Saturday, December 31, 2016

MikJournal January 2017 Prediction

Well, it's hard to believe, but after December went into the deep freeze, almost assuring our region would be looking at below normal temperatures, both Louisville and Lexington's temperatures came roaring back and may finish at or even above normal for the month.

Weather patterns moved much faster than even I anticipated. While we did see some freezing precipitation, it was very light, and the snowfall, despite several opportunities, did not amount to much at all.

Strong low pressure systems helped offset brutal cold with record-setting warmth at times, sometimes nearing 30 degrees above average, and above normal rainfall, which was desperately needed.

Therefore, I would say that my December's prediction was not that great. I'd give it a 'C'.

Makes me wonder, should I go on with January's prediction? Hmmm.

Okay. Here it goes.

January will start out quite active with yet another in a series of strong low pressure systems traversing the real estate.

Nevertheless, just like last month, brutal cold will be settling in, possibly setting up additional opportunities for wintry precipitation.

Actually, the teleconnection pattern called the AO, or the Arctic Oscillation remained positive for much of December. Now, looking back, the AO+ did indeed provide a 'milder' regime for our region despite the occasional cold snaps.

What will the AO's effect have on our weather this month? It will favor more opportunities for snowfall.

The Arctic Oscillation will be dipping into negative. This sets the stage for some dramatic winter scenarios that may unfold right here in our region.

As I have mentioned before in some of my comments, look for an AO- signal that will be trending upward for our best snowfalls. Otherwise, a negative AO is still a good predictor since that means the cold will be around to support something related to winter.

A prolonged cold spell will help keep temperatures suppressed. Therefore, below normal temperatures should be expected through the middle of the month. I am expecting the AO to be solidly negative by then. But, I do expect the AO to begin an upward trend maybe before the 15th.

What I'm saying is that if there is a storm system nearby at about that time of the month, an AO- trending upward and a decent storm system could mean a blockbuster snow for the region.

Some places may see double-digit total snowfall for the month (not just in one storm, which may happen...).

I know there is a storm system that is poised to affect the region later in the first week, but it's the middle of the month that I am more excited about.

During the third week of January, I am expecting the 'January Thaw' to commence in earnest. Warmer temperatures though may not be enough to offset the cold this time.

Therefore I'm expecting below normal temperatures for the month with possible above normal snowfall for the month.


Monday, December 26, 2016

MikJournal Monday 12/26/2016

Good morning. Wow. Last night's dense fog and 50 degrees led to me waking up this morning to a balmy 64 degrees with a few stars shining above. I had to check the calendar on my phone just to make sure I didn't hibernate through the winter. It really feels like Spring out there.

But, of course that won't last too long. More on that in a moment.

First, I updated the Mesonet site's wettest of the wet for this year. You can find this on the side of the blog. What a contrast in amounts of precipitation this year.

Western Kentucky leads the way with a ridiculous 80+" near Murray. However, here is a 'hmm factor'. Using the Great Circle formula calculating the coordinates between Murray and nearby Hickman to the west, I came up with about 50 miles as the crow flies that separates them. But, the quantitative precipitation disparity between the two locations is rather enormous. Hickman's precipitation readings is one of the driest locations in the state, coming in at 41.68". In other words, Murray has received nearly twice the amount of rainfall than Hickman in just that short amount of distance. If there are no quality control issues at these Mesonet sites, which I am not aware of any, a difference of some 40" over 50 miles is simply amazing, nearly unprecedented for our region.

Well, there has to be a driest of the dry, right? In Nicholas county, 37.91" has been tallied through yesterday. In fact, several areas around and including Lexington's Mesonet site are reporting under 40" for the year.

But, for many of us, drought concerns are easing substantially. So, now let's get on to winter already.

I looked at the snowfall analysis for December 25, 2016 and compared that with last year. You remember last December, don't you? One of the warmest Decembers on record.

Well, here is a breakdown of how much ground was/is covered by snow....

National (12/25/15):  37.2%
               (12/25/16):  44.1%

Midwest (12/25/15):   9.7%
               (12/25/16):  16.7%

Nothing too impressive, although regionally, the percentage for 2016 does compare favorably with 2014.

Speaking of snow, when are we ever going to see some snow covering our grounds? Well, we do have to be patient. It seems with all of that cold air we have had recently, we expected more opportunities for some type of accumulating snowfall. Storm systems were just a bit too strong, being able to draw up Gulf warmth thereby providing more rainfall instead.

While I am not dancing-on-the-ceiling optimistic about snowfall chances over the next 10 days, I am a bit optimistic that some may see some whiteness on the ground before January 7. Afterward, things may get rather interesting region wide. Clashes of cold air and a possible strengthening of the SE ridge may make things interesting around here. But, I'm still digesting data and looking at other signals, as computer forecast models still aren't up to the challenge of giving me anything to work with.

I will be putting out my January prediction later this week.

Have a good day and a good week.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Teleconnections Coming Back

Ahh, the other alphabet soup aside from the numerical forecast models. I'm talking NAO, AO, PNA, and EPO, common teleconnection patterns helpful in forecasting behavior of winter patterns.

Despite the impressive cold shots recently, all of the teleconnections I recommend have shown no lasting chill and wintry conditions hanging around.

The Arctic Oscillation (AO), a major player in the winter time, has really been a non factor thus far. Let me explain.

The AO has been in its positive state for a while now, since the beginning of the month. So, one would expect a milder pattern overall for our region. "Not so fast my friend" in the words of Coach Corso.

An unusual or anomalous October snowpack in Siberia and Eurasia as a whole combined with a rather weak polar vortex had contributed to the very cold air here in our region. The disruption to our weather patterns because of the above combination looks like it has finally run its course.

Therefore, we can get a truer, more accurate look at how the AO will now behave over the next few weeks. Used in tandem with the other teleconnections above, cold and snow chances should be more definable, and forecast models might do a little bit better in predicting future outcomes.

Right now...forecasts show:
AO Positive, trending downward to neutral or slightly positive over the next two weeks.

NAO Positive, trending downward to neutral or slightly negative

EPO Positive, trending downward to negative

PNA neutral/negative to remain more negative

Right now, as of today, none of the teleconnections favor a snowy outcome. However, forecasts at least show the NAO and EPO wanting to support a wintry pattern over the next 10 days or so.

