How Rainy Has it REALLY Been?

We've gotten a lot of comments and questions, on social media, about whether or not this summer has been wetter than normal.  And the answer is yes, but it has not been THE wettest summer ever. To be exact, this has been the 19th wettest on record! We have seen 34 days of measurable rain too! The wettest summer ever was the summer of 1882, with 48 days of rain. The persistent rain this year has resulted in lush greenery and more noticeably (at least to lawn-less me) the high humidity.

827 rainy summer

One particular question we received, on our WDRB Weather page, was about this summer vs last summer and which year was wetter. A woman named Debbie, was debating with her friends about which year had more rain. I took a screen shot of the question below.

Just debbie

I responded to this post and basically said "it depends!"  That's because if you look at the summer as a whole (since June 1st), Debbie's friends were right. But if you are basing this on recent memory, like the month of August, Debbie would be right! 

The data I am using comes from NWS at the Louisville International Airport. For August 2016 (through today's date) there has been 5.68'' of rain. For August 2015 (through today's date) there was 3.47'' -  so more than two inches of rain this year!

827 august

However, since June 1, 2016 (through today) we have seen 14.58'' and last year for the same time frame we had seen 18.94''! So more than 4 inches of rain for summer 2015 than this year! 

827 2015 vs 2016

We could see a few spotty showers and storms today (adding to the rain total and high humidity). Our best chance early will be for our northern counties, and then during the heat of the day, we could see some pop up further south! To find out when we will see some drier days, tune into WDRB News with Jeremy this evening! 

-Meteorologist Katie McGraw


A Spectacular Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter Occurs This Weekend!

Venus and Jupiter are converging for a spectacular conjunction in the sky on August 27th. The planets roughly line up about once a year, but usually not as close. This year they will appear to be separated by 1/15th of a degree!


We have our Earthly vantage point to thank for this display since the planets are still more than 416,399,477 miles apart. Head outside just after sunset this Saturday and look west. Venus is the brighter planet. Check out the video below for more info...


Video Courtesy:  ScienceCasts: A Spectacular Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter - YouTube ScienceAtNASA





-Rick DeLuca



Mars Looks Just Earth!

Nope, not Arizona! It's actually our neighbor in space, the "red planet" of Mars!

Check out this 360-degree panorama that was captured by the Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover as the rover neared features called "Murray Buttes" on lower Mount Sharp reminiscent of the U.S. Southwest. (Be sure to use your mouse to move the image around!)


Video Courtesy: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The view combines more than 130 images taken on August 5, 2016, during the afternoon of the mission's 1,421st sol, or Martian day, by Mastcam's left-eye camera. This date also was the fourth anniversary of Curiosity's landing.

The dark, flat-topped mesa seen to the left of Curiosity's robotic arm is about 300 feet from the rover's position. It stands about 50 feet high. The horizontal ledge near the top of the mesa is about 200 feet across. An upper portion of Mount Sharp appears on the distant horizon to the left of this mesa.

The relatively flat foreground is part of a geological layer called the Murray formation, which formed from lakebed mud deposits. The buttes and mesas rising above this surface are eroded remnants of ancient sandstone that originated when winds deposited sand after lower Mount Sharp had formed. Curiosity closely examined that layer -- the Stimson formation -- during the first half of 2016 while crossing a feature called "Naukluft Plateau" between two exposures of the Murray formation.

The buttes and mesas of Murray Buttes are capped by material that is relatively resistant to erosion, just as is the case with many similarly shaped buttes and mesas on Earth. The informal naming honors Bruce Murray (1931-2013), a Caltech planetary scientist and director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

The scene is presented with a color adjustment that approximates white balancing, to resemble how the rocks and sand would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.

Curious about Curiosity? Visit NASA's website.

Hope to see you bright and early tomorrow morning from 6-9 am!

-Meteorologist Katie McGraw



Frantic Search For Survivors After 6.2 Earthquake In Italy...

Rescue crews frantically dug through crumbled homes in Italy today looking for survivors as the death toll reached 250. As many as 365 people were injured in the 6.2 magnitude quake that struck at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday morning. About 17 hours after the quake struck, firefighters found a 10-year-old girl under a crumbled home. Cheers broke out when she was pulled out alive...


Video Courtesy: ViralVideos1



MASSIVE Tornado Tears Through Northwest Ohio

You may have seen some videos online from the very active and severe weather yesterday (August 24, 2016) in Indiana, like the one of the Starbucks being leveled. But there were also some intense tornadoes in NW Ohio, like this HUGE tornado in the clip below. It is probably half a mile wide and in the video you can see the destruction.

*Warning: Contains explicit language*


Video Courtesy: Live Storms Media

There is also this crazy (and I mean crazy for filming it) video out of Kokomo, Indiana. A man stayed inside his garage as a an EF-3 tornado tore through his neighborhood. Not very smart or safe.


Video Courtesy: Mark Sayger

Lastly, a video showing the devastation caused from several tornadoes across IN and OH. The NWS is out surveying the areas hit today. There is no word on how many tornadoes actually touched the ground yet. It could be as many as 35.


