Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The Big Thaw! Our Heaviest Rain Since September is on the Way
What could have been? With a snow ratio that is usually 13" for every one inch of liquid here in Lafayette we would have had no problem picking up a foot of snow in most locations to some lollipops of 18 inches in spots or exactly how much snow we had in West Point, Indiana during the Blizzard of 2007. But this time around it is my family in Wisconsin that will receive the lion's share of snow. Oshkosh, Wisconsin will easily see 6 to 10 inches of snow while Milwaukee should have no problem receiving a good 4 to 7 inches of the white gold as I like to call it! The good news is that this storm is telling us we are switching to a much more active pattern across the Midwest. We have had below average precipitation really since September but we are coming out of this drier pattern now and surely we will have enough cold air in place for plenty of snow as we head toward the holidays. Do not worry snow-lovers I have not canceled our White Christmas. This warmer pattern you see below will flip back just in time for the winter solstice or the first day of winter on December 21st!
The reason for the big change is our jet stream is no longer coming from the North Pole but from Texas. The huge snow cover to our North was allowing an abated flow of bitter cold air from Canada, but now we have a much warmer flow from areas that still reach into the 70s this time of year with a much higher sun angle. The high pressure that has been sitting out West has retrograded or moved toward Alaska. This in turn will allow the huge dip in the jet stream to really head West and it is the Rocky Mountain states and far Northern Plains now that will have the worst of the cold weather. The East Coast and Florida will finally warm up, but I only expect this to last for about 7 to 10 days. Yes, we will still have some chilly days and maybe some light snow events but for now winter is releasing its firm grip on us and we could even be near 50 degrees 3 out of the next 7 days! Take a look at how the sky was on fire last night over Lafayette. These cirrostratus clouds were heralding our new weather pattern! Wow!
Here is your updated almanac that includes the weekend snow of one inch bringing our grand snow total just under 3 inches. The most important thing to note is that we have had slightly below average precipitation this month and in fact we have really been dry since the middle of September or the start of autumn. This bodes well for our area rivers and creeks. Usually an inch or more of rain on a frozen ground can cause big problems in a hurry. But we do not have a big snow pack to melt and the ground is far from saturated. In other words we do not have to worry about flooding this week. The warmer temperatures over the next 7 days will let the ground thaw out so it will not be rock hard thus reducing runoff. Next week if we do get another big rain we will have to watch things a little more carefully, but I think the ground will be able to soak up plenty of moisture and for now I would still place our flooding risk on the low side. Just in case, I will be talking to the state hydrologist today and give you an update and further assessment. We are all still wary of what happened last January and we take flooding just as seriously as we would big snow or ice storms that hit the area. We saw firsthand how devastating flooding can really be. Here is a picture from last year.
Today I do not see a repeat and we can all breathe a sigh of relief and we are watching our rain gauges quickly fill up. Remember the umbrellas and send some pictures and rain totals. Tonight we will take a closer look at just how dry we have been and why we not only have warmer days ahead but why you can say the darkest days are now behind us! Your glass will be more than half-full by tuning in tonight, that is for sure and not just because of the rain. Ready for some motivation!!
It is time to go workout! The countdown to the Orlando Marathon is now almost a month away. I want to thank my fitness instructors at International Fitness for pushing me harder than ever. Yes, you can work out by yourself but I find it much more satisfying being with others and pushing through those exercises. I apologize to my classmates for my singing, especially during Sweet Home Alabama....where the skies are so blue, but at least it made a couple folks smile and keep their minds off the pain from the lunges.
By working out with others, it is like you are part of a team and that really does help. I am also humbled every day by all the great folks in tip-top shape I work out with and it makes me strive to do even better. I am going to Florida not just to finish but to represent Lafayette well.
What I have learned this time around in training for my sixth marathon is that you can always do better than you think you can. Never place limitations on yourself. This is not just with running but life in general. Do not let others hold you back. I remember how I was told I would not finish my first Indy Mini-Marathon. That was way back in 2005. It motivated me beyond belief and I made sure I finished in under 2 hours. The human body is a miracle capable of doing amazing things and if you can stay mentally strong you will learn to not just believe but achieve at a high level. You don't think about getting tired, you think about getting better, about getting stronger. Do not let the negative thoughts anywhere near the gym or on your running route.
Yes it is okay to smile even on mile 16 on the treadmill, especially when your wife is running next to you. You get a double dose of endorphins that way! I am so proud of how far my wife Julie has come. Julie has always been a good runner, but she is becoming a very good runner now by being consistent and never missing a workout. Julie after all is the sister of my legendary brother-in-law Rob Becker who is also known as the Golden Child. He is the best athlete I have ever competed against or played sports with and Rob will surely be in the Wisconsin Baseball Hall of Fame. The one thing I hopefully have taught Julie since I am more of a scrapper is that running is 90% heart and 10% talent and her big heart is really starting to show through. Keep up the good work Julie! Enough talking, now it is just time to run. Now I am motivated, thanks for listening or at least reading! I will see you soon. Take care.