Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowy to Slushy With a Break in the Snow Until Late Tonight

Emily Jones sends in a picture of the beautiful scene greeting us this morning. How our world has changed in just a few hours! The good news is the road crews are quickly catching up on the roads with a break in the snow. The bad news is the slush is very hard for drivers to see and even though the roads do not seem so bad it is giving folks a false sense of security. Here is a picture of the slushy roads sent in by Justin New who probably got about 10 minutes sleep last night which is a few more minutes than me!

Numerous accidents have been reported around the area including interstate 65 near Lebanon so please be very careful out there even if the snow has stopped for now. If you can be patient the roads will continue to improve through the day as temperatures go above freezing and no accumulating snow expected until late tonight. You can see this in your day planner below.

The wind speeds will actually stay closer to 5 mph throughout the day and pick up out of the northwest tonight between 10 and 20 mph. The only surprise that nature threw us with this system was the dry slot moved into our area fast and furious. Take a look below.

We knew the dry slot was coming but it arrived a good 2 to 3 hours early and by 8:30 a.m. we were pretty much done. We really only had about a 3 hour period of moderate snow. This cut our accumulations in half. But overall the first call of 2 to 4 inches of total snowfall for today and Monday looks like it will prevail for most of the area. There will be some pockets of 3 to 5 inches closer to the lake and areas north and east of Lafayette by later on Monday with lake enhanced snowfall. The sad part is our nice snowy covering is turning to slush due to temperatures above freezing. It will not be the best sledding but for our first snow we will take it. In a nutshell nature has really let us off the hook. Even if you love snow, it really is good news with all the travelers out there today. Here is your snowfall map below that we will continue to update.

Justin New is on top of things and has some more picture postcards from this morning! Thanks Justin.

Now I need to go do some shoveling! A big congratulations to Amber Crider of Lafayette. She is our Golden Snow Shovel winner! I will have to ask her what her big secret is on long-range forecasting. Wow, what a great job! I just got off the phone with her and she is ecstatic! I would be too! She deserves free Mad Mushroom Pizza for the year after that great forecast. I need to hurry up and get out there before all the snow melts on her driveway! STRETCH....STRETCH 2, 3, 4....LET'S GO! Have a great day bloggers! Keep an eye on tonight and be careful out there. I will be back with pictures and keep those great pictures coming. I will post as many as I can. Even send in some dog pictures. Those are always great!

Good Morning! Happy Sledding!

What a sight to wake up to! I am getting the kids sleds down out of the attic and JUST PLAIN GOING NUTS! I AM TRYING NOT TO WAKE UP THE NEIGHBORS! OH YES, THE GOLDEN SNOW SHOVEL CONTEST WINNER REAPS THE REWARDS TODAY. I am shouting and preparing the golden shovel.
Quick note for Florida readers: Be on guard for tornadoes today.

Snowfall totals so far as of 7 a.m.

Attica 2.5"
Lafayette 1.6"
Delphi 1.5"
Kokomo 1.5"
Frankfort 1"

We wiill keep updating these for you through the day.

Please send in pictures and snow totals and I will check back. I have some measuring to do! Congratulations snow geese!

Forecast update as of 8:15 a.m.

Look for another 1 inch of snow for Howard, Cass, Miami, and Fulton Counties between now and 10 a.m. before we are all dry slotted. This break in the snow will allow our roads to improve during the afternoon hours and temperatures are expected to be near 34 degrees which will help to melt some of those icy spots. But still be careful out there. I ran into quite a few slick spots this morning.

Snowfall in most areas will be in the 1 to 3 inch range by late morning but we are not done with the snow yet. Another batch of snow is on the way tonight. You can expect another 1 to 2 inches of snow with blowing and drifting snow. The snow tonight will be a fluffier snow with colder temperatures expected causing it to blow around. Total snowfall in most areas will be from 2 to 4 inches before all is said and done on Monday afternoon. There will be a couple spots at 5 inches mainly north and east of Tippecanoe County. Watch for blowing and drifting snow tonight and Monday. Be careful on the roads....please, so we can all enjoy this beautiful winter wonderland.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Snowstorm Update: Snow Day Possible For Kids on Monday


Alright! My heart is beating fast and I am running around the yard preparing for our first big snow of the season. I had a weather team 18 conference call and we discussed the latest runs. The big things that we are watching:

1) The low pressure coming in late tonight and Sunday is even stronger.

2) The low pressure will cut-off aloft ealier which means this event should be mainly a snow event for the entire Lafayette viewing area. Kokomo, Crawfordsville, and Frankfort (even Randy's house---will have mainly snow)

3) This storm is coming in two pieces. We will get a burst of snow tomorrow morning into early afternoon and then see a bit of a lull before another band of snow moves in Sunday night and Monday with more accumulations.

4) Wind and blowing and drifting snow will become issues late Sunday night into Monday. This combined with more snow in the forecast may make it tough to open schools on Monday. Can you say snow day kids?

5) Accumulations will be increased for the entire viewing area for 3 to 5 inches of snow with some locally heavier amounts due to lake enhancement in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski, and northern White Counties. Rensselaer could easily see 6 inches or more of snow.

