Monday, April 2, 2018

MikJournal Monday 04/02/2018...Snow in June?

Good Monday everyone. We are in for a rollercoaster week, so buckle up. Severe weather chances and snow chances in the same week. Sounds typical for a battle zone between two seasons.

Severe weather is in the borderline 'likely' category for our region in Kentucky. SPC has a nice chunk of real estate in the Enhanced category (3/5). My analog analyses at two days out already has our region in a borderline likely category at 7.2. Here is my chart....

Score of 3.0 - 4.9 = widespread severe weather likely
Score of 5.0 - 6.9 = regional severe weather likely
Score of 7.0 - 7.9 = scattered severe weather reports
Score of 8.0 - 8.9 = isolated severe weather reports
Score of 9.0 - 9.9 = marginal risk for severe weather

Although my score does not represent fair justice to the storm system that will affect our region, it is 2 days out. The trend has been intensifying the chances for severe weather regionally. I say keep an eye to the sky and an ear to your favorite media source for further updates on this impending/imminent/potential severe weather outbreak.

So far, I think we are up to 13 confirmed tornadoes in Kentucky. That may increase after tomorrow night. We'll see.

Speaking of tornadoes, on this date in 2006 from the NWS Paducah...

View image on Twitter

March came in at below normal for the month in Louisville. In fact, several locations in the state had a warmer February than March. There were a total of 54 out of 70 Mesonet sites with a warmer February versus March in addition to the ones I listed in my previous post.

Black Mountain in Harlan county is our precipitation leader for the year at 25.42" while McCreary and Muhlenberg counties come in at 22.11" and 20.30" respectively.

I am going to continue to beat this drum that Black Mountain needs some sort of snow sensor to 'measure' new snowfall and snow depth. I honestly believe Kentucky can break the all-time snow depth record of 31" set in LaGrange (Oldham county). If there would have been a sensor atop Black Mountain back in 1977/1978 when LaGrange registered the state record, I can assure you LaGrange would not be the record holder.

Speaking of snowfall and snow depth, did you know it is still possible to register snowfall in the summer months?

Yes, hail reports are lumped in with any frozen precipitation like snow and ice pellets. Look at these examples...

June 5 and 10, 1951 - hail accumulation of 1" each date at Lubbock TX; 2" of the 7.4" seasonal snowfall was hail accumulation.

June 3, 1959 - hail accumulation of up to 18" occurred in Seldon KS; the small hail pounded the area for 85 minutes; the damage would be the result of not the size but the weight of hail that collapsed several flat-roof structures.

This April 16 will mark the 20th anniversary of Bowling Green's hail storm that devastated the area with baseball-size hail. The regional airport which suffered damage to at least 11 planes recorded a trace of snowfall for that date because the hail accumulation briefly and nearly covered the ground.

Keep safe everyone and have a good week.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

March Colder Than February?

A special post today. Only for unusual activity will I post other than Monday. And, well, today I noticed something unusual.

Reviewing the month of March, which was not a top ten coldest month, Louisville still finished below normal for the 3rd time in 4 months. But, that's not what I thought was unusual.

Typically, the month of February is cooler than March in any given year. However, since we in Lexington had its 2nd warmest February, the ho-hum month of March that finished 2.5 degrees below normal was not enough to beat February's average temperature of 44.9 degrees. In fact, March came in at 43.0 degrees, so it was not really close at all.

Louisville eeked out a March just slightly warmer than February, and I do mean slightly. The 0.3 degree difference (45.3 to 45.0) was the closest February has come to tying or beating March's average temperature since 1960, when February was actually warmer than March that year. Nearby Bowman Field had a closer difference of 0.1 degree warmer March than February.

Bowling Green, Frankfort, Jackson (Feb +3.5 degrees warmer than March), London, and Covington all finished with a warmer February over March this year.


Monday, March 26, 2018

MikJournal Monday 03/26/2018...News and Stats

Good Monday to you. Today's post is all about numbers and interesting briefs. So, let's get to it.

According to the CPC, the 10-day period from March 31 - April 9 is expected to be below normal for temperatures and above normal for precipitation in Kentucky.

Islip on Long Island in New York has already recorded 31.9" of snowfall this month, its snowiest March ever and its 2nd snowiest month on record behind the 34.4" that fell in January 2011. The climate record goes back to the mid 1960's.

While we're in New York, the Tug Hill region, notorious for lake-effect snow amounts is at it again. If you look at the blog, the Lake Effect Snow Machine is dominated by several locations in the Tug Hill area, including Hooker's 264.8" seasonal total.

Despite the impressive amount of Nor'easters in a short period of time, much of New England has not recorded too many all-time seasonal totals. Rowe, MA has received over 122" for the snow season going back to July 1, an all-time record, but their reporting time only goes back a few years.

Farther south, in Glenmoore PA, 21" has been recorded this month, making it the snowiest March since records were kept beginning in 1960.

Accumulated snowfall over time generally produces snow depth. As long as temperatures remain cold enough to prevent minimal melting, additional snowfall can produce greater snow depths. Looking at some state records, Colorado recorded its greatest snow depth of 251" in March. Tennessee recorded 63" at Mt. Leconte again during March. Snowshoe in West Virginia recorded 62" during March. Now, these were all mountain locations.

Time to rant. If you read my blog long enough, you already know I will get in one of these moods.
Do you know what the state record for snow depth in Kentucky is? It's 31", set in 1978 at LaGrange, a town just northeast of the Heat Island Capital of the United States here in Louisville. No mountains, just a few knobs.

The other day, I was using some data from the Jackson NWS office and saw a whopping 79" snow depth near Booneville KY. What?! How is this not a record? It was from the year 2000. Now, I am going to post a partial copy of this climate data chart from February 2000 for Booneville.

