Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Snow Spotted on Mars & Wet Flakes May Fly Above Lafayette

Snow was spotted falling just above the Martian surface today. Check out the latest news from NASA! This has me doing a snow dance and excited for snow here in Lafayette. This moring I felt I was on a different planet with a thick fog overtaking many areas and school delays. My kids were climbing the walls. I do not see a repeat of this on Wednesday morning with added cloud cover and increased wind speeds. But it is a reminder that snow days and the picture you see above will be coming to a neighborhood near you before you know it. Check out the answer to our blog question of the day below....meanwhile on Mars,

-- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds. Spacecraft soil experiments also have provided evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water, processes that occur on Earth. A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars has detected snow from clouds about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) above the spacecraft's landing site. Data show the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground. "Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars," said Jim Whiteway, of York University, Toronto, lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. "We'll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground."

You can read the rest of the NASA article at this link: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/news/phoenix-20080929.html

...You do not have to go to Mars to experience snow falling above the ground....here in Lafayette we have a rapidly lowering freezing level and by later today it will be down to about 6,500 feet. With rain showers possible tomorrow in the afternoon we could see some wet snowflakes hold together to about 3,500 feet above the Wabash River before they melt. The picture above shows a towering cloud over Lafayette. This is a good indication of cold air aloft moving overhead. The air rises quickly when it is heated in this situation and you can get these ominous, dark clouds to build in an instant. While we usually do not see thunderstorms in this set-up, these clouds can produce brief rain showers. Once the wind picks up and switches more to the north and northwest by tomorrow expect an increased shot at seeing some rain showers. The wind will also start to pick up on Wednesday so make sure to have the wind breakers and umbrellas handy! Make sure to tune in tonight we have a lot to talk about. Your October weather outlook will also be out of this world if you like lots of variety and I will make sure to post it on here tomorrow.

Blog Question of the Day: When does Lafayette usually see its first snowflakes?

Sooner than you think. We have our first snowflakes on average in just over 4 weeks or the beginning of November. I am carefully watching snow cover on the increase across northern Canada. The more snow this area receives this time of year the better our chances for a cold and snowy winter and for an early snowfall! I am still liking our chances of having a good November snowstorm.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cool air rushes in and rain moves out!

Well excitement on Live Doppler 18 but not for us....

I will make sure to post last night's rainfall on here and talk about our big cool down as September's finish is a tease to what we can expect in October!

Real Autum Weather Set to Move In!

Yes! I am still moving and survived the Boilerman 2008! It was quite an experience completing my first triathlon and I was just honored to be in the company of so many great collegiate athletes. They taught me a thing or two and certainly kept me going when the going got tough. I actually think I fired them up even more with many racing at close to 20 mph on average for 23 miles on the biking part of the race. I was proud of my 17.5 mph pace without any fancy shoes or equipment. The running part I felt most comfortable with of course but running around Ross-Ade Stadium yesterday about 2 hours into the Boilerman it started heating up, especially running uphill. I had flashbacks to my marathon in Jacksonville and played off that experience just to keep my legs moving. Prayer helped immensely and I also thought enough is enough, we need real autumn weather. It was hot out there! Well it looks like we all have survived this unusually warm weather because sure enough real autumn weather is on the way. Get out the sweatshirts and jackets!

You will also need the umbrellas, but I am not talking gloom and doom in the forecast like many others have been. I know this because when I go grocery shopping, take my kids to school, and run other errands I must here about 10 different forecasts every day. I do not mind this because it helps me fine-tune my own forecast and to relate even better to you when I go on the newscasts during the evening and late news to clear things up and to bring you the latest and most up to date forecast. Remember our new model runs come in at about 2 p.m. every day.Well after hearing things and I am sure it was not from News Channel 18, some folks are even talking about storm chasing today. Well here are the facts.....I am not expecting severe weather and I would save the gas and not go storm chasing. I do expect another line of showers and thunderstorms to form between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The main threats will be lightning, heavy downpours, wind gusts to 40 mph, and maybe small hail. We had a few showers punch through the area already and it looks like most of the heating which will feed these storms will be much more significant south of Interstate 70. Those areas could see an isolated strong storm or two but it will be marginal at best.

But while we are talking severe weather you have to keep in mind that October and November here in the Midwest have been known for severe weather. We will talk more about this here on the blog this week and of course keep you updated with showers and thunderstorms. It will be fun just to track rain once again on Live Doppler 18! Send in some umbrella pictures and rainfall amounts. See you soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Never-Ending Summer Hangs on for the Weekend

Who makes the decision to close pools so early? Every year we run into this problem. We have plenty of good swimming weather for much of September and we even had some 90 degree weather last year during the first part of October. Well it is that time of year again. We need to head out to the store to at least find a kiddie pool to fill up with water. Pools may be tough to find between all the stockings, sweaters, and Christmas ornaments so allow extra time. Soon it will be tough to find a bathing suits any time after July since the holiday shopping season comes earlier every year. You could always get a jump start on Easter shopping. We found out about those confused Easter Lilies blooming earlier in the week here on the blog. If that is not enough, how about the giant mushroom above that is actually the size of a basketball. This was sent in to me anonymously from White County. I guess this is what happens when you have the wettest start to September in 16 years followed by one of our driest finishes to the month ever. This month has been about big things that is for sure. We started with the big rains and that has given way to more "big" weather streaks that will continue as we head into this weekend. Today will be our eighth straight day of 80 degrees or above. Here at WLFI it will also be our 11th consecutive day without rain. It will also be the 98th consecutive day we have lost daylight. Today is a big day because we will actually have less than 12 hours of daylight for the first time since the Spring. We have a sunrise at 7:39 a.m. and a sunset at 7:37 p.m. This means we are now losing more energy to space than receiving incoming energy from the sun. Eventually this will catch up to us allowing chilly air to build to our North. So yes all our big weather streaks will be coming to an end before you know it.

Notice the parade of storms in the Gulf of Alaska and Northwest Canada. This will eventually dislodge some real autumn weather that will move our way by the middle of next week. There is a bit of a log jam in the atmosphere due to Tropical Storm Kyle that has formed in the Atlantic. This could still form into a category one hurricane as it pushes up toward northern New England and Nova Scotia. Check out the latest track.

If you notice the satellite picture there are actually two blockbuster storms holding up the pattern. One storm will hit the Carolinas today with flooding rain. It is a hybrid system that formed from an old frontal boundary. Originally it did have a few more tropical characteristics. Right now it has more extratropical characteristics so it will not be named. The big difference between the hybrid system and Kyle is its highest winds are located well away from the center of the storm as evidenced by wind gusts near 60 mph in Norfolk, Virginia. Some other reasons why it will not be named: The thunderstorms are not organized around the main center of low pressure like we see with tropical systems. Instead of sinking air and a warm core at its center like we see with Kyle, the Carolina storm has rising air at its center due to its cooler center and that is why it is called a cold core system. So my hats off to the National Hurricane Center on not naming this thing. They do name "subtropical systems" but the Carolina storm has become just a cold core system or mid-latitude cyclone (extratropical system) based on all the latest data and satellite images. The Carolina storm and Kyle will provide a one-two punch that will keep our weather here at home really nice and will slow down a cold front that will bring us our next chance of rain late Sunday. I will have more on this of course tonight, including your big Friday Night Frenzy forecast and big changes to our weather as we head into October! Also good luck to all those partaking in the BOILERMAKER TRIATHLON. I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU OUT THERE ON SUNDAY! WOOHOO! It is my first one and it will just be great getting out there and going all out. Have a great day and weekend!