6) The dynamics with this storm are very impressive and with a roaring jet stream involved this forecast will have to be watched carefully. The latest trends look more and more impressive....for now though a 3 to 5 inch forecast is certainly looking solid.

7) Make sure if you have relatives flying home tomorrow to get them to the airport extra early and if you have late flights try to move them up to the early morning. Things will go downhill in a hurry on Sunday. Make sure to have your winter survival kits ready and if you have friends and family on long road trips tomorrow, advise them to leave if they can this evening.

Saturday Night & Sunday With Meteorologist Mike Prangley

Forecast Focus:
Our first significant snowstorm of the season is on the way. A winter wonderland will develop Sunday morning with tricky travel expected throughout the day on Sunday and Monday with occasional snow likely for 30 hours once it moves in. Temperatures will fall to near freezing Sunday with wind and blowing snow becoming concerns late Sunday night into Monday. Enjoy the good sleddding and if at all possible try to stay off the roads on Sunday and Monday.

Saturday Night: Snow develops after 4 a.m. It may briefly begin as rain but it will quickly change to snow. Lows will be in the lower 30s with an east wind near 5 mph.

Sunday & Sunday Night: Occasional snow likley with 2 to 3 inches of snow likely by early evening. Another one to two inches of snow Sunday night into Monday will bring total accumulations of 3 to 5 inches. Areas closer to the lake could see 6 inches or more of snow. This is a developing storm so make sure to stay tuned. Temperatures will hover near freezing and the wind will be northeast at 5 to 10 mph on Sunday and turn northwest by late day and at night and increase to 10 to 20 mph and gusty.

A Winter Wonderland is on the Way!

Let it snow....let it snow....let it snow! ANTICIPATION! Teri Trent sent in this song which is a nice change up to the more traditional blog snow songs we all sing together!

Even though I am excited for all the snow lovers out there I do have concerns about this snow. It is the first one of the year and it is also a busy travel day. That is not a good combination. So make sure you really slow it down on Sunday and if you have family or friends traveling make sure they know that the best traveling will likely be before late tonight and early Sunday. I would not wait until Sunday to travel and if they do expect delays and take a winter survival
kit just in case. I do not see a lot of wind with this system and with temperatures hovering just above freezing that should help the roads a bit. But with heavier bands of snow possible there will certainly be some icy spots on our area roadways.

The one thing that jumped out at me tonight was not the model runs. As you all know, I am not a model-hugger. What impressed me was the dynamics of this developing system which will be fed by a jet stream roaring in at over 200 mph. This tends to help back the storm track much farther west and north than anticipated and this is why I have shifted the heavier bands of snow farther west on the new map above. There could be a possible mix of rain and snow in our southeast counties and that is why accumulations toward Crawfordsville, Frankfort, and Kokomo are a little lower. If those areas stay all snow we can increase the amounts. There could be a thin line of 4 inch plus snows b
ut for now we will stick with 2 to 4 inches and we can add on later. The main thing now is that we are ready! Here are a couple more maps below to help you with timing. We may get our first burst of snow in the morning, then a little break with a second round of snow Sunday evening with our second low pressure and this will last into early Monday. The second round may have more wind and lower temperatures to work with so even on Monday morning there could be some tough travel.

Brian Wolfe will be in today and our entire weather team will be working on this storm throughout the weekend. I am getting the Golden Shovel ready! I will check back with you as we get a little closer. God bless!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shopper's Delight Could Turn into A Sunday Full of White

My wife informed me she is not ready for snow. She is only focused on one thing today and that is shopping. Not even wind chills will slow her down. Julie says that coats just bog her down. I told her without a coat today she will need her running shoes to run from the heated car into the Mall. We do have the return of those chilly breezes t
oday with some sunshine. So it will look like another beautiful day but looks can be deceiving. The latest models in here in the wee hours of Friday still are showing the potential for our first real snow of the season. My golden shovel is ready! Notice there is uncertainly in the storm tracks but as of now I think the low pressure will be taking the northern and farther west route (track #2) which would put us in line for a good burst of snow.

The bullseye would likely be in East-Central and North-East Indiana, but we are still more than 48 hours out and a lot can still change. For now I will leave a couple of maps for you. I am going to catch up on rest and family time. But don't worry I will find plenty of time today to keep you updated and with an active pattern I will come in on the holiday weekend for both the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts tonight. I wouldn't miss it for the world! See you soon and let the blogging begin! Here is the sneak peak preliminary snowfall total.

Meteorologist Stefanie Davis and I will continue to keep you updated throughout your Friday so you are ready for what nature will bring us for the remainder of the weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ingredients for Our First Snow & Pumpkin Pancakes Are All in Place!

It is a good thing I am working at least three of our major models that our weather team uses are lining up for snow on Sunday. How much moisture will be available is the question....I think enough to cover the ground and use a snow shovel. I will have more details tonight on the news and check back with you here on the blog. Happy Thanksgiving to everybody! My wife made some great macaroni and cheese (Maryland-style) to go with a nice moist scrumptious turkey. Thanks Julie! Thank you Niccole Caan for the wonderful brunch this morning. Here is a recipe she would like to share with you.

