Monday, October 30, 2017

MikJournal Monday 10/30/2017...Transitions

Good Monday morning. I saw my first flakes of the season yesterday. Not much, just a few dotting my windshield. It was mixed with an occasional 'Styrofoam dot', softly bouncing off of the windshield. Nevertheless, it was cold.

Lexington recorded a high of 39 degrees for the date yesterday, just 4 degrees off of the record coldest high temperature for the day. One year ago from yesterday's date, they had set a record warm high of 82. Louisville reached 41 degrees yesterday. A year earlier, they too recorded a record warm high of 84 degrees. What a difference a year makes!

We have certainly entered a transitional period during the past week. Just a few days ago, Louisville was looking at one of its warmest Octobers on record, perhaps exceeding last year's warmest October. However, the recent cold spell of well below normal temperatures has now pushed the averages out of any 'top ten warmest' consideration for October.

Now, looking ahead to November, it appears the first part of November, at least through the 12th, may be milder and wetter than normal across our region. Perhaps a zonal flow will help shut off any cold air intrusions from our northern neighbors for a while.

Be looking for an update on one of this winter's drivers, the Arctic Oscillation. Dr. Judah Cohen, from the AER, (find this on the side of the blog) should be updating his thoughts this week.

Mount Washington in New Hampshire, at the weather observatory some 6280 feet in elevation, recorded a 124 mph wind gust yesterday. It has been a wet month with over 11" of precipitation. Surprisingly, only 2.7" of snow and ice have been recorded so far. Their average temperature is running some 10 degrees above normal.

Forks, WA is one of my favorite precipitation places to follow. Last year's more than 143" was the wettest calendar year since 1999, when nearly 161" was recorded that year.

Hilo, HI is another fun one to follow. Their all-time maximum precipitation record dates back to 1990 when some 211" was recorded. This year, though, has been much drier than average. However, a wetter than normal 'wet season' is forecast. So, the 57" or so that has fallen is likely to exceed 100" for the year, perhaps well below the average of nearly 127" though.

No national extremes for this week. But, still plenty of wild weather along the east coast and northeast.

Have a good week everyone.


Monday, October 23, 2017

MikJournal Monday 10/23/2017...Stats and Siberian Snowfall

Good morning and welcome to another installment of my weekly journal. What am I putting into the journal today? Well, I think some might be getting excited about winter. So, I'll touch on that for a moment.

While it is exciting to hear about possible flakes of snow before next weekend, wind chills resembling December readings, and the first pot of chili for those of us who waited until now, it is still just the second half of meteorological Fall. Even I hate to say this, but we will see the 60's and 70's again this season.

I took a look at the European 10-day model for potential temperatures, and this is what I found.
After today, I found some 50's for highs in my part of north-central Kentucky before surging into the low 70's or so ahead of a stronger blast of cold air set to arrive by Friday.

So far, the coldest air looks to stay north of the region. Therefore, I cannot say for certainty that snow flakes will materialize with any precipitation that falls behind the front. Still, it will be cold air, and windy too, which will feel even colder.

In addition, it looks like a prolonged cold pattern. Depending on cloud cover, initially, temps may struggle into the 40's for high temperatures. Afterward, even with clear skies, we could be looking at highs in the upper 40's to upper 50's for high temperatures and 20's and 30's for low temperatures. This is a far outcry from the coolest October day of 62 degrees last year. Now, I say prolonged because it should last longer than 3 days in a row. So, we have more below normal temps than above normal temps at least for a little while as we close out the month and enter November.

October has been another toasty month overall, similar to last October. But, this cold spell should negate any chance for another record warm October like 2016. Coming into today, Louisville would easily beat out the 2016 record. But, the averages will be coming down over the next several days. Without making any projections, I still believe it is safe to say that October 2016, at least for Louisville, will be a top ten warmest on record contender.

The Global report is in. For a change, it's not a record setter. But, it looks to be in the top 3 by the end of the year.

The September report shows the global combined land and ocean temperatures as the 4th warmest on record for the month. The Northern Hemisphere had its 3rd warmest.

For the January through September period, the global combined land and ocean temperatures were the 2nd warmest on record, right behind 2016. The Northern Hemisphere recorded its 2nd warmest, again behind 2016.

