Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Interesting Weather Facts

I am such a nerd when it comes to trivia and weather facts.

I'd vote we should call Game Show Network and get a weather jeopardy game show
on the docket!

Just teasing!

I was surfing for weather facts the other day and come across this web site.

Click Here.

I am not sure who maintains this site and where the data came from, but it was very neatly compiled and fun to read.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Cooling Down

Last night was a chilly night for many across the central and southern plains.

Numerous states along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers were under either frost or freeze advisories.

The National Weather Service issues these when temperatures will be cold enough to harm tender vegetation.

A frost advisory means to protect tender plants while the temperature flirts with freezing for a few hours.

A freeze advisory means a hard freeze is expected (usually at or below 28° for 4 to 6 hours) and that the growing season will be over.

The weather is extremely quite around the nation right now with no huge storms expected this week.

A northwest flow of wind over the open waters of the Great Lakes will keep some lake effect snow showers in the forecast over the next few days in that part of the world.

Friday, October 24, 2008

History Of Daylight Savings

Well we are just a few days away from Daylight Savings ending -- November 2.

I pulled the following info off the US Naval Observatory website. I thought it would make for interesting reading for you.

Here is the link or you can read the info below.

Standard time zones were instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads in 1883, but were not established into U.S. law until the Act of March 19, 1918, sometimes called the Standard Time Act.

The act also established daylight saving time, a contentious idea then.

Daylight saving time was repealed in 1919, but standard time in time zones remained in law. Daylight time became a local matter.

It was re-established nationally early in World War II, and was continuously observed from 9 February 1942 to 30 September 1945. After the war its use varied among states and localities.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided standardization in the dates of beginning and end of daylight time in the U.S. but allowed for local exemptions from its observance.

The act provided that daylight time begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, with the changeover to occur at 2 a.m. local time.

During the "energy crisis" years, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time.

In 1974, daylight time began on 6 January and in 1975 it began on 23 February. After those two years the starting date reverted back to the last Sunday in April.

In 1986, a law was passed that shifted the starting date of daylight time to the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight time was not subject to such changes, and remained the last Sunday in October.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed both the starting and ending dates. Beginning in 2007, daylight time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

First Flakes Of The Season

I pulled into my garage last night around 10:30 and said was that a snow flurry?

And sure enough, by 10:35 or so, it was lightly snowing.

I went to bed around 1 am and had a dusting on the ground, but it was gone by 8 am when I got up.

Talk about exciting!!! Bring on the winter season, homemade stew and chili!!!

Severe weather broke out as expected across extreme eastern Colorado, SW Kansas and the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Large hail fell around Garden City, KS and strong winds were reported in Buffalo, OK.

Today, some severe weather is still possible around the Ark-la-tex.

Speaking of hail, it is a form of precipitation that is probably the least documented but one we want to know the most about.

Hail forms when supercooled water droplets (that means the drop of water is below freezing but doesn't turn into a solid) freezes when contacting condensation nuclei.

A condensation nuclei is something like a dust particle.

Once this happens the updraft from the storm carries the newly formed hail stone up and down in the cloud.

With each cycle of going up and down, more supercooled water droplets freeze instantly on contact with the former condensation nuclei (now hailstone) and it grows.

The longer this process repeats the bigger the hail will get.

Once the weight of the hailstone overcomes the strength of the updraft, it falls to the earth.

If you cut a hailstone in half, you can actually see the layers of growth it went through in the cloud.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Winter Storm Set To Roll By

A cold front moved through the Denver area Monday evening.

While driving to my part-time job I saw several huge bolts of lightning.

One was right in front of me as I barreled down I-70 at 70 mph -- it made me see spots it was so close and bright.

Interestingly enough, I never heard thunder. But I talked to several people who did.

The cold front may trigger a little bit of severe weather on Tuesday over western Kansas, extreme eastern Colorado and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas.

The threat for severe weather will shift southeast toward the Ark-la-tex by Wednesday. (Ark-la-tex is where Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas join together) Also know as the Red River Valley.

On the cold side of the storm, there will be a rain-snow mix from extreme northeast Colorado up through western Nebraska and the central Dakotas.

1 year ago this week we saw one of the worst tornado outbreaks ever in the month of October with dozens of twisters touching down between October 17-19, 2007 -- from lower Michigan to the Gulf Coast.

