Monday, February 23, 2009

Wade, Millie, and Madison?

It's been really busy lately, but I had a chance to catch up with my nephew last week. Wade continues to grow and each time I see him, I'm amazed at what he's doing and learning. Millie enjoys his entertainment too, and that's why she's being pushed in the laundry basket.

I'm visiting Madison learning some new weather equipment that Storm Team 12 will be using very soon. The weather up here is cold needless to say. Temperatures are in the teens with about 4 inches of snow on the ground. I was truly amazed (although I shouldn't be) at how much of the area is completely white. However, unlike in Kansas, the wind isn't blowing, so it actually doesn't feel that cold. Another system is coming through this week, so the area will get more rain or snow.

Our weather looks very quiet this week. We should see a turn for an active weather pattern next week to start the month of March. We can only hope that a system will provide some much needed rainfall soon. I'm not an expert on winter wheat, but the top soil is very dry and with the warm weather we are getting, it is trying to grow. I know southwest Kansas is probably the driest area in the state, so let's hope for some kind of precipitation soon. Even if you don't like snow, it sure would be nice to get something before we get into spring.

By the way, storm spotter meetings are going on around Kansas. If you want to know a date and time for one closest to you, just post a comment and I'll respond. Or email me at

Monday, February 16, 2009

Staying Busy

Well, so a little more time has past than I was hoping for me to get the blog updated. So much is going on in the weather department, and we haven't even reached severe weather season yet. Maybe you've heard me say it before, but our weather staff and the National Weather Service start preparing for severe weather season months before it even arrives. The storm outbreak in Oklahoma last week sure did catch our attention and definitely serves as a reminder that storm season is not far off.

We are planning another weather special for this year. Storm Team 12 is already working on stories that relate to how we cover weather day to day and there is a new radar that is being used by some meteorologists called a Dual-Polarization Radar and Mark Larson is going to tell you about the significance behind it.

I visited another elementary school last week out in Goddard. It was Explorer Elementary and I visited with the 3rd grade kids in Mallorie Ballard's class. Pictures should be coming soon and when I get them, I'll post them. It's very exciting for me to see how many kids are still interested in math and science. Almost all of the kids in the classroom raised their hand when I asked how many wanted to be a meteorologist someday.

Our weather will see several ups and downs this week with the temperatures. I'd definitely still call our weather active, although this part of the active pattern does not look like it's going to produce much in the way of much needed moisture.

Friday, February 6, 2009

School Visit

This was a very busy week for me and as we get closer to spring, we know it will only get busier. I had a chance to visit Gammon Elementary School on Wednesday and the 1st graders made the day very exciting. The cloud-in-a bottle experiment is nothing new, but I show it in almost every school talk that I do because several kids have not seen it. The funny part is that when I strike the matches and put them in the bottle, the kids panic and are afraid that I'm going to burn the school down. And then there is the smell of smoke in the classroom that they get a kick out of too. At any rate, we looked at a weather balloon and I had the kids look at a radiosonde, which is the instrument that the weather balloon carries with it.

I'll be away from the weather office this weekend, but being the weather geek that I am, I'll still be watching the radar from home. We really need the moisture, so it will be exciting to see the rain Sunday night and Monday. Next week looks very active. There are three storm systems lined up and with each passing storm, our chances of getting measurable snow get better and better. The first storm will come through on Sunday, the 2nd will arrive on Wednesday, and there is a 3rd storm coming next Friday. Rest assured, we will be busy! Have a great weekend.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Groundhog Day 2009

Some meteorologists would rather just ignore the day and despise the little guy, but I think it's fun to see what he has to say. Punxsutawney Phil will come out of his home and give us his prediction on Monday. Remember, if he sees his shadow then it is his way of saying there will be six more weeks of winter. Predictions from Phil go all the way back into the 1800s and there have been 96 years where he has seen his shadow, 14 where he did not see his shadow and 9 years where a prediction was not recorded. Based on the way our weather is going lately, you would be led to believe we will get an early spring, but February and March can be very snowy.

This week will be a very quiet week with mild temperatures by Wednesday and Thursday. We'll be watching a storm system by Saturday that could bring some rain to the area. There is a definite need for moisture in our area and I know several farmers and ranchers that would be happy to see something fall from the sky.

Have a great week. I'll be posting some information about upcoming storm spotter meetings very soon.

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