Archive for February, 2008

Flip Flop Weather and 3 Kings
February 28, 2008

What in the world can John Tyler, J. Paul Getty and Richard Petty have in common? They are part of this date in History!!! But the weather may prove even more interesting than the subject of today’s tale.

First off, Thursday’s sunshine will turn to rain for at least part of Friday. Saturday we’re dry but a little cool…somewhere in the neighborhood of the mid 40’s. That’s not bad considering what we’ve had. Hold on to your pacemakers though because Sunday looks great. Strong southerly winds blow in temperatures in the upper 50’s or maybe even low 60’s. Take advantage of the weekend while you can. We haven’t had back to back days like that in a while. This is where we may flip or flop. A cold front comes through bringing rain and chilling us a bit. Now, there is general agreement that cyclogenesis will occur on the bottom of the front near the gulf coast. What is that? It’s not unusual. The wind patter works with the differing temperatures on land and at sea to form an area of low pressure. in cyclone or low pressure…and genesis..the beginning. So, the low will probably form. Question is where does it go? Some data suggests it goes across the SE to the East coast. That is typical. But other data suggests it runs generally up the Mississippi River Valley into our neck of the woods. Now, the latter scenario is what has been happening all winter. Should that happen, we get wet. If it’s cold enough we may even get a whole mess of snow. BUT…a problem with the snow scenario, provided everything moves as suggested, is if we have enough cold air.

Bottom line is if you hear before the weekend about a snowstorm next week, don’t get all worked up. Is it possible? Yes. BUT, there are many hurdles to overcome and many factors have to come into line exactly right and that is far from clear or imminent. I can tell you about “my feelings” on the subject but the truth is that atmospheric physics doesn’t take my feelings into account. My only feeling worth sharing is to enjoy the great weekend and as you do, we will see how it shakes out. The scenario won’t really show itself until Sunday or Monday. And keep this in mind…the model that first advertised this big event had it and then it completely made it disappear into fat air. Then magically, it reappeared. So…it’s possible but not necessarily probable…just enjoy the weekend.


On This Date In History: On this date in 1844, President John Tyler almost bought the farm. He was cruising on the USS Princeton the Navy’s newest and best warship that featured a 27 inch cannon. Trouble was, the cannon hadn’t been tested. Nevermind, the bigshots in Tyler’s cabinet wanted that sucker fired! So they fired it twice and it worked. The designer of the gun begged them not to tempt fate a third time to no avail. They fired it a third time and it exploded, killing a bunch of people. Now, Tyler had a wife when he took over for William Henry Harrison, whom had died after just several weeks in office. Tyler had 8 kids with the wife. No wonder she died. So, the then single President had taken a fancy to a 20 year old named Julia whom Tyler had asked to marry but she hadn’t answered. When the gun blew up, it killed her father. I don’t know if she wanted a new father or if it was a sign or what, but she then accepted Tyler’s proposal and she promptly delivered for Tyler, another 7 kids. Our most pro-creationist President went on to retire to his home in Virginia which had previously been owned by his former boss, President William Henry Harrison! Today, the home is still owned and lived in by the Tyler family. As of this writing one of Tyler’s grandsons is still alive. Snow White and I visited the home several years ago and the only other people there were a nice, attractive couple. The young lady turned to me and said, “aren’t you the weatherman in Louisville?” Small world.

On this Date in 1960, Richard Petty won his first Grand National race. It was the first of 200 NASCAR victories. Eight months earlier, he had been declared the winner of the race but he lost after the guy who came in second protested the finish successfully. So his first victory was snatched from him by….Lee Petty…his father! Talk about tough love…


On this date in 1982, the J. Paul Getty Museum was endowed. Getty had made a fortune in the oil business and he had developed a love of art so he left a third of his fortune to the museum when he died in 1976. At that time, that was about $700 million. By the time the courts got done with all of the legal wrangling involved in big estate cases, the economy was booming and the endowment grew to $1.2 billion. By 2000, the endowment had grown to $5 billion. Three of every 4 years, the law says that the trust must spend 4.25% in order to maintain tax-exempt status. The first year that was $54 million. Today it’s more like $200 million! The trust has a hard time finding places to spend it. They don’t want to look like they are greedily hoarding all of the world’s art but they have to spend it somewhere. Such problems. Steve Burgin thinks they should give it to him since so many people consider him a national treasure.

