Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Freak February Storm Pounds Lafayette
In just one storm we will likely see an entire month worth of precipitation. February is climatologically our driest month averaging 1.57" of precipitation. Latest model runs have our storm tracking a little farther north and west which means most of us could push two inches of rain. You see the latest track which would mean a higher risk of more significant flooding across the area. As long as we keep amounts closer to the two inch range this will still keep the major flooding away. But if we start pushing three inches all bets are off. I still do not see this happening but we will need to monitor this very carefully, especially with the wobble a little farther north and west.
We are still in a slight risk for severe weather today and the big question is where will the big squall line of thunderstorms initiate. I think the drenching rain over the Lafayette area this morning will actually help stabilize things enough that the worst of the thunderstorms stay well south of our area. If you are traveling south to Indianapolis and Cincinnati make sure you have a plan B. The farther south you travel the better your chance of running into severe weather. But do not let your guard down. We are not even close to being out of the woods from this storm here at home. This storm nicknamed "the Freak" will act more like an inland hurricane for us today as wind gusts outside of thunderstorms easily be up near 60 mph. At just 5,000 feet above the ground wind gusts will be hurricane force at an amazing 75 mph to 85 mph. This will be mixed down to the surface as "the Freak" charges our way. It has already caused plenty of damage from tornadoes in Oklahoma and will be tracking close to our area by early afternoon. Once it moves by the area by late afternoon make sure you secure all loose objects as they will become like flying missiles, especially between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. While I do think we will dodge the tornadoes we will not miss out on damaging wind gusts.
Morning wind gusts should hold in the 30 mph range with those scattered thunderstorms, but notice they increase up to over 50 mph in the afternoon with the worst of the wind between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. with gusts of 60 to 65 mph. This extended period of time with high wind gusts is bad news for us. Usually when storms move through they are here and gone in less than 30 minutes, but damaging wind gusts will be possible for a good 6 to 8 hours today and early this evening. It will be like a never-ending thunderstorm with straight-line winds that just will not go away and this set-up could cause some significant damage around the area to not only trees but powerlines, rooftops, and shingles. A high wind warning will continue until 1 a.m. on Thursday and things likely will not get better until late tonight. We are used to storms here in Indiana but not wind storms like we are about to experience.
Stay with our weather team for all the latest on the heavy rain, flooding, thunderstorms, and wind. Bloggers this is your chance to step up again with pictures, weather conditions, road conditions, rainfall amounts, wind gusts, and any damage reports. The more eyes and ears out there the safer we will all be. I will be in touch with the National Weather Service and Emergency Management and together we can all make a difference helping to keep as many people safe as we can. This is what it is all about. Be safe and batten down the hatches! This storm will be one to remember. It is great hearing from folks all over the country. We are interested in your stories because we are all connected. I will make sure to share more national stories here on the blog and of course relate it to Indiana which is easy to do since we are the Crossroads of America. Some think we got that name from all the major interstates that run through here, but in my book it is from all the weather that runs through this state. Every day is like the Super Bowl when you are a meteorologist in Indiana. Let the game begin. Our team is ready!