Monday, September 18, 2017

MikJournal Monday 09/18/2017...Remembering Hurricane Hugo and Maria Looming

Welcome to another installment of MikJournal Monday. It looks like a pretty quiet week in terms of weather. Yes, there will be a few showers out there from time to time, not a complete washout. Temperatures are going to be warm, very warm as the averages try to come up from several days of below average readings this month.

In fact, 13 of the first 14 days of the month saw below normal temperatures here in Louisville. However, it appears we will have several days this week of temperatures near or above normal, depending on cloud coverage. Then later this week, possibly later in the weekend, we will begin transitioning to more fall-like temperatures.

So, with our weather nice and warm, I wanted to talk hurricanes for this segment. On this day in 1989, Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Hugo as landfall occurred near the town of Fajardo on the main island. The San Juan airport registered wind gusts of over 90 mph and the old Roosevelt Roads Naval Station had a 120 mph gust.

Of course later on, Hugo would make its trek through the Bahamas and set its sights along the Southeast coast, eventually making a significant, impactful landfall near Charleston, SC at Sullivan's Island as a Cat 4 hurricane.

As a side note, the Hurricane Hunters had what was called the 'Hairy Hop' as the initial plane, nicknamed 'Kermit', went to fly into the eyewall at about 1,500 feet, and got a little more than they were expecting.  Normally, they would fly at an altitude of 5,000 to 10,000 feet but were anticipating a weak hurricane.

Well, the hairy hop occurred when they encountered severe turbulence that put the mission, and for that matter, the lives of the 16 aboard, in jeopardy. Ironically, prior to takeoff, one of the reporters had asked, "Where are the parachutes?", the response was that parachutes would be of no value where they were going.

Severe turbulence? You be the judge. An updraft/downdraft/updraft triplet of 20 mph, 22 mph, and 45 mph respectively and horizontal winds of 185 mph violently shook the plane, causing even secured items to become loose in the cabin such as a 200-pound life raft, and caused a fire in one of the four engines. Worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster film, the pilots have to take measures to erase a 620 foot plunge of a few seconds that keeps them some 880 feet above the ocean waters. Crippled, the plane still has to be navigated to find a way out...

More information, including a story from the lead flight commander, can be obtained from sites below...

the hairy hop

Hunting told by Dr. Jeff Masters

I like a good cliff-hanger, or in this case, a hurricane hanger.

I mention Hugo, because another hurricane is about to hit the island of Puerto Rico. Meet Maria. If that happens, where will it go afterward? Could it take a similar trek as Hugo and head for the east coast?

A fairly reliable forecast model has the trek staying out to sea once it emerges from near the Bahamas. In fact, it may even stay a bit more east of Jose's track. But, remember, Irma's direction could not be accurately predicted until just hours before landfall. The models just could not figure out the periphery of the sub-tropical ridge.

The strength or weakness of that ridge will play a huge role in where Maria will go, and determine how close any impacts will be realized along the east coast. At the very least, waves and rip currents will continue to be a problem for the rest of the week and into the weekend.

Make it a great week.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

MikJournal Midweek Post 09/14/2017...Rainfall Amounts and Geography Trivia

As promised, I am posting a midweek update for rainfall totals and some geography trivia that might ruffle some feathers. So, please provide any other suggestions I can use to help answer the trivia question. More on that in a moment.

In Jefferson County, I have seen rainfall amounts range from 0.38" to 1.10" since September 11, or this past Monday. Here at my house, I saw 0.56", bringing my monthly rainfall total to 5.22". The airport at Louisville International has also recorded 0.56" through noon today.

However, since the state continues to see showers today, I will not be updating the totals on the side of the blog until the weekend.

Next up is Jose. The Euro has Jose weakening but tracking farther westward than some residents' comfort level allows. Although no landfall is forecast for the U.S., the center may approach close enough to throw some wind and rain toward Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Island. However, wave action will be quite noticeable. Rip currents are expected to be a problem. It will be a storm system that the Northeast residents will want to watch pending any additional westward shift.

Now, for your geography trivia, which might prove controversial...

