Thanks so much Monty! You have quite a talent and I learn something every time you write me! Here on the blog I also post some more signs of Spring and just how much rain is on the way by Thursday night. Hopefully we will also have special pictures arrive from an old friend in Alaska who is in search for the Aurora Borealis. I also have some special blizzard pictures from Ohio to post on the Monday weather blog. I need more than 24 hours in a day that is for sure!

In the meantime, I am going to run, run, run! My D.C. marathon is quickly approaching. I will be so busy enjoying the cherry blossoms and all the monuments I think that will take my mind off just how far I am running. I am also in the process of helping out with the United Way 5 and 10 K Runs and of course the summer race in Lafayette which is the Zoo Run Run. I will post those dates for you here shortly. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What A Difference A Week Makes!

One Week Ago At WLFI

We were measuring snow at over one inch per hour last week, but March it is known for its ups and downs and things are certainly looking up with highs making it up near 50 by Wednesday and closer to 60 on Thursday! Put away the snow shovels for the next few days and head to the park. I took my own advice and had a great time with Lauren today!

Notice there were only a few patchy areas of snow left with the patch of white on the far right our dog BJ. This will help temperatures climb above average beginning Wednesday for at least a few days. It will even feel like April by Thursday with highs pushing 60. Join me tonight for your grill out forecast and the answer to everybody's weather question of the day:

Will it stay warm for good?

I think most of us Hoosiers know the answer. I will catch up on posting some great stuff here ASAP. I also understand the crocuses are up...and I am looking for pictures. Please send them in if you can. Okay the answer to the blog question. It usually does not stay warm in Indiana until after Mother's Day which is usually in the middle of May! We have even had frosts here in Late May. So I am sorry to burst anybody's Spring bubble. The latest jet stream forecast for late week does show a big dip in it which will usher in a chance of light snow by Saturday.

This is the same jet stream responsible for bringing us our 4th snowiest winter and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. This is why I am so concerned about our severe weather season. It will add plenty of spin to our storms and that is something to be concerned about.

This brings us to the tornado sirens. I had lots of correct answers and great answers! I wish all my viewers knew that tornado sirens are for outdoor use only and meant to warn farmers and outdoor workers of a danger to life and property. It is not just used during tornadoes nor does it mean a tornado has been confirmed or sighted. It means to get inside and tune to your local media and weather radio for the latest information.

That brings me to why I am still at work past 2 a.m. tonight. We have all-new basemaps coming in for our Live Doppler 18 that will be able to track storms with street-level mapping. The accuracy is within one block and with the click of the button I will be able to tell you what street or neighborhood threatening weather is taking place. This is cutting edge stuff that should help keep you and your family safe. It will also be the fastest doppler radar available to residents in Lafayette and this includes the National Weather Service. Time saves lives, but Live Doppler 18 is only part of keeping your family safe. Now it is your turn to make sure you have a family plan and workplace plan in place.

Tomorrow on the blog....sandhill cranes and swimming wolves will be our next signs of Spring. Will we be able to see the Space Shuttle too? See you on the tube and blog!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oscar Turns into a Blizzard East of Us, Now Get Ready for the Warmest Four Days in Four Months on the Way

Conquering Mt. Muskegon Snowbank

I am just getting back in town from Michigan and I have never, ever seen snow banks that tall! Drifts were up to rooftops and taller than 30 foot trees. You see I made it to the top of this snowbank. It is good to be home and with plenty of good news for Spring weather lovers after a very chilly weekend. Speaking of the weekend, how about that Oscar! We named the storm Oscar on Thursday night and knew it would have the potential of turning into a blizzard somewhere east of us in the Midwest and it did! In fact, just 60 miles southeast of Indianapolis in Milan, they had 14 inches of snow and blizzard conditions. So here in Lafayette we missed the blizzard by a mere 120 miles. This is why I have this blog to warn you of something like this days in advance just in case a storm blows up like this one did. It would have been a record-breaker for us and given us our snowiest season on record, but I think most of us are happy with all of the snow we have had. It was the second biggest snowstorm on record for Dayton! But in Cincinnati it brought back memories of the 1970s as you see below.

Courtesy of Heather Gockerman

My cousin Heather sent this picture in and even though I was a couple states away I made sure to warn her of Oscar the night before it hit. She was amazed at the snow and really this storm was the biggest to hit Cincinnati since the Blizzard of 1978. Freckles her dog seemed to enjoy the snow as you see below.