The blog song of the day: It Never Rains in Southern California in honor of our California weather pattern here in Lafayette, Indiana.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time to get out the Tierras if You Like Warm Weather

Happy Birthday to my sister Shelli Krings. You see her front and center above with my god daughter Isabella on the left and my Wisconsin Mom on the right. There is no need to attach in-law to Shelli's name. Shelli has been a big part of the Prangley family and I am not sure where we would be without her. Well, in a lot of trouble that is for sure. She deserves a month long celebration! She is from the best generation in my book.....GENERATION X! Yesterday she actually turned 40 and told me it was the best thing that ever happened. This gives me plenty of hope since I turn 40 next year. She loved the nice warm weather on her birthday. She lives in Wisconsin and many times her birthday is the unofficial start to winter, but not this year. So I am glad I came through for her and since this was a belated blog birthday wish the least I can do is send more pleasant weather her way through the weekend. After all Shelli is the Queen of Warm Weather. That is right, Shelli got out the tierra yesterday to celebrate the weather and her birthday. I will post that great picture here on the blog shortly. I told her she can keep the tierra out for a few more days until the King of Cold hits the Midwest late next week in the form of a vicious cold front. Tonight we will take a look at a satellite picture at where the King is holding court. In the coming years the Queen of Warm may want to move South if she likes warm weather on her birthday.

You see a NOAA picture of the sun and they held a special press conference on Tuesday in its honor. The sun's solar wind is the weakest it has been since it was first measured in the 1960s or close to when Shelli was born and sunspot activity is the quietest it has been in 100 years. This favors warm hats and snow shovels and not tierras. Here are the bullet points to remember:

1) The NASA spacecraft Ulysses measured the temperature and pressure of the solar wind which was 30% less. This means the edge of our solar system or the Heliosphere has been weakened. This usually shields us from cosmic gamma rays. This means we will have increased gamma radiation bombarding our solar system. No, it does not mean the end of the world but here is what it does mean.

2) This increased radiation means we will have more nucleation taking place in the atmosphere or more condensation nucleii for raindrops to form on. This would mean an increase in cloud cover on earth bringing increased storms and this of course would bring cooler temperatures.

3) Even though NASA did not admit this it could bring subtle changes to our weather in the near future and much bigger changes in decades to come. Harsher winters would become more commonplace and if you look at the history of the earth we do have cycles of much cooler weather periods with direct links to exactly how the sun is behaving. When we have less solar radiation reaching the earth and a solar minimum with little or no sunspots watch out. I am not saying we have another Little Ice Age on the way, but certainly a downturn in our temperatures.

4) Space weather and sunspots will be new buzzwords in the future when it comes to forecasting the weather, but for now we are just learning about this important connection. As I tell kids in my school talks....all our weather is caused by and begins with the sun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wallabee Weather Pattern Wows Lafayette!

Meet Bennie! He is the new ambassador for the Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette. I was honored to spend some time with him. It is amazing how graceful wallabees actually can be. Bennie must think he is back in the Outback of Australia with all of these sunny, dry, warm days. Australia of course is more like a desert climate. Here in Lafayette it has been a bit like Oz. When folks are not being bitten by the pirate bugs they are signing their checks July 24th instead of September 24th. This is because we have had 5 consecutive days of 80 or above. This warm string could reach 9 days in a row by Saturday which is significant. It would be our longest warm spell of 80 degrees or above this late in the season since 1991. That was the year we had 8.2 inches of snow for the entire winter. Do not worry I do not expect a repeat of that this year. Also, autumn has not been canceled. That is the hot rumor around town. Well let me put that fire out right now. This weather poem I shared last night at 11 p.m. on the weathercast tells the real story.

It's a summer rewind with autumn hard to find.
Our weather is perfect for a wallabee but remember
next week it could turn frosty!

The longer we stay this unsually warm the more impressive our first autumn blast of the season will be. Like a rubber band, nature likes to snap things back in order and sometimes it is a big snap if our weather has been stretched to its limits. Some maps are actually showing possible snow showers for the upper peninsula of Michigan by the middle of next week. We also may see our first frost here at home in our viewing area by later next week if the clouds clear out and high pressure builds in as expected. This would help kill those pirate bugs and finally give us some real autumn weather. But for today, as they say in Australia get out the sunnies (sunglasses), put the sangers in the esky (sandwhiches in the cooler) and have a great picnic with no worries! We will not say hoo roo (goodbye) to this pattern until late weekend and next week. There is some concern about the East Coast being swamped with flooding and a possible hurricane. Some long-range models try to bring rain into Indiana this weekend. I will have the latest on this tonight and your Feast of the Hunter's Moon forecast. Have a great day mate!


Since there are many autumn weather lovers that are really feeling a bit down right now with no real leaves to enjoy here at home or any semblance of fall weather, here is a link to view some beautiful leaves popping out in the Northeast. I do miss New England autumns and was very fortunate to enjoy scenes like these when I was in college. Lyndonville, Vermont recorded a low of 29 on Tuesday morning so it is another reminder that autumn is not far away. We are just waiting on the tropics to do their thing and a jet stream to usher in our new season. This should help you through the next few days.

Pirate Bugs Big Bites The Only Sign of Autumn

Photograph was taken by Ashley Blissitt in Fowler, Indiana in the midst of cornfields and windmills. She took this picture because she believes these windmills are an important innovation to help the environment.

I could not agree more Ashley. This picture pretty much sums up how we finished out summer and our auspicious start to autumn. It also portends a bright future forecast if we can continue to produce our own energy in this country.

The weather pattern has been outstanding we have had four consecutive days above 80 degrees here at WLFI and eight straight days without a drop of rain. It has been a bit humid but nothing we cannot handle. So you would expect our weather team to have no complaints to speak of! Wrong! There are these little black bugs with a million teeth that really hurt bad according to residents from Monon to Frankfort. I felt their big bite when I was out mowing my grass on Saturday. The culprits are called flower bugs or pirate bugs. They usually come out this time of year and can inflict a lot of pain even if they are on the size of pinheads. They are usually our first real sign of autumn before the first real cold snap or frost hits.They are like the Pirates of the Carribean or in this case the pirates of Indiana because they like swarming around small insects, spider mites, and insect eggs. They actually feed off the eggs of corn earworm, tomato fruitflies, soybean aphid populations, and many other types of mites. If there is a positive they are a huge help to farmers and they keep the crops much healthier during the next few weeks of harvesting. This year's pirate bug population is booming thanks to all the rain we have had this summer. Our summer rainfall came out between 2.5" and 3.0" above average in Tippecanoe County with amounts of up to 5 inches above average in spots. They usually do not pose any danger to humans other than the pain and a sometimes a little swelling. You can try using bug spray but the pirate bugs will still bite you sometimes no matter what. They are rebels. So remember the only thing you can do is cover up which is tough when it is in the 80s and I think we could stay at 80 or above all the way through Saturday. So when I tell you to get out the shorts it may come with a price. At least I warned you and the good news is that these pests will usually be a thing of the past once we get our first good cold snap which is only a couple weeks away.