Image result

A two-part trivia question for you. Based on the map, what is the westernmost point of the Eastern Time Zone in Kentucky? What is the easternmost point of the Central Time Zone?

I invite your input. I have looked at my Kentucky map and found Meade County to be the westernmost point of the Eastern Time Zone and Russell County as the easternmost point of the Central Time Zone.

But, this is where it could become quite controversial. Now, when I ask where, hopefully you understand I am not looking for a physical location, like a boat dock ramp or a highway mile marker or even a county line sign. I am not even asking for someone's property like Old Man Williams' scarecrow in the back of his cornfield (name is fictitious, if name is Williams, sorry about that). I am talking about a community or town which has a legitimate, verifiable post office and zip code.

I came up with Concordia in western Meade County though there are a couple of others that could be acceptable. Then, I came up with Vinnie near the Russell/Pulaski county line.

I find time zones and daylight/standard time interesting. Did you know our Eastern Daylight Time is the same as Atlantic Standard Time? A few northeastern states have been mulling over whether to switch to Atlantic Standard Time instead of fooling with the switch twice a year. I guess some people don't like to lose that extra hour of sleep during the initial Spring switch or show up one hour late to Church during the initial Fall switch.

We'll talk again...


Monday, September 11, 2017

MikJournal Monday 09/11/2017...Irma's Fury and Regional Impact

Good Monday to ya! Clouds are beginning to stream into our region from Irma, now blasting southern Georgia after pummeling the state of Florida.

The hurricane may not have been as intense as expected, but its widespread effects were felt statewide across Florida, and its effects will be felt throughout most of Georgia into Alabama and Tennessee.

And yes, we will feel the effects here, but it should not be as bad as Harvey's remnants. A general 1-1.50"(WPC) could be realized throughout the week along with some gusty winds and cool temperatures, at least through midweek.

Irma's fury was realized across Florida yesterday. Some notable highlights were a 142 mph wind gust at Naples, an apparent vortex or spin-up in the background as Mike Bettis of The Weather Channel was reporting live footage about the hurricane, the millions of residents who have no power statewide, and now that daylight has arrived, the damage left behind.

We are still awaiting word on how our relatives and friends have fared during this frightful ordeal.

Some of the local storm reports coming out of central Florida this morning were water rescues in West Orange county, hurricane wind gusts of 75-80 mph at Orlando, significant flooding along Beach Rd in Daytona, additional wind gusts of 65-70 mph just north of Orlando in Leesburg and Sanford.

I have been following live coverage on WESH 2 about the severe flooding in Orlo Vista.

Also, the relentless rainfall was noted in this climatological report for Sunday...

Daytona Beach: 4.10 inches; Daily record
Fort Pierce: 13.08 inches; Daily and ALL TIME record (since 1901)
Melbourne: 10.23 in; Daily and ALL TIME record (since 1937)
Orlando: 6.61 in; Daily record
Sanford: 9.24 in; Daily and ALL TIME record (since 1948)

Across South Florida, several of the weather offices have missing data for yesterday, such as precipitation amounts and highest wind speeds. Hopefully, all of the data will eventually be made available soon. But, video footage shows much tree damage and other property damage.

I am checking in on live coverage on NBC 6 out of Miami, listening to the damage assessments coming in, watching drone footage of the damage in Naples, wind and flooding. Even saw a video of Kristen Bell, voice of Princess Anna in the movie 'Frozen', paying a surprise visit to a shelter at a middle school, helping comfort the little ones there.

Even before Irma's visit, Naples recorded its wettest summer of all time, records dating back to 1942, with 41.42". That would compare to a little over 20" maximum amounts here in Kentucky.

Speaking of Kentucky, heavy rainfall from the 2nd tropical system this month is poised to move into the region, possibly soaking areas that received over a half foot of rain earlier this month. However, it has been emphasized that the rainfall from Irma does not appear it will match the amounts we saw from Harvey.

I will have a midweek post that will include any rainfall amounts locally and any wind gusts associated with the remnants of Irma. Also, you know that Kentucky has two time zones in the state, central and eastern. But do you know the westernmost point of the eastern time zone in the state? How about the easternmost point of the central time zone? Check back with suggested answers in your geography trivia for the week.

