08/28/2014

Finally The Mystery Of The Sailing Stones Has Been Solved! The Answer Is Really Cool...

There has long been a mystery that many have tried to explain, but only theories existed... until now. Rather than tell you, let me show you a picture of the mysterious phenomena.

 

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Ok, that really is weird. These rocks have moved large distances across the desert with no foot prints or evidence of anything pushing/pulling them. These are what we call sailing stones / sliding rocks / moving rocks.

 

Sailing Stones

 

Sailing stones are most commonly observed in Nevada and most often in Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park in California. We have been studying these oddities since the early 1900s and until recently there have been no legit explanations to how they move. What makes it more odd is that these stones do not move every year. They seem to move every couple of years and will develop tracks over 3 to 4 years. The stones even have been noted to flip at times! There instances where the stones have moved together than abruptly changed direction... adding to the mystery.

 

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Image courtesy Daniel Mayer

 

Some of these stones have weighed up to as much as 700 lbs and moved as far as 820 feet!!! There have been various ideas on what causes these from dust devils moving the stones to strong winds moving the stones, b until recently there was no viable explanation.

 

How Do The Sailing Stones Move?

A group of researchers in 2011 from from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego set out to solve the mystery. Rich Norris and James Norris created a custom rig to mount a GPS tracking system in the stones to document their movement, then placed them out in the desert of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley. Over the course of their research, then documented the rocks movement many times at around 15 feet per minute and visually witnessed as many as 60 rocks moving at a time! They have a really cool video describing their findings here...

 

 

 

Sailing stones.. what a wild phenomena!

 

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Image courtesy of Lgcharlot

 

 

 

It is Summer storm season and if you want to be one of my storm spotters, you can join me on his facebook or twitter page. Just follow the link below and click "like" or "follow".

 

 

If you ever have any question, please remember I can be reached on facebook or twitter easily! Just follow the link below to my facebook or twitter page and click "LIKE/FOLLOW"!

Unusually Wet August: Top 5 Possible...

The normal rainfall for August at the main climate sites for Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana is a little over 3 inches.  The climate site for Lexington, at Bluegrass Airport, had almost double that in one day, back on August 10th, when 5.38" of rain fell.  Thanks to a few intense rainfall days across the region, Bowling Green, Lexington, and Louisville all are in the Top 10 for their wettest August all time.  Bowling Green so far has had 8.10", ranking them fourth behind the 9.34" that fell in August 1926, 8.73" for 1923, and 8.36" for 2005.  Lexington so far has had 9.16", ranking them third behind the 11.18" that fell in August 1974 and 10.00" for 1978.  Louisville is a little farther behind in the standings, having had 6.32" of rain so far this month.  The most rain that fell in August in Louisville was 10.53" way back in 1888.  If Louisville can get up to a little over 7", they would get up into the Top 5.

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Image Credit: NOAA

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Image Credit: NOAA

The forecast through the end of August calls for better rain chances this coming weekend, especially Saturday night and Sunday.  Some of the records may be in jeopardy of falling.  More importantly, given the high rainfall this month, areas that receive multiple rounds of thunderstorms could see minor flooding.  Stay tuned for updates through the holiday weekend.

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

 

 

Remembering Hurricane Andrew...

One of the most destructive United States hurricanes of record started modestly as a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa on August 14. The wave spawned a tropical depression on August 16, which became Tropical Storm Andrew the next day. Further development was slow, as the west-northwestward moving Andrew encountered an unfavorable upper-level trough. Indeed, the storm almost dissipated on August 20 due to vertical wind shear. By August 21, Andrew was midway between Bermuda and Puerto Rico and turning westward into a more favorable environment. Rapid strengthening occurred, with Andrew reaching hurricane strength on the 22nd and Category 4 status on the 23rd. After briefly weakening over the Bahamas, Andrew regained Category 4 status as it blasted its way across south Florida on August 24. The hurricane continued westward into the Gulf of Mexico where it gradually turned northward. This motion brought Andrew to the central Louisiana coast on August 26 as a Category 3 hurricane. Andrew then turned northeastward, eventually merging with a frontal system over the Mid-Atlantic states on August 28.

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Reports from private barometers helped establish that Andrew's central pressure at landfall in Homestead, Florida was 27.23 inches, which makes it the third most intense hurricane of record to hit the United States. Andrew's peak winds in south Florida were not directly measured due to destruction of the measuring instruments. An automated station at Fowey Rocks reported 142 mph sustained winds with gusts to 169 mph (measured 144 ft above the ground), and higher values may have occurred after the station was damaged and stopped reporting. The National Hurricane Center had a peak gust of 164 mph (measured 130 ft above the ground), while a 177 mph gust was measured at a private home. Additionally, Berwick, LA reported 96 mph sustained winds with gusts to 120 mph.

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Image Credit: NOAA

Andrew produced a 17 ft storm surge near the landfall point in Florida, while storm tides of at least 8 ft inundated portions of the Louisiana coast. Andrew also produced a killer tornado in southeastern Louisiana.