A Short Memory?
February 27, 2008

Let’s see…pretty crummy day ahead. Cloudy, windy, cold. Highs will only get to the upper 20’s at best but wind chills will be in the single digits and teens. Also, there will be some flurries flying about. Snow totals overnight and Wednesday will be less than an inch so its not a big deal though wind combined with a few slick spots may make for difficult driving overnight and Wednesday morning. Don’t drive too fast…take my word for it….I’ve got experience driving too fast in wintry conditions. I was just lucky enough to tell you about it.

Did you Forget that on This date in 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed? The above photo is from the ATF files of the incident. Nice hole, huh? I suspect the bad guys got closer to undermining the integrity of the substructure than we were led to believe. No matter, they came back again 8 years later after we forgot about their intentions. While everyone remembers Sept. 11, 2001 and the events of the day I sometimes wonder if we remember enough that we take seriously the possibility that they will come back again, just as they did following their near-miss of February 26, 1993.

On This Date in 1972 a cascade of water funnelled down Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia. 4000 homes and buildings in 17 towns were washed away and at least 118 people lost their lives. The culprit was a rather ironic foe. The irony lay in that the killer was also the lifeline to many of those who died.

The Buffalo Mining Company was one of a number of companies exploiting West Virginia’s greatest natural asset (aside from its beauty) which is coal. Much of the state’s wealth and economy is based on coal. But a problem with coal mining is what to do with the wastes. If you put them on a mountain, you get landslides and if you put them in a valley, you spoil the creek or river. The great idea of the Buffalo group was to build a dam. Actually, it was a series of three dams. Because of the type of dam they were, they weren’t really regulated much. There really wasn’t much of an engineering study done or anything. The waste from coal mining is inherently unstable and makes for a lousy dam. The first dam gave way, putting pressure on the second dam which failed and the huge amount of water spilling down caused the main dam to collapse.

When you look at the steep terrain of West Virginia, it makes you wonder, “what were they thinking?” It’s one of those things in which it seems so obvious that using unstable material in such an area that a three-year-old could figure it out that it wouldn’t work. To say that its an example of corporate greed is probably a bit over-the-top as I’m sure those with the company didn’t want that to happen. Even if you have cynical view of the corporation, from their fiscal standpoint, it cost them a huge amount of money. However, the company was a subsidiary of the Pittston Mining Company and that company had a history of shabby safety practices. So, it would be fair to say that it appears that the company’s saving money on safety issues was the root cause of the disaster. But, given what it cost them from lawsuits, lost revenues, fines and other costs it seems that a greedy fellow would have prevented that from happening in order that they may keep more of their money. The result was from short sighted, stupid business practices and its a shame that we have to have government watch dogs to force some businesses to do what is not only smart from a corporate standpoint, but the right thing to do from a human perspective and for a business that relies on the efforts of their fellow citizens of the United States of America for their success.

