Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Great Swell 2018...with Updated Rain Amounts

Good morning. It appears Round 1 is winding down. I took the liberty to jot down a few totals since yesterday. Starting with the most important place, at my house (hey, this is my blog), I collected 2.25" as of 10:30 this morning. The Louisville International airport, at Standiford Field, came in at 2.37". Around Jefferson County, I'm getting reports of many 2.00 - 2.50" amounts since yesterday.

Also, a cursory glance at the official site appears to have set a daily rainfall record for today the 22nd. It looks like the daily record was beaten by 0.06". But, we'll have to wait and see how the weather observation records and climate records work this one out.

Other noteworthy locations include near Munfordville in Hart County. Last I checked, they were coming in at a total of 3.46", as of 11:00 a.m and since yesterday.

As of 11:00 this morning, Lexington has recorded 2.46" since midnight, good enough for a daily rainfall record for today the 22nd. Storm totals since yesterday have closed in on the 3" mark.

Rivers continue to swell statewide. River forecasts continue to inch higher, with some areas along the Ohio possibly reaching moderate flood stage. If this occurs, it will have been since 2011 since river levels have been this high.

UPDATE 02/22 142800...Upper Gage at McAlpine now forecast to crest at 34.4 ft by Tuesday; many floodgates closed

UPDATE 02/22 145600...Lower Gage now forecast crest of 65.9 ft; at 66 feet Riverport floodgate closes

Looking at crests on Ohio River McAlpine Upper

Historic Crests (1) 52.15 ft on 01/27/1937
(2) 42.10 ft on 03/08/1945
(3) 41.70 ft on 02/16/1884
(4) 41.20 ft on 03/12/1964
(5) 39.50 ft on 02/16/1883
(6) 39.40 ft on 04/02/1913
(7) 38.76 ft on 03/07/1997
(8) 36.40 ft on 01/22/1907
(9) 36.00 ft on 04/19/1948
(10) 34.10 ft on 03/23/1933
(11) 33.40 ft on 03/04/1962
(12) 33.00 ft on 05/10/1961
(13) 33.00 ft on 03/23/1943
(14) 32.40 ft on 02/22/1882
(15) 31.90 ft on 12/14/1978
(16) 31.80 ft on 03/10/1955
(17) 31.60 ft on 03/29/1936
(18) 31.50 ft on 03/13/1967
(19) 31.50 ft on 03/22/1963
(20) 31.40 ft on 02/07/1950
(21) 31.30 ft on 03/30/1898
(22) 31.13 ft on 04/27/2011
(23) 30.60 ft on 01/27/1927
(24) 30.40 ft on 03/28/1890
(25) 30.30 ft on 02/28/1897
(26) 30.10 ft on 02/09/1939
(27) 30.00 ft on 04/26/1940

I will post more rain totals on this page throughout the weekend.

Turn around. Don't drown.


Monday, February 19, 2018

MikJournal Monday 02/19/2018...Extremes

Last evening, the temperature was about 48 degrees here at my house. I read the forecast for an overnight low of 47 and obviously had my doubts. Well, I awoke this morning to a temperature of 58 degrees. As I write this post, the temperature has actually risen to 59, and it's not even sunrise.

What a rollercoaster month! Starting out the month, temperatures were very cold. In Louisville, a high of 28 and a low of 14 gave us an average temperature of 21, nearly 15 degrees below normal. On the 15th of this month, a high of 74 and a low of 62 for an average of 68 degrees, some 29 degrees above normal. Then, over the weekend, a surprise snow for my area, almost a half inch, with temperatures above freezing the entire time. Now, forecasts are for more 70's this upcoming week. Breathe.

Unfortunately, heavy rains are poised to move back into our region. The Mesonet site in Harlan County, up near 4000 feet atop Black Mountain, has already received 11.71" for the month, part of an impressive flooding situation along the Cumberland river and other nearby tributaries.

Rainfall estimates for last week were for a general 1-3". In Louisville, 1.61" fell since last Monday. At my house, just 10 miles away, I collected 1.50". In the eastern part of the state 2-3" were quite common.

This week, the situation becomes dire, especially along the larger river systems, like the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. Thanks to the heavy rains from last week and swollen rivers upstream, these have flowed into the larger river systems, which has already prompted flood warnings for many along the Ohio. And the forecast for the week, well, you take a look...

For central and west Kentucky, rainfall projections of at least 5" for the week will likely lead to flash flooding and areal flooding for many. Residents of eastern Kentucky cannot let their guard down either. Another 2-3" is forecast for the upcoming week. A reminder to all of us. This forecast is not set in stone. Yes, a general 2-5" is expected for the week. But, the axis of the heaviest rainfall is still uncertain. Stay tuned to your favorite media source for the latest updates.