Andrew is responsible for 23 deaths in the United States and three more in the Bahamas. The hurricane caused $26.5 billion in damage in the United States, of which $1 billion occurred in Louisiana and the rest in south Florida. The vast majority of the damage in Florida was due to the winds. Damage in the Bahamas was estimated at $250 million.

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Image Credit: NOAA

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

 

 

Rick

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

 

08/27/2014

Storms Blast Through St. Louis Today... Watch Video Of The St. Louis Arch As It Is Struck By Lightning!

It is obvious that tall buildings stand to be struck by lightning since lightning loves to go after the tallest objects. Well, storms moved through St. Louis today and Dan Robinson caught video of the lightning hitting the famous St. Louis arch posting the video on youtube today! I thought the video was kind of cool, so I wanted to show it to you tonight.

 

 

 

The coolest part of the video to me is the branches you can see as the lightning channel approaches the ground. The details with lightning can really be impressive!

 

 

 

It is summer storm season and if you want to be one of my storm spotters, you can join me on my facebook or twitter page. Just follow the link below and click "like" or "follow".

 

 

If you ever have any question, please remember I can be reached on facebook or twitter easily! Just follow the link below to my facebook or twitter page and click "LIKE/FOLLOW"!

Warning Issued for Louisville!

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Downtown Louisville and Eastern Jefferson County for  a storm capable of producing damaging winds to 60 mph.  Full details below...

StormViewHD 2

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
  SOUTH CENTRAL CLARK COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL INDIANA...NORTHERN
JEFFERSON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 525 PM EDT

* AT 504 PM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED 5 MILES NORTH OF
  JEFFERSONVILLE...AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 10 MPH.

  HAZARD...60 MPH WIND GUSTS AND NICKEL SIZE HAIL.

  SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED.

  IMPACT...EXPECT DAMAGE TO ROOFS...SIDING AND TREES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  LOUISVILLE...JEFFERSONVILLE...ST. MATTHEWS...LYNDON...WATSON...
  CLARKSVILLE...UTICA...OAK PARK AND LOUISVILLE BOWMAN FIELD.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
BUILDING.

StormViewHD 1

Marc will have a full update on WDRB News this evening.

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Warning Issued for Spencer County!

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a storm capable of producing damaging winds to 60 mph across portions of Spencer County in Kentucky.  Full details below...

StormViewHD 4

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
  CENTRAL SPENCER COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 525 PM EDT

* AT 452 PM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED NEAR
  TAYLORSVILLE...AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 5 MPH.

  HAZARD...60 MPH WIND GUSTS.

  SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED.

  IMPACT...EXPECT DAMAGE TO ROOFS...SIDING AND TREES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  TAYLORSVILLE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
BUILDING.

LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS AND CONTINUOUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING
IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM. MOVE INDOORS IMMEDIATELY. LIGHTNING
KILLS. REMEMBER...IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER...YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO
BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.

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Marc will have a full update on WDRB News this evening.

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Jeremy's Bio

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Email me at jkappell@wdrb.com

Another Warning Issued!

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a storm capable of producing damaging winds to 60 mph across portions of Clark, Jefferson and Oldham Counties.  Full details below...

StormViewHD 2

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
  SOUTH CENTRAL CLARK COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL INDIANA...NORTHEAST
  JEFFERSON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...SOUTHWESTERN OLDHAM
COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 515 PM EDT

* AT 442 PM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED NEAR PROSPECT...
  AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 10 MPH.

  HAZARD...60 MPH WIND GUSTS AND PENNY SIZE HAIL.

  SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED.

  IMPACT...EXPECT DAMAGE TO ROOFS...SIDING AND TREES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  PROSPECT...LYNDON...ST. MATTHEWS...BROWNSBORO...ORCHARD GRASS
  HILLS...PARK LAKE...PEWEE VALLEY...CRESTWOOD AND FLOYDSBURG.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
BUILDING.

HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS AND CONTINUOUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING
IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM. MOVE INDOORS IMMEDIATELY. LIGHTNING
KILLS. REMEMBER...IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER...YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO
BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.

StormViewHD 1

Marc will have a full update on WDRB News at 4.

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Jeremy's Bio

Find me on Facebook!

Follow me on Twitter!

Email me at jkappell@wdrb.com

Video Of The Day: Flying Through An Aurora

This timelapse was created using photographs taken on board the International Space Station by the Expedition 40 crew. Last week’s Coronal mass ejection (huge eruption of gas and magnetic field lines from the Sun) sparked an aurora that occurred just as the ISS was passing overhead. They were able to piece together this spectacular light show...

 

Video Courtesy: European Space Agency, ESA

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

 

Rick

 

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued!

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a storm capable of producing damaging winds to 60 mph across portions of Jefferson and Bullitt Counties.  Full details below...

StormViewHD 1

 

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LOUISVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
  NORTHEASTERN BULLITT COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...
  CENTRAL JEFFERSON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL KENTUCKY...

* UNTIL 430 PM EDT

* AT 355 PM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED NEAR LOUISVILLE
  INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT...MOVING SOUTH AT 15 MPH.

