Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Harvesting the Kansas Wind

I had to travel to Hays last week and on my way, I had a chance to see the new wind farm that is being constructed in southern Lincoln county. There has been some significant controversy surrounding the wind farm and how it will change the landscape in the Smoky Hills. I am very amazed at how tall these structures stand and how visible they are even 25 and 30 miles away.
It seems like a smart thing to do with the amount of wind that we see here in Kansas, but it definitely looks weird when you have 20 or 30 of them all grouped together in one spot. Some of the towers stand over 200 feet tall and weigh over 70 and 80 tons. There are other wind farms in Kansas, including one near Beaumont, Spearville, and Montezuma. They stand tall enough that we can actually see them on the Doppler radar from Dodge City and Wichita. We know it is the wind farm because the echoes that show up on the radar stay in the same place. You could mistake it for a thunderstorm if you didn't know what you were looking at.

It is interesting to think that we have gravitated from the old style of windmill used to pump a well, to the new kind of wind machine, one that generates electricity.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Spirit

In my last blog entry, I mentioned dressing up like Kermit the Frog. I couldn't find that picture in the family photo album, but I did come across one that will probably still get me in trouble with my siblings. This is a picture from Halloween 1990. That's me dressed up like a clown, along with a California Raisin, Rambo on the left side (my brother), and I'm not really sure what my sister was supposed to be that year (she is 4th from the left side)
What was your scariest Halloween costume? Funniest?
Last year for Halloween, we had some pretty chilly temperatures. We had 80 degree temperatures just two days prior to Halloween, down into the 40s for highs on the 31st. This year the weather should be about as close to perfect as you can get. Trick-or-treating temperatures should be in the mid 50s for most of the area.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wildfires Rage On

Watching the wildfires on TV the last few days has been rather heartbreaking. It has to be a very helpless feeling for firefighters to stand back and watch stuff burn right before them. The Santa Ana winds can be relentless, much like the Kansas wind sometimes.
This graphic helps explain what the Santa Ana winds are and how they fuel the fire. We have something similar to Santa Ana winds here in Kansas, only ours is called a "chinook" wind. A chinook wind blows off of the Rocky Mountains, down into Kansas and warms up rapidly as it goes from high elevation to low elevation. Just like the winds in California, the chinook wind is a very dry wind. During the wintertime, temperatures can start out in the 20s and end up in the 70s during the afternoon, often because of this chinook wind.

NASA released this satellite picture Tuesday and we've been showing it on the newscasts from time to time. Several different areas burning and TONS of smoke. Conditions should improve for firefighters as the wind slows down and changes direction. The relative humidity should start coming back up by the end of the week. Our thoughts are definitely with those in southern California.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Summer to Winter

It is too early for Kansas to be getting snow, but that's not the case for the Rockies. This picture was captured from a live camera in Steamboat Springs, CO Sunday morning and the ground is nearly covered in the snow. This is an area that could have 8-14 inches of snow by late Sunday night. We do have snow in the forecast for northwest Kansas late Sunday afternoon, but the ground is too warm for anything to stick just yet.

I know we've had some snowstorms in the last few days of October. I remember going Trick-or-Treating in 4-5 inches of snow (my family has the pictures to prove it), so it can happen this early in the season. I think I was Kermit the Frog that year for Halloween.

I don't know about you, but I'm not really ready for snow and bitter cold. It would be nice to just have 3 or 4 weeks of good fall weather (highs in the 60s and 70s, lows in the 40s). Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Back to Normal, or Is It?

Our schedules in the weather office are finally getting back to what we would almost consider normal. Although, in weather, we never really know what normal is half the time.

I'm taking a few days off so that I can get Millie out in this great, fall weather that we are having lately. Although, something tells me that we haven't totally made the transition from summer to fall just yet. There is still a ton of change going on in the atmosphere and as it happens, severe weather is going to be a result. The Storm Prediction Center has placed the eastern half of Kansas in a moderate risk for severe weather. So, be prepared tomorrow to see watches and warnings at the bottom of your screen. We normally see a "second season" for severe weather, and it comes in the fall, about this time of the year. Perhaps Millie and I will be in Sat Cam tomorrow out watching the storms.