Talk about extremes. Just recently, I highlighted in one of my posts, that here in Louisville, we had 9 days in January when temperatures were in the single digits, placing us in a small number of years that event has occurred in Louisville's climatological history, including the first time in the 2000's.

Now, we're talking about the other extreme. There is a measure called the Cooling Degree Day, used for energy purposes. But, it is based on an average temperature of 65 degrees. So, if you have a high temperature of 75 and a low temperature of 55, the average temperature would be 65 degrees. Now, that sounds pretty good for Spring. But, for February, that's a pretty rare achievement.

As I noted earlier in this post, on the 15th, Louisville had a high of 74 and a low of 62 for an average of 68 degrees. That gave us 3 Cooling Degree Days or CDD's. That means our average temperature was 3 degrees above the 65 degree base. Anytime the average temperature is greater than 65 degrees for a particular day, that will be added to the 3 we already have at present.

Well, how rare is that for February? In the table below, I collected some CDD's from years past for Louisville. Here, take a look....

1932 5
2000 4
1985 2
1954 2
1883 2

Remember, Louisville has already recorded 3 CDD's for this month. Therefore, we already are in 3rd or 4th place according to this table. With temperatures projected well into the 70's and lows in the 60's for at least a couple of days this week, we will likely see average temperatures greater than that 65 degree base. My current projection is that Louisville will set an all-time mark for most CDD's for the month of February, possibly between 6 and 8 total CDD's.

What will this unusual warmth do for our overall winter? December and January were below normal. February started out way below normal. But, now it appears that February will have a much above normal month for temperatures. Wouldn't it be crazy if our overall winter average came in above normal because one month, or should I say, a few days of the month, skewed the entire winter to above normal?

But, Old Man Winter may make another appearance around here soon enough. Does he have plans to wreck that possibility of a warmer than normal winter? Teleconnection signals are like security cameras and they already have him on the monitor. We'll just have to wait and see what he is up to.

For now, take care. Stay safe. Do not cross flooded roadways. It is not worth it. Even if the idiot ahead of you attempts it successfully does not guarantee that you will make it.


Monday, February 12, 2018

MikJournal Monday 02/12/2018...Lake Effect Snows

Good Monday to you. Well, I awoke to a clear sky and a seemingly dry porch and a temperature of 24 degrees. Then, I checked my phone and saw a message from the school system that area schools were closed. I checked a news app and saw that several school districts were closed today. Still not quite understanding why, I checked out a local news media outlet and finally understood what the fuss was all about.

That seemingly dry porch of mine actually had patches of a thin layer of ice due to sleet and freezing drizzle last night. In fact, area roadways were impacted for this morning's rush hour, which was anything but rushing, more like crawling. Good. Motorists were actually trying to behave themselves for a change.

Looking ahead to the rest of this week, temperatures are going to warm up but at a price. The atmospheric setup is one that favors funneling an abundant supply of moisture into our region, which is not good for our friends in the southern and southeastern parts of the state.

The Weather Prediction Center is forecasting an additional 1-3" for the state, possibly exasperating already swollen river systems for residents in the eastern part of the state.

In an ironic twist, some areas of eastern KY have seen more rainfall this month already than a season's worth of snowfall. For example, Skyline in eastern Kentucky has received 5.32" of precipitation (mostly rain) this month while recording only 4.5" of snowfall since the snow season began July 1. That 4.5" of snowfall is about 8 inches below normal. With a couple of exceptions, many in the Bluegrass state are experiencing another below normal winter for snow lovers.

But, there are some places in the U.S. that are enjoying (or dreading) another banner year for snowfall. Last year, the state of Maine saw many locations exceed 100" for the snow season, well above normal. How about this year?

Several locations in Maine are already ahead of schedule for an above normal snowfall. In fact, some areas are on track to exceed the winter of 2007/2008 totals when places like Caribou saw nearly 198".
Actually, it appears some areas may approach last year's totals while others may not be as robust. Still, an above normal snow season nonetheless.

How about the Lake Effect Snow Machine? Erie, Pennsylvania has already set an all-time record snowfall for the season and will likely add to it over the next couple of months. Yet, Erie is not the only one having a blockbuster season. The usual locations I follow in New York are at it again. Near Hooker, snowfall totals for the season have already exceeded 183", beating out Erie by nearly 30". In fact, the snowiest season on record near Hooker was 466.9" during the winter of 1976/77 followed by another 418.4" the following winter of 1977/78. So, last year's total of 237" or so was a little bit below normal for the data obtained over the last 60+ years. Still, even they are on track to register a near normal snowfall of 246" for this winter.

