Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Year Over!

I find it hard to believe 2010 is already coming to a close, but here we are getting ready for another new year. There are a number of weather events that you may recall from the last year, and the two that come to my mind first is the big hailstorm that hit on September 15th. Softball size hail was reported in a few areas of southcentral Kansas and a number of homes needed repair following the storm. Overall, the tornado count was down for 2010 here in Kansas, but the storm chasers are probably the only ones that are upset about that. The other big weather story was the intense summer heat that was relentless. In fact, it was the hottest summer since 1980 for Wichita with an average temperature of 82.3, which was about 4 degrees above normal. There has been a significant lack in moisture too. The recent trends of storms passing north of Kansas will likely continue, but we hope that we'll get at least some moisture soon as the wheat crop could sure use it.

Making any resolutions for the new year? I try to avoid them because I almost never follow through with them anyway. We do have something exciting coming in 2011. Wichita will be one of the first locations to get an upgrade to the Doppler radar that we use almost daily in severe weather season. The radar was scheduled to be upgraded in early 2011, but there is a slight delay and the waiting game continues. However, we expect it will be installed before the start of tornado season in 2011. It will require some extensive training for the broadcast meteorologists, but we are excited as this is the first big change to the radar since 1988.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

School Visit and Millie

We had a chance to visit the 4th graders at Meadowlark Elementary School last Friday in Andover. It was fun to teach the kids about weather and to ask them about what they wanted for Christmas. As we always do, we did the cloud-in-a-bottle experiment and had them check out the weather balloon. Lots of ooohhhhs and aaaahhhhhssss.

Millie is ready for Christmas. As to what she'll get for Christmas, I'm not really sure. She needs a new dog bed and she wouldn't turn down some milk bones either. The squeaky toys are almost a joke because they hardly last for more than about 3 days, and then the squeaky is out and then comes the stuffing.

At any rate, we hope you have a great Christmas. It will not be a white one this year, as we are stuck in one of the longest dry ruts we've had in years. Storms go right over Kansas and produce next to nothing for our area. Another one will come through on Monday (Dec. 20) and produce absolutely nothing for our state. Another one may come through on Thursday (De. 23), but it looks to mainly pass through northeast Kansas, so we'll probably remain dry into the last full week of 2010. Maybe the new year will bring something for us, but these patterns are so difficult to break. One of the main reasons we are dry is because the storm track is too far north, and even when it dips down into Kansas, there just isn't moisture available until the storm gets east of us. If we are going to break this dry spell at this time of the year (which will be hard to do), we are going to have to get a system out of the southwest. Computer models indicate some kind of change in the pattern for the end of the year, but I don't think we should hold our breath just yet.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Major Winter Storm

The upper midwest has just been whacked with a major winter storm that dumped nearly 20 inches of snow in the Twin Cities. The snow was so heavy that it collapsed the Metrodome in Minneapolis on Sunday. The wind was gusting over 50 mph and the local law enforcement closed a number of roads and basically said, stay home. Even the snow plows were getting stuck in the whiteout conditions.

Anything like that in Kansas soon???? No way! Our pattern this week will allow temperatures to recover from the Arctic air that settled in over the weekend. But we do not see any organized areas of rain or snow coming this way soon. In fact, our chance at a White Christmas is going down each and every day, as the computer models do not show any big storms coming through between now and Christmas Day. Our chance of having snow on the ground Christmas morning is very low anyway, and this year as we deal with La Nina, it's even less likely that we will have snow for the holiday.

Some areas have gone over a month now without any measurable precipitation and that is not likely to change soon. I'll let you know when I see something on the horizon.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Star Spangled Banner Ooops

I wasn't there for the game, but I saw on Youtube the man singing the Star Spangled Banner at the KC vs. Broncos game Sunday (Dec. 5th) had a major oops. He forgot the part of the song "Whose bright stripes and bright stars" and ended up starting over again. You have to feel bad for this guy, and I've never sang in front of a large crowd like that, but I would imagine now he is wishing he would've had a notecard with him. You'll have to search Guy Forgets National Anthem at Chiefs vs Broncos on Youtube to see it. I've goofed up on the air before, only when I do mine, it's just me and a camera and not a huge stadium of people there to boo me.

Other than ups and downs in temperatures, we just don't see any major winter storms coming this way soon. A big one will form right over Kansas Saturday, but then quickly move on to the east. That will open the door to some Arctic air by Saturday and Sunday. The graphic attached here is showing the cold air surging south by Sunday morning at 6 a.m. It will no doubt feel every bit like December late in the upcoming weekend.

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