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.
SPACE SHUTTLE SIGHTINGS OVER LAFAYETTE FROM NOV 17 TO FRI DEC 05, 2008
|Tue Nov 18/06:55 PM||10 above S||18 above SSE|
|Wed Nov 19/07:21 PM||10 above SW||33 above SW|
|Thu Nov 20/06:12 PM||10 above S||14 above E|
|Fri Nov 21/06:39 PM||26 above SW||41 above NE|
|Sat Nov 22/07:06 PM||20 above WNW||28 above NNW|
|Sun Nov 23/05:57 PM||43 above WSW||10 above NE|
|Sun Nov 23/07:32 PM||11 above NW||12 above NW|
|Mon Nov 24/06:23 PM||19 above WNW||12 above NNE|
|Tue Nov 25/06:49 PM||11 above NW||13 above N|
|Thu Nov 27/06:06 PM||10 above NW||10 above NNE|
|Tue Dec 02/06:33 PM||10 above N||12 above N|
|Wed Dec 03/06:56 PM||11 above NNW||15 above NNW|
|Thu Dec 04/05:47 PM||12 above NNE||10 above NE|
|Thu Dec 04/07:20 PM||10 above NW||16 above NW|
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 Florida. 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.