Monday, August 21, 2017

MikJournal Monday 08/21/2017...Eclipse Day and Eclipse History

Happy Eclipse day, which just happens to be a Monday. Today, I just want to take a brief look at the number of total solar eclipses to affect the United States over the last 100 years or so. Okay, maybe not the eclipses themselves, but what was the weather like that particular day. Perhaps any weather records set that day? Any other events? Let's take a look.

Not counting the total solar eclipse today, I counted 10 other ones that affected the United States over the past century.

June 8...Louisville records a high of 79 degrees and a low of 53, nearly 8 degrees below normal.
Nova Aquila, brightest nova since Kepler's nova of 1604, was discovered.

September 10...Lexington's high and low was 74 and 55, nearly 6 degrees below normal. They were also in the midst of an impressive 11-day cool snap from September 7-18, peaking on the 14th when the high was only 61 and the low was a relatively cold 41 degrees.

January 24...Louisville enjoyed a pleasant 52 degrees after a cold start of 24. The temperature would surge briefly to 59 degrees the next day then keep falling the next couple of days, bottoming out at -2 with nearly 6" snow on the ground.
Moving picture of the solar eclipse taken from dirigible over Long Island

April 28...Lexington high of 77 and low of 59 with 0.02" rain for the day.
1st night organized baseball game played at Independence Kansas
Carolyn Jones was born...think Morticia on Addams Family

August 31...Hottest day of the month for Louisville and Lexington at 96 degrees.
Earlier in the month, on the 2nd, Lexington would record 8.04" for its rainiest day on record for any given month.

July 9...Louisville typical hot day at 90 and low of 66 with rain moving in later along cold front,  producing pleasant weather for the next few days

June 30...Temperature reaches 97 in Louisville. No eclipse going to stop this impressive heat wave when temperatures hit at least 90 degrees for 27 out of 28 days.
Yankee pitcher Tom Morgan hits 3 batters in one inning tying a record

July 20...A high of 88 in Louisville; the day before hit 91 degrees for the only 90-degree day of the month. It was a rainy month, settling in at #10 of all July's on record
Mary Mills wins U.S. Women's Open Golf Championship
Not necessarily on this day, but by July 1 the United States Postal Service introduced ZIP (Zoning Improvement Plan) codes to help facilitate a more efficient method of mail delivery.

March 7...Typical cool early March day with 58 degrees in Louisville
You knew an eclipse signified gloom and doom...about a month later the Beatles disband

February 26...38 degrees in Louisville, part of a very cold month (8th coldest February right behind 2015)
About a week earlier on the 18th, the Sahara Desert received a rare snow event for 30 minutes
You can buy a Sony Walkman for 200 dollars...ouch.

Make it a great day. Remember, don't look up at the Sun without protection. Take advantage of this historic, astronomical, scientific day.


Monday, August 14, 2017

MikJournal Monday 08/14/2017...Summer Wakes Up and Your Latest Geographical Trivia

A good Monday to you. I awoke to a few light showers this morning at the old homestead. As I write this, the shower activity is moving off to my east and weakening some. I have recorded a few hundredths of an inch. So far, it's enough to preclude any grass cutting chores until maybe the afternoon if we get enough sunshine.

Well, how about those below normal temperatures? So far, the CPC has been spot on with its probability forecasts for below normal readings here. In fact, check out this month's temperatures at the nation's heat island capital here in Louisville...

== ==== ==== ==== ====
1 90 71 81 2
2 86 70 78 -1
3 90 67 79 0
4 82 63 73 -6
5 82 58 70 -9
6 75 65 70 -9
7 80 66 73 -6
8 85 65 75 -4
9 85 63 74 -5
10 89 67 78 -1
11 88 68 78 -1
12 87 71 79 0
13 87 63 75 -4

As you can see, Louisville has recorded only 1 day above normal so far. Yep, you have to go back to August 1 for Louisville to have an above normal kind of day. That's amazing!

As a side note, take a look at Fairbanks, AK temperatures for this month...