Columbus, Ohio had 20 inches of snow and Oscar stretched down into the deep south with a record-breaking 18 inches of snow in Arkansas and at least 8 tornadoes across North Florida. What a winter!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Late Conference Call Confirms Storm Number 15 (Oscar) A Dud!

I think we need to start naming these La Nina storms from here on out so we can keep track of them. We have had 15 storms since January first. Using the 15th letter of the alphabet it should start with an O.......LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS....OKAY HOW ABOUT OSCAR. Oscar is the O word used in communications and since we just had the Academy Awards that gave out Oscars this works. Oscar of course in this case is not a hurricane or tropical storm but a mid-latitude cyclone. The Next storm will have to start with P and it will have a female name....send in your requests now. I am sure you can come up with something I can use! Maybe Patty, since we are getting closer to St. Patty's Day. But let's get back to Oscar and why he will break many snow-lover's hearts in Lafayette and be cherished by those ready for Spring. This will be a small victory for Spring. Jeff Smith did send us in a picture of witch hazel that was blooming here in Lafayette week. He still owes me that car wash but this picture will suffice. It is one of the few signs of Spring we have seen in our never-ending winter. Maybe this will break nature's wintry spell on us, but don't count on it.

Oscar is doing something the first 14 did not do! Its storm track is shifting farther south and east. The blocking high pressure off the Florida coast and southeast that helped bring a historic drought has finally been flattened like a pancake. Folks I met tonight that just got back from the Bahamas tell me they needed their jackets for a couple days. With no Bermuda high to steer this storm farther north and west, the dominant area of high pressure is over Minnesota tonight. Temperatures in Duluth will be below zero again. This cold air will keep Oscar from thinking twice about coming our way. Oscar does not like cold weather and will look for warmer pastures and lean closer to the warmer Gulf stream waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This will pull the dominant low track right up toward New Jersey.Our wintry weather this weekend should be mainly in the form of cold air with January temperatures in March. We will be running about 20 degrees below normal. So as we turn the clocks forward an hour this weekend it will be kind of surreal. At least it will look like March and that extra daylight in the evening tells us Spring continues to close in albeit slowly. Talk about a complex set-up, there will be two low pressures tracking to the north and the dominant low pressure looks to be going right up the East Coast and Jersey Shore. Oscar will take over and sweep all our moisture away before our snow can really add up.

On the conference call it was brought up that at least two of our models just show flurries for Lafayette and even Indianapolis may not see too much in the way of snow. Oscar has wobbled 60 miles farther east which makes a huge difference. Now could Oscar be a trickster? You never say never, but these models are usually pretty good within 24 hours of the main event. I do not see a TROWAL developing this time around, especially with the cold, dry air moving in from Canada. So here is the very latest map for you of expected snowfall.

I think most of us staying below an inch of snow and some of us may not see any snowflakes. Montgomery, Clinton, Howard, and Miami Counties have the best chance of seeing an inch or more, but that may be pushing it. South to Indianapolis, I lowered their totals to to 3 to 5 inches and that may be too high. I do not look for Winter Storm Warnings for Indy.

It looks like most of the snow that does make it into Indiana will still fall Friday night into Saturday morning with the heaviest band remaining in extreme southeastern Indiana.

Oscar may have been kind to us, but we may have a few bad apples moving our way come Spring time. By time we get to Zach we may be talking tornadoes. I hope not but here is the answer to yesterday's blog question. We average four tornadoes per year in the Lafayette viewing area and those numbers go higher in a La Nina pattern. Here is the Odell tornado that hit in the summer of 2006. Luckily, nobody was injured and I will never forget chasing this tornado and sending back reports. By time I caught up with it the tornado lifted, but it left plenty of flattened corn and barn door and rooftop damage.

So remember La Nina is not only trouble for us for big storms in the winter, but the Spring. Remember we set a record for thunderstorms in February with five and have already had one this month and it probably is a sign of things to come. The powerful La Nina jet stream adds spin to our thunderstorms which could give way to big hail, wind, and tornado events. One of the years that matches up to this year is 1974 which of course will always be remembered as our big tornado year here in Indiana with the Super Outbreak. Just ask folks in Monticello. So be careful what you wish for. I would rather take a snowstorm anyday over a tornado.

