Friday, January 31, 2014

BIG Storm Day 5...Euro vs GFS

This is for the time period of Feb 4-5
Day 7 - Euro model (came out Wednesday)
Snow, mostly north of Ohio River; mix along either side of the Ohio River; mix/rain south of the Parkways

Day 6 - Euro model (came out Thursday)
Slightly warmer solution; rain for most of the state, some heavy; a chance for ice along the Ohio River

Day 5 - Euro model and the GFS
Today and tomorrow will be fun to watch to see how these weather models handle the upcoming BIG storm for next week. More data will be absorbed concerning a couple of perturbations affecting the region before the main storm system arrives. I will update this page at least twice. Stay tuned.
 **UPDATE 1**
2:45pm - 12z run of Euro not flinching; low to track right through central KY, temp profiles looking a bit different, could suggest more mix along the Ohio River while rain dominates the south part of the state. Interesting side note regarding Sun/pm system, a potential significant snow system to impact parts of east/southeast KY. If this materializes, flooding could become likely if heavy rains fall on snow-covered grounds during BIG storm event.

12z GFS latest run shows axis of heaviest precipitation along and south of Ohio River, mostly rain for the entire state. However, low track may be a tad flatter than Euro while tracking through Kentucky, sounds a bit more wintry for the northern part of the state.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BIG Storm Potential Day 7

I will show you my traditional way of following the models. I look at the Euro forecast model first since it is 7 days out. At 5 days out, I'll look at the GFS and compare it with the Euro. At 4 days out, I let the Euro and GFS duke it out. At 3 days out, I bring in the NAM and compare it with the GFS, while the Euro is used for comparative purposes. Within 36 hours, I rely principally on the NAM, using the GFS for comparative purposes. Finally, I resort to the short-term models like RAP that go out 18 hours and compare them with the NAM. I do not use the NAM within 18 hours. Nowcast mode generally begins at 18 hours out. RAP short term model and radar trends and other observational data are included.

With that said, let's start with step 1. I am not looking at the GFS. Only the Euro.
The 12z run of the Euro shows a classic setup we have seen before. Kentucky could become a battleground for various types of precipitation. Nothing new there.

Moisture increases during the day on Tuesday. Temperatures above the surface also warm. Precipitation could be breaking out sometime on Tuesday or late Tuesday across a part of the region. Precipitation types remain a huge question mark.

By Wednesday morning, low pressure is situated near the Tenn/Alabama line. The '540' line at the 500mb level is north of Louisville. The 850mb freezing line is right along the Ohio River. Moisture will be solidly in place everywhere.

Low pressure deepens, moves northeast through SE Kentucky.

I've seen weather patterns like this one before. I am not saying this is how the weather will unfold. Come on. It's still 7 days away!

If I had to say what's going to happen. Snow mostly north of the Ohio River, a mixture of snow, rain, freezing rain along either side of the Ohio River, and a mix/rain event for areas south of the Parkways.

Stay tuned for a look at the Euro 12z run tomorrow.

I see where many people are getting way too excited about the system next week. Reminds me of this commercial that aired during the Super Bowl of 2010.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

'North to Alaska...'

Yesterday, I spoke at length about how the Arctic regions have been faring with this unusual ridging and the relative warmth for those areas.

Here's a look at some of the high and low temperatures for yesterday at Alaska, most of which is not in the Arctic except for the far north.

57 42 AK SITKA
54 37 AK ANIAK
51 37 AK NOME

Here, let me put this in perspective for you. Seward's 61 degrees.
A high temperature of 61 was reached at places like...
Atlanta GA
Baton Rouge LA
Houston TX
Pretty good company if you ask me.

Even Fort Yukon, traditionally one of the coldest reporting sites in Alaska and the contiguous United States had a high of 3 degrees and low of -2. They beat out many reporting sites in Minnesota and even Iowa.

Did you know as the days are now getting longer, it's even more dramatic in places like Alaska? For example, Barrow, Alaska - On January 22, the sun shone for 20 minutes and 4 seconds, the first time in a very long time.The next day, the sun shone for 1 hour 18 minutes and 21 seconds, over 58 minute increase. The days continue to lengthen though not as dramatically.  Today Barrow will record 3 hours 12 minutes and 30 seconds.

Finally, the snow depths are still impressive despite the balmy conditions. The map below shows areas near Anchorage and surrounding observation sites as of this morning.

Still, if you want milder air, and you never been to Alaska in winter, here's your chance to head 'North to Alaska'. Actually, parts of Alaska will be returning to normal readings starting today.


Monday, January 27, 2014

What's In Store for February?