You can follow the stats on the side of the blog for the next couple of months. Hopefully, I'll be able to update some mountain snowfall totals, especially out west.

Have a nice week everyone. Remember, do not cross flooded roadways, especially barricaded roads, since you have no idea whether the road underneath exists.


Monday, February 5, 2018

MikJournal Monday 02/05/2018...Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster 2003 and February Outlook

Good Monday to you. I wanted to share a little bit of history with you. 15 years ago on February 1, the Space Shuttle Columbia was attempting to re-enter Earth's atmosphere but disintegrated. What does this have to with weather you may ask?

Look at this radar image, just moments after it was determined the shuttle and its crew did not make it safely through re-entry...

Friends, that's not rain nor is it rainfall anomalies. It is an image of the debris field left behind when the shuttle disintegrated. The distance spanned was enormous, from Tyler in Texas to western Louisiana. In fact, debris was still being obtained some 8 years after the disaster. However, only about 40 percent of the craft has been recovered. It is speculated that either the majority of the structure likely burned up during the re-entry process or there may be still smaller fragments out there in sparsely populated or unreachable regions. Thanks and credit Matt Lanza for posting the radar image on Twitter.


As usual, I'm a little late with my outlook. One winter storm just fizzled out for us over the Super Bowl weekend, but not before producing over 2" of wet snow in some locations. The teleconnection signals gave mixed signals. The PNA and AO continue to give mixed signals and have both offered up potential for this upcoming week of February 5-11.

One is coming up late on the 6th into the 7th. The next one will be a few days after that one. It is possible some may get a decent snowfall out of this. But, indications are leaning toward a warmer solution which may involve ice or rain.

I think we will see above normal temperatures coming soon. However, that pattern may lead to a sudden flipping later this month, yes, more cold air poised to dive southward. Right now, I do not see any significant snowfall after the middle of the month. But, if cold air will be present later this month, clipper type systems could produce a varied amount of snowfall for our region. We will just have to wait and see how those events unfold.

La Nina conditions will likely be contributing to another active severe weather season. It's still too vague if we will see any severe weather here in our region this month. But, March may be a stormy month.

Have a good week everyone and congrats to the Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles.


Monday, January 29, 2018

MikJournal Monday 01/29/2018...Remembering the Great Flood of 1937

Good Monday to you. Let's jump into our time machine and travel back to January 1937. Check out this picture...

Yep. That's a horse, unfortunately a dead horse swept away by raging floodwaters. You will see the picture again on the poster here.

It was a flood that will likely see no equal. In fact, in Louisville the maximum crest of 85.4 feet's closest challenger was the 1945 crest of 74.4 feet.

Please read the account of this infamous event in Louisville's history below....

I am currently working on a February outlook that includes more winter weather. And you thought this was going to be another boring winter.


Monday, January 22, 2018

MikJournal Monday 01/22/2018...Searching For the Coldest Winters

I hope you are having a good Monday so far. Wow. The temperature at my house at 6:30 this morning is a spring-like 58 degrees. Last week's snowfall is pretty much gone now, except for the mounds in parking lots or perhaps  in your back yard where the sun does not shine on the heaps of snow piled up from plowing or shoveling.