Have a good one.


Monday, September 4, 2017

MikJournal Monday 09/04/2017...Summer Recap and Harvey_Irma

Welcome to the first Monday of Meteorological Autumn. Yep, it's hard to believe, but summer is officially over...well, after today according to some pundits.

Summer really fizzled out there at the end. Oh yeah, we had some hot summer days here at my place and in the 'heat island capital of the country' at Louisville International airport. But, August went down in the books as a below normal month for temperatures, first time having a below normal month since May 2016 according to the NWS Louisville.

In addition, most of the region had a below normal summer. Bowling Green, Lexington, Frankfort, and even Louisville, well, most of Louisville, ahem...sorry, I had to clear my throat. Although the NWS Louisville modestly calculated the official summer as normal (or 0 degrees average), my calculations say they barely eked out an above normal summer...


Boys and girls, that leaves us with a balance of +0.2. Now, divide that by the 3 months of summer and we get an average of +0.0666. Now, when I was in school, I was taught to round up if the number was a 5 or higher. Well, that 0 in the tenths place needs to be rounded up because the 6 in the hundredths place says so, according to the rules. Therefore, that gives us a total average of +0.1 degrees.

I rant about this, because it is what it is, another concrete-aided, above normal summer. Yet, you travel right down the road at Bowman Field, another airport with a lot less 'crete and more grass, and you have a below normal summer, rather decisively I might add. Personally, I believe the NWS office is trying to downplay the obvious or glaring difference that everyone else was below normal while officially Louisville was above normal. I've said it before, the official location is a poor representation from a climatological standpoint and needs to change.

Moving on finally. Regional rainfall totals are in from the leftovers of Harvey, and they are impressive. Nearly 9" fell during the 3-day period from August 31 through September 2 at the Mesonet site in Barren County not far from Glasgow. Why, even at my house 10 miles southwest of Louisville International airport, I collected 4.46".

Speaking of rainfall measurements, I have been collecting rainfall for both of my rain gauges. I have a 5" Acurite manual rain gauge and a homemade rain gauge that is comprised of a Barilla spaghetti jar and a funnel the exact size of the opening diameter. I have been complaining about the Acurite rain gauge being inaccurate for some time now. But, an interesting thing happened....

Well, both of the gauges were nearing full capacity, unchartered territory for both gauges. In fact, my homemade rain gauge's funnel had rainwater standing halfway up the funnel. I think I still had room for another half inch before overflow. So, I collected 4.46" in that gauge. Then, I measured the Acurite gauge, expecting overflow. Surprisingly, it was under 4.50". In fact, it registered a little bit less than my homemade rain gauge, at 4.40".

After this evidence, I am becoming more convinced that the Acurite rain gauge really can measure 5" of rainfall; however, the demarcation lines leading up to the 5" mark are not as accurate as they should be. At times, I believe that some measurements may be more than 0.25" off.

Now, looking ahead. I have looked at the latest GFS and Euro runs for Hurricane Irma. There is still uncertainty about where this beast is heading. At 7-8 days out, the Euro has Irma nearing the southern coast of Florida turning northerly parallel to the coast and making landfall in the Carolinas.

The GFS has a more southerly track with landfall in Florida and moving northward through Georgia.

I don't much stock into the GFS. But, it does warrant attention, since it has Irma paying a visit to Kentucky and parking it here with more insane tropical rainfall amounts for our region.

The Euro has Irma affecting parts of our region, though the low pressure center looks to stay east of the Appalachians. Still, it appears moisture will be driven westward, affecting primarily central and eastern parts of the state.

Again, it is a long ways out. But, I'm sure we will be glued to our Tv's, anticipating the next run from the models, perhaps even making Vegas-style wagers about where and if this thing will make landfall.

Just stay tuned. We are at least a week away from any effects that may impact the region.

Meanwhile, here is your state and territory weather extremes for the week....

September 4...
1979 - Annas Hope, Virgin Islands (U.S.)...20" (24-hr Precip Record)

September 4-5...
1970 - Workman Creek, AZ...11.4" (24-hr state precip. record)

September 6...
1925 - Centreville, AL...112 degrees (state high temp record)

Make it a great day and rest of the week.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Midweek Update...A Harvey Welcome

It's not every day a celebrity makes it to our neck of the woods. But, Harvey is about to make an appearance to our great state albeit uninvited. Any one planning on rolling out the red carpet? I didn't think so.