Speaking of cold and autumn. We do have plenty of cold weather during autumn so enjoy the bugs and 80s while you can. Here was last night's weather question we answered. It gave me goosebumps I was so excited. Jeff Smith and Sue Scott did get this right and that is Lafayette averages 4.3 inches of snow in the autumn. Do you remember the big 6 to 10 inch snow we had in October of 1989? This year I am still liking a possible record snow in November. We had 5.4 inches of snow in November of 1955. The middle 1950s have matched up quite well with what has transpired here in Indiana over the past 18 months. I am not guaranteeing this, but you heard it here first!! Man, I just laughed really loud.....kind of scary. Maybe I should get some sleep. We just never let our guard down in autumn, ever! We have measurable snow about once every three years during October. I am still leaning toward a White Thanksgiving but only time will tell.

Check back later today for the latest on Easter Lilies blooming in September and corn growing out of sewers. I am not sure what nature is trying to tell us but I am getting another weird feeling about this winter!! LOL....Here is a nice note from the Yoders.

Attached two pictures we recently took...Easter lily is in our back yard in Dayton and the corn stalk growing out of the storm drain is on Route 231, west of Purdue Campus. Isn't it interesting Easter lilies blooming in September and a corn stalk growing out of a storm drain?
Pat & Lee Yoder

Okay.....has anyone check on Earl the Squirrel in Kentland? I am curious that is all. Oh before I forget here is the corn in the sewer....possible Stephen King sequel to Children of the Corn?

Need I say more...I will...have a great day and I will be back!

Your Blog Song of the Day: MY SHARONA......well its tie in is that it is from the movie REALITY BITES....AND IF YOU ARE NOT COVERED UP OUTSIDE IT CERTAINLY DOES! I need sleep now. Enjoy the Knack from 1979 which was also the year of a big October snowstorm in Bowie, Maryland.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall Y'all!! A Great Start to A New Season

The Prangleys' already have the pots and pans out ready to bang. This is how we bring in the new seasons and of course Ground Hog Day and yes we will all go out to dinner. The autumn equinox is here! This is only one of two days when the sun's direct rays pass over the equator at high noon. Equinox means "equal nights". Why then do we have more than 12 hours of daylight? Today we actually have 12 hours and 9 minutes of daylight. There are two reasons for this. First of all, the sun's rays are bent or refracted as they pass through our paper thin atmosphere. We see the sun before it rises because of this and after it really sets. The definition of a sunrise and sunset also can throw our perfect balance of daylight out of whack. If you look at the definition it states that the sunset takes place when the top of the sun's disc touches the horizon, not its center. A sunrise is also defined as when the top of the sun's disc reaches the horizon. Since we are not talking about the center point this can also cause our equal days and nights to not be so equal this time of year. The amazing part is that once you get to the Arctic Circle, they will not have their equal nights until the first week of October. Here in Lafayette we have our first real equal day and night or as close as it will get to being equal on September 25th. Our sunrise will be at 7:38 a.m. and the sun will say goodnight at 7:39 p.m.

This is one of two myths I am dispelling on tonight's newscast. You will have to tune in at 11 p.m. to see if Niccole can balance an egg on the equinox. You see above that Abbey did not have much luck above before I came in to work. Did I need to teach her a trick? The answer is no. The egg trick on the equinox is a hoax. If you cannot balance an egg on the equinox you cannot do it any time of year. Niccole found that out on the set and we had fun with it! The earth points straight up this time of year with respect to the sun. This 90 degree angle does not mean there is no tilt which in fact would impact gravity. The truth of the matter is the earth has the same tilt throughout the year. It just happens that we have more direct sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer than the winter becaus of the earth's orbit around the sun. This 23.5 degree tilt of the earth on its axis is what gives us our seasons and this does not change. Now if you want to balance an egg, here is what you do. Wet the bottom of it and get a little salt. This should make the egg stand up, but now you know it certainly has nothing to do with the equinox. Now I am hungry for an omelette!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summer Goes Out with a Bang, But Nothing Too Bad!!

Just checking in....no show until at least 11 p.m. tonight but we have had some interesting weather on the last full day of summer....HUGE RAINDROPS at my house while the sun was shining...plenty of humidity to boot. It has been a summer with only 7 days of 90 or above but today was plenty warm with above average temperatures. We will see a few isolated thunderstorms pop up and they should quickly die out this evening. These are pulse thunderstorms which means they pop up and move very little and then quickly rain themselves out. So be careful of PONDING OF WATER ON THE ROADWAYS AND SMALL PEA SIZE HAIL.....Those will continue to be the main threats...I have not picked up a great deal of lightning but of course we always remember those lightning safety rules. No need for cut-ins at this point....enjoy the football game and if anything changes I will check back.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Perfect Fair Weather System in Time for Summer's End


Lindy Karberg sends in a sailboat picture on Lake Freeman where the boating is great and the catfish are really biting!

I know you are asking why I would be blogging in the wee hours of Friday morning with no rain in the forecast the rest of the month and if anybody does see any rain they will be very lucky. Well, when you have the best viewers and bloggers one could ask for you do go the extra mile. Lindy's picture above and nice note really fired me up and I got my second and third wind. I give Lindy and you credit for this but I do admit that when the weather is tranquil outside that is the time to really analyze things long-range here in Indiana. I am even busier when the weather is quiet outside so that you will be ready when that big elephant of a weather change shows up in your backyard. It's Indiana not California so this will not last and as I said on the air I am so happy I am not a meteorologist in California. Their weather would drive me nuts! Indiana weather is one of a kind and even brings out the poet in me as you see above that tells the weather story. It is a start....I am not Bill Murray on Ground Hog Day just yet but give it a little time. I have always wanted to go to Punxsutawney and do a weather report from there. Maybe this will be my year. I will keep practicing the poetry and pray for a blizzard!

Who can sleep when Richard sends in this great Harvest moon picture. Attica was lit up like a golden jewel with this bright moonlight on Thursday night. Richard Beedle also said it even had some nice red tinges to it. I think Kasatochi and the Earth's tilt this time of year are working wonders just like we discussed here on the blog. If you like this picture we can expect 11 more in a row like it. That is right 11 more fine nights. Phil Collins eat your heart out! Give me 11 more nights...11 more nights! I think it is time for a dedication.

Now that we are singing I also wanted to thank you for all your e-mails and phone calls about what the dominant color of this year's woolly worms have been. Here are the latest caterpillar polls as of 12 a.m. on Friday morning. We have projected the darker woolly worms the winner in one of the biggest comebacks ever. There are a couple counties that are too close to call, but again here are the numbers and projected winners!


This means we will have a snowier and colder winter! Now, drum roll please.....what does the science tell you. Well everybody knows that I am a huge snowlover and would love to talk about snow waist high by time Santa does his fly-by. I may get my wish of a White Christmas after all but we all learned plenty of lessons in the winter of 2000-01 and these lessons may be repeated this year. The change in the long-range maps are being caused by anamolous weather taking place in the North Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. The world markets and ocean water temperatures have both collapsed and certainly trended downward and a neutral to weak la nina winter is looking more likely. There is nobody to bail us out of this one, not even the U.S. government.

Last winter we had a strong la nina so it will be a different winter. I think we go cold early with our biggest shot of snow in December and maybe early January. I wouldn't mind another New Year's Blizzard. But here's the thing......even with the developments across the globe I am holding firm to my original forecast of above average temperatures this winter and slightly below average snowfall. As I look at weak La Nina's from yesteryear that match up with this year 4 out of those 6 good matches produced snowfall that was below average including a tear-jerker of a year in 1971-72 with only 14.4 inches. We can and will do a little better than that snow geese. Here is what I can feed you. Those weak La Nina years all averaged out to 19.56 inches of snow and this is a perfect match with my original forecast of 19 inches of snow.