But, the AO is still expected to remain positive, and the PNA negative favors a trough west, ridge east scenario. At the very least, a warmer southwest wind will mitigate snow chances unless very cold air is in place. Which we have seen leads to higher ice chances than snow chances.

Remember to keep your eye on the AO index. Some of the best snowfall I have seen here during the last few years have occurred when the AO was negative trending upward.
Right now, we don't have a negative AO yet. A negative EPO helps as well. Team those together and we could be looking at a higher chance for snowfall. Of course, other variables come into play that might blow your mind. If you want to, research the QBO and the MJO to see how their effects may influence our pattern as well.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

MikJournal Thoughts About the Changeable Weather

We have a balmy kind of day out there, at least compared to what we have been enduring. Light amounts of precipitation occurred overnight into the first part of the day here in Louisville. At the airport last night, I did not see any sleet pellets, just plain light rain and drizzle. I'm sure others saw some sleet, but as expected, no issues with that.

Now, let's turn our attention to the rest of the day and tonight. Did you know a severe weather threat exists for part of the region? And the same areas may see some frozen precipitation several hours later. Shew! Crazy, I tell ya.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in place for much of western and central Kentucky overnight. Mainly for impact as moisture on area roadways will be hard pressed to dry out, since we will be having light freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and occasional sleet mixed with snow going on. No way around it there is going to be slick spots on area roadways. However, salt crews may be able to alleviate much despite the very light frozen precipitation falling. But, watch out for your untreated porches and sidewalks.

More updates later if necessary. Stay safe everyone.


Monday, December 12, 2016

MikJournal Monday 12/12/2016

Good morning and welcome to another installment of my MikJournal Monday. Crazy weather times are coming. You've been warned.

First, another episode of soaking rainfall, making a dent in that severe drought region wide, is just another in a series of what the Climate Prediction Center is calling for moderate to high chances of above normal precipitation over the next two weeks for the region.

Well, if that's the case, Christmas may be more wet than white. However, there is still time to sneak a cold airmass in with all of this available moisture in place. Again, though, the odds are already beginning to dwindle.

The first half of this month has delivered below average temperatures with a couple more shots of frigid air to go. Rainfall has been about average for the month so far here in Louisville and Lexington, but still a little bit below average in Bowling Green.

The coldest air of the season will be arriving by the middle of the week and staying for a couple of days. I don't remember giving an invitation to Old Man Winter. He just shows up whenever he wants, I guess. But, low temperatures may tumble into the single digits for some of us, only to surge once again ahead of another strong storm system, poised to bring yet another shot of very cold air behind that.

It appears the best chances for accumulating snowfall will be later this week. However, it may not be a pretty picture. I like my snow pure, not tainted with a mix of whatever. And that may be the case later this week.

Although the dreaded 'ice' word could be a part of the vernacular this week, I don't expect any widespread and serious issues. Things are going to move very fast this week. Precipitation transition will likely be quick as well.

Afterward, the teleconnections I follow, show a unanimous agreement AGAINST winter weather for the second half of the month. I guess it still can snow during this time period, but it won't stick around. The forecast teleconnections over the next 10-14 days are for a +AO, +NAO, -PNA, and +EPO. I would prefer to see the opposite sign for every one of those teleconnections to support a lasting wintry scenario.

In addition, the CPC is calling for modest chances for above normal temperatures, especially during Christmas week. Therefore, if you don't like the icebox, just wait a little longer.

One way to look at it, if you're planning to travel during Christmas week, a milder weather pattern around here may help ease travel concerns.

All of this is still a couple of weeks away. As always, things change. Just something to talk about for now. Enjoy the 'ride' this week.

Oh, depending on how the upcoming weekend storm system develops, I may chime in with thoughts about snow or ice, if it looks like a problem for the region. Otherwise, till next time.


Monday, December 5, 2016

MikJournal Monday 12/05/2016

Good Monday to all. I just wanted to briefly stop by and invite you to check out my 2016/2017 Winter Prediction released late last week. You may wonder why I call it a 'Prediction' instead of a 'forecast' like others. Well, a forecast tends to have a compilation of reliable data that should produce a relatively accurate picture of what's going to happen over a said period of time. However, a prediction relies on many assumptions and the data may not be enough to produce an accurate assessment of what could happen over time. I look at particular points of data and use them as a weight for what I believe will control our weather here locally. So, it is possible I could have overlooked an important driver for this upcoming winter that would in effect disrupt my thoughts of what will happen this winter. Therefore, my assumption or prediction may not be that accurate. I call it a disclaimer.

At the same time, meteorologists put out these 'forecasts', claiming they have all of the tools necessary to make an accurate assessment of what will happen. In reality, all of their hard work cannot reliably go beyond a few weeks. Even with an improvement in technology, the data is still not where we need to be in order to make a 'forecast' for an entire season spanning at least 12 weeks. In reality, these meteorologists do just what I do and focus on a few sets of data they feel will contribute more toward how the winter season will behave. They choose to call theirs a forecast, mine I choose to call a prediction.

Don't be fooled by the mentality that the winter season forecast is 'just for fun, entertainment purposes only.' Some of these professionals really take this stuff seriously and spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out what will really happen. And rightly so. Many government services and other industrial giants rely on seasonal forecasts to be better prepared and equipped for providing its citizens or residents what will be needed when it is needed.

And that's good and all. But, this forecasting x amount of inches of snow will fall during the next 12 weeks or so is really not a forecast at all, if you think about it. There is barely enough data that can help us put together a reliable forecast out more than 2 weeks. Just a simple 'above average, below average' and useful data of what is average for my region is really all that is needed for me. Then, we can use our own imagination to figure out what above average or below average will mean for our locations.

Have a good day and rest of the week.


Friday, December 2, 2016

MikJournal 2016/2017 Winter Prediction

A summary of the upcoming winter 2016-2017...
For the official winter months of December through February, I am expecting below normal temperatures for the Louisville and Lexington areas while we should be on either side of normal snowfall, or favoring slightly above average for Louisville and slightly below normal for Lexington.

I will introduce the December contribution for the winter during this segment....