Wow. What a month. January has produced some of the coldest weather in many years for our region. As a fringe benefit, snow totals for many have made some people happy, others well, not so much. Let's just say I enjoy the snow when I'm not working. I know some rely on the snow for their work and believe me, I appreciate their work, gets me home safely or keeps me safe while walking in the parking lot of my favorite grocer who still has bread and milk.

Now, try and put January aside for a moment. February is almost on top of us.

It appears a minor pattern change is taking place, even as I write this post. However, the overall pattern looks to remain intact through the first 10 days of February.

Let me break down some things for you.

Recently, the Arctic Oscillation, a measure of pressure relative to the northern middle latitudes where we live, has been mostly negative for much of January. The unusual ridging near the polar region means higher pressure in the Arctic, relatively warmer readings for them. Much of Alaska is included . However, as the Arctic pressure has been high, the pressure in the middle latitudes has been low, keeping our weather cold and stormy.

We have heard much about the Polar Vortex, or polar low pressure system. Typically, the Polar Vortex's winds keep much of the cold air locked up in that region. But, a weak Polar Vortex cannot keep the cold in place because the winds are weaker due to ridging, or high pressure. Air flows from high to low, as one of my instructors told me. Therefore, the chunks of colder air spiraling south creates lower pressure for parts of the United States, creating cold and stormy conditions.

Bottom line is during the Arctic Oscillation's negative phase, we have witnessed these cold air intrusions on a regular basis. However, the minor pattern change suggests the AO will make a run toward neutral , which means less cold air intrusions than what we've been hit with this winter.

The PNA, or Pacific North American pattern, has been consistently positive for much of the past month or two. It is forcast to trend more negative but only for a brief time. That should introduce an unstable pattern for our region. But, our weather will not be coming from the Arctic  for a little while; rather, more of a Pacific or Canadian origin, which is much more typical of our normal winters.

Now, keep in mind, this is just a temporary pattern change. The overall pattern will manifest itself again. But, the higher sun angle of early February will help modify temperatures a  little.

Finally, the SE ridge will be trying to manifest itself. And the way things look to me, if the SE ridge holds, and we revert back to the regular cold air intrusions, somewhat modified, things may get quite interesting by the second week of February.

I don't know. It could be ice. Perhaps snow. Or a good soaking rain. But, I do believe somewhere in our region will get a punishing storm or series of storms. Stay tuned.


Awakened By the Wind

The 'big bad wolf'' has arrived. Yes, the Arctic front has made a loud, resounding entrance, huffing and puffing and at least trying to blow the house down. No, really. I heard things outside popping and cracking.

We had several instances during the past half hour of winds gusting to at least 40 mph. I would not be surprised if gusts of 50 mph were achieved. But, that is just an estimate on my part.

Temperatures are tanking. Looking at area observations at 3:00 a.m., Louisville Int'l has dropped from 46 to 33 degrees during the past hour. It's still 45 in Frankfort. However, Covington is at 23 and Indy at 13, with wind chill values below zero.

I think Louisville will feel those below zero wind chill values in just a few hours.

What a shock to the senses, after yesterday's relative warmth.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Time For a New Look

I had to make some changes to the blog. Nothing significant, just a change of scenery. Kind of like rearranging the bedroom. You know, move the bed here, the drawer over there, experimenting with other changes.

Therefore, over the next several days, I'll be making further adjustments. I would like to add relevant items to the blog. I like how the 'Seasonal Snow and Sleet Totals' part of the blog has worked out. Hopefully, I can add other features like that if I have the room.

One of my projects is a feature that I do not want to post every time. Rather, make a brief comment and provide you with a link to the page. It will be called 'What They Were Talking About'. A look at some notable weather events during the past that people were no doubt talking about. Don't worry. You'll see.

I want the blog to be as information specific as possible thus interesting, informative, and hopefully entertaining.


Friday, January 24, 2014

More Snow For Our Region

1:30pm UPDATE
I've decided to use my snowboard total after all. 2.0" in Valley Station
Louisville Int'l  2.4"
Louisville WFO (near J'town) 1.6"
Lexington  4.0"

9:00am UPDATE
I'm calling it...T.O.D.(Time of Departure) 0900
Total in Valley Station 1 mile north of Gene Snyder Freeway at Stonestreet is 1.6" (official)
However, did get consistent readings of 2.0" on the pavement in the vicinity of my official reading.
It is possible that snow could have blown off of my white resin table , lowering my amounts. Nevertheless, I'm reporting 1.6".
7:35am UPDATE
Total at 1.5" here at the house with a brief lull. All the snow is going to blow off of my makeshift measuring table before the next band pushes through shortly. Some areas could get an additional inch out of this next band.
7:15am UPDATE Saturday January 25
This wind blown snow is difficult to measure.
1.3" on a reliable surface away from rooftops and other elevated locations in Valley Station. Makes it more susceptible to the wind; however, am getting 1.8" averaged out on the pavement near the house.
Looks like one more moderate band if it does not fall apart. Will be hard pressed to get 2".