After pummeling the Houston/Galveston regions with unprecedented rainfall totals over a 4-5 day period, Harvey is on the move after making yet another landfall. So far, the models have handled Harvey's trek fairly well. I have been impressed. The rainfall forecasts, although quite bullish earlier in the week, still underachieved in some places with its 30-40" totals. A handful of locations saw 40-50", even a little over 50" in at least one location of the Houston area.

I was hoping that the remnants of Harvey would get moving pretty quickly by the time it reaches our region. I am still hopeful. But, precipitation forecasts are going up for the region.

I had to wait till today to separate out any rainfall totals that were expected for the first part of the week and not combine them with the remnants of Harvey's totals coming up for the first part of our holiday weekend.

Now, I am starting to see a clearer picture, although the numbers are still aggressive. However, I downloaded a 3-day precipitation amounts map from one of the top analogs for this kind of weather setup and found an interesting parallel...

This is from September 20-22, 1979:

Low pressure formed just north of another 'H' tropical system that languished in the Gulf, picked up the remnants of Henri, and squeezed out a bunch of moisture over our region, to the tune of 3-6" nearly statewide.

Here in Louisville, our 3-day total was 5.41", Lexington at 5.27". Amounts of 4-6" were quite common in central and eastern KY, with a least 2 deaths attributed to the event.

I would not be surprised if we see similar totals related to this upcoming event. However, keep in mind, the most rainfall should be realized just to the north and northwest of the low pressure center (of Harvey). Just like earlier this summer, isolated tornadoes can spin up with these former tropical entities in addition to the heavy rainfall.

In conclusion, 3-6" looks possible for many areas, especially along the storm's track and again just to the north/northwest. Otherwise, 2-4" looks like a good bet for the rest of us.


Monday, August 28, 2017

MikJournal Monday 08/28/2017...History-Making Hurricane Harvey

Good Monday to you. Unfortunately, it's not a good Monday for residents of the Houston/Galveston regions. Personally, I have family who live in the Houston area, so I am concerned for their safety, especially for my pregnant cousin.

Hurricane Harvey will go down in the record books as one of the costliest natural disasters on U.S. soil, perhaps one of the wettest Cat-4 hurricanes to strike the United States, and quite likely the name will be retired.

Interestingly, if you notice my Did You Know segment on the side of the blog, the same names of tropical systems are used every 6 years, unless they are deadly or costly then the name is retired from the list to avoid any sensitivities of those who were most affected.

That's why our 2017 list, when compared to the 2005 list, does not include Katrina, instead it is Katia. We have Don this year, not Dennis. Whitney is used on the list for 2017, not Wilma.

Yes, there was a Harvey on the list in 2005. But, it was a rather unimpressive tropical storm, primarily affecting the Bermuda region with wind gusts to 50 mph and about 5" rain.

Then, in 2011, Harvey attained only tropical storm status again, but this time a bit more vigorous. Satellite data suggested a peak intensity of about 60-65 mph at landfall near Dangriga, Belize. Affecting mainly Mexican interests and high terrain, the system rained itself out over the mountains, producing widespread flooding and mudslides.

Back to the present, Hurricane Harvey has produced a tremendous amount of rain for areas of southeast Texas. With little movement, bands of heavy rain continue to inundate the region. Forecasts out now are for storm totals to reach or exceed 50" in places. Hopefully, it won't be that bad, as radar data seems to indicate the heaviest of the bands have moved out of that area for now.

I have collected a few numbers and statistics out of the Houston area this morning...

Not only did Houston establish a single-day rainfall record for yesterday with 16.07" officially at the IAH airport, but it was the wettest day for any given day of the year on record.

Additionally, this is now the wettest August of all time and the wettest month ever, beating out June 2001, with Tropical Storm Allison's flooding rains. And there is still time to add to the monthly total of 32.68"

Since June 1, 46.16" has been recorded. This is most impressive as one considers that Houston's annual rainfall is 49.77".