Climatological Data for BOONEVILLE 12SW, KY - February 2000
58 38 48 9.7 17 0 0 M M
72 38 55 17 10 0 0 M M
2000-02-25 73 42 58 19 7 0 0 M M
2000-02-26 78 42 60 21 5 0 0 M M
2000-02-27 79 46 63 23 2 0 0.2 M M
2000-02-28 M M M M M M 0.1 27 79
2000-02-29 59 24 42 1.9 23 0 0 M M

Now, I know the chart may be a little cramped. The 'M' just stands for missing data. But, I want you to study the line for February 28, preferably the last two columns that read '27' and '79'. Those 2 columns represent 'New Snow' and 'Snow Depth' respectively. In other words, it snowed 27" that day, and we had a snow depth of 79" by the end of that day.

Something is not right about this. First, it would be a new 24-hour snowfall record that would replace the 26" that fell at Simers in March of 1942. And the 79" snow depth should replace the 31" snow depth at LaGrange from 1978.

Something else seems a bit quirky about the 79" snow depth. Look at the high temperatures for the previous 4 days. All of them in the 70's. One would question how much snow depth was there prior to the 28th. All we see is an 'M'. I do see, however, a possible explanation for the erroneous data.

Take a look at the line above the 28th, yes February 27. Look at the high temperature for the day of 79 degrees the next column over. Somehow, someway, is it possible that data input went into the wrong columns like the New Snow and Snow Depth columns below?

Based on data from surrounding regions, there were other locations that reported similar high temperatures for the dates listed, but for the 28th, no snowfall was recorded. Look at nearby Jackson in Breathitt county...

70 51 61 20 4 0 0 0 0
71 48 60 18 5 0 0.1 0 0
2000-02-25 76 58 67 26 0 2 0 0 0
2000-02-26 78 56 67 25 0 2 0 0 0
2000-02-27 64 42 53 11 12 0 0.3 0 0
2000-02-28 57 35 46 3.7 19 0 0 0 0
2000-02-29 69 38 54 11 11 0 0 0 0

Even Beattyville in nearby Lee county recorded no snowfall.

Speaking of Beattyville, I found a similar issue. You should have a right to the snow depth record as well. In October 2001, out of the wild blue on the 9th, you recorded a 39" snow depth WITHOUT receiving any new snow for the entire month. In addition, you had a high temperature of 0 degrees and a low temperature of 67 degrees??? Sigh.

However, I do believe the 31" snow depth record for Kentucky can be broken, if it already has not been done. The mountains of Eastern Kentucky would be an excellent place. Did you know that the Kentucky Mesonet has instruments for measuring wind speed, temperature, precipitation, and solar energy atop Black Mountain at an elevation of just over 4,000 feet? Would it not seem reasonable to place a snow sensor of some sort like ones used in other mountainous locations for recording snowfall and depth?

Something to think about. But, being a user of climate data, one would expect the data to be verified for accuracy before putting it to use. The NWS Jackson has additional issues which they are aware of when it comes to climate data. They have assured me that some sort of software problem will be resolved soon. Well, it has not happened yet, and it has been a couple of months. Come on guys, let's get it done. Rant over.

Make it a great week everyone. It might be a little wet, but at least it will be a bit milder.


Monday, March 19, 2018

MikJournal Monday 03/19/2018...More Snow?

Good Monday to you this morning. This is the last Monday of Winter. The vernal equinox signifying the first day of Spring will be upon us tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. While spring showers will be evident this week, Old Man Winter is still giving out parting gifts before he goes on his journey to South America. How generous!

Yes, we have more snowfall in the forecast for the upcoming week. For the month of March, some locations in Kentucky are up 50% to 130% above the December through February snow totals. Absolutely amazing!

This time of year, the teleconnections like the Arctic Oscillation (AO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and a couple of others are having less of a correlation with typical winter patterns. However, I still notice the winter patterns with these teleconnections presently. I do expect some snowfall. Will it be like last week's beatdown. It's hard to say. I would guess probably not. But, it will be another wet snow. If you get at least 4" of that, evergreens and even deciduous trees will suffer from the weight of the snow on the branches, again leading to possible power outages.

I am still updating totals for the snow season that runs from July 1 through June 30. Snowshoe WV is just shy of 100" to date, still a bit below normal. Their average is 158" per year. Other locations in Kentucky are still below normal for the snow season, but some are actually above normal including Paducah and Lexington.

In Kentucky, I saw some locations that have recorded 18" for the season. Perhaps, some will get a nice thumping this week to add to their totals.

Speaking of Lexington, thanks to the 9+" of the white stuff last week, they are already at #9 on the Snowiest Spring ever list.

Looking ahead to this week, the WPC is not on board yet to include Kentucky in any significant snowfall in excess of 4". But, we'll see. It seems with systems like the one coming, it's difficult to see how much dynamic cooling will play a role in these events. So, again, stay tuned.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to move on to Spring. I'm getting in the mood to plant peppers and tomatoes and squash. Hopefully, the warmer weather will finally settle in here for April.

Have a good week. Stay safe.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Heavy Snow Potential

Yes. A rare post on a Sunday. The WPC is on board also saying that a decent potential exists for some locations to receive at least 4" of a heavy wet snow that will cause travel issues as well as possible damage to some trees and perhaps power lines.

Stay tuned to your favorite media source(s) for further updates.


Monday, March 5, 2018

MikJournal Monday 03/05/2018...March Madness (Weather Style)

Good Monday to ya! It's that time of year. College basketball and March Madness. But, the weather will be displaying its own version of March Madness. In fact, the weather already has shown a great deal of madness recently.

Through March 1, Kentucky is the leader in preliminary, and mostly confirmed, tornadoes in the United States. At 14, the closest second place is Alabama with 8.