4:30pm UPDATE
Good point made by NWS Louisville. Advisory may be upgraded to warning status not because of the average 4" threshold, but blowing snow which will reduce visibility thus negatively impacting travel conditions.
NAM for Louisville 2-4"; RAP model showing at least 2".
More updates later.

I considered the NAM model's last two runs, 0z and the 6z. Pretty consistent. For Louisville, average is 2.3". Therefore, based on this data, 1-3" can be expected in the Metro.

However, I will not be factoring any additional runs from the NAM from this point forward except for comparative purposes.

I will be switching to nowcast mode and using the short-term models. Since this snow is coming from the north, I will be using the RAP model. It shows runs out to 18 hours.

As I write this post, the 18th hour run shows what could be happening at the 4:00am hour. A band of moderately heavy snow setting up just north of Louisville and extending northeast toward Cincinnati. It's almost a similar setup to what we saw with the last system but perhaps a little farther north and east of Louisville.

I will be checking the trends in future runs later this afternoon and again later this evening perhaps.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Below Zero Temperatures

In Louisville, one would have to go back to the 1995-96 winter that had 3 below zero days (all in February) for that season.

Louisville is expected to dip below zero for the 3rd time this winter, all during this month. One would have to go back to the 1993-94 winter to find a January with at least that many below zero days. Of course, we were just reminded of the all-time record set in Louisville during that January with -22 degrees. During the month, Louisville recorded 5 days of sub-zero weather.

If you think that sounds cold, the 5 days of sub-zero readings in the month of January is not a record.  Here are the records for Louisville and Lexington:

Most Days at or Below Zero

January    7 days (1936, 1963, 1977)
February   5 days (1899)
March       1 day (1960)
November 1 day (1950)
December 6 days (1917)
Season     11 days (1917-18)

Most Days at or Below Zero

January     7 days (1970, 1977)
February   8 days (1899)
March       2 days (1960)
November 2 days (1929)
December 8 days (1989)
Season     12 days (1917-18)



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

UFO or Something Else???

Ok, I love talking about the weather. At times, thougb, I need a break.

Therefore, I collected this piece of information that intrigued me.

Earthquake lights. Perhaps you have heard of it. Me, not so much.

Sightings of unexplained lights hovering just above the ground in some instances to hundreds of feet in the air in other instances. These lights would take on various shapes.

Scientists in the geological circles and other academicians believe they have found a connection between the unexplained lights and the occurrence of earthquakes.

Here's one article you may find interesting.

Otherwise, you can use your internet search engine and type in 'earthquake lights'.

Short-Term Model Does Well Again

At times, meteorologists and armchair meteorologists strive to interpret what the weather is going to do by studying routine runs of the different weather models.

The variability in each model can make for a frustrating forecast. Typically, within 24 hours, we enter a 'nowcast' mode, an elegant buzzword that differentiates itself from its cousin, the forecast, by seeing how the forecast models line up with what is currently happening, or most likely studying radar trends and current observations, so as to tweak area forecasts.

In recent times, I have included in my nowcasting arsenal short-term models. These models are designed to do just what its name says, help with a short-range forecast. My favorite is the fairly new Rapid Refresh Model, or RAP, a successor of the old RUC.

The Rapid Refresh Model handled yesterday's storm very well for the Louisville Metro area overall. I studied the hour by hour snowfall accumulation forecast for up to 6 hours ahead. For Louisville, it was spot on as far as amounts, 2.5". In addition, the 1-hour accumulation map showed where the heaviest bands of snow would set up. Again, spot on.

I will continue to use the RAP in future short-range forecasts. However, I am sure that every model has its drawbacks. Yesterday, I'm sure I did not see any 6" totals during my study of the hourly forecast.

So far, the RAP has performed well for 2 consecutive events, a clipper and the recent clipper-hybrid, or as the NWS calls it, an upper-level disturbance (one of Meteorologist Tom Wills' pet peeves).

Short-term models are not just for weather geeks. Aviation interests rely heavily on these models as well.

Other useful short-term models are the SREF and the RPM.

Find out more about the models below...

