Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Flat Stanley Visits Lafayette & Brings Warmer Weather from Houston!

Flat Stanley takes on Lafayette. Flat Stanley was sent by Cameron Barton from Houston, Texas. For those of you familiar, Flat Stanley is based on a book where Stanley was rolled by a steamroller and his family mailed him to California. It is a great
experience for kids to learn about other parts of the country by creating their own Flat Stanley and sending him on tour.

I want to give a special shout-out to all the school kids in Houston, Texas this morning viewing this blog. What you see in the picture above is my daughter Lauren getting some help from Flat Stanley. Lauren and Stanley were my big helpers on Saturday as a half-inch of one inch of snow fell on Lafayette, Indiana. If you look closely you can see Flat Stanley holding the snow shovel in Lauren's right hand. Lafayette is located an hour north of Indianapolis or Indiana's state capital and two hours south of Chicago. Lafayette was named for one of George Washington's best friends and an American Revolutionary hero who served in Washington's Continental Army. Marquis de Lafayette helped turn the tide of the war by holding off Cornwallis' troops at Yorktown as well as winning the Battle of Rhode Island. He gained our country's first honorary U.S. citizenship.

Lafayette is known to have some of the wildest weather in the entire country where you can have all four seaso
ns in the same day. We have just as many tornadoes per square foot as Oklahoma does on average. One day I came to work on May 30, 2004 and tracked 11 tornadoes in only 3 hours. You see one of two tornadoes above that hit Dayton, Indiana which is located in the Lafayette area's tornado alley. Amazingly, the only person that was injured was struck by lightning. Even though we do not have hurricanes in Indiana, we have hurricane force wind gusts in many thunderstorms that roll through the area. Severe thunderstorms have occurred in every single month of the year. We average a blizzard about every eight years, including our last one on February 13, 2007 that buried Lafayette with 17.5 inches of snow. This is what makes it so fun to be a meteorologist here in Lafayette, Indiana. It is a great place to call home!

The most important part of my job as a meteorologist is to keep people safe and it is a huge responsibility. This is not a glamorous job by any means. You have to really love what you do and realize it is a 24 hour a day/7 days a week job. Do not expect to be off on holidays. The show must go on and you are really needed the most when people are going to visit loved ones. You have to be 100% dedicated or this job is not for you. I do highly recommend becoming a television meteorologist. It is a job like no other and one I feel very lucky to have. The television part is really not the biggest part about what you really do. You serve your community not just on television but by actually getting out and taking an active role in your community. This should be a prerequisite no matter what you end up doing in life. The school talks and volunteerism are definitely among the most rewarding parts of this job. It fires me up, literally! I have run in 6 marathons and counting. My motto is pray hard, run hard, and work even harder. I have done weather on television now for 14 years which includes stops in Jacksonville, Florida (Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Storm of the Century in 1993) and Gainesville, Florida (flying frogs and tropical storms).... Duluth, Minnesota (my weather watcher set state record low of -60 and we had 230 inches of snow in 17 months)...Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Hurricane Bonnie, Dolly Parton shows, the Pavilion Amusement Park, and snow on the beach!).... and Lafayette, Indiana (tracked over 70 tornadoes and the blizzard of 2007). I have a little Flat Stanley in me with all the places I have been! :)

While in Lafayette, Cameron's Flat Stanley went to the courthouse, saw downtown Lafayette (you see him with my oldest daughter Megan above) and then headed over to Purdue University which is home to the Boilermakers and many famous astronauts.

Flat Stanley took in Triple XXX or one of our country's oldest diners, the Union and the Neil Armstrong School of Engineering. The girls then took Flat Stanley to the Tippecanoe Battlefield in Battle Ground, Indiana. This was the precursor to the War of 1811 with Great Britain. This area if full of significant historical landmarks and has had plenty of famous people visit here such as Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain. Eli Lilly served his apprenticeship here and Dr. Mayo had a medical practice downtown. The best part of all was Flat Stanley will be added to the list of famous people to have visited Lafayette, Indiana. It has been a long time since there has been this much buzz in Lafayette and I made sure to give him some credit for bringing some of the warm weather from Texas with him. Flat Stanley is on his way home to Houston with some pictures and a couple souvenirs of the Lafayette area for Cameron. May you have a great summer full of much needed rain and may all the hurricanes and tropical storms miss you!