The climatic pattern favors below normal temperatures across the region. I think that this will largely be due in part to a favorable snow cover over the Eurasian areas and low sea ice extent, which helps increase high pressure over the Arctic region leading to lower pressure for the mid latitudes. My Meteorologist instructor always says that it is easier for pressure to flow from high to low. In other words, strong polar winds, which generally keep the cold up there, will be more relaxed, allowing for chunks of cold, polar air to dive southward toward the relatively lower pressure in our neck of the woods.

What I just described is the Arctic Oscillation, a type of teleconnection that helps predict the behavior of cold air based on the differences in pressure of the polar latitudes and the mid latitudes. I will be using this feature as a primary component in my month to month predictions for temperatures.

Another important driver that I personally think may contribute to the winter is the unusual southeast drought. While we have seen an overall easing of the devastating, prolonged dry spell there, I think this pattern has already upset the balance for the first part of our winter. Archived data shows mixed results for overall snowfall amounts during December mired in a severe drought for our region.

I do think we will see more opportunities for snowfall this month than in years past, since the cold air will be more prominent. However, after this month, we will have to wait and see if the Southeast ridge establishes a firm footing and where, which may introduce several chances of the cold versus warmer air. Increased chances of freezing rain/drizzle may already become a problem for parts of the Southeast later this month into the first part of next year.

January's prediction will be out later this month...


Monday, October 31, 2016

A New Record...Warmest October on Record at Louisville

Okay, I might be jumping the gun, as they say, but unless my Excel spreadsheet has a serious flaw, I expect a new record for the warmest October ever here at Louisville to become official by tomorrow morning.

The old record set in 1900 was 66.1 degrees (average of high and low temperature)
I expect at least 66.2 degrees.

Other notable entries include a top ten warmest October for Lexington and Frankfort.
In addition, Frankfort should make the list for the top ten driest October on record.


Monday, October 17, 2016

MikJournal Monday 10/17/16

Good Monday morning. I must say, despite the lack of rain around here, no measurable rain at my house in at least 17 days, the weather has been absolutely amazing. Why, we're talking about late August/early September weather for the next couple of days.

In fact, if Louisville reaches the 90 degree mark by tomorrow, it will mark the latest 90-degree day on record at the NWS office.

It has certainly been stormy over the northwest part of the U.S. High winds and heavy rains ransacked the region over the past few days, even tornadoes were reported! Generally, winds from 45-60 mph were common across several of the weather offices in the Seattle's area of responsibility, which led to some power outages. However, I did see some gusts over 100 mph closer to the coast and higher elevations.

Rainfall totals have been appreciable, to say the least. But, even in places where high rainfall amounts are the norm, like Forks WA, even their 14.27" for the month of October is well above average so far.

I would be remissed if I did not mention the 27th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. Preparing to watch game 3 of the World Series between the Bay teams of the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's, the violent 6.9 quake struck, causing extensive damage throughout the Bay area.

Some freeways collapsed which caused most of the 60+ deaths. Yet, it was a fairly low death toll considering the time of day and large population in that region of Oakland and San Francisco.

Obviously, the World Series game was cancelled, and it would be 10 days before game 3 would commence. The Goodyear blimp, which would have been covering the World Series, helped provide an aerial overview of the damage throughout the area.

Enjoy the weather for the next couple of days. Changes are coming, and it includes something actually liquid falling from the skies. I better clean out the rain gauge and get it ready for action.

Have a good week....

Monday, October 10, 2016

MikJournal Monday 10/10/16

Good Monday morning and a rare post indeed from the most versatile weather person I know. Me. Of course, when I say versatile, I mean I can go from the most enthusiastic weather reporter to an out and out complainer/sore loser.

So, what has been up with me? Why have I forsaken weather? Why has nobody heard from me lately?

Well, instead of just writing about the weather, I have been out there actually experiencing it. Our family enjoyed a 7-day cruise to the eastern Caribbean in the Virgin Islands a few months ago. Great hiking, swimming, eating, and of course, the rum were a few of the highlights for that trip.

Just last week, we camped out at Myrtle Beach State Park and had a really good time. The campfire cooking was great, the weather was warm during the day and pleasant at night, the waves were perfect for body-boarding, travel to and from was ideal.

Fortunately for our family, we left there before conditions deteriorated, both travel and weather. It breaks my heart for the residents who had to endure the atrocities Matthew brought to them. Locally, families with loved ones in hard hit areas along the east coast were worried for their loved one's safety.

I am confident that residents and local/state officials will recover from this and the many tourists will once again enjoy the beauty and splendor of these affected areas.

Here at home, my garden produced way too much vegetables. The size of my bell peppers were the largest I have ever grown. Since I was not really prepared for such a bountiful harvest, many of my plants broke, almost split in half in some instances. Yet, despite the damage, these plants stubbornly put out more produce. Simply amazing.

It has been getting drier around here. After a brief appearance in the 'abnormally dry' category late last month, we here in north central Kentucky just may revisit that category with the next report by this Thursday, joining our fellow Kentuckians in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state, who may slip into drought status. Of course, this is all contingent on whether we see any appreciable rainfall or not.

Winter is not too far away. One of my favorite weather sites is the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. At nearly 6,300 feet they recorded their first measurable snow/ice accumulation of the season yesterday along with a bone-jarring, teeth-rattling wind chill of -2 degrees this morning.

I hope to update my blog soon with interesting and informative sites to visit. Just give me some time, because quite likely, I'll still be out there enjoying the weather instead of just writing about it.

Make it a good one. We'll talk again soon.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Localized Heavy Rainfall Amounts

Just here in Jefferson County in Louisville, rainfall has been rather widespread. However, only a few isolated areas have received appreciable amounts.

The highest total I have seen so far is just east of I-65 near I-265 or Gene Snyder Freeway. Near the Buechel Basin there has been 2.74".

Closer to my neck of the woods, in Pleasure Ridge Park near Riverview park along the Ohio River, 1.51" has accumulated in the rain gauge. However, just a few miles southeast of there here in Valley Station at my house, I haven't recorded any measurable precipitation, just a trace.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Very Wet July So Far

We have not even reached the middle of the month, yet some places in Western Kentucky have recorded nearly 14" so far. A few locations are closing in on a foot of rain.

This morning and early afternoon, Calhoun in McClean County has received nearly 5 and a half inches since midnight, easily doubling their total coming into today of 5.27".

