Monday, July 28, 2008

Millie Makes an Appearance

Some might think it is over the top or crazy, but Millie was invited to be a guest at a 25th Wedding Anniversary celebration in Andover Saturday night and so we went after the 10 p.m. newscast. She was a hit with the little kids and even some of the adults found her to be very entertaining. I wasn't sure what to expect, but she made her way through the crowd and tried to greet as many people as she could. Of course, there were some crumbs on the floor that just had to be eaten. I'm glad people enjoy seeing her on TV and in the public. Millie was at the Kansas State Fair last year and I'll see if I can get approval to have her there again this year. I don't know how many autographs she can sign though. By the way, a picture might be coming at a later date.

I attended the Ellsworth/Kanopolis Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting Monday. It was very nice to see familiar faces back in my hometown and the food was very good. Unfortunately, I was on a very short time frame for the day, so I couldn't stay long, but it was nice to get the chance to come back for a little while. A busy day and now the thunderstorms are starting to take center stage. Let's hope for some good rain in western Kansas. This type of moisture is hard to acquire in the month of July.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Awesome Cloud Feature

The thunderstorms on Friday were a nice surprise for some of us. I really wish we could get some of this moisture to fall on western Kansas where they REALLY need rain. After seeing 100 degree heat this week, the rain was nice and sure helped to cool things down some. The bad side of it; humidity. It was a sauna around here and will be that way through the weekend.

One interesting feature Friday night was the shelf cloud that rolled across the Wichita area. I was just outside of the station when it came through 37th and Hillside, the wind picked up to 30 mph and the temperature cooled off even more. We had several phone calls on the cloud feature, even some thinking it was a tornado. Remember, you can be certain it is a shelf cloud if it stretches across the horizon and they are different from wall clouds because they are much smaller. Thanks to Josh Wells from KFDI for taking the pictures.

Have a great weekend. Millie has a special appearance Saturday night and I will post something about it on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Downburst & Dolly

Driving home Tuesday evening I did see the downburst that hit Sedgwick county. It was impressive, but I wasn't close enough to really get a good picture of it (the picture posted comes from a viewer in North Newton). They are often hard to distinguish because they are usually surrounded in rainfall, but this one was clearly visible. Downburst winds are the strong winds that descend from a collapsing thunderstorm and they can produce winds up to 100 mph, which sometimes does more damage than a weak tornado.

Someone posted a comment on the blog asking about Hurricane Dolly and whether or not she will bring some rainfall to Kansas. At this point, I would say no, because Dolly is moving to the west and most of the moisture will fall in the mountainous regions of Mexico. Tropical storms and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico can bring significant moisture to Kansas, but in this case, the upper level winds are not favorable to drag the moisture this way. I know those of you in western Kansas really need rainfall. It might be several days before we get anything substantial into that area of the state. Thank goodness we have not had too much in the way of wind because 100 degree heat AND wind would really have us in a bad situation.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hurricane Season 2008

The tropics are active tonight with Cristobal moving away from the United States and now we watch Dolly churning into the Gulf of Mexico. It will likely strengthen to hurricane strength by Tuesday, but by the time it gets to that intensity, it will be very close to Mexico. It is possible that Dolly's moisture may affect Kansas down the road, but that would be a week or so away before it could get here. It will of course depend on what is going on in the upper levels of the atmosphere, which this week, will be dominated by high pressure. If you are hoping for rainfall, we have slim picking on rain chances, so be patient. It is a typical weather pattern for us in July. Have a great week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mowing Surprise!

Maybe you knew this already but I like to mow and I've had some strange things happen to me while cutting the grass. I've been chased by hornets and mowed over a few snakes, but I've never had someone or something ride on a push mower before. Tuesday morning while mowing, a frog jumped on the mower and stayed there for about 15 minutes while I made several different rounds. When I stopped to take a picture with my cell phone, I was almost sure he would jump off, but when I came back, he had moved over to the wheel. So I had to take a picture of Kermit and Millie. I'd like to say that Millie is good help mowing the yard, but she normally stretches out in the shade and watches me work. If she had some thumbs, I'm sure she would offer to run the trimmer and do the edging. At any rate, there seems to be a significant increase in the number of toads and frogs lately. Most of them look pretty healthy and I think it's because they are feeding on the significant number of mosquitoes that are annoying the heck out of us. Have a great week and beware of the mowing frogs and toads.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Taste of Fall?

When I stepped outside Saturday morning, I started thinking about football, fall colors, and Halloween. Then I realized, oh yeah, it's July. After getting blasted with hot weather on Friday, temperatures in the middle 60s felt pretty good and it stayed somewhat comfortable through the afternoon. Normal highs are in the mid 90s, and as you can see, most of the state had highs in the upper 70s Saturday. It won't last long because south winds will usher warmer weather in by Monday afternoon and the humidity will be going up too.

The blog comments have dropped off some, so I know that most of you are busy with summertime activities. It sure seems like summer is going fast and the month is nearly half over. I've been doing some serious barbecuing lately and I'm starting to think I have a new calling. So before I leave TV to pursue culinary school, I'll let you know.

Amy, our weather intern here at KWCH, sent me some pictures from her trip to Florida and Sea World. The sunsets are nice, the scenery is beautiful, but the humidity would probably kill me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Vacation

It is very unusual to have cloudy, rainy days in the month of July, but it is hard to complain about the moisture. This is normally the time of the year when the grass starts to burn up in the summer heat, so even here in Wichita where we have had so much rain lately, it's nice to have a surplus of rain. It would be nice to send some of it to western Kansas where they could really benefit from extra moisture. We are in for hot weather as we head closer to the weekend, but then there is likely to be some more changes by Saturday and Sunday (thanks to a storm system in southern Canada). I'll update you this weekend.

Have you taken a summer vacation yet? Other than my trip to Colorado for a tour of NCAR/UCAR, I've been at home (mostly mowing because of the surplus of rain) If you want to share your pictures, you can send me an email and I'll post them on the blog. I am planning to visit Las Vegas early in August as a group of meteorologists get together and share ideas from other stations. Chief Meteorologist Bryan Busby in Kansas City organizes the get-togethers and it is fun weekend to relax and swap stories with others in the broadcast business. I'll share more with you as the date gets closer.

I hope your summer is going well and if you want to share some travel pictures, send them to me.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Holiday Weekend

I hope you have had a great 4th of July and we have been very lucky in the fact we haven't had widespread severe weather. It looks like it will stay hot for a few more days before we get a chance on Tuesday.

So far, we have not had any 100 degree days in Wichita. Of course, summer is only a few weeks old, so there is plenty of time to hit the century mark. Western Kansas has had several days now with 100 degree days, and there are more days coming.

The weather pattern will be very summerlike for the next 10-15 days. Our computers are showing the main storm going north to the US/Canadian border, which will allow us to stay hot and mainly dry for a while. I don't think we will have any record setting heat, but the warmth will be very noticeable as long as the storm track stays north.

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