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.


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...