Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Autumn Pattern Brings More Meteor Showers than Rain Showers & Rare Funnel Clouds

Good morning! Here is a nice picture to start your day off on the right foot. This should wake us all up. Thank you Marty Sloan for sending in this picture of a shooting star over Wolf Park during the Perseid meteor shower on Monday night. Look just above trees. You can see why the wolves and humans were howling over nature's dazzling display. I did get to see one bright, slow-moving shooting star while walking the dog. There were even some high cirrus clouds and some neighborhood lights to contend with but they were no match for nature's big show.

Michael Phelps was once again the talk of the Olympics last night as he continues to strive for perfection and here at home nature just did not want to be outdone. We also had reports yesterday evening around 8 p.m. of 2 cold air funnels just north of Newton County at the Interstate 65, route 2 interchange that caused a big raucous on the scanners. Mary Anne in Remington immediately notified me from her Best Weather Network and I cannot thank her enough. Remember doppler radar does not pick them up as they are too small and isolated. Take a look above at the cold air funnel that was spotted in Tippecanoe County back on June 12, 2003. These cold air funnels are usually harmless and occur in the early Spring and late autumn due to unusally cold air aloft. Cold air funnels usually do not reach the ground like the traditional funnels that sometimes cause tornadoes. Many times you do not even need to have a thunderstorm or rain for cold air funnels to form and this means no downdrafts to bring them to the ground. But, in rare cases these funnels can reach the ground and sometimes they can cause damage. On June 12, 2003 we actually did have the tornado sirens go off in Tippecanoe County because one of these cold air funnels did reach the ground downing a couple trees. While the damage is usually minor, Michigan did record wind gusts close to 100 mph with one of these things a couple summers ago. But these stories are certainly the exception to the rule and yesterday here is what the cold air funnel looked like near Lowell, Indiana.

Thank you Amy Taylor and Mary Anne in Remington for getting this to me. Notice the sun was even shining on this cold air funnel. It lasted about 10 minutes and never reached the ground. Remember with cold air aloft this can cause steep lapse rates and strong updrafts to form and as a result of this it can cause a lot of spin and this vorticity is stretched upward and it is forced to speed up just like when an ice skater pulls their arms in toward their body. The surrounding air in the atmosphere rushes in to replace this rising air creating our cold air funnel. Yes, even in quiet weather patterns meteorologists stay busy in the Hoosier state.

In the forecast today we are only going to see a slight chance of a shower, but keep in mind as a frontal system moves through the area tomorrow we could see more numerous showers and maybe a thundershower but not everybody will see rain. We do have a chance for more cold air funnels mainly on Thursday afternoon but again I am not expecting these funnels to reach the ground as tornadoes nor am I expecting any severe weather like we saw near Boswell last Monday night. Notice the grain silos wrapped in the trees just southeast of Boswell last week after the EF-0 tornado hit the area. I went to Benton County to visit the Harmans that had the tornado rip through their yard and I found an unlikely hero. I will have more on this developing story, but again no repeat this time around. I will also blog more about hurricanes and snow becoming threats here in the United States. That is right, snow!! Here is a quick video of snow that fell in Canberra, Australia on Sunday. I know the Boilermakers Basketball team is playing Down Under. I hope they are staying warm or close to Etan Moore who has been on fire all this week. Have a great day and bring on the snow!


Brow said...

lol...(insert picture here)...

Just a few sprinkles and a bunch of clouds right now in Monticello.

Anonymous said...

Nothing here in Lafayette it is really beautiful out there a few clouds are starting to move in but no rain! We have a real slim chance.

Justin in Lafayette.