Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chilliest May in 6 years showing signs of heating up!

“These were taken By Muscoutah, IL...” *by Tara*


I googled to find where this town is:

They are located in southwestern Illinois, just a 30 minute drive down I-64 from St. Louis, MO.

Mary Anne

I thought these clouds would get your attention. The one good thing about being in a chilly pattern is that our air mass has been very stable. The clouds above are an example of a volatile air mass we normally see here in the Midwest ahead of or behind strong thunderstorms. These are a form of cumulonimbus undulatus or mammatus clouds that tell meteorologists there are strong updrafts and downdrafts occurring in the atmosphere. This air flow then forms a wave pattern and it is many times crafted by the topography of the land. So these strange clouds are actually hybrids or cousins of lenticular clouds we spoke about here on the blog yesterday and some meteorologists call them lenticular mammatus clouds. Lenticular clouds are shaped by air that is lifted by the land or usually mountains. But in rare cases if your downdrafts are severe enough the air can be lifted once again as it reaches the surface of the earth. It is nature's version of bouncing a basketball or in this case an entire column of air. This bouncing effect produces these dramatic results. Not even the Harlem Globe Trotters can do something like this! Many times I have seen these clouds captured by storm chasers in and around severe weather, including ahead of dramatic tornadoes that have occurred here in Tippecanoe County. They do not always mean severe weather is on the way, but can be a good indicator of trouble ahead. A special thanks to Mary Anne for forwarding these to me.

Speaking of basketball, nature is going to be bouncing us around as we head into the weekend with huge temperature swings. We will go from turning up the heat to getting out the bathing suits. We could have some interesting clouds as the harbingers of a warm pattern. I cannot rule out a few mammatus clouds, but we will likely have some cumulonimbus clouds develop here in Lafayette by later Thursday night. It will all be part of a mesoscale convective system. This is an organized area of not one, but several thunderstorms that can form into many shapes and sizes, including squall line. Now I do not think we will have much moisture to work with which will limit our severe weather close to home. This is the good news. Even better, these complexes form on the periphery of a warm dome of air. This is a good sign of the much hyped warm-up on the way!

We finally see the light at the end of our chilly tunnel! The warm dome of air will overtake Lafayette by Sunday or Race Day and we will go from wind chills in the 30s on Wednesday morning to temperatures in the 80s. That is vintage May weather here in Indiana.

Tonight things will also be heating up for those interesting in doing something about our crazy Indiana wather. Make sure to head out to the Logansport-Cass County Public Library.

Interested in volunteering as a precipitation observer? Become a member of CoCoRHS - the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network.

Follow the link

Our weather team is also looking for more weather watchers, especially outside of Tippecanoe, White, and Clinton Counties.

Please e-mail me at

Thanks for all your help and I will have more on this tonight and hopefully see you out at the Farmer's Market in West Lafayette late this afternoon and evening. Yes it it true the Wabash Runner's Club is putting on a 5k at 5:30 p.m. Will my boss give me permission to run it between shows. Tune in to find out.


Anonymous said...

For those of you who enjoy keeping records, I urge you to become a CoCoRaHS observer. I am one as is Kelly Greene! It is fun to see how much snow/rain everyone else in the area received, as well as those around our state and surrounding states.

Please consider becoming a volunteer.

Mary Anne in Remington

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I just signed up with CoCoRaHS! Surprised to see I only made the 3rd station in Tipp. county! Hopefully more people will sign up. I have never heard of it until you posted it on your blog! Thanks!

Jeremiah from Lafayette (just south of Buck Creek!)

Anonymous said...

Good for YOU, Jeremiah! I hope others get "the bug". It is a lot of fun all year around.

Mary Anne

Anonymous said...

I want to sign up also but I cant find out how to do it on line so if any one of you could tell me that would be great thanks.

Justin in Lafayette.

Anonymous said...

Ok I got it Im number 18
in tip.

Justin in Lafayette.

Anonymous said...

Great cloud pics with this blog ! Yes, i even had a fire going last night.. whats up with this chilly air.. My Main question for you mike is: I was just noticed the outlook at SPC. and looks like interesting weather on monday! What do you think our chances seem to be right now of getting severe weather on MOnday ! thanks Brandon

Renee said...

Today was so nice out.Got the kids outside and the patio door open.It just makes me feel so much better,even though I missed being able to chat with my hubby today.
I am looking forward to going to the water park here for the first time ever, but i think it needs to be at least mid 80s for me to get in.
Which makes me wounder Mike. What temprature,do you think, should it be for me to take my 4 year old and 15 month old to the water park?