Over the next few days, the remnants of Harvey will move up into our region. As of this writing, forecast amounts of 1-2" with local amounts exceeding 2" are expected. This should cause some rises in area creeks and streams, but overall flooding does not look to be a widespread issue. Nevertheless, stay tuned to your favored local media sites for the latest updates.

Turn around, don't drown. Be safe everyone.


Monday, August 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, August 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week, everyone.


Monday, August 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a nice week everyone.


Monday, July 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week everyone.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Midweek Post...Evaporation Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Monday, July 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Have a good week...


Monday, July 10, 2017

MikJournal Monday 07/10/17...Summer Records

Good morning. Today, I want to talk about records in the summer.

Records are made to be broken. Here in central Kentucky, I ask, "What records?"

In what has been a relatively wet summer for many, this has been a rather uneventful summer for broken records so far.

We have had a couple of cool mornings, but no record breakers. We have seen some rainy days. Just ask Lexington whose 3.16" on a day in June would seemingly be good enough for some type of daily record. Nope. How about Bowling Green whose summer has nearly 11" already? Not a single day of record rainfall. Record high temperatures...anyone? Hey, we got a winner, well, sort of. Oh, Louisville, a record tying high of 94 on June 14. Is that it?

Well, in western Kentucky, Paducah did register a record daily rainfall of 2.82" on June 18th.

In eastern Kentucky, Jackson and London have registered a few more records related to daily rainfall. But, remember, Jackson's weather history only dates back to about 35 years. Therefore, their 3 days of daily rainfall records on the 5th, 13th, and the 19th days of June would not take much to break. The highest amount of rainfall for any given day was 1.72" on the 19th. And Lexington's 3.16" was not a record? Well, their records date back to 1872. Jackson dates back to 1981 and London to 1954.

So much for daily records. How about monthly records? Well, we already have one month of summer in the books. How did we do?

Bowling Green's 7.93" for the month of June came in at #9 of all June's dating back to 1870.

That's it for central Kentucky. So, what about other parts of the state? That would be a no for western Kentucky. But, surely we can find some monthly records for the 'newbies' in eastern Kentucky.

Yes, we can! Jackson's 6.21" of June's liquid bliss comes in at #10 out of a mere 36 years of recordable history.

Let's switch gears just a bit by turning our attention to severe weather in the summer. Last June, in 2016, here's what Kentucky recorded...

Total Reports = 138
Tornadoes = 0
Hail Reports = 5
Wind Reports = 133

Now, let's fast-forward to the near present, to June 2017.

Well, oomph. I am writing this post on the fly, and I have no map for June 2017 yet as it has not been fully updated. Through the 27th, we had...

Total Reports = 45
Tornadoes = 2
Hail Reports = 0
Wind Reports = 43

Keep in mind, there were some local storm reports after the 27th. But, clearly, the number of storm reports looks to be much less this June than last June.

Interestingly, last year, Kentucky came in at #4 for wind damage reports nationwide. By the way, this was not just for the summer months, but for the whole 2016 calendar year.

I'm sure some more records will be broken this summer and the rest of the year. but, so far this is a yawning period compared to the multi-month records and/or multi-top ten events of the past year or so.

Time for me to dice up some more yellow squash, zucchini, and a couple of peppers. Looking forward to picking out a couple of green tomatoes this week. Fried green tomatoes here I come. If you haven't tried this yet, place a fried green tomato rolled in a horseradish mixture as a topping for your burgers. Makes for a much more lively flavor. Yummy, indeed.


Friday, July 7, 2017

I'm Calling You Out

From time to time, I find something that I do not like when it comes to weather observations, recording data, whether it be visual observations like mistaking a funnel for a scud cloud or measuring snowfall on a deck next to the grill and chair; the recording of data that use automated sensors for precipitation and temperature.

This rant includes a couple of new entries.

First, I saw a discussion from the NWS Louisville that highlighted the heavy rainfall in and around the Louisville Metro area yesterday and named the Billtown Road Pumping Station with the highest amount.  Using data from often reliable sources such as MSD telemetered gages throughout the region, we can often get a better understanding on the scope of the rainfall compared to other areas.