The World is Shocked
February 25, 2008

I have recovered from my slide of doom on the Gene Snyder last Thursday. Jay says it’s my own fault for driving 50 mph in an ice storm. That’s why he’s the chief. This weekend I said we’d get some “stuff” over Louisville with some flakes but that the air temperatures would be above freezing. Generally in the ballpark but I have to admit it was a little more robust than anticipated. Really nothing more than nuisance snow showers and it ended by the afternoon as I suspected but some folks in the northern third of the viewing area did get some minor accumulation that disappeared relatively quickly. Today, my mother-in-law said someone was claiming temperatures near 60 which I knew was bogus and the mid 40’s was more likely. I told her to stop watching the wrong channel. As it is, we will probably only get to the low 40’s today as the warm front will not get here, though its possible we climb overnight to the mid 40’s with rain then the front moves through and we fall to the low 30’s by Tuesday afternoon. Snow showers are possible late Tuesday carrying into Tuesday night and ending as flurries on Wednesday…a cold Wednesday at that. Snow White had someone accost her about snow today and we had some calls about salt trucks standing by this afternoon! I’m not sure where that type of information is coming from but the threat of snow does not show up until at least Tuesday afternoon so enjoy the day while you can.

On This Date In History: Muhammed Ali shocked the world with a forecast any meteorologist would love. On this date in 1964, the 22-year-old Louisvillian and Olympic Gold medal champion defeated the feared World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The legend of Ali was well on its way and today, Ali stands as a champion to many, not just in sports but also as a living icon.

On this date in 1928, the Federal Radio Commission issued its first television licence to Charles Francis Jenkins Laboratories for a television station in Washington, D.C. This guy Jenkins must have been sorta experimenting…either that or he was the forerunner to PBS.

See…government has been getting its nose into new technology almost as quickly as it gets started, though they seemed to have hit a wall with the Internet…so far. The Wireless Act of 1910 required ships at sea broadcasting wireless transmission to have trained and licensed personnel at the radio. Did the Titanic alot of good in 1912 when the operators, trained and licensed, were more interested in sending personal messages of the passengers instead of listening to ice warnings. In the 20’s, Congress passed a bunch of laws regulating commercial stations, how much power they could use and the use of commercials and such. In 1927, the Radio Act created a new bureaucracy with the creation of the Federal Radio Commission, which became the Federal Communications Commission in 1934. All this regulation and CBS still switched from the Kentucky game with less than a minute to go to the Duke tip-off! There ought to be a law!! We got all sorts of calls and it wasn’t our fault. We apologize for the switch and I promise no one here made the decision nor the switch. It was strictly controlled from New York.

And finally, not long after Henry Ford’s Model T’s started filling the roads, on this date in 1919 Oregon introduced the first state tax on gasoline…and they haven’t stopped taxing since. Seems like every time we get a new invention, we get a new tax….and in fact we have been getting taxed since…

This Date in 1913, when the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified by the required 3/4 of the states and became the law of the land. This amendment allowed the Congress to tax the income of Americans. Now, it didn’t Require that Congress tax Americans but Congress couldn’t resist and by October of that year, President Wilson had signed into law the Revenue Act of 1913 that re-introduced the income tax on Americans.

February 22, 2008

I’m in hibernation. Yesterday afternoon I tested out the freeways that were in such good condition. I ended up doing about a quarter-mile power slide, fish-tail on the Gene Snyder as I ended up off the road. I saw two other poor souls who traveled the treated road only to find themselves in a deep ravine. Like me, they appeared to be uninjured so I traveled on…back home to Snow White where it was safe and warm. I was lucky that there weren’t other cars nearby or any signs that might have otherwise cut me in two. The roadcrews did a great job but, beware, in icy conditions there is no such thing as a safe road.

The Eclipse, The Postal Service and Ice
February 21, 2008

First off….here’s the way its shaking out. We may get a wee bit of snow early Thursday afternoon but primarily, look for sleet and freezing rain until the evening when it turns to freezing rain. That will be the case in light forms throughout the overnight until the early after daybreak when it turns to all rain. The brine solution will help keep the roads from become icy but not completely. See, the solution is good for preventing snow and ice from bonding to the surface. But it loses some of its effectiveness when you get rain. If it rains hard, then it washes away. Freezing rain does not freeze immediately in the temperatures we will have and the temperatures of the road so it will behave as a liquid and wash some of the solution before freezing thus making the solution somewhat less effective. This initial precip though probably will be relatively light so it will probably remain somewhat worthwhile. Nonetheless, not all roads get the brine and there will likely be icy spots on secondary roads as the night wears on and perhaps even the main roads. I’d still leave work early. The heaviest precip appears to want to happen during the day on Friday when we will receive all rain.