== ==== ==== ==== ====
1 71 56 64 4
2 59 55 57 -3
3 71 55 63 3
4 70 56 63 4
5 79 53 66 7
6 83 55 69 10
7 81 58 70 11
8 76 57 67 9
9 82 52 67 9
10 74 55 65 7
11 69 53 61 3
12 71 54 63 6

As you can see, Fairbanks has recorded only 1 day below normal, around the 2nd of the month. I often refer to the Alaska - Kentucky connection. When we're down, they're up and when we're up, they're down, generally speaking, not always. But, still, I thought this was an interesting relationship to show this morning.

So, back to my main thought, several locations in central Kentucky are averaging between 3 and 4 degrees below normal for the month. Additionally, all of the locations that I look at here in Kentucky are recording below normal readings. It's been a wonderful trend. But, is it about to end?

Here is a picture I saved from the CPC for the period of August 19-23...

Take a look at Kentucky's overall probability for above normal temperatures during this time period. In fact, I looked at the Euro model, and their forecast is for normal to above normal temperatures for our region during this same time period.

 Just for fun, look at Alaska's expected temperature pattern. Below normal. Hmmm.

So, it looks like summer is finally waking up again.

Here is a look at this month's geographical bit of trivia. I perused the longitude line and found Cozumel at 86.92 degrees west, a popular destination for those who love 'cruising'. In fact, one of its beaches has been ranked in the top ten beaches of Mexico for 2 years in a row, Paradise Beach.

So, I followed the 86.92 degree line of longitude into Kentucky and found a place called Paradise (at 86.98 degrees, close enough). Located in Muhlenburg County, it was an old mining town that served its purpose. But, once the coal deposits were depleted and any iron ore was fully mined during the mid and late 1800's, Paradise would become a forgotten place on the map. Raining down on residents was cinder fallout from some tallstacks about a mile away and eventually led to many residents selling their places to the TVA in the late 1950's and 60's. Quite a contrast to what we would normally expect from a name like Paradise. Finally, Postmaster Buchanan dispatched his last bag of mail and the office closed in November 1967.  Thank you for the information at

Finally, here's a look at this week's state records and weather extremes....

August 18-19
1955...Westfield MA...18.15" (state 24-hr Precip Record)

August 19
1955...Burlington CT...12.77" (state 24-hr Precip Record)
2007...Hokah MN...15.10" (state 24-hr Precip Record)

August 19-20
1939...Tuckerton NJ...14.81" (state 24-hr Precip Record)

August 20
1983...Greenville GA...112 degrees (ties Max State Record)

Have a good week, everyone.


Monday, August 7, 2017

MikJournal Monday 08/07/2017...Introducing State Records and Weather Extremes

A statewide, soggy Monday morning for most of us. I know some of you do not need the rain, but my ground here in Valley Station says, "Thank you!"

Yes, a general soaking across much of the state with some impressive amounts occurred yesterday, a day after one of the best Saturday's I've had since the Saturday before.

I have been using 2 rain gauges at the house, a popular Acurite manual rain gauge that registers up to 5" and my personal, homemade rain gauge consisting of a Barilla spaghetti jar and a funnel that matches the opening, and of course, a measuring scale. My Acurite registered 0.84" while my homemade gauge read 0.68".

Recently, I have harped on how inaccurate my Acurite rain gauge becomes once we get into higher rainfall amounts. Yesterday's total was inconclusive, since most of the surrounding areas recorded numbers that supported both amounts. But, looking at the general direction of the precipitation shield, there was a north-northeast component. So, I included these numbers from the southwest of me to the northeast of me and came up with these values...0.79; 0.78"; 0.71"; 0.79"; 0.56"; 0.53".

In general, rainfall amounts from my county varied as several episodes of convective showers occurred in the midst of a rather large shield of rain that blanketed nearly the entire state. Most areas picked up between 0.50" and 1.00" in Jefferson County while some parts of the state saw amounts of 2.00 to 2.50".

The month of August has been unusually cool so far. The CPC predicted a better than 50 percent chance for below normal temperatures through the middle of August. Latest information still shows a really good chance for temperatures to remain just below normal through the 20th. Yes, it's possible to have a few days where temperatures may go above normal, but the consensus is that there may be more below normal numbers than above normal ones.