One of the worst twisters was an EF-3 that struck Nappanee, Indiana.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Storm Chasers Returns To Discovery Channel

If you like storm chasing, then you will want to watch Discovery Channel this Sunday (Oct. 19) at 10 pm for the debut of Storm Chasers, Season II.

Discovery Channel returns to the heart of “Tornado Alley” for a firsthand look at one of nature’s most destructive forces in an all new season of STORM CHASERS, premiering Sunday, October 19, 2008, at 10 PM (ET/PT).

Click here for a preview.

Veteran research meteorologist Dr. Joshua Wurman and filmmaker Sean Casey go head to head, toe to toe and fender to fender with newbie chaser Reed Timmer racing to capture rare footage and valuable scientific data.

Last season, Casey’s tank-like TIV or Tornado Intercept Vehicle, raised eyebrows roaring down the nation’s highways and byways looking for the shot of all time – filming from inside a tornado.

Now, his new and improved creation, the TIV-2, raises the stakes, providing the astonishing footage and the terrifying excitement of storm chasing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Water-Logged Kansas And Some Weather History

The city of Wichita, Kansas broke their annual precipitation record on Wednesday with the latest total since January 1 sitting at just over 50.00 inches!!

50.49" to be exact.

Can you believe that? When I grew up in Arkansas I could, but after living so long in Colorado, it's hard to imagine.

Denver is essentially a high-desert as many of you know, and we are lucky if we get our annual average of just over 15" per year.

With every drop that falls (either rain or snow) between now and December 31, the new annual precipitation record for Wichita will just continue to be rewritten.

And here is a little weather history I saw on the wire from the Goodland, Kansas office of the National Weather Service.

I thought it was interesting.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tropics Heating Up, But No Threat To U.S.

After a few busy days without much internet or tv time, I was almost shocked when I logged into the National Hurricane Center's website this morning.

Tropical Storm Omar sitting southwest of Puerto Rico, Nana way out in the Atlantic and Tropical Depression #16 way down near Central America.

The good news is none of these storms will impact the US mainland or even come close.

Omar is expected to strengthen into a hurricane and it tracks northeast, very close to Puerto Rico, and then out to sea over the coming days.

Meanwhile the first major winter storm of the season here in the west has moved on. No snow in the immediate Denver area, but we did have our first hard freeze AND an entire weekend with cold, fog and drizzle.

Snow was measured in feet across portions of Wyoming and Montana over the weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hurricane Norbert To Make Baja Landfall

It has been 30 years since a hurricane made landfall on the Baja of California during the month of October.

The last was Hurricane Pauline on October 2, 1968.

There have been a handful of tropical storms that made landfall during October.

So this is a pretty rare event.

Norbert should move onshore sometime early Saturday before the noon hour.

Meanwhile a second system is moving northwest, parallel to the Mexican coastline. This is Tropical Storm Odile.

Odile may briefly gain hurricane status in the next 48 hours.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First Major Winter Storm Of Season Looms

A potent winter storm will impact portions of the west over the weekend -- and for some it will be the first major storm system of the year.

It could also quite possibly become a very memorable storm system.

The southern half of Montana and the northern half of Wyoming could see historical snowfall totals, with periods of snow starting as early as tonight and lasting through Sunday.

Some of the highest elevations and locations on favored slopes could see up to 2 feet of snow, which for this time of year is pretty significant.

It will also be a heavy, wet snow -- and with many trees still leafed out, that snow could cause a lot of damage.

We are still potentially facing the first snow of the season here in Denver too over the weekend.

Anything greater than a TRACE of snow is considered measurable and would count as the season's first snowfall.

Severe weather is in progress this morning across portions of Florida, SE Georgia and coastal S. Carolina.

In fact, while writing this blog I see a tornado warning has been posted for locations around Fargo, Georgia.

Get ready for a BEAUTIFUL weekend in New England with ample sunshine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Frost, Freeze, and Winterization

The Front Range of Colorado was under a frost advisory this morning and most of us woke up with temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees.

Not everyone saw frost -- but as a precaution we were placed under the frost advisory.

Visible white frost forms on cold, clear, calm mornings when the dew-point temperature is at or below freezing.

When the air temperature cools to match the dew point, now called the frost point when specifically trying to forecast for frost, water vapor in the air changes directly to ice without becoming a liquid first -- a process called deposition.

These delicate, white crystals of ice are called hoarfrost, white frost, or simply frost.

Frost has a treelike branching pattern that easily distinguishes it from the nearly spherical beads of frozen dew that can sometimes occur.