RAP Short-Term Model

Other Forecast Models


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nowcast and RAP Model

9:15am UPDATE
1.4" in Valley Station. However, Louisville Metro (Floyd Co. in IN, Oldham Co. and Jefferson Co. in KY) under Winter Storm Warning till early afternoon.
Reports of 4" have been coming in around the Metro.
I'm thinking, really?? Goes to show the short term model, RAP, showed a band of heavy snow developing from the airport east and on northeast of that. I live in the southwest part of the county and have been excluded from the heaviest snow. Quite an accumulation gradient, though.
8:05am UPDATE
Forgot to mention, the temperature has now dropped 7 degrees during the last 45 minutes here at my house.

7:55am UPDATE
1.2" in Valley Station...might add a little more but it appears to be winding down some. Winds have really picked up within the last 10 minutes. I've read reports of 3-4" northeast of Louisville.
Perhaps one more band for Louisville.

Just checked out the 06 run of the RAP short term model. Earlier last evening, 1.7" was about the average accumulation for Louisville. As of this most recent run, 2.5" is now the average accumulation. We'll see.

At 2:00, we had snow at the airport; however, the temperature and pavement were well above freezing. Snow accumulation was confined to grassy surfaces. Even my snow board only measured a dusting to 0.1", but the grass was whitened by the wet snow.

Winter Storm warnings out for areas near Cincinnati. NWS Louisville still calling for 1-2" for the Metro. However, RAP model is hinting at a moderate band of snow setting up between Louisville and Cincinnati.

Temperatures are now at the freezing mark as I write this. It may take a little longer for the roadways to start accumulating. But, as the snow bands increase, pavement temperatures will continue to fall and not be able to overcome the piling of flakes. I think 2-3" looks possible for the Metro. But, I would not be surprised by heavier amounts.

Floyd County IN has already recorded 1.5" as of 3:30am.

I will update this page later this morning.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Another Clipper System...Another Bust???

6:30pm UPDATE
The data from RAP is in and it matches well with corresponding models. Now watch for a flop because the clipper-like characteristics will become a storm event as low pressure is progged to develop near the southeast corner of the state. At this rate, situation will be watched closely. I'm thinking amounts may be too conservative.

Louisville expected to receive about 1.7" according to RPM model between 5 and 10am. However, it will be interesting to see if any energy shifts toward developing low quicker than expected. This could have a two-sided impact. Energy absorbed by developing low transfers heavier snow east and northeast of Low quicker perhaps reducing amounts in Louisville to an inch or less. On the other hand, if energy shifts even quicker, the Low could throw more moisture up into our area, giving us in Louisville closer to 2-3". Eastern KY only expecting widespread 1-2" could be too conservative. Look for 4-5" for many in eastern KY.
2:40pm UPDATE
Looking at the initial readings of the snow to affect the Loujisville Metro, snow moves in after 4:00am with preliminary accumulation approaching 0.4" by 6:00am according to the RAP model. Widespread WWA's should be forthcoming soon for central and east KY with some embedded Winter Storm Warnings for far east KY.

Precipitation is expected to break out after 4:00am Tuesday morning.

I reviewed the 06z NAM run and it spits out 1.6 - 1.8" for Jefferson County in Louisville. I may review the 12z run but am beginning to await data from the RAP short term model, which performed well for the last clipper.

The NAM's run sounds a bit robust; however, the NWS Louisville has found that a southward shift in the best forcing could produce at least 1" for the county with higher totals not out of the question.

The RAP does show up to 1" amounts near and north of Indy by 2:00am. If that verifies, we could expect to see snow here about 2 - 2.5 hours later.

Bad timing for area roadways as this could present travel problems for commuters, including school buses.

I'll update this page by later this afternoon on the RAP's forecast solution. This will be part of my NOWCAST.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Next Two Weeks...What To Expect?

The constant ridging in the western part of the U.S. and the Arctic Oscillation Index forecast to remain negative for the next ten days almost guarantees we will have, on average, below normal temperatures for that time period.

A hiccup in the western ridge occurs during the January 24-28 time period. A troughy pattern for thte west briefly sets in, pushing the ridge eastward. How far east remains to be seen. But, it looks like our region will remain cold.

An interesting feature about the eastward advancing ridge is that any storm systems that do develop may encounter a split flow in the jet stream. In winter, that's when things become exciting. Then, one has the southern stream and the northern stream. And if those two can merge over the Ohio Valley, then bam!

Unfortunately, that is at least 7-10 days away. Things seem to always change.

Then for the last few days of the month going into February, the western ridge reestablishes itself south of Alaska, but the Polar Vortex relaxes a little bit. That could mean along with some cold, episodes of warmer air will infiltrate the region. Right when we want snow, too, which can still happen.