Serves 6
Double or triple the recipe if you have a big group.
1 1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup pumpkin pie in a can mix
Add to taste: cinnamon, sugar, and some pumpkin pie spice if you have it laying around.
Mix all ingredients together, taste, add more sugar if necessary. Possibly throw in some more flour because the pumpkin pie mix tends to water the recipe down.
Or you can cheat and buy the premade pancake mix, follow the instructions and add the premade pumpkin pie mix in a can to it. Holidays are stressful enough, why work harder?
Add some turkey bacon to give the meal a Thanksgiving feel (plus it's healthy too!)
Perfect to hold you over until the big, main meal and it provides a nice break for those cooking the traditional dinner if another family member does brunch at their home.
Also perfect for those, like me, who work nights and can't attend the main meal.

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Caan Klan

Happy Thanksgiving to my family in Florida, Wisconsin, Maryland, and all my friends across the country. I would need two blogs to write down all the things I am thankful for! I better get back to work with the snow on the way! Mom and Dad I love you! Get ready for some thunder and heavy rain on Sunday down in Florida! You need it!

Lots of Gobble Gobble Before a Possible Snow Wobble Wobbles Our Way

Happy Thanksgiving! Our WLFI news and weather team want to thank you for all of your support throughout the year. We are thankful for all ou
r viewers and bloggers. Last night a lot of folks were excited about those bright objects in the sky. Even though the picture above doesn't do them justice Venus and Jupiter put on quite a show and you know they were impressive if they were picked up by our Renaissance Cam. It is very tough to pick up stars on those outdoor cameras but not last night. By Sunday night they will only be two degrees apart! I understand the President gave a pardon to two turkeys yesterday by the names of Pumpkin and Pecan. Nature has given us a pardon from the normally rough Thanksgiving weather we experience this time of year and it will be one of those rare Thanksgivings where you can eat plenty of food and walk it off outside or should I say golf it off. Here is a nice Thanksgiving poem I found for you that mentions weather in it.


When comes Thanksgiving weather, With snow, and frost, and sleet, And old friends meet together To spend the hours so sweet, Forget not those in sorrow, The few who may not see The beauties of Thanksgiving, If it were not for thee. A word of cheer to some one, Food for the hungry poor, A message to the sick one, Almost forgot before. These little things so easy, Mixed in with Life's alloy, Will cause the tears to trickle, But 'twill be tears of joy. -Ed Blair

Last year we had wind chills in the teens and this year it will be near 50 with fairly light winds. So in the sunshine this afternoon we will feel about 40 degrees warmer! It's all gravy and not just on our dinner plates! But not so fast, we did not get the full pardon from nature for the entire weekend. All eyes will have to be on Live Doppler 18 on Sunday and Monday as our first snowfall of one inch or more is certainly possible. This could cause travel trouble for those returning home on Sunday. There are still more question marks than answers but you need to be aware of a very energetic pattern across the country that has not one but two jet streams we are tracking.

The question is when will those two jet streams phase together. The earlier and farther west this happens the more trouble for us. I think as an upper low pressure pivots in here Saturday night and early Sunday and the jet streams phase we will see a surface low pressure develop and track northeastward. When and where this will happen is still up for debate. But have a plan B ready to go by Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. What I will do for you is keep you updated. I still cannot give you any amounts but can tell you that at least two of our major models are showing our best chance of more than an inch of snow we have had all season long. I will keep you posted. For now it is all about friends, family, and being grateful for the many blessing that you have. Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. I do have my wife's special recipe I will post here ASAP!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weather So Nice You Can Grill the Turkey Outside This Year!

I am certainly in the holiday spirit thanks to the great turkey poem sent in by Kandy Teel of Chalmers. Usually I show weather conditions and pictures from my weather watchers but Kandy's poem was so good and really told the weather story I had to put it in my main weather show last night. Thanks Kandy! You are a poet and don't even know it! I have already given Tom the turkey a meteorological pardon since he has been in my show for a good part of the last week and our loyal viewers have really becoming attached to him as you can tell in the poem above. The Ground Hog may have some competition this year and the woolly worm is old news compared to Tom! What is really exciting is that we are expecting our warmest weather in nearly two weeks the next couple of days with finally some slightly above average high temperatures. We could be near 50 on Thanksgiving so you can even fire up the grill for grilled Turkey. Only one out of every three Thanksgivings on average get this warm so take advantage of it.

Who would have thought our weather here at home would be nicer than southern California where they could see mudslides and over an inch of rain. That moisture will have to be watched closely by late weekend and early next week as it will tr
y to sneak up on us and interact with some colder air that will move in on Sunday. So as always our weather team will not let our guard down. Any snowfall should be light but I have seen this change in a heartbeat over the years with subtropical moisture associated with cut-off low pressure systems. They can be sneaky and make meteorologists look like turkeys this time of year so at least you have been warned. We will just watch it closely for now.

Our chief blogger Justin New is making sure our weather blog stays busy in this brief lull to our weather and sent in a very interesting picture of Tuesday's sunset. The sky here in Indiana is always filled with so much to see even in a tranquil pattern. You can pick out what looks like a cross in the sky over Lafayette last night. It is a good reminder of the many blessings each of us have in our lives. I know I feel like I walk around with two guardian angels watching after me. This certainly helps me through some of those tough Indiana forecasts that throw everything at you at once. You can also say the picture looks like an "x". The "x" certainly stands for excellent weather on the way. The contrail clouds never cease to amaze me with the different shapes they can make. How you interpret them....well the sky is the limit!