Have a great weekend and your blog question of the day today is:

Are tornado sirens supposed to be your family's number one defense against severe weather?

Remember to turn those clocks forward this weekend and enjoy the extra daylight. It will at least look like Spring in the evenings!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Some of Us May Not See A Flake While Others Will Be Sledding

What a this forecast a tough one! You bet, but I like challenges. To give you an idea of what I am dealing model has southeastern Tippecanoe County with about 3" of snow while just across the river into West Lafayette there could be only a dusting. This big cut-off in snowfall will be due to a transfer of energy to an eastern low pressure on Saturday morning. If nature fumbles this hand-off we could see a lot more snow here in our viewing area. So remember these numbers are not even close to being set in stone and I will certainly keep you updated this evening.

Here is what I have for now:

Kokomo in at 5"
Peru 4"
Logansport 3"
Crawfordsville 3"
Lafayette 2"
Delphi 2"
Monticello 2"
Attica 2"
Benton, Newton, & Jasper Counties 1" or less

This is mainly for tomorrow night and Saturday morning, although you will see some light snow at times on Friday afternoon.

If you are traveling to Indianapolis tomorrow it does not look like things will get real bad down there until after 10 p.m. at night...Six or more inches of snow is likely in a line from Bloomington to Indianapolis up to Marion and Fort Wayne.

Models Confirm Big Snows in Southern & Eastern Indiana is the latest for our viewing area.....I like 1 to 2 inches in our far northwest.....2 to 4 inches for most of the heart of the area including Lafayette.....and 4 to 6 inches in our far southern and eastern areas including Kokomo and Frankfort. If you are traveling from Marion to Indianapolis to Evansville and points south and east 6 or more inches of snow is likely....A WINTER STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED...this includes Howard County...

I will check in with you and try to post a map shortly along with a snow timeline.

Sleepless in Lafayette Again....Means More Snow on the Way

Well, I wanted to go home earlier tonight. Nobody likes their sleep as much as I do, EXCEPT when there is the possibility of a snowstorm. So tonight I stayed late just in case. All week long storm track number 2 or the eastern track seemed to be winning while the snowier storm track number one had been losing. But all winter long the models have had an eastern bias. So just in case I put in chances of snow for Friday into Saturday last night remembering lessons learned from the past. Well, it is a good thing I did because preliminary numbers coming in just after midnight tonight have Lafayette in another snow band of 2 to 4 inches while areas to the south and east like Frankfort and Kokomo are in a 4 to 6 inch band. Eastern Indiana could be sacked with well over 6 inches of snow.

The models have all flipped over in a hurry much like our sleet to snow did on Tuesday, so this is something I will have to sleep on just to make sure I am not dreaming. I am still waiting for a couple of the morning models to confirm this change tonight. What has caused this flip in the models all winter long? Not a TROWAL (a trof of warm air aloft which created a very unstable atmosphere bringing us a sleet storm like no other with thunder and then snow rates of 1 to 1.5 inches per hour) but a La Nina jet stream! This thing will be whistling into the Midwest this weekend at well over 150 mph. You think this will add a little punch to our bet. It will also dig to our west helping to drag the storm track closer to Indiana. Take a look at the raging jet stream below. The main low pressure could very well follow this jet like a train on nature's train tracks. BOILER UP!

By the way...everybody that answered yesterday's blog question correctly, great job!...I will find a way to send you a SPECIAL winter of 2007-08 T-SHIRT. I am working on this with sales. It may be awhile, but you will get it. Nature may also deliver a big snow for us. Our Adonis snow model is painting accumulations over us but it is only a guide. I will get a few winks of sleep and go over everything once again this morning and early afternoon and check back with you. As I said on the air tonight, it has been like Disney World every day this winter for this meteorologist here in Indiana and it looks like this wild ride is far from over. This is better than Space Mountain! We are now within about 13 inches of the all-time snowiest winter for Lafayette and this dates back to 1896. Here is the list you have been waiting for:

Lafayette's Snowiest Winter Seasons:
1)1977-1978 56.5"
2)1981-1982 49.5"
3) 1929-1930 45.3"
4) 2007-2008 43.1" and counting!
5) 1904-1905 42.5"

Blog question of the day: (you had to watch the news last night)
How many tornadoes does the Lafayette viewing area average and can we expect more or less than average this year? It is Severe Weather Awareness Week and the hint is that now is the time to get a plan in place!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's Official: A 40"+ Winter for Lafayette!