Late last week and over the weekend, a monster storm ravaged the East coast with high winds, flooding, and heavy snow. Power is still out for many residents this morning.

While many of us here in Kentucky dealt with record-setting rainfall for February, other locations have seen some of their driest winters ever. For example, Wichita in Kansas saw their 3rd driest winter on record, their driest since 1922/23. And that 1" of snow they saw, some 0.7" of that was sleet.

As the ongoing dry spell continues, places like Colorado are experiencing early season wildfires that are destroying people's homes and barns. As I write this, in Elbert county southeast of Denver, at least 5 homes and 4 barns were either heavily damaged or destroyed by a rapidly spreading wildfire yesterday morning.

In addition, wild temperature swings are occurring with all of the dry air in place and windy conditions. Here are a few examples from Sunday for the high and low temperatures...

Lamar, CO  high of 80; low of 24
Limon, CO high of 71; low of 16
Pueblo, CO high of 75; low of 25

Blizzard conditions are expected across parts of South Dakota along with wind gusts perhaps exceeding 60 mph at times.

One of my favorite windiest places that I follow is in Glasgow, Montana. Their average wind speed for the month so far is 17.5 mph. Here in central Kentucky, our average wind speed for the month ranges between 9 and 10 mph so far. But, it is the snowfall that has been the big story for the residents in Glasgow. A daily record of 13.3 inches fell yesterday, just missing their record 24-hour snowfall of 14.1" set on April 2, 1940. A total of over 52" has been recorded so far for the season, which is well above normal.

Our weather looks to skew to the wintry side of things. However, teleconnection patterns do not suggest any major event. Even if we did get a heavy snow accumulation, which can and has happened in March, I do not foresee anything that will stick around for a while. The pattern just does not support an Arctic outbreak like we saw in late December and January. In fact, I think Spring will become more noticeable as we enter the second half of the month.

Just remember, this does not mean Old Man Winter won't get lost. He'll manage to find his way back. March and April usually have many up and down periods. So, be ready.

Have a good week everyone.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

MikJournal Midweek Post 03/01/2018...Record February!

Stats at a glance....

For Louisville:
February 2018 - Wettest February all-time
10.54" - Wettest month since April 2015 (10.84")
45.0 degrees - 6th warmest February all-time
12 Cooling Degree Days (65 degrees base average) - Most ever in February
2.98" on February 24 - 3rd wettest day since April 3, 2015

For Lexington:
February 2018 - Wettest February all-time
10.13" - Wettest month since April 2015 (11.41")
44.9 degrees - 2nd warmest February (behind 2017)
7 Cooling Degree Days (65 degrees base average) - Most ever in February

For Bowling Green:
8.59" - 4th wettest February ever
47.8 degrees - 5th warmest February all-time
15 Cooling Degree Days (65 degrees base average) - Most ever in February

Also, Paducah had their 4th wettest February on record; Nashville TN had its 3rd wettest February and wettest since 1890; Memphis TN shatters all-time wettest February with 13.43", nearly 2.3" above previous record.


Monday, February 26, 2018

MikJournal Monday 02/26/2018...Week in Review

Good Monday...My temperature is 32 degrees here at 7:30 this morning. The most important thing to me is it's clear, yes dry. Let me be the first to tell you, this guy is glad.

Louisville is on The Weather Channel this morning. Other national outlets have us on their cameras as well. For good reason, the Ohio River is cresting today with moderate flooding going on here in Louisville. I live about 4 miles away from the river. But, I do live near a creek that feeds the river. Since I live about a mile from there, I have not experienced any direct issues from the creek, which is still running high but is within its banks again. Yet, I had to battle a water table beneath the ground as saturated soils forced waters into a few of the small cracks in the foundation leading into my basement. Not much sleep, I can tell you that!

Here are some locations not too far from where I live here in Valley Station. These are totals since last Wednesday, February 21 through Sunday, February 25.

 Total For TR01 - D. R. Guthrie WQTC 6.24 inches.
  Total For TR02 - PRP Fire Station Training Facility 6.54 inches.
  Total For TR03 - Shively PS 6.51 inches.
  Total For TR11 - Northern Ditch PS 6.85 inches.
  Total For TR12 - Nightingale PS 6.83 inches.
  Total For TR14 - Lea Ann Way PS 6.75 inches.
 Total For TR19 - Fairdale High School 6.74 inches.
 Total For TR21 - Wheeler Basin 7.37 inches.

My 5-day total came to 6.77". The official site at Louisville's Standiford Field was 7.12".

For the month, Louisville has set an all-time wettest February record, and we're not done yet. At 10.47", more heavy rain may affect the region later this week. I haven't yet broke the 10" mark at my house but should likely gain ground by the last day of the month. If the rain is light as forecast for Wednesday, I will probably fall just short of that mark. Right now, I am at 9.52".

Here are those same areas above with their monthly totals....

 Total For TR01 - D. R. Guthrie WQTC 8.18 inches.
  Total For TR02 - PRP Fire Station Training Facility 9.83 inches.
  Total For TR03 - Shively PS 9.71 inches.
 Total For TR11 - Northern Ditch PS 10.12 inches.
  Total For TR12 - Nightingale PS 10.62 inches
Total For TR14 - Lea Ann Way PS 10.36 inches
 Total For TR19 - Fairdale High School 9.92 inches.
 Total For TR21 - Wheeler Basin 10.56 inches.

As far as the week ahead is concerned, rainfall estimates of 0.75 to 1.50" can be expected from now through Friday, with heaviest amounts expected for the southern part of the state.

From a temperature perspective, I am making an official projection that Louisville will also finish in the top ten warmest February of all time. It looks to be near the middle of the list, like 6th. But, the numbers are very close to each other near the bottom, so a slight deviation may make a big impact on where at on the list we finish.