Well, I have to call out the MSD pumping station at Billtown Road. There is something wrong about their rain gage. I don't know what it is, but it is not accurate. It seems for every rain event we have in the county, the Billtown pumping station gage nearly always records the most in the county.

So, I looked up some data recordings from the period of March 1 through the present and found an eye-opening statistic that really deserves extra analysis from the 'professionals' about their equipment.

Since March 1, the Billtown Pumping Station has recorded over 30". The next highest measurement comes from outside of the county at like 22 or 23". Most areas are in the vicinity of 16-19" in Jefferson County.

Next, I have used the Acurite manual rain gauge for years. I have often relayed these measurements to other local media, reporting my observations. I know others use the Acurite rain gage as well.

Well, I made my own rain gauge, using a Barilla Spaghetti jar. Using a funnel that is the exact size of the opening, I collect the rainfall.

Of course, this rain gauge has its flaws. It has a curved feature at the bottom that requires a couple of readings to average out the measurements. It takes nearly 0.06-0.07" just to cover the bottom to record a measurement. Estimates less than this have to be performed, which is not always accurate.Values up to 0.50" have to include built-in error numbers as well. However, the more rainfall I have in the gage, the more accurate it becomes.

Based on surrounding, what I call reliable MSD telemetered rain gages, I consult the values during a 'uniform' rain event and compare my numbers. They often fall right in there with their numbers. Therefore, I can say with certainty that my measurement will not be more than 0.04" off, including estimates and recorded measurements.

However, I was surprised when I placed my Acurite rain gage next to my homemade rain gage. A preliminary analysis has revealed an unsettling concern.

To the makers of Acurite, I am calling you out. I am still recording my observations; therefore, my findings are not conclusive. This preliminary analysis, though, reveals that the higher the rainfall amounts, the higher the discrepancy between a homemade rain gage that will not be off by more than 0.04" and your product.

Here are a few examples. I recorded 0.33" from my homemade rain gage just last week. However, the Acurite measured a little bit higher, at about 0.38". Yesterday, I measured 0.95" in the homemade rain gage while Acurite measured 1.24-1.25". Finally, during the remnants of Cindy last month, I collected 1.66" in my homemade rain gage. Acurite recorded about 2.10".

Yes, it is possible that my homemade rain gage may have some underlying issue that I have yet to uncover. But, when I use surrounding data sensors, my values are in better agreement than the Acurite numbers.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Oops Moment...Weather History and U.S. History

Here is a quote from the This Date in Weather/Climate History page....

July 4th, 1776 - Thomas Jefferson purchased a thermometer from a local merchant before signing the Declaration of Independence. According to his weather memorandum book, at 1 PM it was cloudy and 76 degrees.

I appreciated the weather history from July 4, 1776 about Thomas Jefferson's thermometer reading of 76 degrees at 1:00 p.m. He was an avid weather enthusiast, making periodic observations and recording them in a journal.

However, the document was not signed on July 4, as is the common misconception. Congress did approve of the final text on this date. The president of the Congress, John Hancock, and the secretary of the Congress, Charles Thompson, signed off on it, giving it official approval.

The actual signing of the Declaration by 56 congressional delegates would not take place until August 2.

Did you know the Declaration of Independence has a historical connection with Kentucky?  Well, not in the late 1700's. But, here is a bit of history you may not have heard or read....

On December 23, 1941, just over two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the signed Declaration, together with the Constitution, was removed from public display and prepared for evacuation out of Washington, D.C. Under the supervision of armed guards, the founding document was packed in a specially designed container, latched with padlocks, sealed with lead and placed in a larger box. All told, 150 pounds of protective gear surrounded the parchment. On December 26 and 27, accompanied by Secret Service agents, it traveled by train to Louisville, Kentucky, where a cavalry troop of the 13th Armored Division escorted it to Fort Knox. The Declaration was returned to Washington, D.C., in 1944.


MikJournal Monday 09/18/2017...Remembering Hurricane Hugo and Maria Looming

Welcome to another installment of MikJournal Monday. It looks like a pretty quiet week in terms of weather. Yes, there will be a few showers...