Here in Lafayette everybody seems to have Spring on their minds since Stanley arrived. So by popular demand I keep those Spring facts coming your way. Check them out. Even the robins around the area are getting antsy and looking inside homes for warmer weather. This weekend both Saturday and Sunday were very cold with highs only in the 20s and wind chills mainly in the single digits and teens. But check these Spring facts out!

1) Meteorological Spring begins on March 1st and is only five days away.

2) Forecast highs will hit 90 in parts of West Texas this week and 70 in Lafayette in 2 weeks!

3) Daylight Saving Time begins on March 8th and Lafayette's sunset will be at 7:47 p.m.

4) The sun angle in the sky is getting so strong this time of year (almost as strong as a September sun) that our snow melted this weekend despite highs only in the 20s.

5) The coldest part of our winter is over!

Your inspirational weather quote of the day for Texas and Indiana:

"Life should not be measured in years or the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments nature takes our breath away."

This happens quite often in both of our great states and no matter where you live it is what connects all of us. Tune in tonight whether you live in Lafayette for some more breath-taking weather on the way. How bad will those thunderstorms be on Thursday and will March come in like a lamb or lion? If you are in Texas head to http://www.wlfi.com to find out if it will in fact hit 90 degrees in parts of your state and if you will be getting some needed rain. See you soon. It is about time this blog goes national. Have a great day! Thanks again for joining us Houston, Texas.


Anonymous said...

I do love that story....and our school participates in FLAT STANLEY!

Chris in Tipton

Anonymous said...

sounds like a job discription and a discription of the area to me, as well as a great story

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster above on all!

Anonymous said...

Very pretty sunrise this morning, Red at that!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the story. Very nice summary of Lafayette. :)

I love love love the sun being out all of the time! Makes it seem warmer outside! Now we just need sixties and seventies. Hopefully soon!

Enjoy your day everyone!

Anonymous said...

Love the story!! Awesome!!
It makes me feel good, that we made it through the worst, and now we can just ride right through to spring!

It is true, the sun makes it feel so much warmer! The interior of my car feels quite warm, I often open my moonroof. Even when its 31, doesn't feel that cold.

It is amazing how each week after January, how things really do change.

Nice Post! Love it!

Anonymous said...

what an awesome post MiKe.. winds are picking up in the Laf area! clear skies for now!! 37* in Lafayette! Looking at the radars heavy rain or 1-3 inches of snow???

I think this system will make the blog go wild just my thinking

Anonymous said...

Nice history information. I actually never heard of Flat Stanley. :( Anyways let them warm temperatures steam the snow lovers up...LOL Just Kidding snow lovers!! I am also with most on this post ready for that warm weather. Mike how much rain do you see in this rain event?


Anonymous said...

rain then snow it looks like for the next few days. I want not thunderstorms, and I do not want snow. spring showers yes! but i do know that lightng is needed for the flowers and grass!!

Anonymous said...

Great story Mike. I too had never heard of Flat Stanley.

Anonymous said...

I have had three Flat Stanley visits. We took him everywhere, even to a church social where he won the limbo contest. took lots of pictures then made them into a photo/scrapbook with captions and explanations before we sent him back. It was so much fun.

Barbie in Frankfort

Anonymous said...

Oh how I remember the tornados on May 30, 2004, I will never forget!

Thank you Mike for all the you do!

Anonymous said...

Flat Stanley is awesome! All schools should do! FS is kind of like a pin pal, forever moving..and in many cases telling of weather where he had been.. Fun! Thanks for sharing Mike!

Anonymous said...

Hi, This is Cameron Barton. Thank you for showing flat Stanley around. He still hasnt gotten back yet, looking forward to seeing his pictures and souveniors. My class is going to read this tomorrow.

Thank you


Anonymous said...

when my daughter was at Dayton they sent teddy bears all over the world with back packs...was very instresting to see where the bears ended up and all the things that people put in their back packs! There were pictures and coins ect...was neat! Kathy

~Sher~ said...

Another very interesting & insightfull blog..THX for sharing!

Anonymous said...

What a beauty today was! Sunshine makes anything easier to handle, agreed? Thought so. Remind me of that this summer when I am sweating and hating humidty :-)

Looking forward to warmer temps but dread the severe wx!