In summary, besides these pesky, sometimes overachieving clippers, I see at least one winter storm, possibly two (but that's at the end of this two week time frame) that should attract our attention. Cold in the first week, then cold with some warm air modification during the end of the period (by February 1).


Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 NWS Weather/Climate Calendars

While I have performed only a cursory search for 2014 weather calendars at the National Weather Service offices, so far my results have produced limited results.

As you will notice from the list below, most of the calendars are from the weather offices located in the Southern Region Headquarters ( and are available for download.

NWS Louisville is part of the Central Region Headquarters ( I am not aware of any weather calendars available for download there.

The calendars are very colorful and informative. Hopefully, Louisville and surrounding offices will think about producing weather calendars for its readers.


What They Were Talking About...(January 16-19, 1994)

It's hard to believe this was not the 'Outstanding Storm of the Month'. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the January 4 storm that raked the Appalachians and East coast garnered those honors.

However, for much of our region, the January 16-18 storm was perhaps the most outstanding winter storm rivaling heavyweight winter storms of the late 1970's. Today, people are still talking about the weather that occurred during those 24 hours or so. Record snowfall amounts for several locations along the Ohio River on top of significant amounts of ice, then followed by the coldest temperatures that may never be surpassed, are a few credentials that rank this storm, at least in Louisville, as the most memorable winter storm on record.

True, the 1978 series of heavy snows and extreme cold was much more long-lasting and affected a much broader areal coverage. But, the 1994 storm was indeed a classic in its own right.

The January 16-18, 1994 storm was not even supposed to be that big of a deal for residents in Louisville. I recall weather forecasts by all local meteorologists who only forecast an inch or so of snow with a negligible amount of freezing rain. Some forecasts up to 1-3" snow seemed improbable.

Then, it began to rain. The problem was the temperature fell to the critical point and fell further afterward. Ice amounts up to a half inch were observed. Bust number one.

Later that evening, a changeover to snow occurred. And it snowed...and it snowed...and it snowed the entire night at rates of 1-2" per hour. Bust number two.

By the time the snow ended, areas along the Ohio River reported 12-16". Louisville's official amount was 15.9". Perry and Spencer counties to Floyd, Harrison, and Clark counties of Indiana all reported over a foot of snow

The city of Louisville was literally paralyzed. UPS was grounded. Vehicles were stranded county-wide. I recall  my little Nissan Sentra's 13" tires could not get me out of my parents' neighborhood for 3 days. When I was able to gain access to the main roads, my tires caught a groove of frozen slush along Interstate 65 near Fern Valley Road that propelled me along a rising ramp toward a bank of snow and slush at least 6 feet high. I thought I was Bo Duke about to leap over a creek with that supercharged Dodge Charger called the General Lee. Inevitably, my car did not fare that well as I sat atop the bank. Needless to say, I did not feel like I was on top of the world at that very moment, either.

The coldest temperatures on record happened by the 19th. Shelbyville, KY's -37 degrees and New Whiteland, IN's -36 degrees were the coldest readings ever for their respective states.

There are so many images related to that event that I would absolutely overwhelm the blog page if I included them. Here are a few sites that are available....


Monday, January 13, 2014

What They Were Talking About...(Week of January 12-18, 2013)

No doubt people were talking about the weather during this active week one year ago. Here is a look at some outstanding events that occurred.

Cold Deserts
From the 12th through the 16th, an upper level low with unseasonably cold air spun around the western part of the U.S. bringing the coldest temperatures in six years for some regions. At least 1 death and 147 million dollars of property damage, mainly from burst outdoor pipes, occurred during this time.

A freeze warning was issued for the Phoenix area from Friday morning the 11th through Tuesday the 15th. Isolated instances of black ice were reported across the area. It was not from precipitation; however, the black ice was responsible for a significant traffic accident in central Phoenix.

A report of a burst water pipe is believed to be the cause of the black ice. A 73,000 dollar Corvette and a 38,000 dollar Camaro were among the casualties. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries.

Flooding in Arkansas
Flash flooding and river flooding were topics for conversation among several residents. Primarily, from the 12th through the 13th, 3-6" rain drenched parts of central and north central areas of the state. Water rescues and road closures were common.

In Drew County, near Monticello, a road collapsed due to a washed out culvert. According to KATV, nobody was injured in the accident below.

Flooding Death in Indiana
A 19-year old Ball State University student died as he drove through a flooded roadway along SR 26. The vehicle slid across the opposite lane into a ditch and rolled onto its top in over 5 feet of water. Despite the valiant efforts of first responders who waded through 3 feet of water for a distance of 30-40 feet to attach tow lines to the vehicle and pull it out, the driver was unresponsive and later pronounced dead.