You will have to check back here on the blog for some interesting Thanksgiving recipes you may want to try. I will post Julie's outstanding new pumpkin pie recipe and much more. Be safe running those errands and Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Tradition of Nature's Big Feast Put on Hold This Year

This time of year is when we usually are feasting on great food and company and nature is feasting on us with wild weather and blockbuster storms. Check out the heavy snow that hit areas near Pontiac, Michigan yesterday. Michele Kidder sent in this great picture of white-out conditions. We were just a few degrees away from having our own snowstorm. You would think everything is on track for another wild and woolly year, but not so fast. I have been up much of the past few nights actually working on putting together one of the nicest Thanksgiving forecasts for America the Beautiful in my lifetime. It is the Super Bowl for meteorologists and one of our most important weather weeks of the year. There is no second place finishes acceptable for forecasters this week. Why do I sound like Vince Lombardi? There will be over 100 million travelers. So the pressure is on but I am confident this year will not be a stormy year leading up to our big holiday. We will not have to worry about naming a storm, not this year. We have championship weather and the trophy is ours.

The reason we see an increase in the big storms is the cold air from Canada is building up quickly with the shorter days and larger snow pack. The warmer air located across the Deep South still has a stronger sun angle to work with and you can go from highs in the 80s along the Gulf Coast to just single digits across the northern tier of the
country. Yesterday we had a temperature range of about 50 degrees as you see above. This big temperature contrast allows rapidly rising air to take place and the formation of low pressure. In addition the jet stream is energized by these temperature contrasts. This adds even more lift and the potential for heavy precipitation. As these storms form their impressive dynamics many times phase warm and tropical air to the south with polar air to the north.

Here is the latest Thanksgiving forecast for the entire country. The reason we do not have to worry about any big storms this year is the drier northwest flow that has overtaken much of the country. There will be a low pressure bringing light snow to mainly Canada and another cut-off low pressure with rain showers in the southwest. The northwest flow cuts off most of the available moisture needed to form any major storm systems. Now by late weekend and next week this could change and our cold air could mix with some moisture and a more active storm track. But I think this will be slowly evolving and the "big one" will not be in the news until at least next week and even here at home we will have to watch things carefully.

But for now all the talk of our normal doom and gloom this time of year has turned into enjoying some fun in the sun. Highs here at home will be in the middle to upper 40s. You can even get outside and toss a football around or walk off those several helpings of good food! Here are a few good storms that have hit during our Thanksgivings in years past that you can talk about on your nice stroll. The pumpkin pie took a back seat to the great Ohio blizzard that
buried Midwest during Thanksgiving weekend in 1950. Eastern Ohio was rocked with 2 to 3 feet of snow. We only had a light coating of snow here in Lafayette but wind gusts reached up to hurricane force. New York state had 100 mph winds and the Appalachian Mountains had wind gusts up near 140 mph. Now that is a Thanksgiving storm! More recently in 2007 we had severe weather break out during our big travel day last year just before Thanksgiving from near St. Louis to Texas delaying and causing headaches for several thousand travelers. In all about 4 dozen reports of damaging winds and hail kept meteorologists very busy. In 2006, I will never forget calling down to friends and relatives in Florida just before Thanksgiving and asking if they saw snow. My Mom thought I was nuts! But Orlando did in fact have snow flurries. It wasn't a normal kind of snow. It was ocean-effect snow flurries caused by tropical moisture interacting with a polar air mass. Savannah, Georgia and parts of the Carolinas had their earliest recorded snow on record. Of course in 2005 I remember tracking the one to two feet of lake-effect snow that hampered travel across much of lake belt area of New York. This year we are looking much better and weather will be one of the many things we can be thankful for.

Now how long will this honeymoon last? I am very curious to find out more about why some of the new long-range maps in at this late hour are showing highs only in the teens here in the next 2 to 3 weeks along with plenty of snow. We may have missed the big one for Thanksgiving but remember if you snooze you lose and December could be our biggest snow month in Lafayette since 2000 when many areas had over 18 inches of snow. I will talk more about this here on the blog and on the tube make sure to check back. Last week Rochester, Indiana had over 8 inches of snow in our northern viewing area. That is how close we were to seeing some record-setting snow. These close-calls are telling us something. We are getting close. I better go do some golden snow shovel exercises immediately.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Simon Evening of Giving at Tippecanoe Mall a Great Start to the Holiday Week!

I always talk about what a wonderful community we have here in Lafayette and last night at the Mall the great community spirit was alive and well. WLFI was proud to part of the event and of course our on-air staff which is committed to you and the community loved greeting and meeting folks and thanking them for their generosity. You see from left to right our videographer Jamie Long, Kristin Crowley, Yours Truly, Steve Clark, and Laura Kirtley.