A compact shield of moderate to heavy rain continues to lumber along a west to east, maybe slightly north of east, line from near Evansville through Owensboro and Tell City IN and approaching the Louisville area.

It will be interesting to see how this shield holds together or if it will weaken. However, additional storms are backbuilding to the west and may train over areas to the tune of 2-3" of rain with locally heavier amounts in thunderstorms along the Ohio River in Louisville. We might be testing the Flash Flood guidance for a 3-hour period, which should be running in the 3" range.

I think I would issue a Watch for the area anyway, just as a precautionary measure, especially for points just south and west of the area that have received heavier rainfall during the past few days.


Monday, July 4, 2016

MikJournal Monday July 4 Edition

Good morning. While July rainfall is always welcome for us gardeners, too much of a good thing can even happen in July, especially on a holiday like the 4th.

Louisville has recorded 2 of its top ten wettest July days ever on the 4th...

1896...5.04" (#2)

Speaking of the year 1896, another top ten wettest July day occurred on the 21st at 3.41", a very wet month overall at 13.01".

In 1984 on this date, Louisville received 4.26" during a 4-hour period from about 2:00 - 6:00 in the morning which caused some minor flooding issues. At least there weren't too many traffic issues thanks to the holiday.

Also, a thunderstorm wind gust of 49 mph was recorded at Standiford Field causing scattered power outages throughout the county and totalling one car when a tree toppled onto it.

Therefore, while another soggy and stormy 4th is expected across the region, hopefully, record rainfall amounts and severe weather will be kept to a minimum.

For Louisville, a minimum of 3.12" would need to occur today for a top ten wettest July day on record.

However, if we become stuck in this pattern of heavy rain, we could be talking about top ten wettest July months on record...again.

Here are the required minimums to achieve a top ten wettest July ever...

Louisville...7.33" (we had 8.65" in July of last year)
Lexington...8.01" (we had 9.66" in July of last year)
Bowling Green...8.23"

Thanks in part to the Storm Data Publication from the NCDC, now a part of the NCEI, the National Centers for Environmental Information.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Analogs Mixed About Widespread Severe Weather

Good morning. I have decided to chime in on the potential for severe weather today and into the evening.

One perspective I look at are how past weather systems that are somewhat similar to the one in question behaved. These are known as analogs.

According to a couple of datasets, primary locations for severe weather both included eastern Kentucky.

However, it is difficult to separate out the 'noise' since we have already seen a large complex of strong storms pass through this area. In other words, were the analogs picking up on the MCS as the culprit for severe weather potential or the actual front later today?

Percentages...Both datasets say greater than 50% chance for at least one severe weather event along and east of Interstate 65. But, the percentage drops a bit when it comes to 10 severe weather events.

Still, the eastern part of the state has the highest chances for today. But has that chance now passed or is that chance going to be realized later with the front?

Regardless, heavy rain potential is a given, very likely for many of us today. While I am not overly bullish on widespread severe weather today, I strongly urge ones to keep an eye to the sky, listen to local media outlets, and have a programmable weather radio nearby. Most stores carry these types for about $30 or so. I have a Midland model and it works very well for me.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Enjoying Time Off

Good afternoon. A stranger is in your midst. No, I haven't been hibernating, but I have been enjoying some time away from weather, or at least writing about weather.
However, I still read others' weather blogs. I will still chime in at times when noteworthy weather looks to impact the area.
A cruise, gardening, work, and sinus/ear infections have taken quite a bit of my time.
I look forward to writing again in the near future.
Have a good week my weather friends.


Monday, May 2, 2016

MikJournal Monday 05/02/2016

Good morning and welcome to my MikJournal Monday segment. After being a bit under the weather or allergies or both last week, I'm trying to get back to a normal routine of things. Of course, I missed my Historical Humpdays segment last Wednesday marking the 5-year anniversary of the historic tornado outbreak affecting central Alabama on April 27, 2011. I do hope to present that material soon.

Meanwhile, as we wrapped up the month of April, remember how windy it was for the first half of the month? I mean we were averaging double-digit mph kind of numbers. It was really looking like this could have been the windiest April ever,  it seemed.

However, looking at the average for the month, at Louisville International, the wind speed was 8.5 mph. March was still much windier on average at 9.5 mph. Even more humiliating, last April averaged 9.0 mph. It's hard to believe April 2016 finished so 'winded' after posting 9 days with wind gusts in excess of 35 mph. Winded, get it? Ha ha...okay. You gotta remember it is Monday.

Temperatures were muffled somewhat as well, thanks in large part to the unseasonable cold we endured for the first part of the month. However, we still ended with 8 days in the 80's, a rather impressive stat.

Moving into May, there was quite a bit of activity on Sunday as hail and some high winds raked the state. Reports of baseball size hail found along Boyd/Lawrence county line in far eastern Kentucky. Meanwhile in Indiana, near Indianapolis, 2.00" diameter hail photos were submitted as well as numerous photos of hail covering the ground up to 2" deep. Impressive looking wall cloud in one of the photos and a 70 mph wind gust at the Indianapolis airport.

Wind and hail damage were common across Oldham and Henry counties close to Louisville. The Lexington Mesonet reported a wind gust of 50 mph. At my place, despite the impressive cloud structure of a supercell, just to my north and then east, I only received a period of heavy rain. That's okay with me. I don't need that kind of hail.

Looking at the Kentucky Mesonet site, you may be interested in knowing that Murray, in Calloway county, leads the wettest of the wet for the year with 25.46" to date. A distant second is Benton, in Marshall county, at 20.08". Both are in western Kentucky.

The highest wind gust for the year so far has been reported in Pike county with a 61 mph gust in March.

Recall from my last post that temperatures may struggle through the 50's for some during this first part of May. That still looks achievable. The cyclonic flow of cool air will make for a rather unpleasant shock to our senses by midweek before rebounding in time for the Oaks and Derby.

Have a good week. Hopefully, no bad weather for you.


Monday, April 25, 2016

MikJournal Monday 04/25/2016

Good morning to ya! Another in a series of beautiful spring days is on tap for us again today. I'm telling you, after a mostly cooler than normal start to the first several days of the month, I simply cannot recall a more amazing stretch of days we have enjoyed for a Spring season. But, as the saying goes, 'All good things must...', well, I don't want to see this come to an end, but change looks inevitable.