What did you think of the storms Sunday night in southcentral Kansas? How much rain did you get? If you didn't get much rain over the weekend, maybe the next two storms coming this way will have what you are looking for.

Time to get the yard mowed and the garage cleaned out. Hopefully the storms won't get too bad tomorrow

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weather Safety Fair

I ventured up to Newton Saturday morning for a weather safety fair just inside of the Wal-Mart. It is something every Wal-Mart is required to do and thanks to Mary Root for the invitation to visit. I handed out Storm Team 12/KFDI Storm Alert Maps to those passing by and I had a slide show cycling through with different weather questions for kids and adults to answer. The weather fair started out rather slow, but by 11 a.m., the kids finally started to show.

I still have high hopes for more rain on Sunday. Several areas missed out on the moisture Friday afternoon, and even those that did get rain could probably use a little more. Severe weather will be a concern Sunday afternoon, so I'm sure we will be busy later in the afternoon. Hopefully we won't have to cut into NFL football (we know the phone calls will start pouring in if we do)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Finally Arrives!

I remember standing on the sideline Saturday sweating like crazy because temperatures were in the upper 80s and low 90s. The weather pattern has definitely changed and I think it is safe to say, we will not have any more 90s this year. In fact, highs in the 80s will be few and far between as the cooler air settles into the area.
I've posted the highs from Wednesday, which clearly shows a difference across Kansas. Normal temperatures are in the low 70s for this time in October.

Hopefully, we will get more rain this coming weekend. So, put the fertilizer on your yard Thursday or Friday and watch Mother Nature water it in for you Saturday and Sunday. Even the farmers that have just finished planting wheat would probably be glad to see some moisture.

My safety talk this Saturday will be at the Newton Wal-Mart. I'll have some handouts and will share a few PowerPoint slides with you on weather safety. Stop by if you can, but if you are stuck in front of a football game this weekend, I'll understand. It might be a good weekend for it. Take care.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Sports Guy for the Weekend

Wow, what a weekend with the Sunflower Showdown. It was exciting and the outcome was bittersweet ... if you were dressed in red and blue. Thanks again to Bruce Haertl for setting me up with a media pass to watch the game from the sidelines and it was incredible. I posted a picture that one of my friends had from the game. It's like finding Waldo, but you'll find me pretty easily, seeing that I'm the only red amongst a sea of purple. I've watched many football games on TV, listen to even more on the radio, seen a few from the stands, but I've never watched one from the field. It gives you a whole new perspective on the game and it definitely has a much quicker pace than what you are used to when you watch it at home.
I had a chance to BBQ before and after the game with several of my KU and K-State friends. There was a great deal of trash talking before the game, but it all came to an end at about 2:30 in the afternoon. The in-state rivalry continues.... and some are already looking ahead to basketball. It will be here before we know it.
Have a great week.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ready for the weekend

There is definitely some excitement in the air as we get ready for K-State/KU tomorrow in Manhattan. It's no secret, I like football and I am a KU grad, but I'm secretly a big K-State football fan. I'm sure if my college friends log on here and read this, I'll be in trouble next time I see them. I will be fortunate enough to watch the game from the sidelines on Saturday (Bruce must have recognized I needed some time away from work and set me up with a pass to get on the field). It should be a great game and I'll have to dress in neutral colors because I don't want anyone throwing things at me, depending on which sideline I'll be on.
My profession is predicting weather, not sports, so I won't post a prediction on the game. After all, I have trouble predicting weather sometimes, I shouldn't even try to figure out the game Saturday. Have a great weekend. Pictures from Manhattan will be posted Sunday.

Bloggers, thanks for the nice comments during my fill-in time for Merril. You are too nice.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Visit to Rex Elementary

I visited Rex Elementary a little over a month ago and I think I promised the kids I would post the pictures. We had a great time and we kicked off the school year discussing weather (of course). I have just two pictures of the kids and they were great listeners. I don't have any school talks scheduled soon, but I am headed to the Newton Wal-Mart next weekend for a safety talk.

It's a busy week and I'll update the blog before I head off to the K-State/KU game this weekend. Should be fun, I just wish the weather was going to be cooler.

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