Wild Weather in Louisiana
On the 12th, tornadoes raked DeSoto, Red River, and Caddo Parishes in Northwest Louisiana. Actually, it was the same tornado and was consistent with EF-1 damage along its path. Two injuries were reported from a travel trailer at a natural gas site.

On the 14th, winter weather affected the same region. Nearby Winn and Ouachita Parishes received significant amounts of icing from the 14th - 15th. Downed power lines and limbs produced fires and some property damage.

Mississippi Winter Wonderland
In central Mississippi during the 14th through the 17th, a significant ice storm caused nearly 400,000 dollars worth of damage to property. There were reports that a couple periods of moderate freezing rain was accompanied by thunder.

In the eastern part of Choctaw county, it was the snow that people were talking about. A half foot of snow accumulated there.

North Carolina Flooding
Bryson City was one of the areas deeply impacted by the heavy rains during the 15th and 16th. Residents of six trailer homes had to be evacuated as a sinkhole developed under their dwellings. The sinkhole was most likely caused by the pipes that were carrying water became clogged and subsequently burst thus collapsing the surrounding grounds.

In addition, in and around Cherokee, flash flooding and landslides damaged several roads. In fact, when I visited Gatlinburg in March 2013, I was not able to access the entrance on US441 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Later, I found out that a 200-foot section of the road still had debris from a massive landslide, and it must have been this particular storm system that did it.

My next segment will be about the 20-year anniversary of the ice/snow and bitter cold event of 1994.

Additional information compiled by WTHR; National Climatic Data Center; Smokey Mountain News.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

What They Were Talking About - NEW Feature

No matter where you go, it seems everyone talks about the weather. Therefore, I am pleased to announce a brand new feature on my blog entitled 'What They Were Talking About'.

As you can tell by the title, the weather has already occurred. So, I will be focusing on significant events of the past that may deal with the present month but a specific day, or week(s) of the month from last year to last decade and beyond.

I'll try and introduce other notable things that occurred during the segment including earthquakes, tsunami, perhaps even some celebrity news. However, my primary focus will be what's on everyone's mind, the weather.

I'll be posting at least two segments this week. One I think you will like is the 20-year anniversary of the massive winter storm and cold outbreak of 1994.

Be looking for it. Hope you enjoy it.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Mount Washington NH Wind Chill


Temperature -19 degrees
Wind 91 mph from the west

Using the new wind chill index with the formula set out below...

Wind Chill (oF) = 35.74 + 0.6215T - 35.75(V0.16) + 0.4275T(V0.16)

Wind chill registered -66.4 degrees.

Seems like it would have felt colder. Still, frostbite would have set in on any exposed skin within 5 minutes.

Winds gusted to 115 mph during the day.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More About the Polar Vortex

The meteorological term, polar vortex, is garnering quite a bit of attention lately in the United States. Some of us have not really been exposed to this term before. The reason why is simply because the polar vortex is just as the name implies, a polar thing. The winds associated with it flow in a broad cyclonic pattern around the polar regions (the southern hemisphere has its own winds that flow around the Antarctic region).

I've been reading many news articles about the subject. But, as reporters try to simplify why the cold air has invaded the region, there's just too many additional factors in play that cannot be explained fully in a short article. Frankly, for most of us, those explanations are over our head.

Right now, we have a weak polar vortex, which means if it was strong, it would resemble the map below.


As mentioned before, though, we have a weak polar vortex as depicted in the map below.


Although we often do not hear the 'polar vortex' term, perhaps we have heard of the Arctic Oscillation, similar to the NAO teleconnection, the North American Oscillation.

When the AO index is in the negative phase, the polar low pressure system (also known as the polar vortex) over the Arctic is weaker, which results in weaker upper level winds (the westerlies). The result of the weaker westerlies is that cold, Arctic air is able to push farther south into the U.S., while the storm track also remains farther south.

Therefore, a negative AO is directly proportional to a weaker polar vortex.

Here is a look at the current AO index from the Climate Prediction Center...

The AO index has been negative since late last month. It is expected to trend positive but will plunge again by the second half of the month. Therefore, expect additional weakening of the polar vortex in the coming weeks and along with that, the colder air for our region. Hopefully, the next wave of cold air won't be as brutal as our current one.


