Monday, June 30, 2008

Colorado Trip in Pictures

The conference came to a close Sunday morning and many broadcasters (myself included) left with some new information on a changing climate. We hear so much about global warming and it is very controversial, now that politics are involved. It is a bit alarming to see how much carbon we are putting into the atmosphere, and that's likely helping to warm the Earth a bit. It is a sensitive subject and to really discuss it in detail is beyond the scope of my blog, but we should do what we can to help reduce our waste and be smarter with our resources.

My trip to UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) was very informative and that's where we had a chance to discuss one on one with climate researchers. As their name suggests, much of the work they do is directly involved with universities to research and better understand how our atmosphere works. The more we continue to learn about the envelope of gasses that surround us, the better we will be at predicting weather and climate. It's just another part of weather that I love. UCAR is located just outside of Boulder and is located up on a mesa. The view is spectacular and by the way, UCAR has nothing to do with NASCAR!

Friday afternoon was time devoted to NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) where more government research takes place. We even had a chance to visit the Space Weather Prediction Center where they monitor the sun very closely for sunspot activity, geomagnetic and solar radiation storms. My favorite was the "science on a sphere" lab where researchers can pull up full satellite information and place it on this model globe. Words and pictures can't describe how cool it is, but with a remote, they can spin the globe side to side, or up and down to view satellite and weather model data. The cost of one of these labs: $165,000. If I had extra cash, I'd help put one in right here in Wichita because it would give you a new appreciation for weather data that we look at almost everyday. Very cool stuff.

Sorry for the extreme number of acronyms... I could put more on here but I'll spare you.
Where did the month of June go?? Crazy!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hello from Colorado

I see Kansas had another bout with severe weather last night. It looks like heavy rain fell in many areas of the state, which will probably stall the wheat harvest for a day or two. We do have a cold front coming in for Friday night, so expect to find some more storms in the area later this evening and especially overnight. Hopefully there will not be widespread severe storms, but it is possible.

As I write this, the buses are pulling up to take the group of meteorologists to Boulder, CO for a tour of NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) There is a great deal of research conducted on climate and atmospheric modeling at this facility. There are many different kinds of models that we look at in the weather office and as they improve, our forecasts will also get better. Of course, we will still miss a storm or two, but we are on the right track for sure. If you are reading this at work today and get bored, here is the website for NCAR:

I was in some interesting climate discussions yesterday. Needless to say, each meteorologist has a little different viewpoint on the whole climate change topic, but more research is underway to see exactly what is going on with our planet.
Have a great Friday. Ayna will be covering the weather for me this weekend. Look for more updates later in the weekend.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summertime Weather

I really hope you had a nice weekend and it was nice to have some dry weather (at least in eastern Kansas). I know there are several areas in the west that could use more moisture, and you'll have a chance this week. We are still in an active weather pattern that will bring some scattered activity to the area in the next few days.

I did drive back to see my parents on Thursday. The wheat is looking good between Wichita and Ellsworth, but I understand that when you get north of there, most of the wheat has been destroyed. The hail has been significant this year and it has left a mark on our state. I know some area farmers were cutting Sunday afternoon... you have to make hay when the sun shines and the chances for more storms this week have several people concerned.

I'm gearing up for a big weather conference in Denver this week. I'll try and post an entry or two while I'm taking in more weather knowledge, but I can't make any promises. We are touring a research facility in Boulder on Friday called UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) Broadcasters from across the country will be learning about new discoveries in the world of weather and will be doing some training on new technology that we use almost everyday.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Build an Ark

Well, maybe not yet, but we have had so much rainfall here in Wichita that some people are thinking about it. We almost need one to get in and out of our parking lot here at KWCH, but we are thinking it will get better soon. Wichita is now over 10 inches above normal on rainfall for 2008, but in comparison, Dodge City is over 3 inches below normal. It would be so nice if we could box up some of the moisture and send it out west, but then again, some of the farmers out there are looking to start the wheat harvest soon. I definitely miss the wheat harvesting days; it was usually a good time to bond with family (unless you had malfunctioning equipment) I'll see if I can find some pictures to post for my next entry.

On a more serious note, the flooding in the midwest is hard to fathom. We've had our share of problems with severe weather and heavy rain, but at least we are not seeing a 500 yr flood. The pictures are incredible and it will be interesting to see how high the Mississippi gets in the coming days. My heart goes out to those who are displaced because of the high water. Cedar Rapids, IA is more than 13 inches above normal on rainfall for the year and there will likely be more rain coming next week. The posted picture is from Des Moines where the water is VERY high, but the more serious flooding is off to the east.

Have a great week.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day Weekend

Well, it was another busy day for Storm Team 12 with severe storms and a few tornadoes again in Kansas. We did not have any extensive damage with the storms tonight, but I'm sure a few more farmers had wheat damaged from the large hail. My folks last about 5 head of cattle in Wednesday nights storm activity which caused a power line to fall on them and they were electrocuted. So, it has been a rough week with the thunderstorms. I'm posting pictures of the wall cloud that formed over Haysville Thursday night. It is very impressive and I'm very glad we didn't have anything on the ground for more than a minute or two. It could've been very bad. Thanks everyone for the nice compliments on the coverage; it is major team effort to pull off several hours of continuous coverage and thanks for being patient with us. We hate covering up prime time TV and I don't like to be on repeating myself over and over, but when there is a tornado threat and we can confirm that one is on the ground, we just have to do it. I promise you we will not cover prime time TV Friday night or Saturday.

It is Father's Day weekend so I have to send out a greeting to my dad. He taught me everything I ever needed to know about weather and then some. Now I'm passing it on to Millie. Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Questions Answered

I thought this would be a good chance to answer some of the questions that are posted here on the blog. One of the more recent questions was from Peggy wanting to know if weathermen disagree. The answer is yes, we do disagree from time to time, and occasionally we arm wrestle to see which forecast we should use. =) Actually, if there is disagreement, we put our heads together and figure out some compromise. Over the years I've discovered that no one meteorologist is correct all the time (that's hard to say) but we do the best we can with the data that is available to us. Forecasting precipitation of any kind is usually difficult, but predicting snowfall amounts is the hardest (that's my opinion).

There was another question someone posted on here a few weeks ago wanting to know the record for tornado warnings in one given day. The record books don't keep track of the number of warnings issued, but we do have a record for the number of tornadoes in one day for Kansas. That number happens to be 36 on May 5th, 2007 and the most tornadoes in one year for our state is 137 in 2007.

The wheat harvest will get underway very soon, so a stretch of dry weather would be welcomed by many farmers around the area. I know my dad has requested some dry weather for Father's Day so he can plant milo, but I keep telling him I have no pull with Mother Nature.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Another Busy Weekend

This is another busy weekend with severe weather. We will probably see some rather intense storms on Sunday with hail, strong winds, and locally heavy rainfall the main concerns. Most of eastern Kansas is under a flash flood watch through Monday, so be expecting some heavy amounts of rain Sunday night.

I spent part of the week in Colorado Springs. It was a short trip into the mountains, but a fun adventure nonetheless. The clouds forming on Pikes Peak were truly amazing to watch. The moisture gets forced up the mountain, cools and condenses, and then you have a cloud. They move much faster when you see them up close, and being the weather geek that I am, I found it quite fascinating so I had to take a picture. If I remember correctly, the temperature was 28 degrees at the top of the mountain and I was in a short sleeve shirt. Okay, so even the weatherman does some dumb things from time to time.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I'll be here to watch the storms on Sunday.

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