If Louisville does finish with a 45 degree average for the month, that would be nearly 6 degrees above normal. Let's add the December and January averages of -0.9 and -2.2, and we actually would end up with a 1 degree above normal meteorological winter. That's right. An above normal winter after all of the harsh single digit and, in some cases, below zero readings.

I'm pretty sure the Heat Island capital is not the only one who will have such a reversal from bitter cold to unusual warmth leading to an above normal winter.

Lexington, by the way welcome to the 10" February Precipitation club (you only need 0.05" to break an all-time February precipitation record), is already averaging 7.8 degrees above normal for February. This looks to offset the December and January averages for an above normal winter.

Bowling Green, Jackson, and even London should all finish above normal for the winter as well.

The Winter season precipitation records look to stay safe, but Louisville and Lexington will be pretty close to obtaining top ten status.

In addition, Paducah looks to have an above normal winter for temperatures, a near-record entry into the top ten snowiest winters, and a near-record entry into the Wettest Winter Season's top ten.

Also making national news were the tornadoes that hit in southwest KY and northwest TN as well as at least 3 tornadoes that hit parts of south central KY. One fatality was associated with the EF-2 twister in Logan county in Adairville. In addition, Lewisburg in Logan county also had a confirmed tornado. Another tornado crossed between the Warren/Barren county lines near Smiths Grove. Hopkinsville, Murray, and Lone Oak also had confirmed tornadoes in the western part of the state. More surveys will be conducted today.

I hate to say this, but it looks like another active severe weather season is commencing, just in time for the upcoming Spring .

Hang in there guys. Have a good week everyone. Stay safe and out of flooded roadways.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Great Swell 2018...with Updated Rain Amounts

Scroll down for the latest information...

Good morning. It appears Round 1 is winding down. I took the liberty to jot down a few totals since yesterday. Starting with the most important place, at my house (hey, this is my blog), I collected 2.25" as of 10:30 this morning. The Louisville International airport, at Standiford Field, came in at 2.37". Around Jefferson County, I'm getting reports of many 2.00 - 2.50" amounts since yesterday.

Also, a cursory glance at the official site appears to have set a daily rainfall record for today the 22nd. It looks like the daily record was beaten by 0.06". But, we'll have to wait and see how the weather observation records and climate records work this one out.

Other noteworthy locations include near Munfordville in Hart County. Last I checked, they were coming in at a total of 3.46", as of 11:00 a.m and since yesterday.

As of 11:00 this morning, Lexington has recorded 2.46" since midnight, good enough for a daily rainfall record for today the 22nd. Storm totals since yesterday have closed in on the 3" mark.

Rivers continue to swell statewide. River forecasts continue to inch higher, with some areas along the Ohio possibly reaching moderate flood stage. If this occurs, it will have been since 2011 since river levels have been this high.

UPDATE 02/22 142800...Upper Gage at McAlpine now forecast to crest at 34.4 ft by Tuesday; many floodgates closed

UPDATE 02/22 145600...Lower Gage now forecast crest of 65.9 ft; at 66 feet Riverport floodgate closes

Looking at crests on Ohio River McAlpine Upper

Historic Crests (1) 52.15 ft on 01/27/1937
(2) 42.10 ft on 03/08/1945
(3) 41.70 ft on 02/16/1884
(4) 41.20 ft on 03/12/1964
(5) 39.50 ft on 02/16/1883
(6) 39.40 ft on 04/02/1913
(7) 38.76 ft on 03/07/1997
(8) 36.40 ft on 01/22/1907
(9) 36.00 ft on 04/19/1948
(10) 34.10 ft on 03/23/1933
(11) 33.40 ft on 03/04/1962
(12) 33.00 ft on 05/10/1961
(13) 33.00 ft on 03/23/1943
(14) 32.40 ft on 02/22/1882
(15) 31.90 ft on 12/14/1978
(16) 31.80 ft on 03/10/1955
(17) 31.60 ft on 03/29/1936
(18) 31.50 ft on 03/13/1967
(19) 31.50 ft on 03/22/1963
(20) 31.40 ft on 02/07/1950
(21) 31.30 ft on 03/30/1898
(22) 31.13 ft on 04/27/2011
(23) 30.60 ft on 01/27/1927
(24) 30.40 ft on 03/28/1890
(25) 30.30 ft on 02/28/1897
(26) 30.10 ft on 02/09/1939
(27) 30.00 ft on 04/26/1940

UPDATE..02/23 105000.
Rainfall totals since last Wednesday as of approx. 10:30 a.m. est
Mayfield       6.36"
Hickman       5.79"
Madisonville 5.69"
Benton          5.36"
Greenville     5.01"
***Correction*** appears some numbers above went back to last weekend, not Wednesday -MS

UPDATE...02/23 111500
I am still awaiting for the rain to exit, so I can take a measurement. It looks to be similar to nearby rain gauges in Jefferson County, between 3.50 and 4.00" since Wednesday. Louisville officially at 3.87" since Wednesday as of 10 a.m.

UPDATE...02/23 112500
Louisville is already at 8th wettest February on record
Lexington is now at #2 wettest February at 8.45" as of 11:00 a.m.

UPDATE...02/23 123000
As of 12:30 p.m., I have received 3.87" since Wednesday, including 1.62" since yesterday starting at 10:30 am.
Other areas surrounding me include PRP at 4.19"; Shively at 4.28"; Fairdale at 3.42"; Louisville International at 4.02" (12 noon reading)

UPDATE 02/23 130000
New river forecast crests for Louisville...McAlpine Upper 34.9; Lower 66.2 on Monday, both up slightly from previous forecast

UPDATE..02/24 094500
Total rainfall since Wednesday thru 9:00 am this morning
Including Mesonet sites, I've uncovered 14 additional locations exceeding 4" for the same time period...thru 10 am est.
Madisonville 5.74"
I will include an update on monthly totals later this morning/early afternoon, especially for candidates likely exceeding 10" for the month, which is a substantial list of at least 16 locations, three of which are already above 10".