There were many smiling faces and Richard Markoff who is the Executive Vice President of the Simon Youth Foundation really appreciated everybody's support. He noted how welcome our
community's and television station's enthusiasm was. Lafayette really shined through compared to other parts of the country this event has taken place in. I explained to him that Lafayette is certainly a place you cannot find anywhere else and he agreed. I estimated about 1,000 shoppers this year and Richard noted this was about twice the turnout compared to last year. I had the pleasure of also meeting the A-Team which is full of wonderful ladies that volunteer at dozens of events around town and when they give their time up for great causes like this one, Kohls donates 500 dollars. Great job and thank you Kohls! Here are some other shining stars of the evening including Courtney who was one of the many smiling volunteers and our very own Jeff Smith and Niccole Kahn.

This event helped more than 40 local organizations by having folks purchase 10 dollar coupons which allowed them to do some good shopping and make a big difference. Seven of the dollars went to local charities while the other three dollars went to the Simon Youth Foundation. Niccole Caan told me she got a lot of her Christmas shopping done last night! Now that is impressive and she enjoyed her own private mall to shop in so she didn't have to fight the crowds like you normally do this time of year. There was also an auction that included some great gifts like a diamond necklace and a GPS system. So once again thank you Lafayette for coming through again in a big way!

Now some folks at the mall did ask me to deliver a great looking Thanksgiving forecast. I made no promises, but I made sure to tell things were looking good despite a sloppy start to our work week. It is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year and certainly one of my biggest forecast weeks of the year. So yes I am fired up. Just ask my wife how hard I ran last night on the tread mill. By the way my wife Julie is becoming a really good runner and she has picked up the pace. I think I was more excited about her running with me than anything else and yes I was trying to show off around her without embarrassing her too much. I am proud of her! Now about the forecast....oh yes I still am very optimistic about heaps of mashed potatoes, turkey, and some nice weather all in time for Thanksgiving. Now next week could be a much different story with our snow chances going way up. I will talk more about this here on the blog so stay blogged in! Snow kidding. Some maps are showing several inches of snow with not one but two possible snow events. A snow day after the holiday cannot be ruled out, but let's just take it one day at a time. One day at a time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Pattern Turns Dangerous Before We Boiler Up & Thaw Out!

Actually it is so cold outside you may need about 3 hot chocolates a day to keep the cold at bay. The good news is the worst of this cold pattern is almost over. By time we boiler up on Saturday afternoon it will feel much better. How cold has it been... I am talking about it feeling pretty good outside with a forecast high in the middle 30s on Saturday. In the meantime, a full-fledged hot chocolate advisory is certainly in effect and you can see why above with shocking wind chill chart showing single digits by Friday morning. Make sure the kids have gloves and hats and plenty of layers. Even bundling up will not be enough. We have gone from cold to dangerous cold. How seriously should you take it? With wind chills not far from zero this morning you can get frostbite in as little as 40 minutes. It is a good morning to wait with your kids in the car at the bus stop. You need to limit your outdoor exposure and cover all areas of exposed skin.

Speaking of kids I wanted to give a big shout out to some wonderful third-graders and teachers at Wea Elementary. Those kids made Thursday a very bright day for me even if it was cloudy outside. They learned about how extreme our weather is and how we have had tornadoes in every single month of the year here at home. Here are some smiles to warm you up on a cold day.

Lisa Fankhauser's class was excited when I told them at least two snow days are coming their way this year. The morning announcements were also a blast. Thanks again Wea!!

Pets are also impacted by wind ch
ill. You will even want to bring in the big dogs. Have you had enough of all this cold talk. Okay, here is something to warm you up! I was forwarded this wonderful e-mail from our Chief Engineer Mark Brooks yesterday. It made my day and it took some of the bite out of this cold weather. Enjoy!

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university pr
ofessor now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups-por
celain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite-telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand the professor said 'notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.

While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup you are drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the h
ot chocolate. In most cases, it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What you all really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cup. And then you began eyeing each of their cups.

ntain life. The cup does NOT DEFINE, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate. We choose the cups. THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE BEST OF EVERTHING. THEY JUST MAKE THE BEST OF EVERYTHING THEY HAVE. LIVE SIMPLY, LOVE GENEROUSLY, CARE DEEPLY, SPEAK KINDLY. AND ENJOY YOUR HOT CHOCOLATE.

They say chocolate reduces pain and give
s you energy. I already feel a surge of energy after reading this and I haven't had my hot chocolate yet! I will never look at hot chocolate the same! This time of year I become part meteorologist and part psychologist so I hope that made you feel better.

The stats are staggering when it comes to cold weather and fatalities. Here is the list for the top 5 weather killers in the U.S. over the past 50 years.

1) Hot weather and heat waves
Cold weather and winter storms (New research puts them at top of list)

2) Floods
3) Hurricanes
(Katrina and Ike causing big move up)
4) Lightning
5) Tornadoes

The one thing left off of most of these lists is cold weather and winter storms. It gets no real respect when it comes to safety and keeping your family safe. So I have a more realistic chart for you than you will find anywhere else. I put cold weather and winter weather at the top of the list along with heat waves that kill the most people every
year when it comes to extreme weather. The reason being is that even though heat waves officially kill about 200 people a year and cold weather and winter storms kill about 100 people a year the cold weather deaths are usually way underdone. You can even make a case that cold and winter storms top the list. One New York Times study had over 12,000 people that died from hypothermia from 1979 to 1995 which comes out to about 3 deaths per 1 million people per year. So really it is not even close. During these cold waves and winter storms most people die in their automobiles and when they are caught out in the storm. So that is just another reason to stay tuned to WLFI for the latest this winter and of course here on the blog at WLFI.COM.