Our temperatures today look to rise into the summertime range. After that, our lovely little pattern takes a turn for the ugly side.

The Climate Prediction Center has posted its 6-10 day outlook and its 8-14 day outlook regarding temperatures and precipitation. A transition to cooler than normal temperatures will really set in as we get into the first part of May with a good chance of above normal precipitation.

At this point, I cannot say we will see sleet or anything wintry during that time frame, but the air will take on a more noticeable chill. In addition, with lingering clouds and light rain/drizzle the day after a frontal passage then throw in some brisk northerly winds, our May temperatures may struggle through the 50's for highs at times. Hopefully, this type of stuff will break by the time we get closer to the Oaks and Derby.

Besides the temperatures decreasing, precipitation chances look to increase over the next several days.

In fact a severe weather outbreak may begin as early as tomorrow in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. along a generally w-e frontal orientation. This may create a multi-episodic scenario of severe weather and heavy rainfall.

During the next several days, we could see numerous chances for rainfall and perhaps severe weather at times. Any timing for severe weather would be largely dependent on meeting many factors, including instability. At any rate, it will become a more stormy pattern than what we have been seeing lately.

I will be presenting a large write-up for the 5-year anniversary of the historic tornado outbreak that happened on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 and affected much of central Alabama, including Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.

Look for it on the MikJournal's Historical Humpdays segment this Wednesday.

Otherwise, have a great day. I owe my little girl an ice cream for her good report card from a few weeks ago. We actually took her shortly after she received it, but Graeters forgot to give us the free ice cream for her when they rang up the bill. So, we get to go back. Shucks.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Historical Humpdays 04/20/2011 Tornado Outbreak in Kentucky and Southern Indiana

Tuesday/Wednesday April 19-20, 2011

Kentucky/Southern Indiana Historic Tornado Outbreak

The event only lasted about 4 hours; however, it would produce at least 2 dozen confirmed tornadoes, as the NWS offices would uncover.

There were several tornadoes that occurred over Southern Indiana, late in the evening on the 19th. Listed below are a few examples....

Between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m., in Orange County near Greenbrier, an EF-1 tornado with winds approaching 125 mph damaged or destroyed at least 4 metal barns or outbuildings, even tossing one of them 300 yards downwind. Trees were uprooted in a convergent pattern, a strong indicator that a tornado was present, as the uprooted trees were pointing toward a central location. Straight-line winds show damage of uprooted trees blown down facing only the opposite direction from which a damaging wind segment occurs, not blown down toward the wind source.

The same tornadic cell may have briefly lifted but touched down again for a brief period of time near Greenbrier and destroyed a metal roof barn while ripping off the front porch of another house and depositing it in the back yard. In addition, several tall evergreens were snapped off and thrown chaotically in all directions. The second touchdown apparently had winds of about 110 mph producing EF-1 damage.

About 11:00 p.m., in Washington County, near Livonia, an EF-1 tornado with wind speeds up to 100 mph destroyed a grain bin, then two silos and a 20 x 30 ft outbuilding. One home that was seriously damaged not only had the roof peeled back, but the home was pelted with flying gravel as the tornado lifted it from the driveway and pinged the home as with multiple slingshots.

Then, in Scott County, near Scottsburg, between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m., an EF-0 tornado with wind speeds up to 80 mph damaged the exterior wall panels of a Holiday Inn

Additional tornadoes were reported in Jefferson County Indiana, also in Clark County near the Jeffersonville airport.

In Central Kentucky, confirmed tornadoes in Breckinridge and Meade counties occurred just before midnight as well as an EF-1 tornado in Oldham County that destroyed a barn and damaged another later.

After midnight, in Franklin County, near the Frankfort Capitol building, an EF-0 tornado with wind speeds up to 70 mph caused minor damage to homes.

Also, near Georgetown in Scott County, an EF-1 tornado with wind speeds up to 95 mph caused extensive damage to a tied-down trailer and outbuildings as well as buckling the brick garage wall of a well-built home.

In addition to the tornadoes which by the way did not cause any injuries or deaths, widespread wind damage occurred in many places along that intense squall line.

Even in Central Alabama like Tuscaloosa, they would see widespread wind damage with speeds up to 75 mph.

Little did they know but in exactly one week on the 27th of the month, a historic tornado outbreak would affect Central Alabama, including the major cities of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. This will be the focus of my next Historical Humpdays segment. I will have a large write-up for the 5-year anniversary and hope you get a chance to review it.

Thanks to the storm reports from the NCDC's Storm Data publication from April 2011


Monday, April 18, 2016

MikJournal Monday 04/18/16

What another beautiful start to the day, unless of course you have to pay your tax liability today.. Spring is making up for lost time after a seemingly long hiatus during most of the first half of the month.

A beautiful blue sky and a crystal clear night have dominated the weather forecast for a few days. Warm days and pleasantly cool mornings are just perfect for me.

Hey, did you get a chance to view last night's spectacular display of the bright International Space Station crossing the sky in the same vicinity of the moon and Jupiter? It really was a special treat, since I had no idea the three objects were going to share such a small part of the sky together.

What made this more interesting was other objects were crossing the sky at about the same time frame, possibly an airplane. As it traversed across the sky, it suddenly brightened then gradually dimmed over the next several seconds, briefly being illuminated by the sun (that had already set over a half hour earlier) during that time.

From the friendly skies to the ground below was an exceptional weekend for our region, but...

The skies were not so friendly over the weekend for parts of the Rockies and the Texas/Oklahoma regions.

In and around the Denver area, snowfall amounts in excess of a foot have caused some travel issues, including airport delays at the Stapleton Airport in Denver.

I have seen some reports of over 4 feet, just from this past weekend storm...

Listed Below is a small sample of Total Snowfall Reports
LocationTotal SnowfallCounty

While April snowstorms are not uncommon in these areas, the amounts seen over the weekend were nothing short of amazing.

Denver, at 12.1" for the weekend, recently reached a high of 77 degrees last Thursday on the 14th. What a turnaround!

On the spring side of things, dangerous flooding conditions are currently ongoing in parts of east Texas, especially.

I was just reading some of the storm reports from the Houston/Galveston NWS office. Road closures, water rescues, up to 70 subdivisions now flooded in Houston, water even flowing over part of Interstate 10, and the rain does not appear to be abating anytime soon.