Thanks to Jim Cotant in Peru (A Beautiful Snow)

Our average snowfall is 22.4" and now we have almost doubled it. CAN YOU SAY 43.1 INCHES OF SNOW AND COUNTING!! Yes, I was shouting, this is unbelieveable! We have had only a handful of years with 40 or more inches of snow and it is the equivalent of hitting 50 or more home runs in baseball. Nature has certainly belted it out of the park. I will have more on this year's place in history tonight. One thing is for is the winter we will all remember! I will also never forget March 4, 2008. We had a rare phenomenon take place. Tonight, we will take a look at what caused that intense band of snow to form in a 20 to 30 mile wide area. Here is how it looked on radar.

Snow rates of just over an inch of hour pounded portions of Fountain, Warren, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Clinton, Howard, Cass, and Miami Counties. Snowflakes the sizes of golf balls were reported along with thundersleet near Tipton! The atmosphere became so charged up that Precision 18 Doppler was picking up hail spikes that we normally only see during a Spring or Summer thunderstorm.This did lead to a few reports of thunder along with one of the worst sleet storms some can ever remember in portions of Clinton, Tipton, and Howard Counties. A quick half-inch of sleet was reported and the ice pellets were coming down so hard that it sounded like hail. The thunder was just a side note that added to all the raucous. Here is what it looked like on radar.

his special phenomenon is called a TROWAL and by 7 p.m. most of Lafayette had 3 inches of fresh snow with drifts of 10 inches reported in spots. Notice the narrow band of heavier snow. Not even the best of weather models have the resoultion to forecast exactly where and when this may take place. It was just like trying to forecast exactly where a spring or summer thunderstorm will pop up.

Our blog question of the day: What is a TROWAL? (this is worth lots of bonus points and maybe a T-Shirt if you get it right) I will have your answer this evening.

In the meantime, enjoy these snowfall totals, snow-lovers! This winter has been a dream come true for many and yes, a nightmare for some.

Reports of 6" of snow with 12" drifts were received at Divison Road and 500 West. There were also a few trees reported down across the area due to the heavy snow and ice accumulations. The ground is also totally saturated from one of the stormiest winter's on record!

You can see below how it looked in Frankfort. It looks like Kelly Wilson found a few deer tracks, but otherwise the gem city was like a ghost town and very quiet after receiving over a month's worth of snow and ice in just a few hours! Snow does a great job of absorbing sound and some of your most peaceful walks are possible after a big snowstorm.

Tipton was roughed up as well and just shoveling out cars and scraping windows took a good 30 minutes. Travel on area roads was at a snail's pace. Powerlines were drooping very low under the weight of a good .20" of freezing rain and the heavy sleet that fell. Luckily, we have not had reports of power outages and the lighter winds moving in should help things.

It is certainly a winter wonderland once again across the area! The next are there any signs of more lions lurking. Well, late week into the weekend there are a few warning flags going up. Remember our models have a southern bias and that green shaded area representing moisture to the south could come a lot farther north in the form of MORE SNOW. Take a look and I will have more on this tonight on the news!

Have a great day! We might as well go for the snow record....I will make sure to share the top 5 years on the weathercast tonight as well and post them here for you by tomorrow! Thanks for all your help, pictures, and snow totals during the storm. I will try to post more pictures as they come in and remember the tornado drill this morning and evening. Only in Indiana can you be digging out from a snowstorm and have severe weather awareness drills! I LOVE THIS STATE!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Impressive Snowfall Totals Keep Rolling In!

Some areas in Carroll County are up to 6" (Burrows)
Attica 6"
Peru 4.8"
Lafayette and West Lafayette over 4"
Monon 4"
Tipton 2" +
Frankfort 2" +

We have another half-inch to one inch of snow on the way....I will check back with you in a bit with some pictures....send in those pictures and snow totals. Thanks in advance.

You can thank the TROWAL....what is that...tune in at 11 to find out with your updated totals...I will get pics on here soon! What a night! What a winter!