What I do see in my crystal ball is we may have more than half of this snow before we even ring in 2009. It will be interesting to see. Also, if we can squeeze out a blizzard I do think this total will be closer to the 30 inches we saw in the weak La Nina of 1974-75. Mary Anne in Remington will never forget this scene in Remington after the great blizzard of 2007. The great memories oh yes!

I cannot wait to blog with everybody this winter and our new morning meteorologist Stephanie Davis absolutely loves snow as well. She will be on the air in the near future and she will be a perfect fit on our weather team. Brian Wolfe our weekend guy is also a snow hound so between the three of us and Live Doppler 18 this winter you could not be covered any better than that. Now bring on the snow cover!!

But not this weekend, I would have too many people after me. There is no pressure or anything. We only have the Heart Walk, Purdue game, Hunger Hike, Art on the Wabash, the Apple Popcorn Fest, and soccer games. This is the short list. Oh I did not include all of those garage sales that were canceled last weekend being held this weekend! You can thank my wife Julie and the perfect fair weather system building across much of the country thanks to the jet stream lifting well up into Canada. This is not all too unusual for this time of year, but what makes it incredible is the huge turnaround in our weather. We have had rain one out of every two days so far in September and already doubled our rain days we saw in August. But this dry spell will rival one we saw during the drought of 2007. This should keep us dry through at least the beginning of next weekend and the good news is that the Feast of the Hunters' Moon is now looking drier rather than wetter. I will have more on this tonight and go live from a special football venue so make sure to join us. It will be a lot of fun, AS ALWAYS!! Thanks for being there and reading. I will see you soon.

Woolly Worms Turn to the Dark Side On a Beautiful Summer's Day

Now remember I always keep that glass half full and do not want to scare anybody. But the winter weather saga has just got a whole lot more interesting based on the latest signs from nature and science. The worms are pulling a Darth Vader on us. Last week our woolly worm update had a ratio of 80% to 20% light to dark worms. Now it has flip-flopped. I cannot believe how many dark worms are coming out of the wood work. If you add it all up it is now close to 50% light striped caterpillars to 50% dark striped which is about where we were last winter. We all remember where that got us last year. We had 40 plus inches of snow and a top 5 year for most snow in a season.

This big news coincides with new Climate Prediction Center long-range maps that are showing more of a neutral to slight La Nina winter. The sun is quiet, volcanoes are erupting, and the cold air is building to the north much earlier than average. The big blue area to the north is showing temperatures cold enough to support snow and they may just get an early season snowstorm this weekend in much of Central and Northern Canada. This cold air that is building up could reach us as a frost by October 1st! This is my wife's birthday. I will make sure to keep her warm and I will have to buy her much more than just chocolates and flowers, especially after a forecast like this. Well, she deserves more regardless is what I am trying to say.

This is the science telling us that the scales are starting to tip to the snowier and colder. I knew our winter forecast would not be set in stone until late October. Does this mean my original idea of a milder than average winter with below average snowfall is in jeopardy? I am working diligently on this today. I do know that being hit hard early in the winter is right on track and our chances of a White Christmas are at 75% instead of 50%. I will let you know what Santa will be putting in our weather stockings with more answers later today. HO, HO, HO! In the meantime enjoy another gorgeous day. I will give the credit to my wife for all this nice weather. She is the reason for the sunshine in my life!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Volcanic Sunsets and Lava Moonrises Dominate Weather

What a weird pattern! It is a feast or famine pattern out there. We go from a record-setting rainfall in parts of our area to maybe not a drop of rain until NEXT WEEKEND! I know....it must be the Feast of the Hunters Moon. I call it the Feast jinx. I have forecast this event for the past 10 years and every year seems like a challenge I think we have had rain or storms at least 70% of the time. This could still change and for my sake it better but the long-range maps are showing a strong cold front sweeping through the area next weekend with severe weather and then giving way to a frost just in time for October. It should be interesting. The theme for today is just enjoy the next couple of weeks before this big change. Our skies will also be on fire in the evening and at night. Since we learned on the blog yesterday the moon likes hanging close to the horizon look for a brilliant lava moonrise tonight at 8:45 p.m. This should be preceeded by a volcanic sunset at 7:48 p.m. You can thank Kasatochi! That is right a volcano in Alaska should take some credit. The picture above was taken by the one and only Paul Hadfield near Decatur, Illinois and he even noticed how our sky seemed to have an extra bright glow. This volcano erupted back in August and it gave off a huge volcanic ash cloud about twice the size of Alaska. Take a look at the picture below. It looks like a regular satellite picture but the Alaska Volcano Observatory has a special type of satellite that only picks out how these volcanic aerosols have been dispersed in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

This volcanic cloud located over 60,000 feet high has already been blocking out some sunlight which in effect has had a slight cooling effect on the earth, mainly in the Northern Hemisphere. This is nothing like we saw in 1991 with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo when the cooling across the earth lasted for almost 2 years. This time around it will be less than a year and have a much more moderate effect. With that said, this will still be a factor in our upcoming winter forecast. My snowy December is looking better and better and it may even be colder than first thought. These upper-level particles also act to scatter the sunlight reaching our eyes. Since the sunlight travels through a thicker atmosphere be on the outlook for an increase in breath-taking sunsets and moonrises. I will leave the snow out for now!

Since I am all fired up after my run today I want to keep our fiery theme going and sure enough I found a way to keep our glass half full. This year I have nicknamed the year of the storm, but all this late summer rain will actually help us see more brilliant shades of red and orange. Let's take a look at why. Well remember the process of photosynthesis is possible thanks to the substance chlorophyll which gives the leaves a green color. Photosynthesis converts sunlight plus carbon dioxide plus water and produces sugar and oxygen. It is the sugar that fuels life. Remember cholorphyll production starts to slow down as we start losing daylight and when those colder fall air masses make it into Indiana. These hormonal changes in the tree slows down photosynthesis and the production of sugars. While yellow leaves remain a constant every year it is the red and orange leaf displays that can vary immensely from year to the next. These colors are produced by the amount of sugars remaining in the leaves. The more sugar the better! The two main factors controlling the sugars are temperature and precipitation. Cool temperatures slow the uptake of sugars by the branches so that more remains in the leaves. So you want crisp, chilly nights as we head into early autumn. Precipitation is necessary to produce these color-enhancing sugars in the first place so you also want plenty of late summer rainfall. This will provide the most spectacular displays of orange and red in the maples, sumacs, and dogwoods.