The Eclipse: Lunar eclipses generally don’t do much for me. When its in partial form, it looks like the moon in one of its phases and when it’s total, it just looks like its been dimmed. The amber like color is due to refraction and scattering of light through the earth’s atmosphere, much like you would see at some moonrises or sunsets. The next total eclipse of the moon visible here I believe is in 2010. The picture above was from a previous total eclipse and looks much like what I saw tonight. I do not know why there is and was for me a section in the lower right that appears almost all white. It was supposed to be total as is this photo, yet it doesn’t look total to me. Someone, feel free to explain it. Either way, I disagree with the national news celebrity I saw tonight say it was “absolutely spectacular.” To me it wasn’t absolute nor spectacular.

On This Date In History: President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act on this date in 1792. It established in the Congressional domain the establishment of official postal routes, post offices and such and made it illegal for anyone to open anyone else’s mail. Previously, private companies or entrepreneurs had delivered the mail. The Crown had established the position of Postmaster General in 1707 with that person being charged with co-ordinating and improving communications between the colonies. In 1737, 31-year-old Benjamin Franklin became the Colonial Postmaster General until he was fired by the Crown for his subversive activities. In 1775, the Continental Congress named Franklin it’s first Postmaster General and he is largely, and perhaps correctly, credited with being the nation’s first Postmaster General. But, the nation hadn’t even been formed then. A few months following Washington’s initial inauguration as the first President, Samuel Osgood took the post beginning September 26, 1789 followed by Timothy Pickering on August 12, 1791 who held the post until Joseph Habersham, beginning February 25, 1795.

So…it may be more correct to say that Osgood was the first Postmaster of the United States or even Pickering since he was the first after the Act was signed. But, the Articles of Confederation of 1781 and then the Constitution of 1787 both established Congress’ authority of to establish and regulate postage. Both of those post dated Franklin who only held the post from July 26, 1775 to November 1776. I guess that Franklin had better things to do following the Declaration of Independence, like maybe avoiding being captured by the Redcoats. The job paid $1000 a year but I suppose Ben figured his hide was worth even more than that ample Colonial sum. So, he turned over the duties to his second, Richard Bache, who also happened to be his son-in-law.

So, I’m not so sure its accurate to say that Franklin was the first Postmaster General, though the US Postal Service will make that claim. Franklin was however the first to hold the post to turn a profit for the Crown when he did so in 1760. So perhaps its fitting that Franklin gets the credit for being the father of the post office. Heck, he’s probably the only guy who’s ever learned how to turn a profit. Maybe we can clone his DNA and put back at the helm.

Green Eggs Benedict? Ice Rink Thursday?
February 20, 2008

First things first. This Wednesday business about snow is not much of a big deal. A little snow is about it…less than an inch for the Metro area, probably more in the neighborhood of a half inch. Northern counties will get 1 or 2 inches. Trouble is its probably going to be falling during the morning rush hour. Last week, we had light snow during rush hour before we eventually got around 4 inches. During the rush hour we had less than an inch..but the rush hour took more like two hours. Bottom line: give yourself some extra time but it shouldn’t be that bad. Now Thursday is the real story. We start as snow…lets say we get 1-3 inches before we turn to freezing rain. I’m concerned it may be a substantial amount of freezing rain…more than last week. I lost some limbs from my poor old pine tree and can’t afford to lose many more. I also like the idea of having heat for the house. Hopefully it won’t be that bad but, just beware, Thursday evening and night may get tough…Friday morning may be tough too. Plan to leave work early on Thursday.