Second Snow Band of Snow on the Way

Latest Precision 18....the areas outlined in the 3 to 6 inch total snowfall forecast earlier on the blog still holds....latest trends show another band of heavier snow filling in from Fountain and Warren County and heading toward Tippecanoe, Montgomery, and Clinton Counties.....We are up to 3 inches of total of snowfall here at WLFI....with 2.5 inches of the snow late this afternoon and early evening. I still think another 1 to 3 inches of snow is possible around the area, especially before midnight. The mesoband of snow that developed over Tippecanoe County was the equivalent of a summer thunderstorm that pops up with daytime heating. Good job to everybody out there that stayed on their toes and kept their guard up! What a winter...I will check back.

Mesoband Pounds Parts of the Area, Over 1 Inch in Last Hour In Lafayette

We have a 20 to 30 mile wide band of heavy snow on Precision 18 setting up. It stretches from Fountain and Warren Counties through Montgomery County. Areas to the northeast including Clinton, Howard, Cass, and Miami Counties will see their wintry mix go over to a heavy snow as well. Cities that will likely be included in this band are State Line City, Attica, Lafayette & West Lafayette, Delphi, Burrows, Logansport and Mexico....the southern edge of this band includes Kingman, Crawfordsville, Frankfort, Tipton and Kokomo. A band of 3 to 6 inches is likely, while much of the rest of the viewing area will stay closer to that 1 to 3 inch band. The big difference-maker has been cold air wrapping in about 4 to 5 hours earlier than expected and incredible dynamics from an upper-level low pressure moving through south-central Indiana providing perfect lift to areas about 100 miles to its northwest which includes Lafayette. We are in the proverbial sweet spot of the storm. Be careful on the roadways and send in your snow totals please. Thanks!

Heavy Burst of Snow Comes Early and Higher Amounts of Snow Looking Likely

Here comes the snow again! The wintry mix was supposed to hang on through early evening, but temperatures have dropped to 28 here in Lafayette and we could see an inch of snow per hour for the next few hours.....





Keep Those Warm Thoughts On a Slushy March Day

Here is the scene in Jacksonville, Florida this morning. My Dad sent this picture in to keep everybody in good spirits. I told him about the crazy winter we have had and to send more pictures. Dad certainly has the green thumb and wishes everybody safe travels and warm thoughts on this cold slushy day. What a difference about a thousand miles makes. Mom and Dad will be visiting in about 3 weeks and I told them to bring the warmer weather with them. Compare and contrast the picture above with what it looks like in Lafayette at Noon today.

We have about a quarter inch of slush on the Prangley deck. It helps that temperatures around the area are hovering near and just above freezing across much of the area. I see no major changes to the forecast. The Winter Storm Warning was downgraded this morning as expected for a good chunk of our area. Even though Warnings remain for White County and the northern tier of our area, I still see us all dodging the worst of the ice and snow. We will have less than an inch of snow and sleet through 4 p.m. Then expect a change-over to all snow by 8 p.m. There could be a few bursts of heavier snow, but once it gets cranking drier air will move in and it should be all said and done by midnight. Accumulations will be in the 1 to 3 inch range with maybe a couple spots checking in close to 4 inches north and east of Lafayette. But the snow to liquid ratios will be less than 10 to 1 and the cold air really does not wrap in until late tonight. This will hold down accumulations. I will check back in with you later. Be safe on the roadways, especially this evening. I will also tell you more about this special cheeseburger below.

Alyssa Pettiner's Dr. Seuss Cheeseburger

The big chunk taken out of the bun may have been my fault. This burger is actually a cake that took 10 hours to make! It was the biggest hamburger I have ever seen and the best hamberger I have ever tasted. After sharing it with neighbors and the TV 18 nightcrew it was all gone by Tuesday evening. The best news of all was that it helped raise money for the Mayflower Mill library with tons of other creative cakes. But this one certainly won the prize. Even though you cannot see them, it came with sugary olives, pickles, and chips. I will have to find the other picture for you. The chips alone took about two hours to make.

Now if only our weather was more appetizing....give me a big snowstorm please instead of this slushy stuff! It actually hurts to walk outside. It feels like you are being sand-blasted on the beach it is sleeting so hard. I am keeping a keen eye on St. Louis which had 2 inches of snow in the past hour. A lot of times heavy bands of snow can move our way from that direction. Based on this winter's track record. I think I had better be ready for anything!