Now that I have your attention about winter weather, here is the latest NOAA Winter Outlook and what I think this means for us below. I will post explainers a little later today. Remember we will have less snow this year but a better chance for bigger snows! This is why I am in deep training for the Golden Snow Shovel contest. I better go pump some iron and run a few miles. Have a good day and I will see you soon!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nature Goes Cold Turkey One Week From Thanksgiving

It is so cold can go frozen turkey bowling. Now I have never tried this but it looks like it has some possibilities. We all might as well make the most of this cold pattern. Just be careful and if you do try it let me know how it goes and of course send some pictures in. Wasn't it just a couple weeks ago we got out the pumpkin shorts.

Origin: COLD TURKEY 1915–20, Americanism; prob. from the phrase to talk cold turkey to speak bluntly about something unpleasant, var. of to talk turkey;

The weather words of the day: TA
We have another arctic front that moved through the area last night and this one believe it or not is bringing down even colder air than we have seen since this cold pattern broke out last week. The arctic floodgates continue to be wide open due to a blocking high pressure over Greenland. In response to this the jet stream is being detour
ed right into our backyards. The snowpack continues to build up to our north without any trouble along like we discussed here on the blog yesterday and this in turn has sent us right into not just December but January levels when it comes to temperatures. Highs will struggle just to reach freezing on Friday with wind chills as low as the single digits. This will fire up the lake train of snow once again and we may have a few slick spots on area roads as this very cold air fluffs up some of those snowflakes. They should have no trouble adding up in this pattern. Here is the latest expected snowfall map.

Be extremely careful once again if you are heading into extreme northern Indiana. There could be some areas pounded with 6 to 10 inches of snow. I think the areas to watch in our viewing area will be northern Miami, Pulaski, and Fulton Counties with the potential for one to three inches. Most of the accumulations will be tonight and very early Friday. We will also watch for a few slick spots outlined in white above along with more black ice possible in the entire viewing area. A little snow can cause big problems this time of year with no road salt on area roadways. So even if you are not expecting a dusting of snow we all found out earlier this week that the roads can be slick with that transparent ice easily forming in these low temperatures.

I do have some good news for those that are not crazy like me and most of the bloggers on here that love this cold stuff. It could be a lot worse. Do you realize that Labrador and Eastern Quebec could be hit with not one but two blizzards between now and Sunday. They will have a cool 24 to 36 inches of snow on the way before all is said and done. So believe it or not we are not having the world's worst weather. Mount Washington, New Hampshire which is known to have the world's worst weather and is my old college hangout will have a high of 7 degrees today with wind chills near 40 below zero. Wind gusts will top 60 mph. It could be worse, a whole lot worse, or in my case a whole lot better. If that is not enough you have to realize that we have it easy here at home. Barrow, Alaska saw the sun set on Tuesday evening and they will not see it again until January 23rd. Yes November is our cloudiest month but it could be a whole lot darker! Do you feel better yet? GOOD! :)

Now I need to cheer up the snow hounds like Justin, Mary Anne, Kandy, and Teri. Yes, I am a meteorologist that likes to please everybody. Yes it is true we are missing not one but two blizzards in the next few days. Our chance of a blizzard this winter is about 10% and we should have at least two big snowstorms. You can see the breakdown of our winter storms here at home. We are more in a clipper pattern this year compared to last year's Texas Low and Colorado Low pattern that pounded us with storm after storm. It could be one of those winter's we receive most of our snow in just a couple big storms. My golden snow shovel is ready! By the way the average number of big snows a winter is two so we are right on target for plenty of excitement!

Blog Question of the Day: We will thaw out with our turkeys in time for Thanksgiving?
I have the latest models showing a southwest wind by turkey day which should help us out. More details on the way. Have a great day. I will check back soon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jupiter, Venus, Space Shuttle, and ISS Dazzle Lafayette Skygazers

What a night it was last night! This was probably the view the Space Shuttle Endeavour had of us as it passed over the Wabash River last night. I went out on the roof here at WLFI with my heavy coat and had a great time watching what seemed to be a never-ending bright and slow-moving shooting star across the southern skyline. It is hard to believe the shuttle was 200 miles away and moving at 17,000 mph. Not even cirrus clouds could keep it from shining brightly overhead. Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station which certainly helped and made it very easy to pick out. On crystal clear nights only Venus can outshine the shuttle and space station when they are docked together. Last night the man-made spaceships were the third brightest objects in the sky behind Venus and Jupiter. Even though it was only 28 degrees the warm sight in the sky made you forget how cold it was outside. If you missed this riveting display last night here are more times below from now through Thanksgiving when you can see the Space Shuttle. I think our next best chance of seeing it will be Friday night. I will have shuttle updates for you as we get closer. In the meantime, you can keep referring back to this list.




