Monday, February 27, 2017

MikJournal Monday 02/27/2017...Winter Warmth and Severe Weather

This is Kentucky's most current preliminary reports of severe weather for 2017....

Total Reports = 4
Tornadoes = 1
Hail Reports = 1
Wind Reports = 2

It is still unchanged since earlier in the month. Yes, we did have quite a few severe thunderstorm warnings recently, but no severe weather or damage was received.

That might change soon. Another threat for severe weather could happen as early as tomorrow morning. This one looks more promising. I say that because the warm front may trigger a round of severe weather with large hail being the main player initially. Then, a squall line is expected to develop and race ahead of the cold front.

The Storm Prediction Center admits a great deal of uncertainty exists with how these moving parts will interact. But, the elements for severe storm development will be there.

The one thing I noticed that may favor severe storms is that dewpoint readings will be higher this time around than last time. We had dewpoints in the low 50's, that with surface temperatures exceeding 80 degrees at Louisville on Friday. However, dewpoint temperatures are expected to be in the upper 50's at the very least for this go around, mainly along the cold front.

But, the warm front itself may generate hail exceeding severe criteria (which is at least 1.00" in diameter or otherwise). I would describe it in terms of coins, but, the actual diameter of a quarter is less than 1.00", which should not be used in my opinion.

I therefore agree with the SPC's assessment with this quote: "We encourage measurement, not estimation, of hail size."

So, for right now, let's see how these moving parts unfold. But, be aware, large hail along the warm front and damaging wind along a squall line later are the primary modes of severe weather potential. Keep weather radios on standby, and have quick access to your favorite media source for the most current updates.

Also, the statewide tornado drill will now be on Friday, March 3 at 10:07 a.m. est.

With so much winter warmth, no wonder severe weather is off and running. I did some projections and discovered that Lexington should record their 2nd warmest winter season ever.

Bowling Green should also record its 2nd warmest winter ever.

Louisville should record its 7th warmest winter ever.

By the middle of next month, I will be switching to the Spring page, yes, getting away from the winter (or should I say the lack of winter) page.

Severe storm stats will likely dominate the page. Every now and then, I would like to post an occasional standout storm from the history books.

I will post more information on here if any significant updates come my way.



Sunday, February 26, 2017

In Memory of Bill Paxton...

One of my favorite movies from several years ago...and, well, still is.

Thanks for the memories.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Busy Weather Day Today

It looks like a severe weather event will impact our region later today. Most, if not all, of the ingredients will be present for a damaging wind event this afternoon and evening. The only question I have is "how strong will the 'cap' be?" A secondary one could be "how long after sunset will it take for the intensity of an expected squall line to wane?"

Analogs and models, the SPC, everyone seems to be on board. This was highlighted earlier this week. There has been little change in the overall setup of this thing.

I have looked at past analogs and have found a damaging wind threat exists all along the line. So, once (IF) the cap breaks before sundown, discrete cells will go up quickly, congealing into a linear/squall shortly afterwards.

My confidence meter for this event is fairly high. I looked at the morning clouds, the smell of Spring in the air, the winds, falling pressure (right now at 1005mb/29.70"Hg).

Winds are going to be very gusty pre-frontal passage, likely exceeding 40 mph at times.

A classic setup for severe weather today. It's still difficult for me to determine who will see the brunt of the bad weather. However, a 100-mile wide area could be impacted by the squall line that might produce the most damage.

Again, we'll have to wait and see when the cap begins to erode. This could affect the evolution and strength of the impending event. But, the threat is unusually high for our region to be impacted.

Weather radios on standby. Your favorite media source, whether online or television, ready to go.


Monday, February 20, 2017

MikJournal Monday 02/20/2017...More Broken Records

It's beginning to sound like a broken record, but daily record high temperatures, top ten warmest February's on record, and top ten warmest meteorological winters (Dec-Feb) on record are imminent.

I am not just referring to our region, but some climatic centers will likely record well-above normal winter temperatures. In fact, I wonder if this could be the warmest winter on record for the nation. Well, I don't know that, but I may make that a future project.

How about all of that rain in California? It sure looks like the big time drought is over. And all of that snow in the higher elevations? I saw reports of a location that has now recorded over 460" snow. In fact, some within that same mountainous area are expecting between 2 and 5 feet of additional accumulation this week.

I'll try to post numbers for our unusually warm February, that following a very mild January.

Could this lead to some severe weather later this week? There are signals. But, all parameters still need to align for such an event in our region.

Now, I have to cut this post short. My little daughter probably has the flu, and I am her chauffeur to the doctor's office.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Early Riser...Look to the South-Southeast Sky

Moon, Saturn, Antares and company in early dawn, Feb. 19-22, 2017 and company

Hopefully, skies will remain clear for optimal viewing.