Video Courtesy: ABC15Arizona

-Meteorologist Katie McGraw


The Storm Prediction Center is monitoring for the Possibility of Severe Storms this Evening!

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Slight Risk for severe weather for areas along and north of I-64 including Louisville metro for this evening. 


Here's what Storm Prediction Center is saying...
















High Instability

As scattered t-storms develop in a moisture rich environment, they will have the ability to tap into an EXTREMELY unstable environment with most unstable CAPE's (convective available potential energy) maximizing at more than 4,000 j/kg over the Wabash River Valley late this afternoon.  CAPE's remain at a robust 3,000+ over our Indiana Counties.



Mid Level Flow

Meanwhile, the mid level flow is showing good steering winds aloft oriented from the W/NW to the E/SE across our area this evening.

500mb wind

This would allow any storms that fire over the Wabash River Valley to dive in our direction this evening.  


Timing out the Storms...

Although there is considerable model uncertainty about the possible evolution of storms, here's a look at a recent AdvanceTrak (HRRR) run giving you a general idea of what to expect...






What do I think?

While not a guarantee for storms in our area, the chance appears to be increasing especially for our Indiana counties where about 60% coverage can be expected.  

Rain chances

For Louisville and points to the south, activity looks to be a bit more scattered the the potential will be there for gusty high winds with any storms that do develop.  

Stay tuned to WDRB for a full update on what to expect this evening.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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"Significant Causalities" after 6.2 Earthquake in Italy

According to the US Geological Survey, a major earthquake hit central Italy around 3:30 this morning, local time. It registered as a 6.2 on the Richter Scale. It hit about 10 kilometers from the town of Norcia and there are reports that people could feel tremors as far as Rome.  Several aftershocks followed shortly after. One was of magnitude 5.5. No word on an exact death toll, but there have been some reports of at least 37 killed  and it continues to climb. USGS says significant causalities are likely because many of the buildings are vulnerable. 
8-24 epi center map
More Details: 

According to USGS , the 6.2 earthquake southeast of Norcia, Italy, occurred as the result of shallow normal faulting on a NW-SE oriented fault in the Central Apennines. The Apennines is a mountain range that runs from the Gulf of Taranto in the south to the southern edge of the Po basin in northern Italy. Geologically, the Apennines is largely an accretionary wedge formed as a consequence of subduction. This region is tectonically and geologically complex, involving both subduction of the Adria micro-plate beneath the Apennines from east to west, continental collision between the Eurasia and Africa plates building the Alpine mountain belt further to the north and the opening of the Tyrrhenian basin to the west. The evolution of this system has caused the expression of all different tectonic styles acting at the same time in a broad region surrounding Italy and the central Mediterranean. The August 24, 2016 normal faulting earthquake is an expression of the east-west extensional tectonics that now dominate along the Apennine belt, primarily a response to the Tyrrhenian basin opening faster than the compression between the Eurasia and Africa plates. At the location of the earthquake, the Eurasia plate moves towards the northeast with respect to Africa at a rate of approximately 24 mm/yr.

The central Apennine region has experienced several significant earthquakes in recorded history. In September 1997, a 6.0 earthquake 50 km north-northwest of the August 24, 2016 event killed 11, injured over 100 and destroyed approximately 80,000 homes in the Marche and Umbria regions. This 1997 event was part of a series of earthquakes known as the Umbria-Marche seismic sequence, which included eight events of magnitude greater than M5.0 in a two-month period between September and November of that year, including the events that substantially damaged the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi. In April 2009, a Mw 6.3 earthquake 45 km to the south-southeast of the August 24, 2016 event, near the town of L’Aquila, killed at least 295, injured over 1,000 and left 55,000 or more homeless. The L’Aquila earthquake resulted in significant landsliding in the local area, and was also followed by a vigorous aftershock sequence, including 5 other events of M 5.0 or larger. The largest instrumentally recorded earthquake within 100 km of the 2016 event was the January 13, 1915 M6.7 earthquake, which occurred 68 km to the south-southwest near Avezzano. The 1915 earthquake killed approximately 32,000 people. The preliminary location of the 2016 earthquake appears to be in a gap between the aftershock sequences of the 1997 and 2009 events.


Videos are beginning to pour in online following the quake. Some show scary images of what it was like during the quake. Others are the aftermath. They may be disturbing to some. 


Video Courtesy: Shock Wave


Video Courtesy: RT

-Meteorologist Katie McGraw


A Spectacular Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter Occurs This Week!

Venus and Jupiter are converging for a spectacular conjunction in the sky on August 27th. The planets roughly line up about once a year, but usually not as close. This year they will appear to be separated by 1/15th of a degree! We have our Earthly vantage point to thank for this display since the planets are still more than 416,399,477 miles apart. Head outside just after sunset this Saturday and look west. Venus is the brighter planet. Check out the video below for more info...


Video Courtesy:  ScienceCasts: A Spectacular Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter - YouTube ScienceAtNASA





-Rick DeLuca




INSANE HABOOB! Time-Lapse From Phoenix, AZ...