The rainfall began picking up in intensity just a few hours ago in Houston, where nearly 4" has fallen in the last 3 hours or so with heavy rain continuing to fall.

Radar estimates of rainfall since Saturday morning show over a foot of rain has occurred west of Houston.

A massive ridge in the east, partly responsible for our lovely weather, has kept the bulk of the rain confined to the same locations for the past few days.

From the Dallas/Fort Worth NWS office, rainfall amounts of 3-7" were common over the weekend. That system is what is now affecting Houston and will slowly trek east as the ridge finally begins to break down.

Finally, believe it or not, we are still dealing with a strong El Nino. However, it is weakening. The numbers have shown a 50% retracement from its mean high in the Nino 3-4 region. Therefore, the running mean (generally 3 months) will continue its downward spiral.

In fact, later on this year, we could be looking at La Nina conditions, which may make for an interesting winter and severe weather season next spring.

There's your long-range outlook. Now, if I can only predict what's going to happen this week....


Friday, April 15, 2016

Severe Earthquake Rocks Japan

7.0 quake not very deep

Epicenter near Kumamoto...population of about 750,000 (734,000 in 2010)

Nearby locations include Nagasaki

Same region hit by a 6.2 tremor that killed at least 9 people  recently.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Historical Humpdays - 04/13/1983 Twin Cities Record Snow

Wednesday-Thursday, April 13-14 1983

Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul

It started out innocently enough on the 13th as rain. But, by the time residents woke up Thursday morning, they were astonished by the 13.6" of snow accumulation glistening in the bright morning sun.

The southwest part of the state would experience the brunt of this strong storm system on Wednesday as snow and blowing snow created hazardous driving conditions. Soon though, the southeast part of the state was smacked with changing weather conditions for the overnight period.

A wet, heavy snow piled up a slushy accumulation on area roadways before freezing. However, for roadways that were cleared before the temperatures crashed, a washboard effect was created as the ripples of the pavement felt like you were driving somewhere out in the country on a dirt or gravel road.

Winds of 40-50 mph restricted visibilities, making for near blizzard type conditions. In addition, a 90-foot light tower succumbed to the high winds at a municipal stadium. Power outages were quite common throughout the region.

The fairly new Metrodome roof was deflated because of a tear from the heavy weight of the snow by Thursday.

Hundreds of school districts closed classes for the day on Thursday.

That April snowstorm for the Twin Cities would contribute to the snowiest April on record as over 21" eventually fell there.

From the archives of NCDC's Storm Data publication April 1983 Volume 25 No.4


Monday, April 11, 2016

U.S. Weather 50 Years Ago

Have you ever wondered what the weather was like a long time ago when the 'hottest year on record' was not being set every year?

How about 50 years ago? Yes, the year 1966.

U.S. population - 196.56 million
Cost of a new home - $23,300
Cost of regular gas per gallon - $0.32
Cost of one dozen eggs - $0.60
Cost of one gallon milk - $0.99

Calendar for April 1966 (United States)

Phases of the Moon: 5:F 12:3Q 20:N 27:1Q
Holidays and Observances: 10: Easter Sunday
Well, what happened on this date, April 11 in 1966?
Jack Nicklaus wins the Masters Golf Tournament...again
Emmett Ashford becomes the first black Major League Baseball umpire
Frank Sinatra records "Strangers in the Night" hit single
Of course, what about the weather during the week of April 11?
April 11
Huntsville and Georgetown, AL - 1.5" - 4" diameter hail covered the ground to a depth of 2".
The very next day on the 12th, a tornado would touch down in Sheridan destroying 7 homes, a church, and a barn. In addition, 5.5" diameter hail caused damage to metal awnings, windshields, and roofs, also in Sheridan.
Denver, CO - A funnel touched down in an open area in southeast Denver. Additional funnels would be observed in nearby counties for the next few days. One week from today, a massive snowstorm would bury many parts of the state.
Oklahoma - around the Tulsa area, hail damage was widespread. Hardest hit area was the Choteau region where average hail diameter was 1.5" and covered the ground with up to 8" drifts. The largest stones were 3.5" in diameter and caused extensive damage to cars, homes, and businesses. Also, straight-line winds of 60-80 mph along with some tornado damage and hail damage would pummel other parts of the state for the next couple of days.
Oklahoma - near Coweta, a tornado tore up bits of an asphalt highway, stranded 3 fishermen who were hanging onto trees while the funnel was overhead, demolished several structures, injured one from a toppled tree onto a storm cellar door, injured a child from a family of 11 who were taking shelter under and between their beds as the house was leveled, injured a woman taking cover under a bridge, and injured 3 youths when two cars went into ditches trying to flee from the funnel. (It almost sounds like scenes from a Hollywood production).
Texas - During the week, some hail damage to roofs in the Houston area and 4-6" rain fell within a 12-hour period on the 14th. In nearby Wharton, there was tornado damage to barns and homes. In one instance, a garage and trailer were demolished at a home, but the automobile inside the garage did not receive a scratch. Unfortunately, there were two deaths, related to drownings. One was in Galveston Bay, when a boat capsized during a squall, and the other when a car was swept into a flooded underpass in Mexia.
Locally, here is a brief snapshot of Louisville's weather for the month coming into the 11th, 50 years ago....
The average temperature was over 10 degrees below normal for the month.
Precipitation was about 0.50", or about 0.75" below average.
For the year, temperatures were running about 5.3 degrees below average and precipitation was about a half inch above average.
For the week of April 11, Louisville would endure 3 consecutive days of rain, a cold rain at that, with temperatures remaining in the low to mid 40's, eventually moderating into the mid to upper 60's by the end of the weekend dotted with a few cold mornings in the low to mid 30's.
After that week, Spring seemed to kick into gear as the rest of the month would see above average temperatures for the most part. Still, the month would finish 4.6 degrees below average.
However, April would prove to be a very wet month. The 9.56" monthly total stands at #4 on the all-time wettest April's list.

MikJournal Monday 04/11/16

Good morning and welcome to another Spring edition of the MikJournal. Finally, it appears that Spring will come back after all. After a balmy March locally and nationwide, Spring kinda dropped the mic and walked away.

