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 Unfortunately, this page has not been maintained very well, since most links are either outdated or do not exist anymore.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 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...