This time around you will not have to depend on what the woolly bear is telling you. Just tune in to WLFI. I cannot tell you to make those reservations in Parke County because this will be one of the absolute best displays in years but at least we are on the right track for one. It does look like we have the right ingredients lining up so far this year with late summer rainfall giving way to an early frost and crisp, clear nights by early October. It is the rest of October I am worried about. It could turn much warmer before the cold hits hard by Halloween. We will see how it all times out! Either way we should see the peak of at least some fiery leaves between October 17th and 24th this year. Check back on the blog on Thursday for a woolly worm and winter update. I have an update that snow-lovers may like a whole lot. Things are a changing!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lots to Howl About in Time for the Harvest Moon

The harvest moon is known as one of the biggest and brightest full moons of the year. We have a moonrise at 8:18 p.m. The moon was officially full this morning and what makes it look different to us is caused by two things this time of year. Since we are now closing in on the autumn equinox the earth's orbit around the sun is at more of an angle with respect to the horizon. So this causes our moonrises to be closer to one another this time of year. Instead of a moonrise about 45 minutes later on each successive night, the moon rises about 25 to 30 minutes later every night. This allows the farmers to harvest the corn, beans, pumpkins, and other crops more efficiently.The second reason this moon has a different look is because of the seasonal tilt of the earth. The moon actually stays closer to the horizon which in turn scatters more moonlight through a greater depth of the atmosphere. This reaches our eyes in the longer wavelength forms of red and orange. So this moon is noted to be much more colorful.Tonight will be a good night to check it out! Take some pictures and send them in! I will share it with you at 11 p.m. I will see you soon! We will also take a look at the areas that have already had a year's worth of rainfall, how rivers are doing up north, and why this pattern is here to stay! Plenty to howl about!

Winamac will have its second wettest year on record dating back to 1897 if they receive their average amount of rainfall here on out. There record rainfall is at 50 inches set back in the great flood year of 1993. This year they are on pace to receive 50 inches. Here in Lafayette we are also on a torrid pace. Check out the almanac below.

In Lafayette we have had an extra 3.8 billion gallons of water deluge the area. I am surprised we have not turned into the sixth Great Lake. The record rainfall for Lafayette was set back in 1909 when we had 55.09 inches. I do not think we break this record but never say never! I want to thank Alan Black at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center for all his help on these numbers. They are always a great resource. Now the good news is that we are heading for the silver lining in the clouds. I will talk more about this on the news including great news for the flooded areas near Rensselaer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We Dodge the Worst of Ike! Area Rivers in Good Shape

It could have been a whole lot worse. We just happened to be in the perfect place as the eye of what once was hurricane Ike went over Tippecanoe County. The worst of the flooding stayed to our northwest and the worst of the wind was to our southeast. Historic rain amounts hit Chicago with 6.64" recorded on Saturday which was their heaviest one day rain since records have been kept in 1871. Overall some areas were close to 10 inches of total rainfall. The dark purple and white areas above were in the 8 to 10 inch range for total rainfall. This is almost a summer's worth of rain in one weekend! This easily could have been us! Thanks for sparing us Ike. Here are a few local rainfall amounts closer to home and there were a couple area really walloped in Newton and Jasper Counties.

Notice those wind-whipped and soaked banana trees below in Buck Creek yesterday. Melissa Parrish said her banana trees felt right at home in this weather. Those dewpoints certainly were very tropical yesterday helping to produce rain that was moving sideways. Thanks Melissa!

The best news of all is that the water levels are not even close to where they were in January and even though Carpenter Creek was out of its banks in Remington there were no reports of major flooding. The areas hardest hit seemed to be Rensselaer and the Kentland and Goodland areas per Mary Anne in Remington (The "Best" weather network) with plenty of basements full of water. The good news is that the Wabash and Tippecanoe are in good shape with most of the rain falling outside the Wabash Watershed. The only river "flooding" crest I could find in our viewing area will be on the Iroqouis River in Rensselaer with a crest of 12.7 feet expected on Tuesday which is only .7 feet above the flood stage of 12 feet. So we can all breathe a sigh of relief!

Here are some storm stories from where you live. I appreciate all of your e-mails. The news is much more positive than it was in January.


Not nearly as bad as January! We drove back from Akron, IN near Rochester on highway 14 and 41 this evening. No high water issues on those roads in Newton County. The Iroquois is on the rise but most of the water has not reached Newton Co. yet. An August with 1.49 inches of rain allow much of this rainfall to soak in. My local gauge is the “Kent Ditch” in Kentland and it reached approximately ½ the level of Jan. Did not attempt to travel county roads but no one I spoke on the phone indicated flooding issues. No news is good news!

John (Kentland)

So...so far...Rensselaer seems the worst with Kentland/Goodland following in and I'm still only pumping seepage that's coming in and pumping out and praying that it never starts to build up to cause any furnace or water heater damage. Kathy said their water is up over the slab their furnace sits on already.
Just talked to Kathy Laffoon and they've got both pumps going and she said their water in the basement is up to the first step.

Mary Anne (Remington)

The news was not so good once you got up into the Munster area in Indiana and back into northern Illinois. Here are some places to avoid if you are traveling northwest today.

Here in Lafayette I will never forget seeing the eye of Ike pass over. You can make it out above. It is highlighted in yellow with a half-circle right over Lafayette. Our wind gusts actually died down from 20 to 25 mph out ahead of the center of Ike to near calm conditions for about 25 minutes as its former eye went over. Then as Ike moved by the wind gusts picked up to 40 to 45 mph on the backside. This is pretty impressive considering how much land it has traveled over and it was hard to believe this eye of Ike once helped kick up a 130 mph wind gust in its eye wall on Galveston Island. Even more exciting to me was that this weather system began just off the coast of Africa and it made it all the way into our backyards. It is something you just do not see too often here in the Midwest. Areas to Ike's northwest saw plenty of flooding over the weekend so even though it was a meteorological phenomenon it has also caused dangerous flooding with at least one fatality reported in Porter County in Indiana. Here is the latest on the flooding situation from INDOT.

Sept. 14, 2008, 10:05 p.m.

INDOT Announces Area Highways Closed Due to High Water

Northern Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces some highways in northern Indiana are closed due to high water. INDOT crews and Indiana State Police are on the scene redirecting traffic.

The following roads are currently closed:

I-80/94 between U.S. 41 (Calumet Avenue) and State Road 152 (Cline Avenue) in Lake County
Detour: Eastbound I-80/94 - NB Calumet Ave. to EB Cline Ave. back to I-80/94; Westbound I-80/94 – WB Cline Ave. to SB Calumet Ave. back to I-80/94.
Alternate: Indiana Toll Road (I-90)

State Road 2 between I-65 and U.S. 231 in Lake County

State Road 51 between U.S. 6 and Fairview in Lake Station, Lake County

State Road 53 between 101st and 93rd in Crown Point, Lake County

Eastbound lanes of U.S. 30 between State Road 2 and Seger Road in Porter County

State Road 149 between U.S. 6 and 600 North in Porter County

U.S. 6 between State Road 149 and Meridian Road in Porter County

Motorists in these areas should seek an alternate route. INDOT crews and ISP are on scene to redirect traffic around the closures in addition to signage.

Due to the heavy rainfalls over the past few days many state, city and county roads have water on the roadway and shoulders. When possible these areas are marked with “High Water” signage. When encountering a flooded roadway, INDOT urges drivers to remember “Turn around, don’t drown.” According to the National Weather Service, most flooding deaths occur in automobiles. Six inches of standing water is enough to cause passenger cars to stall and a foot of water will float many vehicles.

Flood warnings will continue until 11 a.m. EDT for Newton, Jasper, and Benton Counties today but could last much longer for areas back in Illinois and extreme northern Indiana.

It was Ike's one-two punch as it moved through the Midwest yesterday. Not only was there plenty of flooding but it turned into a fierce wind storm due to a very low pressure which dipped to 29.21 inches in Lafayette which was the lowest in the state. This caused the wind to speed up as it was forced to rush toward its center to keep equilibrium in the atmosphere. Check out our wind gusts here in Indiana below. Notice we once again got off lucky here in Lafayette.

Notice the tree down on the power line in the picture above. Here is another storm story from where you live yesterday.