My MikJournal Monday segment comes out tomorrow.


Monday, February 13, 2017

MikJournal Monday 02/13/2017...Severe Stats

January proved to be a violent month of severe weather across parts of the south. Already, there had been 20 tornado fatalities for the month of January. That statistic is more than the total number for all of 2016.

Total Reports = 4
Tornadoes = 1
Hail Reports = 1
Wind Reports = 2

The above map for Kentucky represents preliminary reports of severe weather received so far through February 11.

As you can see, a tornado report was received on February 7 in western Kentucky near Cadiz in Trigg County. According to the Paducah NWS, it was confirmed that an EF-0 tornado caused some damage mainly to trees near the Cadiz area. Some barns were also impacted. In addition, quarter-size to golf-ball size hail was reported in and around the same area.

I am providing a link from the NWS. Click here.

Nationally, the tornado count is way above average. It's still early, but I have been anticipating an active severe weather calendar year. In fact, if you look at the chart below, you will notice that we are already on track to record the most tornadoes since 2008, possibly eclipsing 2011's reports.

U.S. Annual Tornado Trends

So far this month, I have not read of any fatalities associated with the 20 or so tornado reports, but there have been many injuries, last count was about 36.

Spring seems to be starting earlier this year. Although I am not counting out Winter just yet, the unseasonable warmth will continue to battle with Winter's last gasps leading to severe weather events.

This is now the 2nd time this year I have mentioned the threat for an active severe weather year. Where most of the severe weather will happen nobody knows. But, even California is getting more severe weather reports than usual. Western Kentucky has already recorded a confirmed tornado.

Be prepared. A weather radio is recommended. Keep an eye to the sky. Take an online class or attend one of the Spotter classes to help the NWS know what's happening based on your report from your location. Of course, safety is paramount. Never place yourself directly in harm's way.

While it's nice to get the 'picture' or 'video', immediate relay of information is essential for the NWS to issue statements for adjoining locations in the path of any dangerous storm.

I have been doing this for several years. I have great respect for lightning and high winds. Perhaps it's my age, but my daring adventures of long ago have transitioned to getting reports out as soon as it is safe to do so and communications equipment have not been damaged or disrupted.

Have a safe year, everyone.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire

This is one of several favorite locations I use when analyzing weather data. It's claim is 'the world's worst weather'.

I just happened to notice the other day that Mount Washington, at an elevation of 6288 ft, recorded the nation's low temperature at -22 degrees (does not include Alaska).

In addition, winds averaged nearly 70 mph for the day with a peak gust of 120 mph.

Since the average temperature for that day came to -11 (high of -1 and low of -22), and winds averaged nearly 70 mph, the wind chill was a take-my-breath-away -50 degrees.

With the next impending system, snowfall is expected to be in the 2-feet range and, depending on the exact track of the storm system, winds could gust to between 100 and 150 mph.

Check out the site.


Monday, February 6, 2017

MikJournal Monday 02/06/2017...Data Outlook

I would like to introduce you to some of the tools I use to help provide me with some sort of outlook for the following week to ten days.


You have probably heard me harp on teleconnections and their effect on winter. This chart is just one that I follow to give me an idea of any supporting evidence for a blockbuster snow for our region.
Ideally, for me, I like to see a PNA+, NAO-, EPO-, and on another chart, an AO-. I don't use the WPO in my outlook since I have not noticed any significant correlation to this winter.

As of today, February 6, the chart does not show anything significant, except a negative EPO trending positive. That coincides with a shot of cold air invading our region briefly. Could there be a brief spit of snow? There is some support, but the rest of the teleconnections do not support the thought for anything significant. That leads me to the next set of data....

Numerical Models:

I only use the ECMWF High Res, or the European High Resolution model for this outlook. It performs much better than the American models, or at least it's more consistent.

I always check out the 7-10 days away part first...I just gotta know. In this case, around February 15, normal to below normal temperatures are expected for our region. Just prior to that, normal to above normal temperatures should prevail. So, it looks to me that no significant snowfall should be anticipated through the middle of the month. Then, I check the remaining current forecast period of 1-6 days out. I noticed below normal temperatures for the time period that does support snow chances later this week, if enough moisture is present. Next, I use analogs.


This site helps me determine the potential for at least 2" of snow to occur. So, I use a GFS outlook for the date I am interested. In this case, Thursday. I look at the Hazard Guidance for percentage for at least 2" snow. There is, like I said, some support for snow around that time period, mainly northeast KY, which is only at about a 40% chance of 2" accumulation. Still, flakes could be flying for some of us in our region.