Monday, January 6, 2014

On This Day: 1996 Snowstorm of January 6-7

KYZ023>068-070>085 Hancock - Breckinridge - Meade - Ohio - Grayson - Hardin - Bullitt - Jefferson - Oldham - Trimble - Henry - Shelby -Franklin - Scott - Harrison - Spencer - Anderson - Woodford - Fayette - Bourbon - Nicholas - Fleming - Nelson - Washington- Mercer - Jessamine - Clark - Montgomery - Bath - Rowan - Larue - Marion - Boyle - Garrard - Madison - Estill - Powell -Menifee - Butler - Edmonson - Hart - Green - Taylor - Casey - Lincoln - Rockcastle - Logan - Warren - Simpson - Allen -Barren - Monroe - Metcalfe - Adair - Russell - Pulaski - Laurel - Cumberland - Clinton - Wayne - Mccreary - Whitley

A major snow storm hit Kentucky on January 6-7, 1996. The snow began around noon est and effected all of the counties in the Louisville CWA before it stopped Sunday afternoon. The heavy snow began around 1500 est on the 6th and ended around 6 am est on the 7th. A strong double-barreled low pressure system moved from the Gulf states on the 6th to Georgia and then the South Carolina coast by the afternoon of the 7th. The snow became light and moved East of the CWA by 0000 est on the 8th. Between 2 and 6 inches of snow fell across the CWA by 2030 est. Meade, Breckinridge, Larue, Bullitt and Hardin Counties all reported up to 6 inches across their respective counties, while Spencer County led the way with 7 inches of accumulation. By 0200 est, between 5 and 12 inch total accumulations were reported. Green and Laurel counties had 12 inches. By 0600 est on the 7th, totals were from 6 inches at several locations to 16 inches in Laurel County. Totals were from 7 to 12 inches across east central Kentucky to 7 to 16 inches across south central Kentucky to 6 to 12 inches across north central Kentucky. Little additional snow was reported after
0600 est. Laurel County still led the way with 16 inches in spots.

Jackson - Knox - Bell - Harlan - Morgan - Wolfe - Magoffin - Floyd - Lee - Breathitt - Knott - Owsley - Perry - Clay - Leslie -Letcher - Pike

A major winter storm brought heavy snow to all of southeast Kentucky. By noon EST on the 6th, 3 to 5 inches of snow had fallen across the region. Heavier snow began around 1500 EST on the 6th, when 5 to 6 inches were on the ground. Amateur radio operators reported 9 inches across much of southeast Kentucky at 2100 EST, and 10 to 11 inches by 2300 EST. By 1100 EST on the 7th, 14 to 16 inch amounts were common, with 15 to 17 inches covering much of the area by 1300 EST. Total snowfall reported at 1645 EST on the 7th averaged between 14 and 22 inches, with the heaviest amounts in Pike County. Where rain and freezing rain initially fell in Bell and Harlan Counties, total amounts averaged between 6 and 14 inches.

KENTUCKY, Northeast
KYZ101>105-107-119 Greenup - Carter - Boyd - Elliott - Lawrence - Johnson - Martin

The prolong storm resulted in snow depths of 12 to 15 inches across Greenup, Carter, Boyd, and Elliott Counties. For example, Grayson measured 12 inches, while Olive Hill had 13 inches. Snow depths averaged higher in Johnson and Martin Counties, where 15 to 20 inches were common. No snow was on the ground prior to the storm. National Guard units helped in snow removal and to deliver medicine. The dome ceiling of a small roller rink collapsed in the Globe area of Carter County.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

NOWCAST Super Cold Outbreak 2014

I will be updating this page occasionally today.

At 7:45am, my temperature is 34 degrees
Wx - Cloudy
East wind
Radar returns across southern and southwest IN
45 degrees at Paducah; however, 32 degrees at Indy makes one wonder whether their snow amounts may be affected if warmer air is transported that far north. If so, several inches is still expected there.

Precipitation is starting much later than previous forecasts, indicating a slower thereby strengthening low pressure system, which will pull warmer air into our region. Therefore, rain looks like a good bet throughout the day.

Currently, RAP model, my model of choice during this nowcast mode, has a changeover to snow by 7-8pm this evening for Louisville. Will seek additional changes. Has dramatically reduced my expected snow amounts for the region, except for Indianapolis, who appears to be the primary beneficiary of this event. Will mention possible snow amounts by noon or so.

8:15pm UPDATE
Sorry about not checking in today. Football playoffs, could not get away from them.
What a day. Temperatures rose to 54 degrees at my house in Valley Station. Rain moved in and dropped the temperatures as far down as 43 degrees. Then about an hour or so before the front passed, the temperature spiked to 48. Then, by 7:00, the front passed through. At 8:15, the temperature stands at 35 degrees.

Earlier today, the RAP model forecast was for a changeover by 8pm give or take an hour. Well, I stepped outside to check on things again and I'm getting sleet pellets. So, the changeover is very close at hand. A very accurate short-range model if you ask me.