We were all taking a great Sunday afternoon nap, when we heard a nice thud outside. Our daughter, Abbie, came running into to let us know that part of the tree was broken, and it had landed on the electric line. Of course, rainy day nap was ruined, but we got lots of pictures! Annie Shaw---Attica

Thanks Annie! I also have an Abbey and she likes to come running to me also when there are big weather events going on. I am glad everybody is safe in Attica after a 50 mph wind gust was recorded. We were very lucky compared to areas to the south with near hurricane force gusts outside of thunderstorms recorded in Seymour. Louisville had about a quarter million folks without power yesterday with 81 mph wind gusts. The amazing part was it was sunny outside as shingles and siding were ripped from homes. Hurricane force wind gusts were also recorded in Lebanon, Ohio. They recorded a 78 mph wind gust with Wilmington, Ohio not far behind with a 77 mph wind gust. Many folks in the Midwest felt like they were being hit with a category one hurricane at times yesterday that is for sure!

Blog question of the day: Did the Blizzard of 2007 or Tropical Depression Ike have a lower pressure when it moved through Indiana? (answer on the news)

What a memorable day Sunday was but remember Ike was twice the normal size of a hurricane and even though it has weakened it will still play a big role in our weather this week with some of the coolest weather of the season. Tune in today for the latest on this with Weather Team 18 and I will also have the latest on how Ike stacked up with previous tropical systems to impact Lafayette and how long some of this much-needed drier weather will last. Thanks again for all your pictures. I will keep posting as many as I can below.
At one time yesterday it did look like a blizzard when the rain was falling so hard as Justin confirmed. Mary Anne in Remington recorded a rainfall rate of 2.66 inches per hour. Incredible! It will be one I will always remember and I am glad I got to spend it with such wonderful viewers and bloggers. Have a wonderful Monday and stay warm!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ike Races at 70 mph Through Area, Wind Threat Continues

Weather Team 18 Alert: A Flood Warning is in effect until 5 p.m. EDT for Newton, Jasper, and Benton Counties. Many of these areas have had two to five inches of rain. No more heavy rain is expected in these areas but some street and lowland flooding is being reported in the Kentland area. A Wind Advisory continues until 8 p.m. for Carroll, Warren, Tippcanoe, Clinton, Howard, Fountain, Montgomery, Miami, and Fulton Counties. Wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph can be expected at times creating tough driving conditions. Watch for tree limbs on area roadways.

What a day it has been. It is not often you watch a tropical system like Ike move through your neighborhood at 70 mph. The good news is that the heavy rain is over, but gusts to 50 mph are still possible between now and 8 p.m. Take some pictures of those tree limbs and rainy fields and I will make an Ike archive for you. We will also talk about some 65 mph wind gusts reported in southern Indiana tonight at 11 p.m. on the news and who had nearly 5 inches of rain in our viewing area. My wife has a ham and potatoes for me! This is a perfect way to celebrate Ike. I am glad everybody stayed safe and sound and I do think we will be okay on all area rivers and waterways with the exception of areas near the Kankeekee River. I will check more into this and have an update this evening.

What was Once Ike's Eyewall Brings Torrential Rain

I have to admit I do have some goosebumps as Ike's center is moving over us. Ike once had an eye of 60 miles in diameter which is incredibly huge. Now instead of blue skies and calm conditions we will just see a brief break in our moderate to heavy rain before we get another batch of heavy rain. On the northwestern edge of Ike's old eye rain rates have now gone up over 2.5 inches per hour in Remington. Wind gusts have 30 mph or less so far for our viewing area but once Ike passes to our north and east by 2:30 p.m. look for some big wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph. The heaviest rain will be moving out of Lafayette by 3 p.m. and our eastern and northern counties by 4 to 4:30 p.m.We have already had wind gusts of 53 mph as close to home as Mattoon in Illinois on the backside of Ike. This will be moving into the area after 2:15 p.m.

Ike Tidbit: Galveston had wind gusts go from 102 mph to near 0 mph in a matter of seconds once the eye of Ike passed over them. The eye took about 90 minutes to move over the entire island since Ike was such a massive storm. They were then hit with more gusts of near 90 mph as the backside of Ike's eye wall passed over. Luckily, Indiana is about 1,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and has been torn apart by the frictional effects of land and the storm losing its heat source which was the Gulf of Mexico. The eye will be much kinder to us but I am worried about flooding in Benton, Newton, Jasper, and White Counties. Do not cross waters covering roadways. The main threats will continue to be flooding and gusty winds with a few tree limbs and small trees going down in the saturated soil developing around the area.

Tropical Force Wind Gusts in Champaign on the Way

Ike continues to barrel our way and at this rate will arrive in Tippecaoe County between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. Ike is located near Terre Haute at 12:25 p.m. Wind gusts of 43 mph have just been reported in Champaign. Rantoul just recorded a 32 mph wind gust. Rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches an hour have been reported in Illinois. The good news is no severe weather warnings have been issued, but flooding rain is likely to overspread our area between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Our atmosphere will start to stabilize quickly once Ike moves to our east and this could happen as soon as 3:30 p.m. this afternoon. So I would like to take our chance of brief tornadoes out of the forecast by 4 p.m. Right now I put our chance at less than 10%. Still keep your guard up and send in pictures.

Ike note: No lightning on lightning tracker! This is a sign of a tropical system. This storm formed as a seedling off the coast of Africa and remember for lightning you need to have some ice crystals in the clouds. Since this is the opposite of a typical low pressure or mid-latitude cyclone which has a cold core....Ike has a warm core so there will not be much if any lightning associated with it as it moves through our area. If you noticed during the Ike coverage in Texas the only flashing you saw was from transformers blowing. So should the forecast really call for thunderstorms today? Just something to think about as we snack on radar, wind gusts, and chips this afternoon. I will check back if I start to see any rotating cells on Live Doppler 18. Thanks for hanging out with me this afternoon. The more the merrier. I better go do some more crawls for television.

Ike Eyes Lafayette & The Crossroads of America With Flooding & Strong Storms

I just wanted to open a new thread here for you. Ike will be moving through our viewing area between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. There will be wind gusts of 40 mph and possible strong storms mainly between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. We cannot rule out damaging wind and possible brief tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center has put us in a slight risk for storms. Flood warnings, wind advisories, and weather warnings will continue to increase as we head into the afternoon. The worst of the weather should be over by 6 p.m. but not before we pick up a quick 2 to 4 inches of rain with locally higher amounts mainly north and west of Lafayette. I will check back.

Tidbit: Monster raindrops hit my windshield on the way to work! This is a sign of a warm-core system and is it humid! Also check out how fast the clouds are moving, especially this afternoon. Please send in some of our very own Ike pictures and I will post and share as many as possible.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

High Pressure Captures Ike & Heats Lafayette Up!

I guess nature has Boiler fever as well and it is giving us its version of Boilering Up! I have great news. It looks like the rain will hold off until later this evening after the big Boiler victory. The same high pressure that steered Ike into Texas has gained strength overnight and today. This is keeping our area in the hot, dry part of the storm at this time. We could hit 90 degrees today! The other thing this high pressure is doing is it has shifted Ike's storm track farther northwest. This is important because the best chance of flooding rain from this system will continue to stay to the north and west of this system. Since Ike's remnants could very well pass now over Tippecanoe County tomorrow afternoon we will still have heavy rain but the higher risk of flooding will stay more to our west and north. So right now I am leaning toward 2 to 3 inches of rain for Lafayette, 1 to 2 inches of rain south and east of Lafayette and maybe a few isolated 4 inch amounts up near Mary Anne in Remington. This should keep any flooding on the Wabash and Tippecanoe to a minimum.