On This Date In History: On this date in 1777, Benedict Arnold turned green with envy and it probably led to his becoming one of the most infamous figures in American history. On February 19, 1777 the Continental Congress promoted a bunch of Brigadier Generals to the rank of Major General. These guys were all junior to Benedict Arnold but by making them Major Generals, they all leap-frogged him in rank. The reason was that Congress was trying to even out the number of general officers from each state but Arnold didn’t see it that way. He felt snubbed and he wanted to quit and offered his resignation. General George Washington wouldn’t accept it and talked his friend out of it. Probably a mistake for the Father of our Country because Arnold remained miffed for several years until he became a turncoat and tried to hand over the American fort at West Point, New York to the enemy.

Now, its not entirely clear that the elevation of the other men to Major General is what caused Arnold to turn traitor but it’s probably a pretty safe assumption it played some role. In any event, Arnold becomes a general in the British army and he ends up on the losing side. After the war he went to live in the Mother Country but he wasn’t much better received than he would have been in the new United States. Seems the Brits didn’t look too kindly on a traitorous scoundrel, even if the scoundrel hailed from the other team. Arnold died in Britain in 1801 as a destitute, largely friendless man.

So…the moral to the story is green with envy doesn’t always result in green in the pockets. Keep the ego in check and keep the pride in storage and you’ll probably end up fairing better than Benedict Arnold.

Remember the Maine!! (it’s more pertinent than you think)
February 16, 2008

Look for a pretty good Saturday, though it will be seasonably cool. Sunday we warm to the upper 50’s and low 60’s. Rain will move in on the warm front in the morning and then we get rain a some thunderstorms later Sunday. The cold front will move through and the mercury will tumble. Wrap around moisture should provide some light snow late Sunday night and throughout the day on Monday we may get flurried to death. Some models want to toss out over an inch of snow over a 30 hour time frame. Shouldn’t be that big of a deal but I would plan on giving yourself some extra drive time Monday morning…a little snow can make for big headaches.

On This Date In History: On February 11, 1898, Elizabeth Carter was born in the Oklahoma Territory. She went on to become Elizabeth Carter Symon, my grandmother. Four days later, on this date in the same year, the USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor in Cuba. So what was the Maine doing in Cuba to begin with?

Well, Cuba was under the rule of Spain at the time and locals were in the midst of a rebellion. American President William McKinley decided it would be a great idea to send one of the nation’s first battleships to Havana on a “friendly” visit and to protect American interests. Seems to me this was an early form of gunboat diplomacy. Mysteriously, the Maine exploded.

A certain newspaper man, William Randolph Hearst, was known for sensational headlines and he helped whip up American public opinion by blaring headlines that the Maine was deliberately sabotaged by the Spanish! Why they would do such a thing seems lost on the Americans as they, and their government, jumped to the conclusion. The US Navy had an inquiry that concluded the ship’s death was the result of a mine.

In the mid 1970’s, a new research effort concluded that the ship probably exploded due to a fire smoldering in the coal bunker. The fire ignited either the ammunition directly or coal dust. But, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good war. The US wanted the Spanish out of the Western Hemisphere and it coveted the Spanish controlled Philippines in the Pacific.

War was declared on Spain by Congress. Under-Secretary of the Navy and former New York Governor Teddy Roosevelt resigned his position to lead a group of volunteers that became known as the Rough Riders. Roosevelt gained fame, became McKinley’s Vice-President and then ascended to the Presidency upon President McKinley’s assassination in Buffalo on Sept 6, 1901. The war with Spain was over before the end 1898 and Cuba became independent and so did the Philippines….sorta. This is where this becomes relevant to today.

See, there were hundreds of thousands of insurgents in the Philippines and the US army had to pacify them. Many suggested that it was a civil war. By the time Teddy Roosevelt comes to power, Senators start urging the President to withdraw from an “endless civil war” in which “hundreds of thousands” of Filipinos had died and “tens of thousands of American soldiers. Some said we had no business there and it wasn’t worth the effort. The US pledged to stay the course and allow the Philippines to grow as a democracy. (does this sound familiar)

The Philippines finally had self rule following the second world war and the US military presence came to an end in about 1991 when the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo destroyed the huge Subic Bay US Navy base. The Philippines has remained an important US Allie since WWII as the US has been at loggerheads with the Soviet Union and now China and increasingly Russia.