In other weather news, Tulsa OK was hit hard by at least an EF-2 tornado. There was considerable damage to businesses and residences.

In Alaska, some areas like Fairbanks saw temperatures in the 80's. Still, lots of daylight up there. In Barrow, the sunrise/sunset time for today is 4:12 a.m. to 12:47 a.m., about 20 hours and 35 minutes. But, they are losing daylight faster now. Tomorrow's sunrise/sunset will be 4:20 a.m. to 12:39 a.m., a loss of 16 minutes of sunlight in just one day.

Finally, every Monday, I will try and list as many state records/weather extremes as possible for the upcoming week. Many state records for all-time high temperatures have come and go. But, there are still some to go. But, there are other extremes besides high temperatures.

So, here's your list for this week....

August 7...
Cumberland MD 109 degrees in 1918 (state record)

August 7-8...
Lockington Dam OH 10.75" in 1995 (24-hr precip state record)

August 8...
Basin WY 115 degrees in 1983 (state record)

August 9...
Perryville TN 113 degrees in 1930 (state record)

August 10...
Ozark AR 120 degrees in 1936 (state record)
Plain Dealing LA 114 degrees in 1936 (state record)
Poteau OK 120 degrees in 1936 (state record)
Pendleton OR 119 degrees in 1898 (state record)

August 12...
Altus OK 120 degrees in 1936 (state record)
Seymour TX 120 degrees in 1936 (state record)

August 12-13...
Islip/LI Airport NY 13.57" in 2014 (24-hr precip state record)

Have a nice week everyone.


Monday, July 31, 2017

MikJournal Monday 07/31/2017...Ridge West Trough East?

Another Monday. It's not too bad facing today after a beautiful weekend. Hope you had a chance to enjoy it.

Let's talk about ridges and troughs, shall we?

A ridge is often associated with sinking air. As the air sinks, it warms. So, think warmer. Now, a trough is just the opposite, associated with cyclonic flow and a 'cold' low pressure, often a signal of below normal temperatures, or at least relatively cooler conditions.

A fascinating thing happens here in the U.S. When there is a ridge that develops in the western part of the U.S., a hot spell can result. I saw on Sunday, Excessive Heat Watch and Heat Advisory products were issued for coastal Washington state down to central California.

Why, even Barrow AK saw its warmest temperature since July 30, 2009. It reached 68 degrees on the 29th the other day.

On the flip side, while the west is baking, the eastern part of the U.S. is shaking, okay, maybe not that extreme. But, temperatures have turned cooler for many of us.

Houlton, ME recorded a temperature of 38 degrees early last weekend. Mount Washington, NH saw a low of 34 (of course, they are located over 6,200 feet in elevation).

The forecast for next weekend is for more below normal temperatures. The European model has backed off just a tad on how cool it will be for us in our region by next weekend. But, still, at the very least, we will see similar temperatures like what we enjoyed this past weekend and maybe slightly cooler.

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a medium to high probability for below normal temperatures extending nearly into the middle of August. Huh? That would be something we haven't seen around these parts in quite a while.

Precipitation comes in mixed for the state. Several areas along and east of I-75 saw excessive rain amounts for the month. Near Maysville, over 10" has been recorded at a Kentucky Mesonet site, most of that occurring since July 21.

However, I can say that some areas came in with very little rainfall, because just southwest of Louisville International airport where I live, I only received 1.71" for the month. I find it absolutely amazing that Maysville has received nearly twice the amount of rain in one month than I have received in two months.

Finally, as I conclude this post, I just received an update that Tropical Storm Emily has formed off the coast of Tampa FL. But, it seems the National Hurricane Center is confident this won't be a repeat of Charley from 2004, going from nearly nothing to a major hurricane in 24 hours.

Have a good week everyone.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

MikJournal Monday 07/24/2017...Geography...Streak Ends

Good morning to one and all. You'll never guess what happened at my house over the weekend. It rained, hard enough to measure in a rain gauge. My emoji is all smiles, jumping up and down in puddles with a raincoat on.