As far as the snow lover in me, though, I'm disappointed by the short-range forecast by this model. An inch or less is all it is spitting out for my location. Nevertheless, it's the brutal cold that will be the feature headline by tomorrow morning.

Public schools are already closed in Jefferson County, perhaps more for the dangerous wind chills than travel. But, icy conditions from quick freezing will cause problems for tomorrow's rush, no doubt.

I'll update my snow totals later, if it's measurable. Bummer.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

First Call for Snowfall

An intense wind/snow maker looks more likely to impact the region later this weekend into the first part of next week.

The latest NAM puts a damper on snow totals. However, still not sold on its solutions either. I've seen the NAM do a surprising hiatus on an earlier system this winter season.

At face value, looks like an inch or so for Louisville based on its runs. Indianapolis could be looking at 8"+.

When does the low pressure really intensify? If it does so earlier, then a broad flow of warmer air will be transported into the region, keeping us in the rain.

I had thought that the low would really get cranking once it gets really near the Louisville area. The NAM says sooner.

We will be going into NOWCAST mode. A reliable short-range model that I will be using, especially for this event will be the RPM model, which outperformed the NAM in one of our earlier snow systems. Right now, the RPM would not be that reliable until we get within 12-18 hours of show time.

In the meantime, I've put out a preliminary estimate. I will put out a final estimate after reviewing the RPM and comparing it with surrounding weather offices on how precipitation types are faring.


Louisville 2-4"
Indianapolis 7-10"
Bloomington 4-7"
Owensboro 3-5"
Evansville 3-5"
Cincinnati 3-6"
Lexington 1-3"

Additional snow showers will be possible after the steady snows end. That could spit out additional light accumulations. Furthermore, depending on where the heaviest snow bands set up could alter totals drastically for the above locations.


Friday, January 3, 2014

A Memorable Weather System to Affect the Region

If this was a severe weather event, it would rank as one of the most prolific outbreaks, at least in the top ten. Think of it as winter's version of severe weather, a major snow maker and a cold record-breaker.

The GFS top 15 analog guidance included a couple heavyweights in its 60-hour outlook. I think many of you will remember these storm systems or at least read about them.

January 17-18, 1994:

February 15-17, 1993:

The weather system that will affect our region later this weekend does not quite match up exactly with these heavyweights, but the potential does exist for the 'big one' (snowfall in excess of 6" in my opinion) somewhere in the region.

Then, many people will be satisfied with the beautiful, glistening, yes stunning, white blanket covering our portion of the earth only to be offset by the brutal cold that will follow, which could make it difficult for youngsters to actually enjoy the stuff outside for any length of time. Unless your child has seen the Disney blockbuster 'Frozen'. A portion of the song, Let it Go, says "Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway."

So, play in the snow while it's occurring. Build those snow forts, stock up on those snow balls, and prepare to battle with the 'enemy' and the elements, because the next day, the snow on the ground will become hard and crunchy after being subjected to the below-zero readings of the night.

I now leave you with the song of the moment....(Hey, I liked the movie...all of the snow's beauty reminds me of my youth of winters long ago. I mean, really, do we ever grow up when it comes to snow?)


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Coldest Air in Two Decades???

I've been following a few sites about our upcoming Arctic blast, due to arrive by later this weekend.

This one is from the WPC Discussion page (formerly known as the HPC).



I Knew It!

I woke up this morning at 8:30 wondering if the grass had a nice, white coating and found a clear coat instead. 

I knew there was something familiar with this weather event. I knew it. That's why I did not make a big deal about any forecast snow totals.

As soon as I read an earlier Area Forecast Discussion by the NWS Louisville yesterday, mentioning the dreaded phrase 'warm air surges northward ahead of the surface low', I knew there was going to be problems with the forecast.

Of course, the context of their discussion was about how southern KY would remain in the warmer part of this system. But, Louisville seems to have a channel just for warmer air to get sucked into the area.

For example, light rain was falling at the airport just as predicted. I felt the colder air moving in by shortly after 1:00am. When I arrived at home, the temperature was dropping. It was 35 degrees at 3:00am and still light rain was falling. However, when I awoke, the temperature actually rose to 36, and of course, light rain was falling. 

As I write this post, the temperature is still holding steady at 36. But, colder air is lurking just to my west and north. I've read temperature drops of 6 degrees within a short period of time.

Radar returns do not look that impressive to me. As the colder air filters in, how much available energy will be there for that nice coating?

Congrats to Cincinnati. As of 7:30, they had already received 3 inches.


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