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.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful picture! My mother and father were able to witness the Aurora Borealis back in the 40's. My father had just returned to Lafayette after severing time during WW2. He and my mother met chance at the Columbian Park Pavilion. To My understanding dances were held on weekends during that time. My mother and father danced the night away, to big band music. when time to say goodnight they looked into the sky and saw the beautiful Northen lights. Must have been fate! My parents told me this story many times, every time there was a mention of the Northen lights being seen in Lafayette, My parents encouraged me to watch the sky! My father has now passed, they were married 60 years ago this month! I still watch the sky to this day.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story.