All those numbers show that the U.S. had above average to much above average temperature ranks throughout the 122 year history from 1895 to present. For Kentucky, our state registered a 112, which means that there have only been about 10 other March's either just as warm or warmer than this past March.

However, during April so far, it really does seem like Spring has 'walked away', uh, maybe got lost along the way, or has forgotten about us here in Kentucky. But, there are indications Spring is coming back.

The latest outlook from the good folks at the Climate Prediction Center shows a decent chance of above average temperatures over the next two weeks. Now, that does not mean we could not have a cooldown during that period. But, overall, temperatures are expected to average out above normal.

The longer daylight hours will eventually win out anyway and temperatures will respond. In fact, I believe all of this cold talk we've been dealing with will be a distant memory by late Spring into Summer. Although not an official prediction, I am seeing indications of a hot summer.

Could it be a top ten hottest summer? It's possible...but it depends on how dry the summer will become. Large fluctuations in daytime highs and nighttime lows in summer are generally an indication of a dry ground that keeps the average temperature lower than the usual 'hot and humid' days when temperature fluctuations are much smaller.

For example, a hot and humid day with a high of 93 and a low of 75 gives an average temperature of 84 degrees. Ick!! But a daytime high of 92 and a low of 62 would yield an average of 77 degrees, seven degrees cooler on average and 10-15 degrees cooler from a dewpoint perspective, which may seem nearly refreshing.

Right now, I am leaning more toward a hot and drier summer, not too good for us gardeners.

On a side note, I was talking about longer daylight hours just a moment ago. Barrow Alaska emerged from a sunless sky on January 23. Today, their daylength will be right around 16 hours. Adding 10-12 minutes per day of daylight over the next two weeks, the length of day will be around 18.5 hours by the 25th.

In fact, by the end of this month, the sun will not set till after midnight. Then, by May 11, in just one month, the sun will not set at all until about August 1.

Finally, mark this on your calendars. MAY 9, 2016 - The planet Mercury will be making a transit across the sky. Okay, nothing new there, but the sun will also be in the same vicinity of the sky. In fact, Mercury will appear as a rather large sunspot moving along the surface of the sun.

More information here.

Local viewing information for Louisville (and still visible statewide) click here.

Have a good week everybody.


Monday, April 4, 2016

MikJournal Monday 04/04/16

Welcome to '4 squared day'. Sorry, the math geek in me saw the date 04-04-16 and decided that meant 4 times 4 equals 16 or 4 squared equals 16. The next 'squared day' won't be until May 5, 2025 or 05-05-25.

Anyway, what a wild weekend of wind and cold. Non-thunderstorm wind gusts of 50 to nearly 70 mph produced multiple instances of tree damage and power disruptions across Kentucky, including at my home, where the power was out for a few hours. A rare high wind warning was issued for the area and proved to be the strongest non-thunderstorm winds since the remnants of Hurricane Ike in September 2008 that produced winds near hurricane force.

I recorded a temperature of 29 on Sunday morning, which was actually much milder than some of my surrounding locations. However, the frost was not too bad (at least at my house) perhaps due to the slackening wind and dry air. I have not noticed any significant damage to any of my trees or budding plants yet.

Of course, there will be more opportunities for a hard freeze this week, beginning tomorrow morning.

Elsewhere, winter weather advisories and borderline warnings have been issued for parts of the Northeast, including Buffalo.

High Wind products are in effect for parts of Montana. You think it's been windy here, here's one for you. Livingston, MT had an average wind speed of 15.6 mph for the month of March. There were at least 11 days when the winds gusted to 50 mph or greater. On the 10th of the month, an average wind speed of 38.1 mph was achieved with a peak gust of 67 mph, all of these were non-thunderstorm related.

Louisville's highest wind average normally occurs during March. Our wind averaged 9.5 mph while the Windy City of Chicago averaged 10.7 mph.

This month, Livingston is averaging 17.8 mph, Chicago is at 14.7, and Louisville is at 12.8.

FWIW, supposedly, Livingston MT is rated the third windiest city in the Continental U.S. based on actual wind speeds. I cannot verify how accurate that assessment is, but appears to be reasonable. Elevation at Livingston is around 4,500 feet, or a few hundred feet higher than our tallest mountain in eastern Kentucky, Black Mountain.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Thunder Days - More For a Better Garden

I am adding a NEW feature to my blog for the spring season that will be used throughout the growing season. You can find the 'Thunder Days' section on the right side of the blog page.

I collect rainwater for my garden, since I believe it is superior to regular tap water or spring water. But, if you want an extra kick, collect rainwater during a good old fashioned thunderstorm. Or if the garden has become established, a thunderstorm can help the garden soil replenish the needed nitrogen that help plants thrive.

The month of March had 5 'thunder days'. I believe that the growing season from early May through the first part of October (at least at my house) should average over 40 'thunder days'.

Of course, other factors go into making the garden a success such as reasonable summertime temperatures and regular feeding of all garden plants, but using stored rainwater during the developing and established stages and during dry periods have really helped my garden immensely over the past several years.

Typically, I plant my vegetables right around or just after Derby Day. This year's garden will feature peppers of all kinds, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and rosemary. I will also have potted containers of thyme and oregano.

Last year's garden performed very well overall. Some plants suffered from perhaps too much water as it was an unusually wet year.

I will provide an outlook soon for the growing season but fear this will be a tough year for us. More on that in a future post.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another Top Ten Finish...What Else Is New?

It has been a consistent theme for Louisville and surrounding locations; therefore, why break the pattern?

In a stream of top ten daily, monthly, and or seasonal records, the hits just keep on coming.

Louisville looks to crack the top ten for warmest March on record, joining 2012 and 2007 on that list.

While not as warm as those months, we will surpass 1976 which had a high of 84 degrees during the early part of the month and come close but not exceed 1907's March that had an all-time high of 88 and two days at 87.

2012 remains the warmest March on record.


Monday, March 14, 2016

MikJournal Monday 03/14/16

Still getting over the loss of that hour you lost Sunday morning? Well, up and at 'em. It's Monday. Thankfully, it's the only Monday of the week. It gets better from here on out.

Unless you hate cold weather this time of the year. Yeah, later on this week, you will notice a rather rude shock to the senses as colder air sets up shop in our part of the Ohio Valley at least for a few days.