Here is the point of this story: Many people think that the Iraq situation is reminiscent of Vietnam. I would disagree and suggest that it has very little in common with Vietnam and is much more similar to the Philippines following the Spanish American War. The trouble is that for some reason, the public school system in all states just glosses over from about 1877 until 1929 in the history books. We don’t know much about the Guilded Age, The Spanish American War or World War I. Even Korea isn’t covered much so…people today remember Vietnam so they grab that out of fat air as a comparison. On the surface, it may seem to be the same but more careful inspection shows that Vietnam and Iraq have very little in common but the Philippines and Iraq are much more amenable for compare/contrast analysis.

I won’t make a qualitative assessment of the Philippines situation or current events. But I would encourage you to get some good books about the Spanish American War and the aftermath if you want to find something that holds some similarities to the current situation. History does not repeat itself as its a different time and different place but the parallels in this case are interesting.

Note: Just as a point of reference, the USS Maine was one of the earliest US Battleships. It had a displacement of 6000 tons. In comparison, the Ohio Class of United State Ballistic Missle Nuclear Submarines have a surface displacement of over 16,000 tons and the final group of US Battleships, the Iowa Class, had a 45,000 ton displacement. In other words, the Maine was a toy boat by today’s standards.

Guys: Don’t Make a Joke Out of Valentine’s Day
February 14, 2008

Valentine’s Day. Quite romantic around here with the snow on the ground and the temperatures warming to the upper 30’s and low 40’s. You may have heard on another channel a few days ago that Friday/Saturday would be another round of snow. We weren’t ever all that bullish, preferring instead to go with the idea of light rain and maybe a little turnover. Well, that’s off the board now almost completely. The system rounding the bend isn’t going to do so and the front moving through may produce a shower or two but I bet its basically a non-event. We warm nicely on Sunday but rain will be in the picture before we chill down on Monday and get perhaps a snoot full of flurries…but nothing to substantive.

Valentine’s Day What’s the deal with this? Who invented it? I always figured it was a conspiracy of the greeting card people and chocolate manufacturers to try to boost business in the dark days of winter. Al Capone thought it was a good day to get rid of his competition. But, whatever it is, don’t make light of it, guys. Last year, I tried and it flopped. I took Snow White to a family restaurant….one in which patrons stand in line with cafeteria trays. I thought it would be funny. The humor was obviously lost as for the past 365 days the subject has arisen from time to time. Don’t be like Bob. Treat the day with great respect and do some really nice things for your Valentine….or you will be reminded of your transgressions for the next 12 months. There are plenty of nice places to eat in town and your efforts will be well rewarded. I have done my best to make up for last year’s disaster to Snow White. She deserves all that I can give and I know there are hundreds of left over suitors who would love to do the same, though they are afraid I may order up a thunderbolt in their nether regions if they attempted to do so. Snow White is the grandest of all Valentine’s ladies in my book.

The history of the day is, as usual, a bit sketchy. I’ve heard that it was linked to some pagan fertility festival of days of yore and other tales take it to Geoffrey Chaucer somehow. As with many old traditions emanating from Europe, this one seems to have some tie to the Catholic Church. I don’t care to go into it but you can look it up for yourself. I’ve provided a link to a Wikipedia entry, though that site is not academically reliable. It should provide some answers though and probably create more questions. The only answer I have for you though is to treat the day with the respect that you would treat your loved one(s)!’s_Day