In dry climates such as here in the west, the air temperature can rapidly drop below freezing without the process of frost ever happening -- this is called a freeze, or sometimes a black frost, because it can be so damaging to crops.

So for those in the colder climates who have not winterized your home, and especially irrigation systems, it is definitely time to do so.

I would make plans to turn the water off and have the sprinklers blown out sometime within the next 1 to at most 3 weeks.

One important note for CoCoRaHS observers -- frost and dew are not precipitation. These processes are taking place at the ground due to physical processes involving temperature and water vapor.

Precipitation as you know takes place up at cloud level and falls to the ground.

It is good, however, to note things like dew and frost in your comments because it does help "paint the picture" of what was happening weather-wise that day at your station.

For example, if you have zero precip but stated it was a frost covered morning -- I know it was clear and calm at your house. The dew-point was probably between about 29-32 and the air temperature was similar long enough for frost to form.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Severe Thunderstorms Possible Today

There is a slight risk for a few severe thunderstorms today across eastern Oklahoma, SW Missouri, NE Texas and western Arkansas.

A cold front is pressing across the center of the nation with rain extending from Canada to Texas.

It is a narrow band of rain associated with the cold front.

An area of low pressure, along with the cold front and some warm, moist air will be the mechanism for kicking off the isolated severe weather today in the southern plains.

Much of the west is sitting sunny and dry but a new storm system building over the Pacific will bring more unsettled weather to the west by the coming weekend.

Here in Colorado the lower elevations saw a chilly rain on Sunday. Enough snow fell in the mountains to close a portion of the highest paved US highway in America.

Trail Ridge Road (US 34) which connects Estes Park to Grand Lake, passing through Rocky Mountain National Park, will likely remain closed for the rest of the season.

It is typically open from Memorial Day until the first significant snow of of autumn.

They are dropping well below freezing now above the timber line (11,000 feet) so that snow will start piling up with each passing storm system up there.

If you've never been here to drive it, you have to come visit next summer! I was up there 2 weeks ago to see the elk and the fall color.

As a bonus I also saw 4 moose!

If you want some snow, and can get away this week, head to Fairbanks, Alaska. This week's forecast calls for highs near 30 and lows around 20 with occasional snow showers possible.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pacific Storm Moving On Shore

A large storm system is moving across the western US today and it will bring the most widespread taste of autumn so far this season.

Most of the intermountain west will see rain and even snow showers over the weekend with highs only in the 50s and 60s with lows in the 20s and 30s.

It's even been frosty around the Great Lakes states the past few mornings!

I love this time of year.

Today I mowed the yard, shut down the sprinkler systems and did some other "winterizing" chores.

Welcome Lucy Lu! She is my new basset that I adopted this weekend so my boy basset (Samson) would have some companionship.

I am also babysitting Sierra (also a basset) so it is nothing but puppy love around here.

As I worked in the yard they ran their little hearts out. Now all 3 are stretched out in the living room taking a lunchtime nap.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trough Building Over Pacific

A trough of low pressure and a pool of colder air is building over the Pacific Ocean today.

Winter weather advisories cover much of east-central and southeast Alaska, including Fairbanks and areas east of Anchorage.

By early next week we should see the first signs of this cooler air sweeping across the lower 48.

Denver will see highs drop from around 80 this week to just above 60 next week, and our overnight lows are forecasted to dip into the mid and upper 30s.

Some locations closer to Canada have already seen some chilly weather. In fact, central Wisconsin (north of Madison) is currently under a frost advisory for lows dropping into the 29-32° range tonight.

A frost advisory is issued when temps may drop into the upper 20s and lower 30s briefly, but not long enough to end the growing season.

A freeze advisory is issued when temps are expected to drop below 29 degrees for several hours, putting an end to the growing season.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Will October Bring?

This can be a fun month if you like changing weather.

Here in Denver, we usually start out with 70s and lower 80s, see our first freeze by the 7th or 8th and our first snow by the 19th.

Highs usually are only in the 40s and 50s by Halloween.

We've had some Octobers that were high and dry and warm, and some that were cold and snowy.

A lot of people remember the blizzard of 1997 in Denver.

If it does snow this month, it is usually a wet and heavy snowfall with a lot of moisture content.

So what about where you live?

It is a transitional month for much of the country.

We usually see a small spike in severe weather across the midwest and the south as cold fronts start moving south out of Canada and the clash of airmasses being, much like we see in the spring.