UPDATE 02/24 135000
Ending at 12:30 pm est, I collected another 0.27" since yesterday, bringing my storm total to 4.14" in Valley Station at Prairie Village. Louisville is now up to 4.29" through 12 noon. Other locations surrounding me are PRP near Ohio River at 4.51" through 1:45 pm;  Shively at 4.55"; Fairdale at 3.63"; Valley Station near Ohio River at 4.19".

As promised, monthly totals for our region include 3 locations that have already recorded amounts greater than 10"; Knox County at Barbourville, McCreary County at Whitley City, and Harlan County atop Black Mountain. However, other locations have registered amounts greater than 8" and stand the best chance to record double digit monthly totals. Here are the most recent totals...
Greenville (2:20pm est)...9.04"
Lexington (2:00pm est)...8.98"
Mayfield (2:15pm est)...8.92"
Albany (2:30pm est)...8.85"
Madisonville (2:15pm est) ...8.81"
Lebanon (2:35pm est)...8.79"
Hodgenville (2:30pm est) 8.72"
Cadiz (2:20pm est)...8.70"
Murray (2:15pm est)...8.60"
Hardinsburg (2:25pm est) 8.57"
Shepherdsville (2;25pm est) 8.54"
Tomkinsville (2:40pm est) 8.42"
Brandenburg (2:35pm est) 8.34"
Also, chances are increasing for another significant rain event next week, which may include several other locations that may top the 10" monthly mark. This will quite likely be Kentucky's wettest February ever.

UPDATE 02/25 015000
Louisville sets another daily precipitation record and an all-time wettest February on record, now well over 10" for the month. I really think forecast river crests may rise a little more than expected, especially downstream from Louisville

UPDATE 02/25 050000
At my house in Valley Station, I recorded 2.63" since 12:30pm. That added to the 4.14" since Wednesday gives me 6.77".

I will post more rain totals on this page throughout the weekend.

Turn around. Don't drown.


Monday, February 19, 2018

MikJournal Monday 02/19/2018...Extremes

Last evening, the temperature was about 48 degrees here at my house. I read the forecast for an overnight low of 47 and obviously had my doubts. Well, I awoke this morning to a temperature of 58 degrees. As I write this post, the temperature has actually risen to 59, and it's not even sunrise.

What a rollercoaster month! Starting out the month, temperatures were very cold. In Louisville, a high of 28 and a low of 14 gave us an average temperature of 21, nearly 15 degrees below normal. On the 15th of this month, a high of 74 and a low of 62 for an average of 68 degrees, some 29 degrees above normal. Then, over the weekend, a surprise snow for my area, almost a half inch, with temperatures above freezing the entire time. Now, forecasts are for more 70's this upcoming week. Breathe.

Unfortunately, heavy rains are poised to move back into our region. The Mesonet site in Harlan County, up near 4000 feet atop Black Mountain, has already received 11.71" for the month, part of an impressive flooding situation along the Cumberland river and other nearby tributaries.

Rainfall estimates for last week were for a general 1-3". In Louisville, 1.61" fell since last Monday. At my house, just 10 miles away, I collected 1.50". In the eastern part of the state 2-3" were quite common.

This week, the situation becomes dire, especially along the larger river systems, like the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. Thanks to the heavy rains from last week and swollen rivers upstream, these have flowed into the larger river systems, which has already prompted flood warnings for many along the Ohio. And the forecast for the week, well, you take a look...

For central and west Kentucky, rainfall projections of at least 5" for the week will likely lead to flash flooding and areal flooding for many. Residents of eastern Kentucky cannot let their guard down either. Another 2-3" is forecast for the upcoming week. A reminder to all of us. This forecast is not set in stone. Yes, a general 2-5" is expected for the week. But, the axis of the heaviest rainfall is still uncertain. Stay tuned to your favorite media source for the latest updates.

Talk about extremes. Just recently, I highlighted in one of my posts, that here in Louisville, we had 9 days in January when temperatures were in the single digits, placing us in a small number of years that event has occurred in Louisville's climatological history, including the first time in the 2000's.

Now, we're talking about the other extreme. There is a measure called the Cooling Degree Day, used for energy purposes. But, it is based on an average temperature of 65 degrees. So, if you have a high temperature of 75 and a low temperature of 55, the average temperature would be 65 degrees. Now, that sounds pretty good for Spring. But, for February, that's a pretty rare achievement.

As I noted earlier in this post, on the 15th, Louisville had a high of 74 and a low of 62 for an average of 68 degrees. That gave us 3 Cooling Degree Days or CDD's. That means our average temperature was 3 degrees above the 65 degree base. Anytime the average temperature is greater than 65 degrees for a particular day, that will be added to the 3 we already have at present.

Well, how rare is that for February? In the table below, I collected some CDD's from years past for Louisville. Here, take a look....

1932 5
2000 4
1985 2
1954 2
1883 2

Remember, Louisville has already recorded 3 CDD's for this month. Therefore, we already are in 3rd or 4th place according to this table. With temperatures projected well into the 70's and lows in the 60's for at least a couple of days this week, we will likely see average temperatures greater than that 65 degree base. My current projection is that Louisville will set an all-time mark for most CDD's for the month of February, possibly between 6 and 8 total CDD's.

What will this unusual warmth do for our overall winter? December and January were below normal. February started out way below normal. But, now it appears that February will have a much above normal month for temperatures. Wouldn't it be crazy if our overall winter average came in above normal because one month, or should I say, a few days of the month, skewed the entire winter to above normal?

