Television is all about being informative and having fun and last night I found that happy balance with Virginia the possum at Columbian Park. Talk about animal interactivity! It was the first time I have ever held a possum and I liked it much better than the snakes Claudine Laufman, the Columbian Park Zoo Director scared me with a couple years ago. Virgina the possum was one of my best interviews ever and is taking part in the always fun Boo at the Zoo going on once again tonight and Friday night from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. All proceeds go to benefit the Friends of the Columbian Park Zoo which in turn helps to bring new and exciting animal exhibits to your hometown zoo. Do not forget about the wonderful train ride with tons of fairy tale skits ranging from Little Bo Peep to Humpty Dumpty and the Three Little Pigs. The weather looks great for today and this evening if you are taking the kids out for some fun on their fall break. Speaking of fall....autumn will play possum today as we warm up into the lower to middle 60s this afternoon but do not let that fool you. The warmer wind is a sign of a big storm brewing. This storm has a little bit of everything associated with it from strong thunderstorms and heavy rain to heavy snow that has blanketed Nebraska with several inches of snow. We will be on its warm side today but it also has a cold side as you see below.
Notice, I made sure to do a nice fly into the storm last night during the weather to show what it is capable of and of course our weather flight ended in the heart of a heavy snowstorm! While this storm should bring us mainly rain its backlash will bring us a chance of snow flurries by later Sunday into early Monday. Stefanie Davis, our new morning meteorologist will be watching the models with me along with the new Bufkit Data. We will make sure to give you an update. I am sure I will also be hearing from our weekend forecaster Brian Wolfe who absolutely loves forecasting snow. I have never been on a weather team where all 3 of us absolutely love snow and winter forecasting. This will benefit us greatly in the next few months as we will not let any details go uncovered so you will not have any surprises! It should be a lot of fun and since we have so many winter weather enthusiasts here on the weather blog you will play a big part in this as well with all your stories and pictures you send in. It will be a team effort that is for sure and should go a long way to keeping everybody prepared and safe this winter so we can enjoy that winter wonderland to its fullest. The woolly bear caterpillars are ready and this one I named Warner has his forecast completed!
Check out this dark woolly worm a viewer brought in before my shows yesterday! I took Warner the Woolly Bear home last night and I never have seen Abbey or Megan move so quickly. They were terrified while Lauren was more inquisitive about where he came from. You should be scared if you do not like a lot of snow or cold weather because Warner is telling us we will have a cold and snowy winter but please try not to scream at me like my girls did. My ears are still ringing and this time around I can blame Warner. I will have to get you his e-mail address. But seriously, tonight you will need to tune in for the latest Climate Prediction Center winter forecast along with my updated winter forecast. Is the woolly bear onto something? So far I have not budged, but I remember telling you nothing is set in stone. I will see you tonight with the latest. The wolves at Wolf Park are also excited about winter as well. They love the colder weather. Tristan the wolf is howling his approval below at a recent Howl Night. Monty Sloan always adds the perfect touch to this blog!
We will have howling wintry winds with west northwest winds gusting to 35 mph and actual air temperatures plummeting into the 30s Sunday evening. Five-thousand foot temperatures will fall to 21 degrees at 5,000 feet. What is significant about that is that you usually want those temperatures to be at 27 degrees or lower for snow and we certainly have met that threshold. The biggest thing I am watching for is available moisture. The atmosphere will start to dry out pretty quickly on Sunday night but I think we should have enough lift with the very cold air mass coming over the much warmer Lake Michigan to produce at least a few lake-effect flurries. So do not worry if you see me at the grocery store today buying milk and bread. It is only because we are out of those things at the Prangley house and nothing more. There will not be a big snowstorm and I will not need my golden shovel to help you dig out! I almost started a riot a couple times last winter at the grocery store after some folks saw me buying bread which they took as a sign they would be snowed in. Lauren is still antsy about going down the bread aisle with me. She has her Dad's memory that is for sure. I will make sure to post the latest winter outlooks here on the blog this evening and talk more about our third major autumn storm of the season. We need a female name to the storm that will bring a half-inch to about an inch of rain. So make sure to send those name ideas in and I will get to work on your winter update. Have a great day and remember you can do anything you set your mind to.
Long-range tidbit: We will have at least two more warm spells or Indian Summer conditions as we head into November, but once things turn cold just before Thanksgiving it will be here to stay through the end of the year. Our chances of a White Christmas remain at 80% instead of our normal 50-50 chances. The postcard winter picture sent in this week from George Slavens of the snow that hit the area on January 8th will likely be what you see for the holidays which may even include Thanksgiving. I have not backed off my forecast of a possible record snowstorm in November for Lafayette one bit. Thanks for reading and go soak up some sunshine while you can!