Nationally, the preliminary tornado counts were down last month. However, we are still on track to record the 3rd most tornadoes since 2005.

Back to the snow. Usually, some look to Siberian snow cover in October to understand what effects we may experience here in our part of the U.S. But, doesn't it depend on what will be the main driver for this year's weather? The Siberian snow cover in October is just one driver. Don't forget about El Nino/La Nina, blocking highs, sea ice levels, jet streams. Yes, there are a lot of drivers that affect the atmosphere.

Siberian snow cover was very impressive in October of last year. Yet, our part of the world here in Kentucky saw near record low levels of snowfall for the winter. There was also a weak La Nina in place. So, something besides the Siberian snow cover proved to be the main driver of last year's winter, at least here.

Some did get the snow. The mountains of California saw an abundance of snowfall, the likes of which they have not seen in years, which proved very helpful in replenishing reservoirs for the upcoming summer of 2017 and overcoming devastating drought. Many stations in Maine reported over 100" last winter, well above their average.

So, although the Siberian snowfall in October is off to another good start this year, other drivers such as the potential for another weak La Nina, will compete for driving this year's winter weather.

I will be studying the data during the month of November and offer a brief seasonal outlook of what we could expect here regionally. Then, I will be focusing on a monthly outlook and update any adjustments if needed throughout the winter months. No, I won't be offering any snow accumulations for the entire winter, as that is not scientifically sound. But, levels of above, near, or below normal will be offered.

In conclusion, no national weather extremes to offer for the week, but on this day in 1920, Theodore Fujita was born. And in 1947, it was estimated that thousands of fish fell from the sky in Marksville, LA covering an area of about 1000 feet long by 80 feet wide.

Here's hoping no fish lands on your head today. Make it a great week and get those chili pots ready. I know I will.


Monday, October 16, 2017

MikJournal Monday 10/16/2017...Mid Month Report and Looking Ahead

Ahh. What a breath of fresh air. Good Monday morning to you. Today is starting out much cooler and drier than we've been in a while. I'm registering 50 degrees here at my house at 6:30 this morning, but the dry air makes it feel much cooler. Also, patchy cloud cover is probably keeping my temperature from falling into the 40's. But, several locations are already well into the 40's that surround the city of Louisville.

In addition, I do think some areas could see patchy or even a light frost by tomorrow morning in our region. At just after 6:30 this morning, the lowest temperatures I could find include a 38 degree reading in Harlan county, but that is at 4000 feet, and a 42 degree reading at Mayfield in western Kentucky. Good morning Cynthiana. You were at 43. With another hour before sunrise, temperatures could fall a little bit more where clearing has taken place.

Well, this morning I have prepared a mid-month report about our temperatures for parts of our region.

First, I want to take you back to October 2016. That month was very warm. It was the 7th warmest on record for Lexington, 5th warmest at Frankfort, and 3rd warmest for Bowling Green.

In fact, at Louisville, it was the warmest October on record. Typically, we think of October as a transition month from very warm to very cool. So far, this October and last October have not fit that description.

Using the base or average temperature of 65 degrees, last October through the 15th had already registered just 6 days below the average of 65 for a total of 18 degrees. Normally, we should see 74 total degrees below that average for the first 15 days. Guess how many days have been registered this month below that 65 degree average...just 1 day for a total of 2 degrees. Not much transition so far.

Now last year, it actually was warmer during the second half of October than the first. Again, where's the transition? Not here.

Ok, you might need to hold your head in place with both hands for this one. The second half of October last year was just as warm, even a tad warmer, than the first 15 days of this month. And this month is well along to being a top ten warmest October contender, perhaps a top 3.

However, a transition is still possible for the second half of this month. It looks like we may not see this blistering pace continue much longer. I still believe we will see more days above normal than below normal. But, the colder shots are going to be more noticeable, cutting into those lofty averages.

I am trying to put more faith in the GFS signal that colder air, below normal type of air, will infiltrate our region before month's end. But, the Euro continues to paint normal to above normal temperatures through the rest of this week and slightly beyond. By this time next Monday, the Euro should have a reasonable guesstimate as to the depth of any cold air that could invade our region by the end of the month. But make no mistake about it. Cold air is building in Canada. And it's just a matter of time before chunks of that air mass slide this way.