An active pattern of mostly above normal temperatures and precipitation is expected over the next 1-2 weeks. Could we see some snowfall during this time? Come on, it's winter. However, any significant snowfall like what we saw last week does not appear likely at this time, unless the first few days of February should have something to say about that.
But, that's still a ways away. So, let's talk a little more about winter. I am searching for some of the coldest winters.  Now, some of the coldest winters can be found quite easily at the website. Since I'm using Louisville NWS office, I simply click on the central part of the state. Next, click on the 'Climate and Past Weather' header.
Here, you will see the locations covered, like Louisville International, Lexington, Frankfort, and Bowling Green. Again, more headers are listed. I click on the 'Local Data/Records' header. You will see a lot of topics to choose from. Unfortunately, this page has not been maintained very well, since most links are either outdated or do not exist anymore. However, I am interested in what does work. You will see the list of cities again, like Frankfort, Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green. Click on one of those, and you will be taken to a page with lots of statistical data to choose from.
My personal favorites are from the Temperature Information and Precipitation Information sections. These include several Top Ten categories. I often use these on this forum when highlighting locations that may or have already reached levels that put them in a Top Ten category. Go ahead, give it a try. You will be surprised at how long you may find yourself looking into all of this information.
When I select Top Ten Warmest and Coldest Seasons in Louisville, I look at the Winter Season (which comprises December, January, and February) under Top Ten Coldest Seasons and find the information I need.
But, then I see the other seasons that were Top Ten Warmest and Coldest and was surprised (well not that surprised) to see that in the Top Ten Coldest Seasons, for example, there were not many years in the 2000's listed. 2003 and 2004 were pretty cool. Conversely, the Top Ten Warmest Seasons yielded several years, especially since 2010, that have been ranked in the Top Ten for all of the seasons of the year. 
Personally, I like to use my own custom-designed tables to pinpoint how cold it has been this winter. For instance, looking at the month of January for Louisville. I set a parameter of how many days the temperature was less than 10 degrees for the years 1870ish to present.
Here is the list for January of...
1977 18
1940 14
1948 11
1918 11
1978 10
1912 10
1893 10
1963 9
1970 9
1994 9
Louisville, for this month, has recorded 9 days of single-digit readings. Looking at the chart above, that puts us in some pretty good company, not to mention the only year in the 2000's represented here.
However, January 2018 is not even ranked in the Top Ten Coldest of Each Month. It's actually not even close. Our (Louisville's) average temperature of 28 degrees is some 7 degrees below normal but way above Top Ten minimum entry of 26 degrees set in 1963...
18.5 1977
19.6 1918
20.3 1940
22.9 1978
24.6 1979
24.8 1912
24.9 1893
25.4 1985
25.5 1948
26.0 1963
Of course, winter is not over. February has often brought surprises, and I'm certain we will see some surprises.
Louisville is on course to record its first back to back below normal months for temperatures since January thru March 2015.
In conclusion, it is extreme winter month time as January is prone to set many state records. Here is your list for the week ahead, and there are quite a number of them....
Snow Depth...22" (Reform) 01/24/1940
Minimum Temperature...-80 degrees (Prospect Creek) 01/23/1971
24-Hour Snowfall...25" (Corning) 01/22/1918
Snow Depth...26" (Calico Rock) 01/22/1918
24-Hour Precipitation...25.83" (Hoegees Campground) 01/22-23/1943
Minimum Temperature...-32 degrees [tie] (Coventry) 01/22/1961
Minimum Temperature...-17 degrees (near Beatum) 01/27/1940
24-Hour Precipitation...38.00" (Kilauea) 01/24-25/1956
Snow Depth...47" (Hammond) 01/28/1918
Snow Depth...117" (Eagle Harbor) 01/27-28/1948
New Hampshire:
Minimum Temperature...-50 degrees (Mount Washington) 01/22/1885
Puerto Rico:
Minimum Temperature...40 degrees (San Sebastian) 01/24/1966
West Virginia:
24-Hour Snowfall...35" (Flat Top) 01/27-28/1998
Make it a good week everyone.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering January 16-17, 1994

I cannot imagine another winter event coming close to this one that affected so many of us here in Kentucky. Quite literally, it was a shutdown storm for Louisville, paralyzing the city and stranding drivers on interstates. It's hard to believe it has been 24 years. I can remember it like it happened last week.

I recall not even being able to leave my neighborhood for 3 days because my Nissan Sentra tires were only 13". Finally, I was able to navigate the still treacherous roads of the subdivision and made my way to the mostly cleared roads of the interstate on my way to work.

We drivers were actually going about 45-55 mph on I-65. However, my exit off of the interstate, well, it didn't go so well.  It was a two-lane exit at least a mile long, so normally, I do not need to reduce my speed. But, as I looked ahead, I became horrified that the two lanes were narrowing into one lane because all of the plowed snow blocked part of the lane.

In addition, the previous day's snowmelt left chunks of snow and ice that refroze overnight in the lane that I was currently driving. Well, those poor old 13" tires just could not get over those slush-frozen ruts. Ahead of me was a mountain of snow, and I was taking dead aim at it. I tried to get over, but the ruts directed me straight toward the mountain. At that moment, I imagined being Bo Duke in that souped-up General Lee making a leap for life over 32 cars or whatever. I closed my eyes, felt the car lurch upward, and then...and then the little car just stopped on top of the mound.

I was only about 4 feet off of the ground. So, I got out of the car carefully with my snow shovel in hand and began digging myself out. After several minutes, an old country guy in a Chevy pickup truck pulled over and offered to attach a rope to my vehicle and pull me off of that mound. And that he did.

After thanking him profusely, shaking his hand vigorously, I went to start the car and the doggone thing just did not start. The battery must have drained a little bit while I had my door open shoveling the car out. So, I had to ask the stranger to help me with a jump. And that he did.

If you have a few more minutes, I downloaded a newspaper from Hopkinsville here in western Kentucky. It provided a good review of what not only happened in Louisville, but elsewhere around the state.

Kentucky New Era newspaper



The Great Swell 2018...with Updated Rain Amounts

Good morning. It appears Round 1 is winding down. I took the liberty to jot down a few totals since yesterday. Starting with the most import...