Yes, it's true. Although the weather radar was lit up with yellow and red returns, at one time I was barely getting enough rain to wet the pavement while my nearby neighbors in adjacent communities were soaking in nearly an inch of rainfall. But, by the end of the day, I had recorded 0.60" and my rain barrel was full again.

My garden is happy, except for one of my chili pepper plants blew over, thanks in part to 35-40 mph winds and at least 6-7 maturing Anaheim chili peppers, the longest one being about 7" long, weighing on the entire plant. That problem has been fixed. No serious damage, just lost a little twig with no fruit flowering on it anyway.

It ends a 'no measurable rainfall' streak of 15 consecutive days at my house, driest it has been since Louisville International recorded only 0.03" during a 20-day stretch from August 21 - September 9, 2016.

Bad news is I'll be out there today cutting at least the front yard. But, it looks like the worst of the heat is behind us, you know, that 100-105 degree heat index stuff. Enjoy the reprieve because I'm sure the dog days of August will eventually bring us more heat.

Speaking of heat, July 28 is coming soon, marking the hottest day in Kentucky's history that occurred in 1930 at Greensburg with a sweltering 114 degrees.

Also, today, Louisville will be commemorating it's hottest day ever at 112 degrees set in 1952, good enough for a share of the state all-time record. Huh? Oh, did I not mention it was for the state of Georgia? That's right. Louisville, GA and later Greenville (on August 20 1983).

Other all-time state high temperatures observed today include Alton, KS at 121 degrees in 1936; Minden, NE at 118 degrees in 1936; and Wahluke, WA at 118 degrees in 1928.

Well, I'm a huge geography buff. I wish people would appreciate the subject a little bit more. We can learn a lot about our little part on this globe. Mountain ranges, highest points, lowest points, longest rivers, widest rivers, tallest waterfalls, largest states, smallest states, and so much more.

Today, I looked at latitude coordinates. For every point on a map, there is a latitude and longitude coordinate. So, I found another latitude coordinate that is nearly identical to ours here in Louisville, way out in California. It's called San Andreas, a relatively small town. Perhaps you have heard of it.

Ah, but do not be deceived that this is where the San Andreas Fault System owes its name. A little bit of history reveals that a professor named Andrew Lawson discovered a part of this fault system in 1895 and named it after the nearby lake, Lagunas de San Andreas, or San Andreas lake, just south of San Francisco, since it was in the valley that the fault resides.

Therefore, San Andreas does not lie on the San Andreas fault line. In fact, the town is nearly 100 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Have a good week everyone. Stay safe. That means 'Don't text and drive' and 'Go indoors when thunder roars' and 'Turn around, don't drown'.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Midweek Post...Evaporation Project

Since my local climate is working on a 13th consecutive day of no measurable rainfall, I decided on Tuesday, the 18th, to arbitrarily fill my rain gauge with stored rainwater from the barrel. This was an ideal time to perform a detailed evaporation project. Hot temperatures, plenty of sunshine, no rainfall, varying dewpoints.

My goal is to demonstrate that the period of time during the day that produces the most evaporation is the middle of the day through the afternoon, a time that I will often see residents and businesses 'wasting' water, bringing little benefit to the soil and wasting precious natural resources, incurring, I hope for them, a hefty water bill for the billing cycle.

I started my project at noon on the 18th with 3.33" rainfall in the gauge.

By 11:00 a.m. this morning, nearly 47 hours later, the gauge registered 2.68", a loss of 0.65" in just those 47 hours.

My hypothesis was that the period of observation between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. would yield a higher percentage of the total evaporation within an undetermined time period (I have to make sure it's not going to rain...that's why it's not a determined period of time).

Although my results are not final, preliminary readings show that of the 0.65" that evaporated from the gauge during the 47-hour period, 0.37" occurred during the 2 - five hour periods listed above for the 18th and the 19th.

This represents 57 percent of the total evaporation occurred in just this 10-hour period of time. Nearly 0.04" per hour on average evaporated during this peak time of noon to 5 for both days.

