Friday, June 20, 2014

Thirsty Gardens...Must Have Water, Must Have Water

This is the most recent drought map for the state of Kentucky....

Some statistics include the following:

Last Week6/10/201474.8725.131.900.000.000.00
3 Months Ago3/18/2014100.
Start of Calendar Year12/31/2013100.
Start of Water Year10/1/2013100.
One Year Ago6/18/2013100.


  • D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • D1 - Moderate Drought
  • D2 - Severe Drought
  • D3 - Extreme Drought
  • D4 - Exceptional Drought
My rainwater storage is down to a season low at 31% of full capacity. In other words, I need at least 2.5" of rain just to meet the minimum 66.7% of full capacity for my garden to handle the hottest and driest part of the summer yet to come.

Roughly, I've had about 0.5" rain for the entire month of June thus far.

Last year, at this time, I was having to drain any excess rainwater because we had too much rain.

Rain looks promising today for my area just southwest of Louisville. I'm not going to get my hopes up too much. At this point, I'll be happy with whatever falls, except hail of course.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Weather Tidbits 06162014

Good Monday. Almost sounds like an oxymoron. Nevertheless, I hope everyone's day is going well.
Here's a few things I wanted to share with you today.

First, my garden. I received 0.4" rain last week. Still, not quite enough to satisfy my garden's thirst. I'm rationing my stored rainwater in anticipation of the hot summer months, especially July and August.

I'm at 44.6% capacity, up from last week's 36%. However, with no widespread rain chances for the next several days, I'm using a blend of tap water and stored rainwater. I think the garden likes plain rainwater than tap. However, I have to look ahead.

The garden looks good for the most part. Some plants are showing signs of distress. But, for the most part, I'm pleased with the garden's progress. Surely, I cannot expect this garden to compare to last summer's splendid output.

Next, during the past 35 years of satellite record, May 2014 has become the 3rd warmest May during that time. Not counting an El Nino year, it indeed is the warmest on record.

Currently, there are indications that an El Nino is forming in the vicinity of Indonesia and parts of the eastern and central Pacific like off the coast of South America.

If the El Nino does occur, it could become a record setter, since according to the claim, it is getting a warmer start (almost 0.6 degree Fahrenheit above seasonal norm. The 1998 El Nino year was the warmest May, and that occurred during the "El Nino of the century." However, one year prior, in 1997 when El Nino started, global average temperatures were 0.25 degrees Fahrenheit below seasonal norm.

We are due for a big El Nino. So stay tuned. As of this morning, there is a 70% chance for El Nino this summer in the Northern Hemisphere and an 80% chance for this upcoming winter.

Finally, what caused last winter's extreme cold across parts of the United States, including here? Was it Arctic Amplification  or natural variability?

One study suggests that Arctic Amplification will help reduce temperature variability as sea ice shrinks, snow cover melts, and air temperature increases. This is because the northerly winds which blow from the Arctic southward, will warm up faster than winds coming from the south, creating less temperature variability in the northern latitudes.

As for last winter's extremes, Dr. James Screen, who spearheaded this study, thinks it was more of natural variability as there were no widespread outstanding cold records broken.

The debate will no doubt continue....



Monday, June 9, 2014

Weather Tidbits

Did you know that Colorado has had more preliminary tornado reports than Oklahoma this year? Even California has had more reports than Oklahoma.

I have a quaint garden (19 ft x 11 ft) with many types of peppers along with a few tomato plants and zucchini plants and two new additions, the sweet potato and spaghetti squash.

I collect rainwater, beginning April 1 or about one month before planting my garden. And I can tell you this year is much drier, at least at my house, than last year.

In 2013, about this time last year, I had already exceeded capacity of stored rainwater. In fact, I was emptying the excess onto the ground. I would have had enough rainwater to last through the months of July and August, even if it did not rain at all during those months.

However, today, I'm only at 36.5% capacity. Although I'm somewhat concerned, the forecast for this week is showing a widespread potential for at least 1" of rain. Honestly, I could use about 2" to help replenish my storage. My storage capacity needs to be at least 66.7% to give me reasonable assurance that the garden can make it through the punishing heat and dryness of July and August.

Finally, here's a good one. While it's true that a hurricane's name is not related to its severity or intensity, more deaths are associated with feminine names than the masculine names. It is thought that one's cultural perception may be the blame.

A feminine name sounds less threatening; therefore, the hurricane must be less threatening as well. Beware of the Atlantic hurricane names such as Dolly, Fay, and Hanna, according to the article I read below. A hurricane is a hurricane.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tornado Watch For Most of Kentucky

The SPC has posted a couple of Tornado Watch boxes dividing the I-65 corridor. Interestingly, the western Watch box has higher probabilities for severe weather than the eastern Watch box.

I think outflow boundaries east of I-65 support rapid storm development. But then again, leftover boundaries do exist in the western part of the state from last night's severe weather in the Midwest. In addition, destabilization has taken place across the western part while the eastern part is still dealing with remnants of most recent storms that have temporarily overworked the atmosphere.

My chainsaw is ready. I got my storm spotting gear ready to go. Let's see what happens.


Severe Weather Chances

As for Louisville, I looked at models and analogs, current cloud cover, and so on, and I've lessened my chances for the Metro's potential severe weather episode(s).

This does not mean that I'm now saying severe weather will not occur here. Yesterday's analogs and model forecasts had me thinking of at least a 40% chance for severe weather in the Louisville area for this evening. I've now reduced that to 25%.

A potent storm system will spark afternoon convection and push south/east afterward. I do think a Watch box will be issued for parts of our region. In addition, an update from the SPC is due out within the hour. I will provide an update for that soon.

Despite the lowering chance for severe weather, I'm on my way to Lowes or Home Depot and get me some fresh 2-cycle engine oil for my chainsaw.

Hope everyone stays safe.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tornadoes Likely - A Look at Top 15 Analogs

A severe weather outbreak is expected today and tonight across parts of the Midwest and southern Plains states. Locations that could be impacted by strong tornadoes include northern KS, southern NE,  a large chunk of IA, and western MO.

Top 15 weather analogs as provided by Saint Louis University depict at least 4 analogs (ranked 3,4,13, 15) showing the likelihood of tornadoes across these areas.

Some cities that could be impacted...

Grand Isle NE
Lincoln NE
Des Moines IA
Fort Dodge IA
Ottumwa IA
Topeka KS
Kansas City MO

The #4 ranked analog contributed much of the storm reports for the areas. That particular storm system on May 25 2008 produced an EF-5 tornado in Parkersburg IA. There were 9 deaths and at least 50 injuries across Butler and Black Hawk counties. Most of the deaths occurred in Parkersburg.

Read about this memorable storm system in 'What They Were Talking About' section of my blog.

Just a reminder. All because analogs show what happened during a particular storm event does not mean that this will happen again and in the same areas. However, since 2 of the top 5 analogs are included in this severe weather update, the chances for a significant severe weather outbreak appears likely in those areas

In addition to the possibility of strong tornadoes, some meteorologists are forecasting a significant high wind event called a derecho for areas east and south of the areas above.

This storm system is likely expected to impact our region tomorrow afternoon and evening with strong to severe storms. Stay tuned


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