Tue Nov 18/06:55 PM
10 above S18 above SSE
Wed Nov 19/07:21 PM
10 above SW33 above SW
Thu Nov 20/06:12 PM
10 above S14 above E
Fri Nov 21/06:39 PM
26 above SW41 above NE
Sat Nov 22/07:06 PM
20 above WNW28 above NNW
Sun Nov 23/05:57 PM
43 above WSW10 above NE
Sun Nov 23/07:32 PM
11 above NW12 above NW
Mon Nov 24/06:23 PM
19 above WNW12 above NNE
Tue Nov 25/06:49 PM
11 above NW13 above N
Thu Nov 27/06:06 PM
10 above NW10 above NNE
Tue Dec 02/06:33 PM
10 above N12 above N
Wed Dec 03/06:56 PM
11 above NNW15 above NNW
Thu Dec 04/05:47 PM
12 above NNE10 above NE
Thu Dec 04/07:20 PM
10 above NW16 above NW

We have had some rough weather the last couple weeks and we actually had more than two diamonds in the rough yesterday evening. The space shuttle, International Space Station, and yes a sunset that was absolutely exhilarating! It reminded me more of a Florida sunset than one you would find in Lafayette. Thank you Robert Hamm for sending in that gem of a picture above. It certainly deserves to be at the top of the blog on our Wednesday and it tells the story of the day. Richard Beedle also sent in a nice sunset picture below just outside Linden after a day of deer hunting.

Richard is a frequent blog contributor and his picture looked more like an award winning painting and is worth a thousand positive words. We will have the warmest day of the week and our brightest day in a week on our Wednesday and it all has to do with a change in the wind direction. That vicious northwest wind will finally shift to the southwest today. Why has the northwest wind been so brutal? Snow cover in the upper Midwest and Plains this year is at 28% according to the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.

I found a good map for you. Snow extends all the way into the Georgia Mountains with freeze warnings all the way down to Flori
da. Wow! Mom and Dad please remember to cover the banana plants and those dozens of tropical plants! Now you can see why that northwest wind has packed a punch. The snow cover allows that arctic air to hold together much better as it moves over the snow and ice. It never really gets a chance to modify like it normally does this time of year. This has effectively put us into the deep freeze.

Compare this to the map above which was the snow cover in November of 2007. Snow cover was only at 8% to our north and northwest. This makes a huge difference when putting together forecasts and is one good reason why we have gone from Indian Summer straight into winter. Last year we had a much milder November and for good reason as you clearly see.

November snow cover does not always correlate to a snowy winter ahead. In fact in 2005 we had a snowpack at an astounding 75% to our north and northwest but we ended up with an average winter with only 22 inches of snow. Our blizzard year of 2007 had a previous November with 16% snow cover which is running 12% lower than this year's levels.

Make sure to check back tonight with your winter weather blog question of the day. Send those questions in and I will do my best to answer them. Remember all questions are good questions. I will also have your winter weather awareness tip of the day. Now it is time to go enjoy some of that nice weather outside before the wind shifts back to the northwest tonight and we all know now what that means! BRRRRR. Take care.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coats of Snow, Hat, & Gloves Weather Grips Lafayette

Breaking Weather Blog News:

The space shuttle will be able to be viewed tonight at 6:55 p.m. in the southern sky so make sure to take a look. We should have good viewing conditions but make sure you have your heavy coat!
Snow update includes double-digit snowfall in Indiana!

If you lived in Valparaiso this is what it would look like out your weather window. Thank you Mary Beth Wheelock and Mary Anne Best for forwarding her picture to me. Valparaiso ended up with an astounding 10" of snow. Rochester which is in the northern reaches of our viewing area had just over 3 inches of snow. There were many slick roads and even black ice reported this morning on area roads near Lafayette. Once again tonight black ice could cause some problems. This transparent form of ice likes to form in temperatures below 23 degrees and we should meet that criteria. So be extra careful on the roadways tonight even though the stars will be out. There is no road salt out there for any traction which makes black ice even more of a problem and concern than usual.

Diana Marion of Monticello sent in this picture of a dusting that fell on Monday morning. Dustings of snow also were reported from Monon to Logansport and Kokomo.

That is right, I chased down some snowflakes last night. It looked like we were in for a snowstorm at one point and when the snow was coming down moderately heavy at one point. But like most lake-effect snow bands that impact Lafayete, it was a very narrow band and it did not last too long. But notice the background picture below does show the snow did put down a dusting on the southside of Lafayette last night.

We did have some WLFI viewers report over an inch of snow in central and northern Fulton County and far northern Pulaski County as of 11 p.m. last night. Notice the nice healthy report of 1.2 inches in Rochester. By time all is said and done Rochester may end up with closer to 4 inches of snow and we should see some 12 inch amounts in Michigan. La Porte also looks like it will be the sweet spot for Indiana with totals of 6 to 8 inches before all is said and done.
I will post the updated totals later today on the blog. This snow is a sign of just how cold it is outside. You have this cold air mass and wind blowing over the much warmer Lake Michigan and this huge temperature contrast helps to condense out tons of lake-effect snow. The snow train was chugging last night and the wind switched a little more out of the north causing the lake bands that hit eastern portions of Indiana to move farther west bringing me a wonderful 10 minutes of running around in the snow with my camera. Not even my dog could keep up with me and he is a fast little guy.