A rare alignment of the teleconnection pattern is about to unfold. AO-, NAO-, EPO-, and PNA+ will work in conjunction to deliver an unseasonably cold air mass. It may not be January or early February type of cold, but it will feel wintry around here, especially after recent temperatures in the 70's and dew point readings near 60.

Nevertheless, the long range outlook still looks promising as I believe Spring will continue to battle and provide more above normal readings than below normal ones.

In fact, for some locations, this may be the warmest March since 2012. That remains to be seen for our region, since I do not know exactly how long or how cold the upcoming pattern will be.

But, once we emerge from this next cold spell, I'll be able to better determine if this March may challenge some of the previous warm March's on record.

Now, so far for this month, I have recorded 3.14" as of the end of March 13. I did find several Mesonet locations that are beating me this month, primarily in western Kentucky....

Murray (Calloway)  6.35"
Mayfield (Graves)  5.92"
Benton (Marshall)  5.84"
Cadiz (Trigg)  5.47"
Hopkinsville (Christian) 5.25"
Princeton (Caldwell) 4.72"

Also, keep in mind many of these locations saw rain after midnight, that I have not included with the totals above..

Have you seen California's rain totals for the month? Impressive....

Redding  8.73" (9 out of 10 days it has rained)
Red Bluff 4.67"
Sacramento Executive  4.97"
Stockton  3.48"
Modesto  3.40"
Marysville  7.26"
Vacaville  6.87"
San Francisco (downtown) 6.24"
Santa Rosa  9.12"
Mount Shasta 9.83"

And one of my favorite locations at Forks 15.41" for the month and over 53" for the year.

Unfortunately, historic or catastrophic flooding has been ongoing in the south. Several locations have picked up close to 24" of rain in the last several days. I have seen several amounts of 16-22" across much of western Louisiana. Sad.

Also, the NWS out of North Little Rock will be investigating several areas where tornadoes were either spotted on the ground or damage was reported.

Welcome to Spring, everyone. It looks like this could be a busy Spring for many of us.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Calculating Distance Between Two Coordinates

Here is a Microsoft Excel formula for calculating distance between 2 coordinates...Remember, storms do not always follow the road your GPS says to take thus varying in how many miles distant from your location. Storms have their own 'highway'.

Nevertheless, this is a simple yet powerful example of how to build a large database of locations if you know their coordinates (which can be easily obtained from the Internet or your GPS).

We start by converting the lat-long coordinates in degrees to radians. Simply multiply the degrees by pi then divide by 180. Then use the formula below to calculate the distance, which will be given in kilometers. Convert to miles if you wish, taking kilometers and divide by 1.609.

I have a large database of locations, yet I cannot cover every single point in the state. But, if you have a GPS and have access to a particular location's coordinates, where say a severe thunderstorm is located, you can now calculate how far away the storm is from your location, not in highway miles but 'as the crow flies' miles.

The distance formula below is taken from cell C6...and since Fort Knox is a military installation, the coordinates are approximated for obvious security reasons and the simple fact that Fort Knox covers a vast amount of real estate.


Also, see a sample screenshot of my StormChase Database in the next post, not the one below but a more comprehensive list. You may be surprised at how powerful your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet can really be.

     A               B                C              D                E
1                 STORMCHASE Database Screenshot
2 Lat Long La-Rads Lo-Rads
3  Fort Knox 37.91 -85.94 0.6617 -1.4999
4ValleyStation 38.11 -85.84 0.6651 -1.4982
6 Distance (FK to VS) 23.89 km
14.85 mi


Sample Screenshot From StormChase Database

Well, here it is. A sample screenshot, slightly modified to fit the screen, from my simple yet powerful Microsoft Excel program. This particular page shows a drop down bar which is blotted out in white and the StormChase print art title also blotted out in white. So, there is nothing wrong with your screen.

However, I took a location like Richmond, in Madison County, and then the database comes up with other nearby locations, providing distance and even directional parameters.

Another page highlights the entire database in reference to a selected location from the dropdown menu, providing a distance measurement.

Take a look below....

Eastern Kentucky Volume I
Select your town below
Location ID 131
County: Madison
From Richmond
Location ID City/Town County   Miles Direction Direction ID
162 Waco Madison   8.16   E -0.0147
113 Paint Lick Madison   10.69 SW   1.1658
10 Berea Madison   11.59   S -3356.0000
101 Mina Clark   14.80 NE   0.5205
83 Lancaster Garrard   17.89 SW   0.4412
74 Irvine Estill   18.15   ESE -0.1463
173 Winchester Clark   18.27 NNE   2.2852
108 Nicholasville Jessamine   18.31   NW -0.4822
22 Bryantsville Garrard   19.03 WSW   0.0992

(Km) From
(Miles) From
LocID City/Town Latitude
Richmond Richmond
1 Annville 37.3192 -83.96250 0.6513 -1.4654 34.53
2 Artemus 36.8334 -83.84160 0.6429 -1.4633 67.66
3 Auxier 37.7370 -82.75000 0.6586 -1.4443 84.31
4 Avawam 37.2383 -83.27520 0.6499 -1.4534 65.86
5 Barbourville 36.8611 -83.87940 0.6433 -1.4640 65.13
6 Baughman 36.8648 -83.80020 0.6434 -1.4626 66.54
7 Beattyville 37.5772 -83.70970 0.6558 -1.4610 33.96
8 Beaver 37.3700 -82.67000 0.6522 -1.4429 92.58
9 Belcher 37.3418 -82.37350 0.6517 -1.4377 108.76
10 Berea 37.5769 -84.29355 0.6558 -1.4712 11.59
11 Betsy Layne 37.5515 -82.63350 0.6554 -1.4422 91.75
12 Beverly 36.9304 -83.53270 0.6446 -1.4579 70.06
13 Big Creek 37.1623 -83.56880 0.6486 -1.4586 56.54
14 Big Laurel 36.9928 -83.19310 0.6456 -1.4520 79.66
15 Bimble 36.8751 -83.83050 0.6436 -1.4631 65.22
16 Blackey 37.1403 -82.97940 0.6482 -1.4483 83.28

MikJournal Monday 02/25/2019...Drying Out

What a wet pattern we have been enduring. Will we finally dry out? Welcome to another installment of MikJournal Monday, the 25th of February...