In conclusion, Ophelia in the east Atlantic looks to hit Ireland with hurricane gusts today. Extreme weather on display.

Here is a look at past extreme weather for the dates of October 16-22....

October 20...

2004 - Mt. Charleston F.S., NV 7.78" (state 24-hr precip record)

October 20-21...

1996 - Portland Jetport, ME 13.32" (state 24-hr precip record)
1996 - Mount Washington, NH 11.07" (state 24-hr precip record)

Make it a good week


Monday, October 2, 2017

MikJournal Monday 10/02/2017...Welcome To October!

Good Monday morning. October, one of my favorite months of the year has arrived. And, we have pretty nice weather days ahead. Louisville's average high and low temperatures start out at 75/54 and ends the month with an average high/low of 65/45. Daylight hours continue to dwindle, starting out the month at 7:39 am sunrise and 7:25 pm sunset (11 hours and 46 minutes) on the 1st and ends the month at 8:08 am sunrise and 6:44 pm sunset (10 hours and 36 minutes), a loss for the month of 1 hour and 10 minutes. Don't worry. Daylight savings time does not end until the first weekend in November. The last day will be Saturday, November 4th. Then, turn your clocks back that night for the hour of sleep you lost during the Spring. Already feeling better, aren't you?


I have been following this story for well over a month now. But, it looks like Houston may make another run at its all-time precipitation record as early as this week. I am glad to see the NWS Houston/Galveston put out a graphic showing the wettest years ever at its official site (which has changed locations throughout the years).

After recording only 1.23" for the month of September (a welcome reprieve indeed), rain chances are on the increase through midweek, and this includes the Houston area. So far, it appears the heaviest rainfall should materialize along the coastal areas. By the way, the official location at IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston) is located about 20 miles north of the downtown area. Lesser rain amounts? We'll see.

Not much worry here for heavy rainfall, at least according to the Climate Prediction Center. As of September 30, they issued their final October outlook and say that the month should be warmer than average and drier than average for Kentucky.

Perhaps with several clear nights ahead, take advantage of the often crisp air, making for excellent stargazing conditions. In fact, a series of meteor showers will be on display over the next few months. Here is a calendar of the more popular ones for viewing....

October 7-8...Draconids
October 21...Orionids
November 4-5...South Taurids (bright moon may impact viewing)
November 11-12...North Taurids
November 17-18...Leonids
December 13-14...Geminids

I have personally enjoyed the Orionids, Leonids, and the Geminids in years past.

Recently, I reviewed some statistics for the past month and found something I never really took notice of before, average wind speed at select locations here in Kentucky.

Here are a couple of examples. Paintsville and Jackson in eastern Kentucky barely averaged about 1 mph last month. I thought this was a fluke; therefore, I checked other months during the year. Generally, average wind speeds stayed below 6 mph, even during the windier months of January, March, and April.

Even in Harlan County, at a Kentucky Mesoset site with an elevation of 4,031 feet, the average wind speed last month was around 5.4 mph.

Louisville actually recorded an average wind speed of 10.3 mph for the month of March 2017. That was probably a little too windy for kite flying. Of course, there is not any mountainous terrain to help cut down on the flow of wind such as in the eastern part of the state.

Finally, no doubt our hearts continue to go out to our friends in Puerto Rico, as the aftermath of Hurricane Maria continues to unfold. Communications and transportation infrastructure or lack thereof has really hampered efforts to get the needed supplies to where they need to go.

Of course, Puerto Rico is no stranger to tropical systems. Perhaps some residents will remember a tropical storm called Isabel in 1985 that affected the island during early October. In fact, on the 7th, a 24-hour precipitation record of 23.75" was observed near the Tora Negro Forest. Much of Puerto Rico was affected by Isabel, and the resulting flash floods and mud slides contributed to the deaths of some 180 persons.

I will be paying attention to the tropics during the upcoming week. I have a camping trip to Myrtle Beach planned later this weekend. And it's not looking good....

Enjoy your week. I'll catch up to you later.



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...