Winter Storm Warning
February 11, 2008

I told you they would change the Winter Storm Watch. It’s now a Winter Storm Warning for this afternoon through midday Tuesday. It covers the viewing area from Bullitt County northward. All of Southern Indiana is included. The rest of the area except for Hart, Green, Adair and Taylor counties are under a winter weather advisory.
Pretty much the same story as yesterday. We go all snow until around midnight, then sleet then freezing rain until around sunrise followed by a cold rain. Plan on a difficult rush hour this afternoon and particularly for Tuesday morning. Freezing rain on top of snow will be a real mess.
The trick here will be the snow amounts. I had suggested a conservative 2 to 4 inches with locally heavier amounts knowing full well that the models were indicating more. Now, they’ve even gone heavier. The top one has us in the dark green, which is 4-6 inches. The grey in the western part of the viewing area indicates 6-8 inches. The bottom map has us barely in the grey, which is 6-8 inches and the blues in southern Indiana reflecting 8-12 inches. But….if sleet mixes in, then the amounts will be reduced.
Our air is very dry so the early snow will be a light fluffy snow that may end up showing up as closer to a 15-1 or even 20-1 ratio of liquid conversion to snow. So, for instance, the bottom model indicates .24″ of precipitation this afternoon. Normally, you expect about a 10-1 ratio so that would equal 2.4″ of snow. But, if we had 20-1, then that would be 4.8″ of snow. For now, we’re going with 3-6 inches with locally higher amounts. At this point, I don’t think that the snow amount differences will be all that consequential. I feel like that, pragmatically, its the ice. If it falls more as sleet, then it won’t be so bad. But, there are indications that the freezing rain portion of the event may be broader in time. I had suggested a quarter to a half inch of ice and that is still a distinct possibility. Should that happen…particularly when you get toward a half inch..then power outages become more likely. As mentioned previously, that is the only weather event in which I do not want to be involved. My cats aren’t fat enough to keep both me and Snow White warm and you know which of us will win the battle for the cats. It’s one of those situations when Nit and Wit suddenly become her cats and not mine.
Stay tuned to see the ultimate outcome. Hopefully, we can just have mainly a nice fluffy snow and avoid the ice, though it seems remote that we will avoid the ice altogether.

Best Shot At Winter Weather This Season
February 11, 2008

No history today, no stories of yore or my travels. We’ve got weather to talk about. First shot at good looking snow potential this season. We were looking for a mix of precipitation for Monday afternoon. Well, its still a mix but its much broader in scale and scope….meaning a bigger mess.
It’s rather interesting but its really a similar set up as the past two Tuesdays when we had an area of low pressure moving up from the Southwest almost right over the top of us. Two weeks ago, it resulting in widespread strong winds with an isolated tornado. Last week there were numerous tornadic thunderstorms. The difference this time is that we have cold air in place that will stay there…no big warm up. So this time, we start as snow Monday afternoon…and stay that way for much of the evening. The two maps above are two different computer models idea of what will happen as of Sunday evening. On the top one, the yellow indicates up to 4 inches of snow. The bottom one has a gray slab nosing in over us. That represents six inches. At this time, I’m going with two to four with isolated higher amounts.
Here’s the rub though…as the low moves up, the mixed bag begins. Just prior to midnight, we change to sleet. A few hours later we turn to freezing rain. Ice accumulations may be up to 1/2 inch. If there’s one type of weather I don’t want, its freezing rain. Let’s hope the wires and trees hold up. Good news is that we turn to rain at or just after sunrise so ice may not be on long enough to cause too many problems. We get a cold rain for much of Tuesday before it ends Tuesday afternoon, perhaps as a few light, insignificant snow showers.
Bottom line is this. Monday evening rush hour will be difficult. Tuesday morning looks tough too. Plan ahead. As of Sunday evening, there is a Winter Storm Watch for our viewing area from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning. I suspect that will be changed.
I’d stay tuned to Newschannel 32 for updates as we get closer to the event. We’ll be able to nail down the snow and ice amounts. I’m sure the weather service will also be updating watches or issuing warnings too.