But, Old Man Winter may make another appearance around here soon enough. Does he have plans to wreck that possibility of a warmer than normal winter? Teleconnection signals are like security cameras and they already have him on the monitor. We'll just have to wait and see what he is up to.

For now, take care. Stay safe. Do not cross flooded roadways. It is not worth it. Even if the idiot ahead of you attempts it successfully does not guarantee that you will make it.


Monday, February 12, 2018

MikJournal Monday 02/12/2018...Lake Effect Snows

Good Monday to you. Well, I awoke to a clear sky and a seemingly dry porch and a temperature of 24 degrees. Then, I checked my phone and saw a message from the school system that area schools were closed. I checked a news app and saw that several school districts were closed today. Still not quite understanding why, I checked out a local news media outlet and finally understood what the fuss was all about.

That seemingly dry porch of mine actually had patches of a thin layer of ice due to sleet and freezing drizzle last night. In fact, area roadways were impacted for this morning's rush hour, which was anything but rushing, more like crawling. Good. Motorists were actually trying to behave themselves for a change.

Looking ahead to the rest of this week, temperatures are going to warm up but at a price. The atmospheric setup is one that favors funneling an abundant supply of moisture into our region, which is not good for our friends in the southern and southeastern parts of the state.

The Weather Prediction Center is forecasting an additional 1-3" for the state, possibly exasperating already swollen river systems for residents in the eastern part of the state.

In an ironic twist, some areas of eastern KY have seen more rainfall this month already than a season's worth of snowfall. For example, Skyline in eastern Kentucky has received 5.32" of precipitation (mostly rain) this month while recording only 4.5" of snowfall since the snow season began July 1. That 4.5" of snowfall is about 8 inches below normal. With a couple of exceptions, many in the Bluegrass state are experiencing another below normal winter for snow lovers.

But, there are some places in the U.S. that are enjoying (or dreading) another banner year for snowfall. Last year, the state of Maine saw many locations exceed 100" for the snow season, well above normal. How about this year?

Several locations in Maine are already ahead of schedule for an above normal snowfall. In fact, some areas are on track to exceed the winter of 2007/2008 totals when places like Caribou saw nearly 198".
Actually, it appears some areas may approach last year's totals while others may not be as robust. Still, an above normal snow season nonetheless.

How about the Lake Effect Snow Machine? Erie, Pennsylvania has already set an all-time record snowfall for the season and will likely add to it over the next couple of months. Yet, Erie is not the only one having a blockbuster season. The usual locations I follow in New York are at it again. Near Hooker, snowfall totals for the season have already exceeded 183", beating out Erie by nearly 30". In fact, the snowiest season on record near Hooker was 466.9" during the winter of 1976/77 followed by another 418.4" the following winter of 1977/78. So, last year's total of 237" or so was a little bit below normal for the data obtained over the last 60+ years. Still, even they are on track to register a near normal snowfall of 246" for this winter.

You can follow the stats on the side of the blog for the next couple of months. Hopefully, I'll be able to update some mountain snowfall totals, especially out west.

Have a nice week everyone. Remember, do not cross flooded roadways, especially barricaded roads, since you have no idea whether the road underneath exists.


Monday, February 5, 2018

MikJournal Monday 02/05/2018...Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster 2003 and February Outlook

Good Monday to you. I wanted to share a little bit of history with you. 15 years ago on February 1, the Space Shuttle Columbia was attempting to re-enter Earth's atmosphere but disintegrated. What does this have to with weather you may ask?

Look at this radar image, just moments after it was determined the shuttle and its crew did not make it safely through re-entry...

Friends, that's not rain nor is it rainfall anomalies. It is an image of the debris field left behind when the shuttle disintegrated. The distance spanned was enormous, from Tyler in Texas to western Louisiana. In fact, debris was still being obtained some 8 years after the disaster. However, only about 40 percent of the craft has been recovered. It is speculated that either the majority of the structure likely burned up during the re-entry process or there may be still smaller fragments out there in sparsely populated or unreachable regions. Thanks and credit Matt Lanza for posting the radar image on Twitter.


As usual, I'm a little late with my outlook. One winter storm just fizzled out for us over the Super Bowl weekend, but not before producing over 2" of wet snow in some locations. The teleconnection signals gave mixed signals. The PNA and AO continue to give mixed signals and have both offered up potential for this upcoming week of February 5-11.

One is coming up late on the 6th into the 7th. The next one will be a few days after that one. It is possible some may get a decent snowfall out of this. But, indications are leaning toward a warmer solution which may involve ice or rain.

I think we will see above normal temperatures coming soon. However, that pattern may lead to a sudden flipping later this month, yes, more cold air poised to dive southward. Right now, I do not see any significant snowfall after the middle of the month. But, if cold air will be present later this month, clipper type systems could produce a varied amount of snowfall for our region. We will just have to wait and see how those events unfold.

La Nina conditions will likely be contributing to another active severe weather season. It's still too vague if we will see any severe weather here in our region this month. But, March may be a stormy month.

Have a good week everyone and congrats to the Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles.


Monday, January 29, 2018

MikJournal Monday 01/29/2018...Remembering the Great Flood of 1937

Good Monday to you. Let's jump into our time machine and travel back to January 1937. Check out this picture...

Yep. That's a horse, unfortunately a dead horse swept away by raging floodwaters. You will see the picture again on the poster here.

It was a flood that will likely see no equal. In fact, in Louisville the maximum crest of 85.4 feet's closest challenger was the 1945 crest of 74.4 feet.

Please read the account of this infamous event in Louisville's history below....

I am currently working on a February outlook that includes more winter weather. And you thought this was going to be another boring winter.


Monday, January 22, 2018

MikJournal Monday 01/22/2018...Searching For the Coldest Winters

I hope you are having a good Monday so far. Wow. The temperature at my house at 6:30 this morning is a spring-like 58 degrees. Last week's snowfall is pretty much gone now, except for the mounds in parking lots or perhaps  in your back yard where the sun does not shine on the heaps of snow piled up from plowing or shoveling.