Even though we did not have a big snowstorm this time around in Lafayette, this brings us to our Lafayette winter weather awareness tip of the day. The winter terminology has changed just a bit this year. No longer will we have heavy snow warnings. This is to cut down on the many different watches and warnings that are issued by different weather offices. Many times these offices overlap into different viewing areas causing confusion. So less is more in this case.

Take a look at the differences and realize that we will have AVERAGE 2 WINTER STORM WARNINGS every winter and this year will likely be no exception to the rule.
When more than a quarter inch of ice is forecasted it is called an ice storm warning. A freezing rain advisory is issued with less than a quarter-inch of ice. Sleet warnings do not exist and usually are put in the same grouping as winter storm warnings or winter weather advisories.

Blog Question of the Day: What is our chance of a blizzard this year?

Here in Lafayette our chance of a blizzard year to year is about 8% and this year since I am forecasting a much drier winter and a milder January and February I will keep our blizzard chances close to 10%. But nature will make the final call on this one so stay tuned!

Today this cold wind will finally ease up thanks to high pressure moving in from the West and this will effectively stop the snow train in its tracks. We could even see some sunshine this afternoon! I know there are a lot of folks wondering if winter is here to stay. I do have this pattern breaking by later next week and even though we will still have cold shots I do think the big ridge out west will move closer and bring us some milder weather just in time for Thanksgiving. The turkey tells us the story. It looks like the turkey will thaw with the rest of us in time for our big holiday! Gobble, gobble, gobble....

We will talk more about this on the blog later today and have your winter weather awareness tip. Please send in any winter questions you may have so we will have more fun stuff to talk about here on the blog. Have a great day and thanks for reading.

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Dusting of the Season at Home, Several Inches in Snow Belt

What a start to our week. I am receiving some incredible pictures from the snow belt areas of Lake Michigan where some areas of Indiana and Michigan could see over a foot of snow. Storm chaser extraordinaire Blake Naftel not only chases down tornadoes but snowstorms. He reported a quick 4 inches of snow in Paw Paw, Michigan and sent in these two nice background pictures of a winter wonderland in November! South Bend, Indiana had snow rates of an inch an hour late this morning. The snow is adding up quickly as you see below with a forecast snowfall in some areas near one foot!

The Golden Snow Shovel Contest here at home will live to see another day as we will not reach the one inch threshold needed for a winner. But we will have plenty of excitement in the air here at home with some of our first snow accumulations of the season. The best chance of accumulations will be north of Lafayette but if a snow band holds together well enough we could see some cat tracks even in Tippecanoe County! It will be cold enough for some of that snow to stick because we will have lows tonight into the middle 20s.

It is fitting that it is Winter Weather Awareness Week and with some slick roads expected across northern Indiana here are a few things you should have in your car at all times. We call it your winter weather survival kit. As us Hoosiers know that even if winter officially begins on December 21st we need to be prepared well before Thanksgiving. We need to be ready starting right now!

Make sure your care is winterized and you can see some items you should have in your kit. I keep a few chocolate bars in my trunk this time of year along with other non-perishable foods. Yes, sometimes I dip into this emergency stash but I do keep it fully stocked. Do not tell my kids about this hiding place. They already eat too much sugar as it is. On a more serious note I rate having extra blankets and clothes high up on the list along with a cell phone. I have met many folks that told me their cell phone is a life-saver. If you are traveling long distances make sure to call and tell somebody when you are leaving and when you expect to arrive.

Another important tidbit is how you deal with being stranded off a highway in a snowstorm. You want to make sure not to run the engine with the windows rolled all the way up. This could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Many times the cars back pipes are covered up with snow and this invisible deadly gas has nowhere to go but inside your car. Just in case always have your windows cracked and do not continually run the heat. You will also want to have a bright colored rag or towel you can tie to your car antennae so folks know that you need help. A lot of folks also try to leave their cars and succumb to hypothermia and frostbite. We all know that many times here in Indiana we have a lot of blowing and drifting during snowstorms and if you combine this with the cold and other driver's not being able to see you it can become very dangerous to try to leave your car and go get help. The bottom line is to stay with your car rather than chancing it. It could very well save your life.

Winter Weather Awareness Question of the Day:
Are there such things as snownadoes or a tornadoes that occur in snowstorms?

Well even though some think they exist there is no such thing as snownadoes. Some folks like calling blowing snow or swirls of snow, snownadoes but this is officially called blowing and drifting snow. The closest thing to a snownado would be a blizzard which happens when you have wind gusts or sustained winds and visibilities of a quarter-mile or less for three or more hours during a snowstorm. It could look a bit like a snownado at times but again it is officially blowing and drifting snow that many times is accompanied by white-out conditions. Tonight, the white-out conditions will hit far northern Indiana. I will have snow totals posted here on the blog for you tomorrow along with a turkey day surprise if you like warmer weather. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

The big story will continue to be hats and gloves weather with wind chills by morning into the middle teens. We may not see above freezing wind chills until Wednesday. Make sure to tune in tonight to stay ahead of this wintry pattern.