On the other hand, the other 37 hours produced an average evaporation rate of only 0.008" per hour. When we compare the two evaporation rates (0.04"/hr versus 0.008"/hr), do the math yourself. The rate during peak evaporation was 5x greater than the other hours.

Therefore, my preliminary conclusion is watering the lawn is not beneficial to the root system during the middle of the day as much is evaporated. In addition, disease generation is promoted. I'm not the only one suggesting this, but 'professionals' will tell you that watering the lawn early in the morning is more beneficial as the ground can soak up the water more efficiently with a less likely introduction of disease that can actually harm the lawn.


Briefly, switching gears, I looked at the U.S. Drought Monitor report due this morning....

Kentucky still does not show any drought, or even abnormal dryness (which I was expecting for a couple of counties in northwest Kentucky).


Monday, July 17, 2017

MikJournal Monday 07/17/2017...Drying Out and Hotter

Here's to hoping your Monday is off to a good start. Well, I noticed some mid level cumulus clouds this morning streaming in from the northwest. Along with falling pressure, this is normally a good indicator of possible showers later today in the region. However, it's coming in from the northwest, a less favorable condition for moisture support. In addition, pressure has stabilized and even risen during the past hour and clouds are thinning across my area.

NWS Louisville has stated a slight chance of rain for my area, so we'll just have to see. I could really use the rain, since I have recorded a little over an inch for the month so far.

Here's a look at the Kentucky drought status...thru July 11

U.S. Drought Monitor forKentucky
That's right. Absolutely no drought or abnormal dryness.

However, I am becoming more confident that some areas along the Ohio River of north-central and northwestern Kentucky may be experiencing some abnormal dryness in the next report due out this Thursday.

With an expected heat wave building in this week, the ground is really going to dry out for many of us. Here in the Louisville area, not much rain has fallen this month. And really, no rain is expected for much of the week after today.

In fact, at my house in Valley Station, just southwest of Louisville's official reporting site at the airport, I have not recorded any measurable rainfall since July 7. Therefore, if no rain falls today, I could be looking at 2 consecutive weeks of no rainfall by this Friday. Thank goodness for my rain barrel that still holds over 50 gallons. I really only need about 6-7 gallons a week for the garden when there is no rainfall. But, I may need a little extra for the established plants I own such as my hostas, azaleas, liriopes, and knockout roses. I'll just have to monitor those closely.

Some of you may not be experiencing much drying of the ground yet. But, I'm sure I will be seeing residents locally trying to water their lawn during the middle of the day. I cannot tell you how much that annoys me. Watering the lawn for 3 to 4 hours during the middle of the day is less beneficial for your yard and an absolute waste of natural resources than if you just spend an hour in the early morning. Less watering, more benefit. But, some people...some people you just cannot convince. "I'll do what I want, you can't tell me what to do. It's my yard, my water bill, just back off." (sigh)

Along with a drier ground, temperatures are really going to respond. Last summer, Louisville's highest temperature was 96, Lexington at 95, Frankfort at 95, and Bowling Green at 96. I think Louisville stands a really good chance of matching or exceeding last year's high this week. Stay tuned.


I am showing you these locations in Maine because the Climate Prediction Center is anticipating below normal readings for much of the last week of July. In fact Houlton recorded a low of 42 within the past few days.

Many of these areas experienced a heavier than normal snowfall this past winter. Most locations reported over 100". I found a range of 78 - 147".

Here is Caribou's report....  (chart might be hard to read)


Remember, the snow year officially runs from July 1 through June 30. Caribou's normal snowfall is 108.7". Therefore, the above normal snowfall is representative of the kind of winter our friends in Maine experienced overall.

Here was the report from Hartford, a city just southwest of Augusta the capital and generally north of Portland....


In fact, there was a 62" snow depth that set a record dating back to 1998, when this station first started recording data.

Certainly, this made our winter look even more dismal in comparison.

Oh, well. Something to cool you off with nonetheless.

Have a good week...


MikJournal Monday 08/21/2017...Eclipse Day and Eclipse History

Happy Eclipse day, which just happens to be a Monday. Today, I just want to take a brief look at the number of total solar eclipses to affec...