Climate Outlook:

The Climate Prediction Center is a good source for what to expect over the next 6-10 days and 8-14 days. They are usually quite accurate. Just remember, these are percentages, and they represent an average during the selected time period. So, even though it may show a high percentage of above normal temperatures, it could very well be cold for two days in a row at the end of that time period yet still average out above normal for the whole time period selected.

I don't want to forget severe weather chances as well. The CIPS page is good for seeing how the top 15 analogs handle our chances here in Kentucky. In this case, not much support at all for severe weather. However, non-thunderstorm winds exceeding 40 mph are bound to cause some local issues. Rainfall chances look heaviest for central and southern Kentucky, exceeding 1", at 60-67%.

In addition, the WPC QPF rainfall estimates for the next 3 days are...0.50 - 1.00", so a little less bullish on totals. Therefore, I would guess at least 0.50" rain for many in our region is a good bet.

The WPC and the NOAA weather home pages are good references I use for my daily updates...

In fact, I just saw on the WPC home page that Seattle is forecast to get 3-6" snow, quite a bit for them.

The local NWS office says an additional 1-3" is expected today.

Here is the Seattle Webcam. As I loaded this, it was still dark but one can tell that it is snowing. There should be more daylight very soon.

Well, that's all for now. Any updates on high winds and/or severe weather, I'll try and post as soon as these become available. Oh, for an additional resource, check out the Kentucky Mesonet site. Updated wind gusts and rainfall totals will be good pieces of data to check this week.


Friday, February 3, 2017

North To Alaska

Barrow, AK tied a record high of 26 degrees yesterday. Normal high for the date is -8 degrees. Although temperatures are expected to cool down for the week ahead, normal to even slightly above normal temperatures can be expected.
I use Alaska as a barometer for where our weather may be heading. Typically, not always, Alaska's temperatures are generally an inverse of ours.
Alaska's temperatures are expected to cool down. Therefore, we can expect another warming trend soon before another blast of cold air tempers the relative warmth, making for more of a 'normal' February for the week ahead.
You can check the side of the blog for 'Coldest in Alaska'. I try to update this frequently.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

MikJournal February 2017 Prediction

The pattern is bound to change, right? I mean, if we do not get that pattern change soon, it will be Spring, and we all want Spring to start on time, but it may be cold then. But, quite likely, without the snow. Who wants cold without snow?

February looks to bring the same stuff we've seen so far this winter. Cold spells offset and dominated by warmer spells. And with the intensifying sun angle, if we keep repeating what we've seen the past 2 months, I would expect temperatures to reach the 70's for many in the region sometime this month.

Yes, it's possible to see a brief period of brutal cold and perhaps snow, but don't count on it sticking around for very long.

I have been complaining about the Arctic Oscillation not participating in the 'let's keep a lid on the icebox' scenario. The other teleconnection patterns have not cooperated as well...the NAO, EPO...just not on the same page.

The AO has not dipped below negative for hardly any length of time, if any, since late November. Despite its weakened state, it has been just strong enough to keep the coldest air from making repeated passes into our region. Rather, the Arctic region has experienced the brunt of the coldest air.

Let's hope for that pattern change soon. But, right now, things look the same to me. Even severe weather may be an issue this month. Too much Spring in the air for me to believe Winter wants to stick around.

For what it's worth, and I know we have already heard this song and dance before, but data suggests that the period from mid February through March should come in with below normal temperatures. We'll see.


Top Ten Warmest January's in Our Region

It's hard to believe. Earlier in January, single digit low temperatures and high temperatures struggling to reach the 20's for many in our region, much less the freezing mark for at least 4 days, dominated the weather story. It really looked like January was going into the ice box and a worthy January thumping of snow was destined to occur. least 2 consecutive weeks of above normal temperatures and rainfall, that's right, not snowfall, ruined any chance for January to live up to its heavyweight might. It was not only a wimpy winter month, but a top ten warmest January for many in the region.

Here, take a look....

Louisville 41.6 degrees...tied for 7th
Bowling Green 44.2 degrees...7th
Jackson 42.2 degrees...tied 4th
London 42.4 degrees...4th
Evansville, IN 40.1 degrees...9th
Paducah 42.4 degrees...4th
Cape Girardeau, MO 39.6 degrees...5th
Beckley, WV 38.3 degrees...9th
Huntington, WV 42.0 degrees...tied for 8th

What's in store for February? As usual, the cold looks promising, but the pattern change has not happened yet to retain the cold for a prolonged period of time.

Forecast models showed below normal temperatures for 7 consecutive days, at least, to round out the month into the first part of February. Here in Louisville, we have only recorded 2 consecutive days, and the rest has been above average.

Take a look at my February Prediction here on the blog.


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...