An active pattern of mostly above normal temperatures and precipitation is expected over the next 1-2 weeks. Could we see some snowfall during this time? Come on, it's winter. However, any significant snowfall like what we saw last week does not appear likely at this time, unless the first few days of February should have something to say about that.
But, that's still a ways away. So, let's talk a little more about winter. I am searching for some of the coldest winters.  Now, some of the coldest winters can be found quite easily at the website. Since I'm using Louisville NWS office, I simply click on the central part of the state. Next, click on the 'Climate and Past Weather' header.
Here, you will see the locations covered, like Louisville International, Lexington, Frankfort, and Bowling Green. Again, more headers are listed. I click on the 'Local Data/Records' header. You will see a lot of topics to choose from. Unfortunately, this page has not been maintained very well, since most links are either outdated or do not exist anymore. However, I am interested in what does work. You will see the list of cities again, like Frankfort, Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green. Click on one of those, and you will be taken to a page with lots of statistical data to choose from.
My personal favorites are from the Temperature Information and Precipitation Information sections. These include several Top Ten categories. I often use these on this forum when highlighting locations that may or have already reached levels that put them in a Top Ten category. Go ahead, give it a try. You will be surprised at how long you may find yourself looking into all of this information.
When I select Top Ten Warmest and Coldest Seasons in Louisville, I look at the Winter Season (which comprises December, January, and February) under Top Ten Coldest Seasons and find the information I need.
But, then I see the other seasons that were Top Ten Warmest and Coldest and was surprised (well not that surprised) to see that in the Top Ten Coldest Seasons, for example, there were not many years in the 2000's listed. 2003 and 2004 were pretty cool. Conversely, the Top Ten Warmest Seasons yielded several years, especially since 2010, that have been ranked in the Top Ten for all of the seasons of the year. 
Personally, I like to use my own custom-designed tables to pinpoint how cold it has been this winter. For instance, looking at the month of January for Louisville. I set a parameter of how many days the temperature was less than 10 degrees for the years 1870ish to present.
Here is the list for January of...
1977 18
1940 14
1948 11
1918 11
1978 10
1912 10
1893 10
1963 9
1970 9
1994 9
Louisville, for this month, has recorded 9 days of single-digit readings. Looking at the chart above, that puts us in some pretty good company, not to mention the only year in the 2000's represented here.
However, January 2018 is not even ranked in the Top Ten Coldest of Each Month. It's actually not even close. Our (Louisville's) average temperature of 28 degrees is some 7 degrees below normal but way above Top Ten minimum entry of 26 degrees set in 1963...
18.5 1977
19.6 1918
20.3 1940
22.9 1978
24.6 1979
24.8 1912
24.9 1893
25.4 1985
25.5 1948
26.0 1963
Of course, winter is not over. February has often brought surprises, and I'm certain we will see some surprises.
Louisville is on course to record its first back to back below normal months for temperatures since January thru March 2015.
In conclusion, it is extreme winter month time as January is prone to set many state records. Here is your list for the week ahead, and there are quite a number of them....
Snow Depth...22" (Reform) 01/24/1940
Minimum Temperature...-80 degrees (Prospect Creek) 01/23/1971
24-Hour Snowfall...25" (Corning) 01/22/1918
Snow Depth...26" (Calico Rock) 01/22/1918
24-Hour Precipitation...25.83" (Hoegees Campground) 01/22-23/1943
Minimum Temperature...-32 degrees [tie] (Coventry) 01/22/1961
Minimum Temperature...-17 degrees (near Beatum) 01/27/1940
24-Hour Precipitation...38.00" (Kilauea) 01/24-25/1956
Snow Depth...47" (Hammond) 01/28/1918
Snow Depth...117" (Eagle Harbor) 01/27-28/1948
New Hampshire:
Minimum Temperature...-50 degrees (Mount Washington) 01/22/1885
Puerto Rico:
Minimum Temperature...40 degrees (San Sebastian) 01/24/1966
West Virginia:
24-Hour Snowfall...35" (Flat Top) 01/27-28/1998
Make it a good week everyone.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering January 16-17, 1994

I cannot imagine another winter event coming close to this one that affected so many of us here in Kentucky. Quite literally, it was a shutdown storm for Louisville, paralyzing the city and stranding drivers on interstates. It's hard to believe it has been 24 years. I can remember it like it happened last week.

I recall not even being able to leave my neighborhood for 3 days because my Nissan Sentra tires were only 13". Finally, I was able to navigate the still treacherous roads of the subdivision and made my way to the mostly cleared roads of the interstate on my way to work.

We drivers were actually going about 45-55 mph on I-65. However, my exit off of the interstate, well, it didn't go so well.  It was a two-lane exit at least a mile long, so normally, I do not need to reduce my speed. But, as I looked ahead, I became horrified that the two lanes were narrowing into one lane because all of the plowed snow blocked part of the lane.

In addition, the previous day's snowmelt left chunks of snow and ice that refroze overnight in the lane that I was currently driving. Well, those poor old 13" tires just could not get over those slush-frozen ruts. Ahead of me was a mountain of snow, and I was taking dead aim at it. I tried to get over, but the ruts directed me straight toward the mountain. At that moment, I imagined being Bo Duke in that souped-up General Lee making a leap for life over 32 cars or whatever. I closed my eyes, felt the car lurch upward, and then...and then the little car just stopped on top of the mound.

I was only about 4 feet off of the ground. So, I got out of the car carefully with my snow shovel in hand and began digging myself out. After several minutes, an old country guy in a Chevy pickup truck pulled over and offered to attach a rope to my vehicle and pull me off of that mound. And that he did.