Severe weather outlook: We will continue to watch it carefully but more good news. As of now we are no longer in a severe weather risk today, tonight, or tomorrow. But we need to keep our guard up for possible strong storms Sunday morning into early afternoon.

Ike Ravages Texas With 130 mph Gusts on Galveston Island & We Brace for its Rain & Wind

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Texas and especially Galveston Island as the worst part of the hurricane or the eye wall goes over the island. I am really scared to think what is going to happen to anybody that did not evacuate. Reports of 45 foot waves are crashing over the islands 17 foot sea wall. Chunks of the sea wall are now coming off and I am thinking this storm may change the way these things are covered on television. There are several objects flying through the air at this time and one reporter just asked the cameraman if he got hit and to get down. Why do we have all these people covering this on the beach and I am very worried about somebody getting hurt. Evacuations are issued for a reason and it should include everybody whether you are a meteorologist, television reporter, or President of the United States. Quite frankly the hurricane hype has gotten way out of hand and I do not want to name any names but we all know where it started. Now I do admit I had my fun in Myrtle Beach with Hurricane Bonnie on a television station there and even though I was amazed at the power of nature with 60 to 80 mph wind gusts and a howling sound of the wind that is hard to describe I was thinking about it not being the smartest thing to do or place to be. Now I feel more strongly about this than ever. The picture above tells it all. The yellow band you see above represents the eye wall or the most violent part of a hurricane. It is taking the worst possible route into Texas. Once this eye moves inland it will still bring 70 to 90 mph winds to Houston and even Dallas will see hurricane force gusts and plenty of damage. Here is the latest track tonight and what it means for us in Indiana.

By Sunday at 5 p.m. you see Ike's remnants will move into Indiana. It will still be a tropical depression when it arrives here. The part we need to be on guard for will not just be flooding but severe thunderstorms. These tropical systems cannot be trusted when it comes to severe weather and the areas most vulnerable to damaging winds and tornadoes are in the path of the storm and to its south and east. Based on the track above we are right in the path for not just heavy rain but strong storms. We will have to really watch things carefully on Sunday. Here is what you can expect here at home.
That is right we could actually have tropical storm force wind gusts even though the storm is striking about a thousand miles away. This storm is about 2.5 times the size of a normal hurricane and like Katrina it will pack a punch rarely seen from any storm here on earth. Our weather team will keep you updated. This weekend the Lay Flats Festival is on Saturday with plenty of plans out there and if you have any Saturday would be the better day of the two with occasional rain, but also some dry hours. The heavier rain will try to hold off until late day and the evening just in time for the Purdue-Oregon game. I cannot rule out thunderstorms over Ross-Ade which would cause a delay. We are in a slight risk for severe weather and remember last year the Purdue game was delayed due to lightning during the second game of the season. A repeat? Maybe. We will keep you updated here on Live Doppler 18 with another post coming up today including why severe weather has to be taken in these situations and an update on the possible flooding including the rivers. Keep adding up the rain and take some pictures and our weather team will try to show as many as we can. Stay safe and blog away.

Here is a picture sent to us by Darci Pizzi. She says this is good duck roasting weather. Everybody is fired up for the big game today! Boiler up and roast those ducks on and off the field! Now I am going to try to talk my wife into making some of those chocolate chip cookies. It is going to be a long night.

Friday, September 12, 2008

120 mph Gusts Hit Oil Rigs off Texas, As Flood Watches are Hoisted Here at Home

I just got off the phone with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis and we went over the river situation. The good news is that our rivers are in good shape for now. The bad news is they agree with my updated total rainfall this weekend of 3 to 6 inches. This could bring the Wabash over bank full next week. Also, lowland flooding could quickly develop by Sunday and flood watches are now going up across our viewing area. Indianapolis will likely issue them as well but not until later in the weekend. I will be back to talk about our severe weather threat and thunderstorm threat this weekend, including the latest track of Ike and possible tropical storm force wind gusts on the way. Batten down the hatches! Weather Team 18 is now in storm mode.

Also, make sure to say some prayers for those in the Galveston/Houston area. This will likely be the worst hurricane to hit the U.S. since Katrina. Think of a 20 foot wall of water with waves up to 40 feet on top of it! I hope everybody has evacuated safely. If not we could have another major catastophe in the making. Also you may want to fill up the gas tanks while you can before the prices go back over 4 dollars due to our oil rigs now taking major hits in the Gulf. We had some gusts of 120 mph off Sabine Pass, Texas oil rigs. The anemometer was located 400 feet high but it still gives you the reason why this storm will be one to remember. Ike will likely be a retired hurricane like so many of his predecessors including Rita, Katrina, and Andrew. A storm is retired when it causes widespread destruction and casualties. Unfortunately, Ike has already killed nearly 100 people in the Carribean. We will keep you updated.

The Perfect Storm Closes in on Lafayette As I Remember the Perfect Grandfather

Well that mackerel sky gave the forecast away yesterday and told us what we could expect. Mackerel sky, mackerel sky soon the rain will fly! We have been very lucky on our weekend weather throughout 2008! So remember no complaints and I am only the messenger. :) In the 36 weekends leading up to this one we have only had about 5 inches of precipitation. This is running well below average. Unfortunately, the laws of averages are catching up to us. Some areas have the potential to double our yearly weekend rainfall this weekend alone. You see most models have us in the 2.5 inch to 4 inch range but we cannot rule out isolated higher amounts especially those areas that have thunderstorms. I guess nature is making up for lost time. This perfect storm scenario should really be called a nightmare storm for this coming up weekend, but let's keep this positive. There will be occasional breaks in the rain possibly this evening and for a portion of our Saturday and Sunday. I will fine tune this tonight on the newscast.

Even though flooding will become a possibility I DO NOT SEE ANOTHER 100 YEAR FLOOD COMING OUR WAY LIKE WE SAW IN JANUARY. We will not have a blizzard in the northern watershed of the Wabash and melt down 15 to 20 inches of snow in four days on a frozen ground and will not have 10 inches of rain on top of it! No way no how Ike! There is no snow in sight and not even Ike could top bring us that much rain here at home. But with that said flooding will still be a big concern by later Sunday into next week and flood watches may have to be posted. All flooding has to be taken seriously and it is Indiana's number one weather killer during severe weather. Our weather team will keep you updated and watch those rivers and streams like a hawk. You can see below why I am concerned about us here at home. We have an unusual set-up of moisture coming in from the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean and then you add in the remnants of a hurricane. Amazing! This just does not happen this often in this part of the country. The last time we saw something like this may have been during Carla in 1961. That hurricane also hit the Texas coast.

Blog Question of the Day: How much rain did the remnants of Hurricane Carla bring parts of the Midwest back in 1961?

The latest on Ike is that it may not make landfall as more than a category two hurricane. Its pressure slowly rose overnight last night.The problem will be its extremely large size. When you have something the size of Texas trying to hit the coastline of Texas there will be devastation and I am very concerned about a storm surge taking out a good chunk of real estate and coastline. Look at this behemeth below.

