Friday, December 19, 2008
Lightning & Small Hail Possible by 4 a.m.
You can see lightning strikes just before 2 a.m. in the Champaign area these storms have been moving off to the northeast. The good news is that by time they move into our area our temperatures will be near freezing and most of the rain will likely not freeze.
There are three things working in our favor right now saving us from a major ice storm.
1) Our freezing temperatures only extend about 1,000 miles high into the atmosphere. You couple this with temperatures approaching 50 degrees at 5,000 feet and the rain just is not able to freeze in our thin frozen layer. Amazingly, it is a warm rain and as a result most of it is not accumulating.
2) The rain has been heavy enough the last couple hours that this also tends to drag warm air down with the raindrops and gives off heat in the atmosphere. So this also acts like a barrier to raindrops that are trying to freeze on trees and powerlines.
3) Our thin layer of freezing temperatures continues to erode as temperatures are now up to 30.8 degrees here at WLFI. This is also making it more soggy than icy out there.
So we will continue to take it hour by hour but we have three reasons to be optimistic at this point. I do think some of us will here thunder between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. so do not be surprised. Our ice storm warning continues until 9 a.m. so even if the news is better we have to be very careful on the roadways. I will check back with more ice measurements shortly. If you get a chance send some of yours in as well. I will try to do an update on the ice potential here shortly along with an amazing shot of hail in some of the clouds in Tippecanoe County. We can't rule out hail here tonight! WOW!