It was touted as the strongest front of the season....and it lived up to its billing. What a nice change this morning when Lauren and I left the house on the way to her pre-school. We didn't put the top down that is for sure. What happens this time of year is our shorter daylight hours are really starting to add up. It is amazing that areas near the Arctic Circle are losing 8 minutes of daylight a day. For us at home this means we watch cold fronts more closely and keep the jackets handy. This allows colder air to not only build but hold together much better as cold fronts sweep through the area. These fronts often collide with the warm, summer air mass still in place this time of year. This is exactly what stirred up some trouble last night. The good news is we did not have any damage around the area despite watches and warnings. There was a quick .75" of rain near Ladoga with pea-sized hail, otherwise most of the area saw less than .25" of rain. Larger nickel size hail fell in Marion County.
As we discussed on the 11 p.m. news this was like nature sending a warning flare into the sky for us all to witness. It was just a tune-up for our second severe weather season here in Lafayette. Notice it has been quite the year for tornadoes in our viewing area. This year ranks number 5 on the big tornado list for the most tornadoes in a season and we may not be done yet. This list dates back to 1952.
Winter Tidbit: Years with active tornado seasons usually bring us winters with normal to slightly above normal snowfall.
Abbey my daughter who called me between weather crawls and cut-ins last night was worried and asked if we were going to be okay. I told her she would not have to go running to our next door neighbor's house and she felt better. Of course I found her on my side of the bed when I got home. So she trusted in Dad for the most part. Like Abbey we need to always have a plan B this time of year. I try to tell kids at school talks to be wary of La Ninas (without scaring them) that add high octane fuel to thunderstorms thanks to a stronger and more amplified jet stream than normal. We have been in one of the strongest La Nina years in decades and we may not be done yet. This La Nina may have faded to neutral this summer but some of the new data coming in suggests the La Nina is not dead yet and could be making a comeback once again which may impact us with a very active fall severe weather season. Remember there are two severe weather seasons in Lafayette which includes late Spring and early summer. Then once again we see an increase in storms and severe weather again by late September and October.
You can see why above. The jet stream that adds punch to our storms is no longer camping out in Canada but starts to migrate like the birds this time of year from north to south. We all remember the September 20, 2002 Elletsville tornado that stayed on the ground for 112 miles with wind speeds over 200 mph at times. It ended up lifting just northwest of Muncie. Here closer to home we had an F2 tornado in Tippecanoe County on September 14, 1965. Now that tornado had wind speeds over 150 mph and it was a La Nina autumn, so be on guard. Now I am not trying to over-hype this but I just want you to be aware of the situation so if it arises you will have a plan B to keep you and your family safe. The bottom line is that Severe weather can occur at any time of year and it doesn't matter if it is a La Nina, El Nino, or neutral pattern. This year I see an increased risk with an early onset of autumn and wintry weather. I see plenty of clashes setting up and it might get ugly. Speaking of ugly you can take a good look at Ike below.
Hurricane Ike was the worst hurricane to hit Cuba since 1963 and even if it was downgraded to a category one I do expect it to re-intensify once it pulls away from Cuba. This could enhance our rain chances here at home this weekend. Tune in and check back here on the blog for more on this and a woolly bear caterpillar update that includes pictures!