Haboobs can be observed anywhere in the United States, but they are most common in the Southwest. Phoenix, AZ has seen their fair share of them lately and August 21, 2016 was no exception. These dust storms occur as thunderstorms collapse, sending out a line of gusty winds. This downdraft of cold air reaches the ground, blowing dry, loose silt and clay up from the desert. It creates a wall of sediment that can be up to 100 km (62 miles) wide and several kilometers in elevation!

Time Lapses of Massive Dust Storm Over Phoenix, AZ - August 21st, 2016 from Bryan Snider Photography on Vimeo.



Dust Storm Safety Tips

  • If dense dust is observed blowing across or approaching a roadway, pull your vehicle off the pavement as far as possible, stop, turn off lights, set the emergency brake, take your foot off of the brake pedal to be sure the tail lights are not illuminated.
  • Don't enter the dust storm area if you can avoid it.
  • If you can't pull off the roadway, proceed at a speed suitable for visibility, turn on lights and sound horn occasionally. Use the painted center line to help guide you. Look for a safe place to pull off the roadway.
  • Never stop on the traveled portion of the roadway.


-Rick DeLuca



End to Hurricane Drought? Topics are Heating Up as Peak Hurricane Season Arrives!

Following record setting years for US Hurricanes back in the mid 2000's, it's been eerily quiet since.  In fact, the United States hasn't seen a major hurricane (category 3 or stronger) make landfall since Hurricane Wilma came on shore over South Florida on October 24, 2005.  

Check that date... 2005!  That's over 10 years ago or 3,955 days ago to be more precise!!!

Hurricane wilma

According to the National Hurricane Center, this is the largest such drought that has been documented going back to 1851.  So to say we are overdue, would be an understatement.

Tropics are heating up!

So all eyes are on the the Atlantic currently watching the development of THREE tropical systems.  The first one, Fiona, was named over the weekend as a minimal tropical storm.

Looking further out, there are two substantial tropical waves over the Tropical Atlantic.  

Satrad tropics

The second of these waves, Invest 90L, is very large and shows good organization.  This system is expected to become a named storm within the next couple days.

In fact, the National Hurricane Center has issued a rare 100% forecast for cyclone development over the next 48 hours.

Nhc forecast

However, they are also forecasting "wave #1" to fizzle as it encounters some unfavorable upper level winds.  

So where are these storms going? 

Fiona has been downgraded into a depression since becoming a named storm over the weekend.  Currently the hurricane center keeps it rather unorganized as it drifts towards the northwest over the next few days bringing it somewhere west of Bermuda by Thursday stating that upper winds look to limit develpment.

Nhc fcst fiona

The other storm, Invest 90L appears to have a much better chance for developing into a hurricane.  However, there is considerable uncertainty in the forecast track with this storm with tropical models taking it west initially before curving it northwest into the open Atlantic by early next week.  


We'll obviously have plenty of time to watch this one.   When it is named it will be called Guston.  

Peak of Hurricane Season approaches!

As we turn the calendar into September, we reach the climatological peak of the hurricane season.  

NOAA had a nice write up about why this is the "most dangerous" time of year when it comes to tropical activity...

August 22, 2016 

Although the Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1st, we’re now entering the “season within the season” - a roughly eight-week period that is often the most active and dangerous time for tropical cyclone activity.

From mid-August through mid-October, the activity spikes, accounting for 78 percent of the tropical storm days, 87 percent of the category 1 and 2 hurricane days (Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale), and a whopping 96 percent of the major (category 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days.

Hurricane by months nhc

Why does this peak period of activity begin so deep into summer? There certainly is no lack of disturbances throughout the entire six-month hurricane season. Tropical waves are coming off of the coast of Africa roughly every three days, and the very early and late parts of the year provide additional types of potential seedlings. What’s different, though, is the environment that these potential tropical cyclones tend to encounter. Both dynamics (wind factors) and thermodynamics (temperature and moisture) play a role.

Wind shear, which can tear disturbances apart before they strengthen, is strong in May, but gradually fades through June and July, reaching a minimum by mid to late August. This minimum in the shear combines with favorable thermodynamics – ocean temperatures in the deep tropics that increase with each day of summer sun, warmer air temperatures, and increasing atmospheric moisture. When the dynamics and thermodynamics are in sync, as they often are from mid-August through early October, disturbances like African tropical waves can easily strengthen. The statistical peak day of the hurricane season – the day you are most likely to find a tropical cyclone somewhere in the Atlantic basin – is September 10th.

By mid-October, when winter begins to give autumn a little nudge, strong upper-level winds bring increased wind shear to much of the Atlantic basin, while both the air and water temperatures cool. The season is not over yet, but the areas where storms can form become limited.

One thing that doesn’t change as we move into and out of the peak of season is the need to be vigilant and prepared. Because it doesn’t matter whether activity levels are high or low – it only takes one storm to make it a bad year for you. For more information about hurricane season please visit NOAA's National Hurricane Center.


Right now, although upper level winds are not favorable over the Western Atlantic, this will likely change in the coming weeks and sea surface temperature are more than supportive for tropical development with an enormous area experiencing temps at or above 29°C (84.2°F) stretching from the Central Atlantic, through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. 

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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