So again the good news is that its size probably will keep it getting much stronger and it is so big it actually wrapped in a little dry air. Secondly it is also passing over the Gulf waters that Gustav went over, so there is less of an oceanic heat content it could tap. But as it closes in on land I think it will make an attempt to strengthen once again closer to a hurricane with 115 mph winds. I do expect Houston will see some hurricane force winds with gusts to near 90 mph. So this is still a very serious storm whether it be called a category 2 or a major category 3 storm. It will be a doozy and the worst hurricane to hit the Galveston/Houston area since Alicia in 1983. What this monster means for us is that its track could still stay a couple hundred miles south of us and we still get walloped with a ton of rain. The latest track as of early Friday morning looks like this.

Instead of taking a northern Kentucky track like I showed during Thursday evening's newscasts this thing could actually wind up closer to Terre Haute. The low pressure above shows where its position will be by time we head into late Sunday .It will still be a tropical depression at this point and we could have a few wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph. Stay tuned on this. I will also be watching out for maybe a few strong thunderstorms. So right now it is a waiting game and we all know how finicky these tropical systems are when it comes to their storm track. If the track you see above really happens then we have got problems. I will have updates here on the blog as necessary this weekend and we can all blog away to help keep everybody safe and sound no matter what Ike tries to throw our way.

Last but not least, I wanted to also once again thank Glen Acres for a wonderful day yesterday when we all paid tribute to our heroes on 9/11. One of my heroes is certainly my Grandfather Hayes who moved on to bigger and better things four years ago today. It does not seem like it has already been four years and that is probably because he has had such a profound effect on my life in countless positive ways. He will always be close to me in my heart thanks to the many great memories we shared. I am ready for another pontoon boat ride that is for sure. I know how lucky I was to have spent lots of time with him growing up and one of the things we liked doing before our long famous walks was eating fresh Maryland crabs. I can still see him pouring that Old Bay Seasoning on them while cooking them up in the crab pot. He would also pour his secret recipe on them while cooking. This I will never give away. Of course I will never forget him chasing a crab that got loose on the kitchen floor."Deedad" would have loved this forecast. He always seemed to like a nice soaking rain and that is certainly our weather theme today. So this one if for you Deedad! I will check back soon. Have a great day! Remember to keep that sunny outlook! For every rainy day in Indiana there are two sunny days.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day to Remember Our Heroes As Ike Bears Down on Texas

McCutcheon high school students remembered 9/11 with a special flag tribute that included dozens of flags waving around in their trucks.

Even with a major hurricane about to hit Texas the weather is still more of an afterthought on a day like today. It certainly is a day to reflect about just how lucky we are to be Americans. We remember the victims of 9/11, the heroes of 9/11, and those heroes in our daily lives that help us to enjoy our freedom. This includes our military heroes serving our country and helping other countries all over the world. Some would rather us just keep to ourselves and not get involved in other conflicts far from home. Is this the American way? As leader of the free world we have always carried a heavier burden. Both of my grandfathers served in World War 2 and explained to me how being an American means to not be a follower but a true leader to help ensure liberty and freedom not only here at home but all over the world. Freedom is certainly not free and should never be taken for granted. To those that have tried to end the "American dream" like we saw in New York City and my hometown Washington, D.C. I can tell you they have failed miserably. Seven years later we are stronger than ever and more determined to be defenders and protectors of freedom. Today this is more true than ever and is something we can surely be proud of. We cannot thank those enough that have sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. I do think the founders of this country would be proud and the American spirit lives on thanks to our strong foundation, today's heroes, and our kids that will be ready to carry on as the next generation of heroes. I saw plenty of future heroes at Glen Acres Elementary School today at the "Read with a Hero" program.

I had a great time reading to fourth graders in Mrs. Piggott's class. We even had a nice patriotic parade down the hallways and around the school. You can see the star-filled banner above. Of course I read a tornado chaser book to them and we also talked about Hurricane Ike and how it will bring us rain here at home by late Sunday into Monday. The kids have a bright future whatever they choose to be. They have a great teacher and by working hard in school it should provide many opportunities for them in the future. They were my heroes today!

Not only were the kids terrific, it was also great to honor our community's police, firefighters, military, health care providers, and our politicians that serve our community each and every day. I was very impressed by Anita Wood's tribute. She wrote and sang beautiful songs that really helped to sum up the day. Out of all the school talks I have done this day will surely always be remembered by me. It was very special. Thank you Glen Acres!

I mowed my lawn after the emotional tribute this morning and just in time. Take a look at the mackeral sky. What does this mean? Check back for more including how much rain is on the way. I will see you soon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Watching Ike, the Woolly Worms, & the Wabash this Weekend

Here is a view of Ike from the International Space Station courtesy of NASA. This monster storm is still expected to hit the coast of Texas between Corpus Christi and Houston before re-curving up into the Midwest. It is already starting to gain steam once again now that it has moved away from Cuba and I do expect it to be at least a category 3 hurricane when it reaches the Texas coast on Friday night not too far from Corpus Christi. This monster storm will impact us even here in Indiana. Yes, I am expecting a lot of rain here at home starting Friday, although not all day rains Friday and Saturday since it will be associated with a stalled out frontal system. Sunday could be the wettest of the three days based on this latest track you see just in. This would be the day that Ike's actual remnants move over our area.

The concern here is that we will have a strong jet stream and stalled front interacting with Ike. This means we could have at least 2 to 4 inches of rain and maybe more between Friday and early Monday so make sure to stay tuned for the latest. The Wabash River will have to be monitored closely along with the Tippecanoe River and the creeks if this track comes to fruition. I will have more on this on tonight's newscast. My good news of the day is that the rain and wet field should slow down the mighty quick Oregon Ducks on Saturday and that we will not have all day rains on Friday and Saturday. Sunday could be a different story depending on the exact track of Ike. Now today was another strange September day with two seasons in one day. Take a look at this morning's lows.

These are some impressive numbers here at home. But at the Indiana Dunes State Park they were thinking it felt cold enough to snow with an actual low temperature of only 39 degrees. This was the coolest start to September 10th in our viewing area since 1999 and the earliest 40s since 1995. But those thoughts of snow quickly evaporated this afternoon as nature brought us some free heating. We jumped a good 30 to 35 degrees in most areas with highs in the lower to middle 70s. These dry air masses from Canada can heat up in a hurry that is for sure. Now come November the sun angle will be helpless when it comes to heating us up so enjoy these warmer days while you can.

Winter Tidbit: A November snowstorm is still in my forecast and we will not be able to count on a nice rebound like today. Hopefully you enjoyed every bit of it. Now here is your woolly bear update you have been waiting patiently for!

That is right the darker the woolly bear the snowier and colder the winter. As of right now my unscientific poll has the lighter worms winning by a landslide. These worms have done a heck of a job the last two winters. We remember the dark black worms everywhere in the fall of 2006 warning us to get out the big snow shovels. We certainly did on February 13th with our first blizzard since 1999. Last year the count was about even and we had one of the wildest winter's on record with plenty of snow, thunderstorms, flooding, and even icy conditions you could ask for. So the worms were telling us we would have a lot of variety and that we did! This year they are going for a mild winter. I think they make it three for the last three years. I looked at new data last night and my forecast of 19" of snow with above average temperatures stands. Just be ready for the early frost and snow this year.

Where does Chuckie Wheezer of Carroll County stand on all this? Well Chuckie is still recovering from her blown forecast of an early Spring for us. But I told her that this is a very humbling field. Chuckie did tell me she is readying for an early hibernation and that she will be well rested for a much better Spring forecast next year. Time will tell. Keep your head up Chuckie!!