Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Medicine Lodge Visit

Millie and I were invited to Medicine Lodge for a weather presentation at the grade school on Tuesday. Not only did we talk weather, but I had a chance to eat a school lunch with the kids and Millie walked around and picked up the kids' crumbs. We really had a great time. I'm posting some of the pictures from Tuesday. The kids were just great and one of the students had a birthday, so we made sure he received his Channel 12 hot chocolate mug too.

I'm a country music fan, so I was fascinated to drive through Martina McBride's hometown of Sharon. Like so many other small towns in Kansas, if you blink on your way through, you'll miss it. The small convenience store in Sharon had a small list with the days birthdays posted in the front window. It's sad the small towns are having a hard time surviving in this economy, because each one has so much character and personality.

The next winter storm is on the way to Kansas and the heavier snow is going to fall south of Hwy 54/400 through Friday morning. This will be a case of 4-6 for Wichita, with maybe an inch around Newton, Hutch, St. John, etc. So the northern cutoff on snowfall will be very sharp. It makes forecasting these types of storms very difficult, but exciting.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Less Than 2 Months to Go!

We have less than 2 months to go until the start of spring, and I know some of you can hardly wait. We've had some bad winters, but I'm not sure this one fits into that category, unless you ask those in northcentral or northeast Kansas.

There is a storm system approaching later in the week. It will bring a chance for wintry weather to southern Kansas Wednesday night or Thursday. It may end up going south, which means less snow for Kansas, but the details won't be clear until Tuesday or Wednesday. I think we are transitioning back to the active, winter pattern that we had in December, so there will be more snow chances as we head into February. However, based on the way things have been going this winter, it looks like the heavier snows will stay north and east of our area.

Have a great week. I'll be in Medicine Lodge on Tuesday for a school presentation. Look for pictures and an update later in the week.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Warmer Week Ahead

This weather is a good cure for cabin fever. Temperatures in the 50s this week helped me fend off the winter blues and we're going to get more mild weather in the week ahead.

I'm taking this chance to post a picture from my family Christmas. My oldest nephew, Wade, is now 2, and Pate is nearly 7 months old. Wade discovered the excitement in unwrapping presents this year and it is fun to spoil the heck out of them.

We're already looking ahead to the spring severe weather season. Spotter talks will be starting in about 2-3 weeks and it's also a very busy time for school talks. My calendar is filling up fast, and in just a few weeks, Millie and I will be headed to Medicine Lodge to visit with the elementary kids. I'm sure there will be some fun pictures to post in the near future.

Have a good week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A January Thaw Ahead

Can it possibly get any colder? I know some of you have been thinking that this week. Yes, it could be. The temperature in Flasher, ND dropped to -34 Friday morning, making it the cold spot in the nation. Flasher is just outside of Bismarck, ND, and they have 18 inches of snow on the ground. Some Kansans still have snow 4-8 inches deep in certain areas, but there is relief on the way. The computer data we look at suggests next week will be our first opportunity to thaw out with temperature readings possibly getting into the mid 50s for SW Kansas on Tuesday. It's going to take several weeks before any Arctic air can reload in Canada, so we should expect temperatures to be near normal or above through January 20th.

During this cold snap, we've received some great pictures from viewers across Kansas. Donneta Felbush sent the picture of the sun, but look at the bright spots on the left and right of the sun. Those are called "sun dogs" and it is caused by ice in the atmosphere. The ice crystals refract sunlight (like a prism) to form those spots. They are very common during the wintertime, when you're bound to have more ice in the atmosphere.

Another great picture is from Rick Reeser in NW Kansas. You are looking at "hoar frost". It forms in prolonged periods of subfreezing temperatures where moisture is collecting on surfaces that are also below freezing. When it turns foggy and temperatures are below 32 degrees, you should expect to see hoar frost. Mother Nature can be beautiful in the wintertime, but it's sometimes hard to see because we are so focused on trying to keep ourselves from freezing to death. Have a wonderful weekend.... and stay warm. Look for Millie Saturday and Sunday nights.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Cover in January

We are anticipating some of the coldest air that this area hasn't seen in the last 10-15 years to arrive Wednesday. Some record lows will be broken Thursday or Friday night, but even more impressive will be the wind chills dropping to 20 or 30 degrees below zero. Cold air of this magnitude is hard on livestock and any human that has to be out in the elements for any period of time. I remember as a kid helping my dad feed cattle in temperatures like this. You didn't want to leave the pickup for even 2 minutes (unless you could go skating on the frozen pond). There is a chance we'll see wind chill warnings and advisories issued as the cold air moves in. A bitter airmass like this normally modifies as it moves south, but look at the snow cover between Kansas and Canada. The snow is quite deep in some areas, so the air will not have a chance to modify after it dislodges from Canada.

I'm expecting that our weather pattern will change beginning next week. So heading into the 2nd and 3rd full weeks of January, we should be drawing in more Pacific air, which will allow us to warm up (maybe 30s and 40s) and begin to melt away some of this snow. Although melting snow is going to take a while in NE Kansas where there is about 5-9 inches still on the ground. We will be catching a break from the winter storms AND the Arctic air very soon, but first, we have to survive Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Have a great week.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Weather in Review

At the end of one year and the start of another, it is interesting to look back on the different kinds of weather patterns that influenced our weather. The most significant weather event of the year will depend on your location in the state. For Wichita, the 3" size hail event on July 8th will probably rank at the top of the list. Broken windshields, damaged trees and roofs, and ironic enough, a baseball game put on hold by baseball size hail will forever be remembered as some continue to recover from that crazy evening of weather.

The big snowstorm on March 28th will linger in the minds of many, especially for those in southcentral KS, where 25-30 inches of snow fell in about a 24-36 hour time frame. And snow drifts that were 4-8 feet deep. These types of snowstorms are rare for this area, but it serves as a reminder that it can still happen.

You may be thinking of another weather event that affected your local area in 2009. It seems as if Mother Nature always finds a way to leave her signature on the year, some more dramatic than others, but each event is unique. It makes our job very exciting, frustrating, difficult, etc. but yet we look forward to telling the story and tracking our ever changing weather in 2010 and anxiously await to see what kind of events will happen this year. Happy New Year.

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