Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friend for Millie?

One of our viewers emailed in with a picture of a fox that showed up by the Keeper of the Plains Saturday morning. Catherine Walker said she spotted this fox around 6 a.m., and was so excited to share it with someone. I'm guessing she took the picture with her camera phone, but talk about being in the right place at the right time. I understand that foxes can be aggressive if you get too close, so maybe Millie is not a good match for this little guy. Makes you wonder if this fox was headed for a swim in the river to cool off.

Hot weather is going to continue (I know you are surprised). I don't mind the heat, but it would be better if we could get some rain about every 5 or 6 days. Unfortunately, the weather pattern just doesn't support any widespread moisture for several more days, but I have a feeling that when this hot, dry pattern finally breaks, we may get some serious rainfall and not be able to shut it off. It will be interesting to see how the pattern changes as we head into the first half of August.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Largest Hailstone

This may be old news by the time you read it, but the 8 inch diameter hail that fell in Vivian, South Dakota on July 23rd is challenging the record for the largest hailstone ever. It measures 8 inches in diameter and has a circumference of 18.5 inches (remember, circumference is the distance around an object) The current record is a 7 inch diameter hailstone that fell in Aurora, Nebraska on June 22, 2003 with a circumference of 18.75. Coffeyville, Kansas held the record for a number of years with a hailstone that measured 5.7 inches in diameter and had a circumference of 17.5 inches.

We should be thankful that 8 inch hail doesn't happen often. As a meteorologist, we are astounded at how strong the updraft winds(wind going up in the atmosphere) must be to keep a hailstone of 8 inches suspended for any period of time. As a rule of thumb, updraft winds of 100 mph is usually necessary to keep baseball size hail aloft, and that's only 2.75 inches in diameter.

The weather pattern continues to favor hot weather, with the main storm track going around us. It is nothing unusual for this time of the year, and we won't see many changes until we get to the end of the first week of August, or the beginning of the second full week. But lets not rush things along, because before we know it, we'll be wanting warmer weather back.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Missile

You have to be careful what you leave in your car during this intense heat wave. You've probably had a CD that warped in the heat, or something else that was plastic that melted in the hot weather. I'm pretty sure I've had some chocolate candy in the car before that turned to liquid in the summer heat. And most of us have watched as TV reporters and meteorologists tried to bake cookies in a hot vehicle. One of our viewers left a can of compressed air in the vehicle and when it finally warmed up, it took off like a missile. Fortunately, it wasn't in a parking lot close to any people or other vehicles. It broke out the back windshield and the can continued to fly down the street. So I guess we can learn from this; don't leave compressed anything in the car when it gets this hot. The red circle in the picture is the can of air and it's interesting to see how far it flew down the street.

We still expect a change in the weather this weekend. It may only last for a few days, but at least we get something. If you are rooting for rain (and who isn't after the hot weather we've had), there is a chance we'll see some of that Friday night and into the weekend. It's hard to say how much, because the activity will likely remain isolated. If the humidity stays high, then that will increase the likelihood of some heavier downpours. Unfortunately, I don't see any real dramatic changes in the overall weather pattern, so the above normal temperature readings will continue into the first part of August.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

12.2 Audio

If you aren't familiar with it, Storm Team 12 has a dedicated weather channel, known as Always on Storm Team 12, and you'll find it on Cox Digital Cable 675, or over the air on 12.2 Last year, we started streaming our audio from the weather center so that viewers could listen in as we analyze the storms in realtime behind the scenes. On busy severe weather days, it is one of the best places to get information because as soon as it comes into our office, you're going to hear about it. And nowadays, we have several sources of information, including our storm chasers that roam around the state, providing eyewitness reports to what the storm is actually doing.

A viewer recently commented on an improper comment she heard on 12.2, and it led to this comment on my blog:

I would truly appreciate an apology.

The open mics in the weather center are intentional because we feel it maximizes our storm coverage on 12.2, without all of the necessary interruptions on KWCH. From time to time, you'll hear us answer the phone, or discuss something that may not be directly related to storms, but we will always do our best to be aware we're broadcasting our audio for everyone to hear . You expect the best from our team and we always strive to be just that. Thanks for understanding and welcome your feedback.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summertime in Kansas

This week looks hot with temperatures pushing 100 for many areas in the west. We are finally, for the first time this summer, starting to see what looks like a typical July weather pattern. The storm track goes north of Kansas, and we will be placed under a high pressure system in the upper atmosphere. So there will no doubt be more dry days, than wet ones in the days ahead. It also means the heat will be here to stay through the next several days.

Millie will have a photo album up on here in a few days. As part of the website redesign, we are adding a small section for her, so be sure to look for it soon. It's amazing to me how many people continue to come forward and say how much they enjoy seeing her in the weather center. And now I see a promotion running on KWCH with her in the Channel 12 booth at the state fair (hard to believe we are just a few months away from the 2010 state fair)

Some exciting news for me, as I will begin a 3 year term serving on the AMS Broadcast Board beginning January 1, 2011. This is a national board, made up of 12 individuals who will guide the direction of the certification program for broadcast meteorologists. So as part of the board, I'll be looking at the work of other broadcasters from across the nation, grading them on different criteria necessary to become certified. I'll also help plan the annual conference that will be held in Oklahoma City next June. So this is an exciting step for me and I'm sure I'll reference it in future blogs when something comes up. Have a great week.

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