After thanking him profusely, shaking his hand vigorously, I went to start the car and the doggone thing just did not start. The battery must have drained a little bit while I had my door open shoveling the car out. So, I had to ask the stranger to help me with a jump. And that he did.

If you have a few more minutes, I downloaded a newspaper from Hopkinsville here in western Kentucky. It provided a good review of what not only happened in Louisville, but elsewhere around the state.

Kentucky New Era newspaper



Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter Storm 01/12/18 with Updates

Forecast for 4-6" in Louisville according to NWS. I'm not that optimistic, maybe lower end if that. My prediction is 3-4" for Louisville, perhaps lower end near my area of southwest Jefferson County.

In Valley Station
0800 - Sleet moderate - just above freezing
0900 - Light freezing rain/drizzle - 31 degrees; car tops and metallic surfaces have very thin glaze of ice already; pavement still just wet.
1000 - Light sleet 30 degrees; thin layer of ice on windshield; pavement mostly still wet
1035 - Even though ice accumulation has been light (under 0.1"), accretion has been very efficient on tree limbs. I've already lost a small limb in front yard. Read report from outside of the county in Muhlenberg county of a felled tree across power lines due to ice/sleet according to law enforcement officials
1045 - Back to freezing drizzle along with very light sleet

Additional storm reports from Kentucky....
0813 - Paducah with 0.50" sleet; additional locations in Illinois have had over 1" of mostly sleet and some freezing rain
0822 - Henderson report of heavy sleet
0816 - Oak Ridge MO in Cape Girardeau county - Between 2 and 4 inches of Sleet, that's right Sleet
0915 - Murray KY 2" sleet
0930 - Heavy snow approaching Paducah

Monday, January 1, 2018

MikJournal Monday 01/01/2018...Your January Outlook

Good Monday morning to you. I awoke to a new year with a relatively old theme: It's cold out there again. At 1.6 degrees, I am not sure if my rosemary plant in the garden will survive this, especially if temperatures will be colder tomorrow morning.

Before I get to the January outlook, let's review the month of December. It sure looked like the month was going to be a lock for well-below normal temperatures and an avenging snowpack that was sure to exceed last year's totals for the whole winter.

The 'thaw' that we had during the middle of the month almost upset Old Man Winter's one and done special.

Paducah finished at only -0.2 degrees from normal.
Louisville at -0.9 degrees
Lexington at -1.1 degrees
Bowling Green at -0.9 degrees
Frankfort at -0.4 degrees
Jackson at -1.7 degrees
London at -2.3 degrees.

Many areas were above normal last week. Therefore, it took a monumental comeback for Old Man Winter to pull this one out. Because his other offensive weapon, the snow, did not make much of an impact. Plenty of appearances, but not much contribution.

January Outlook

The beginning of January is set up perfectly for Old Man Winter. Bitter cold air will last most of the week with temperatures sure to dip below zero on a few occasions for several locations, mostly without snow covering the ground.

Before I proceed with the rest of the outlook, I want to show you part of my reasoning for what I am about to say.

Show Me #1...

These are the teleconnections I often follow: PNA, NAO, EPO and one other one not listed here, AO (more on that one in a moment).

The PNA has had a nice run of positive, sometimes very positive readings. That blocking along the west coast provides a bullish signal for cold air to plunge anywhere east of the Rockies. Look at how it weakens a little. That signal tells me that some type of storm system or systems is encroaching upon that blocking mechanism. You can see that well for the time period of January 5-11. Keep that in mind.

Show Me #2....

The AO teleconnection, perhaps the most notorious signal for depicting winter's effects on our region, shows an exciting feature. This has been a consistent signal, but now the majority of the ensembles are now on board. Look at how the AO declines sharply for a few days, then suddenly ascends sharply, forming a V-shaped appearance on the chart.

The PNA blocking pattern that weakens during the January 5-11 time frame corresponds nicely to this V-shaped feature from the AO. That means temperatures will try to begin to modify as either Pacific and/or Gulf of Mexico moisture is introduced to the country's mid section. If the air is cold enough, it may take a longer time to scour out the cold at the surface as the upper levels attempt to warm as well. Keep that one in mind.

Show Me #3....

This map is from the Climate Prediction Center for the time period of January 6-10. Notice that below normal temperatures are still a consensus favorite for the region. However, the air has significantly modified to the west of our region, in response to a storm system or series of storm systems that has tapped into either Pacific moisture or Gulf of Mexico moisture or both that causes temperatures to rise in response to the advancing features.

Looking at the precipitation map, chances for above normal precipitation exist across two main areas, a large chunk of the West and a smaller portion of the Midwest, including central and western Kentucky.

Now, I have not looked at any computer models. I think we know how flippity-floppity they can be. But, the signals that I am looking at all seem to point toward something significant will happen during the January 5-11 time frame.

Depending on how strong the storm system(s) becomes will determine the eventual path these system(s) will take. This is where a decent snowpack could have made a huge difference in our region. Since we do not have much in the way of snow depth, the cold air may not be as difficult to scour out as storm systems approach.

But, looking at the CPC map above, central and western Kentucky look to see the best chance for above normal precipitation. Perhaps they would see more of a liquid event. Or there could be a rain/ice line that eventually transitions to an ice/snow line to all snow the farther east one travels in the state. That would seem to the make the most sense. Nevertheless, this particular time frame needs to be monitored.

For the second half of the month, initial cold will eventually lose its grip and transition to a more favorable pattern of seasonal cold and perhaps above normal temperatures at times. Still, I would not rule out another blast of cold air arriving later this month.


MikJournal Monday 04/02/2018...Snow in June?

 Good Monday everyone. We are in for a rollercoaster week, so buckle up. Severe weather chances and snow chances in the same week. Sounds...