  HAZARD...60 MPH WIND GUSTS.

  SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED.

  IMPACT...EXPECT DAMAGE TO ROOFS...SIDING AND TREES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  OKOLONA...HIGHVIEW...FAIRDALE...SHEPHERDSVILLE...HUNTERS HOLLOW...
  BROOKS...ZONETON...HEBRON ESTATES...FOX CHASE...GAP IN KNOB...CEDAR
  GROVE AND MOUNT WASHINGTON.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
BUILDING.

 

StormViewHD 2

Marc will have a full update on WDRB News at 4.

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Jeremy's Bio

Find me on Facebook!

Follow me on Twitter!

Email me at jkappell@wdrb.com

08/26/2014

The Most Earthquakes In the US... California? Nope... The Answer Is Really Surprising!

For many years California has been considered by most as the earthquake capital of the US... that is until this year. Who do you think has surpassed California for the most earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or larger in the United States? I would have never guessed!

 

The Answer...

 

The answer is Oklahoma!  According to the USGS, in June, Oklahoma moved passed California for the most quakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger in the US. Just today alone, Oklahoma has had two 3.2 earthquakes clustered around the Oklahoma City metro area.

 

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Why Is Oklahoma The Earthquake Capital Of The US Now?

 

The USGS addressed this question in may in a very interesting article...

 

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased remarkably since October 2013 – by about 50 percent – significantly increasing the chance for a damaging magnitude 5.5 or greater quake in central Oklahoma.

 

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A new U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey analysis found that 145 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater occurred in Oklahoma from January 2014 (through May 2; see accompanying graphic). The previous annual record, set in 2013, was 109 earthquakes, while the long-term average earthquake rate, from 1978 to 2008, was just two magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes per year. Important to people living in central and north-central Oklahoma is that the likelihood of future, damaging earthquakes has increased as a result of the increased number of small and moderate shocks.

Oklahoma’s heightened earthquake activity since 2009 includes 20 magnitude 4.0 to 4.8 quakes, plus the largest earthquake in Oklahoma’s history – a magnitude 5.6 earthquake that occurred near Prague on Nov. 5, 2011. The 2011 Prague earthquake damaged a number of homes and the historic Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee. Prior to the 2011 Prague earthquake, the largest earthquake of Oklahoma’s history was a magnitude 5.5 earthquake that occurred in 1952 near El Reno and damaged state buildings in Oklahoma City. 

 

Oklahoma

 

USGS statistically analyzed the recent earthquake rate changes and found that they do not seem to be due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates. Significant changes in both the background rate of events and earthquake triggers needed to have occurred in order to explain the increases in seismicity, which is not typically observed when modeling natural earthquakes.

The analysis suggests that a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes is triggering by wastewater injected into deep geologic formations. This phenomenon is known as injection-induced seismicity, which has been documented for nearly half a century, with new cases identified recently in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas and Colorado. A recent publication by the USGS suggests that a magnitude 5.0 foreshock to the 2011 Prague, Okla., earthquake was human-induced by fluid injection; that earthquake may have then triggered the mainshock and its aftershocks. OGS studies also indicate that some of the earthquakes in Oklahoma are due to fluid injection. The OGS and USGS continue to study the Prague earthquake sequence in relation to nearby injection activities.

 

It gets a little more interesting when you look at an article written about a recent string of earthquakes in Ohio. I wrote a blog about the process know as "fracking" and it's link to earthquakes about 3 months ago and it seems the link is likely extended to Oklahoma's elevation to the earthquake capital of the US.

 

For years we have know that the process of extracting oil or natural gas from the earth could be a problem, research recently has provided a very likely link. The scary part is that it is our region. The link has now officially been made between hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking) and earthquakes. I know some will ask what fracking is so let me explain.

 

Fracking is a well known mining technique where water mixed with sand/chemicals is injected at a high pressure into the drilled wellbore. The high pressure of the mixture being injected creates small fractures in the ground allowing the solution of water and sand to migrate into the well. Once the liquid is removed from the ground, the small grains of sand or chemicals hold these fractures open allowing the well to reach an equilibrium pressure and the hydrocarbons to migrate to the drilled hole called the bore. This technique has given wells a longer life and made it much easier to remove the oil or gas inside.

 

The problem is the technique is now linked to earthquakes. Not just a couple, but the USGS estimates a 6 fold increase from 2000-2011! To make things worse, it appears there has been a link to the March 11-12 earthquakes in eastern Ohio near Youngstown (magnitude 3.0). Here is what the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is saying...

 

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COLUMBUS, OH – Today Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer announced new, stronger permit conditions for drilling near faults or areas of past seismic activity. The new policies are in response to recent seismic events in Poland Township (Mahoning County) that show a probable connection to hydraulic fracturing near a previously unknown microfault.

New permits issued by ODNR for horizontal drilling within 3 miles of a known fault or area of seismic activity greater than a 2.0 magnitude would require companies to install sensitive seismic monitors. If those monitors detect a seismic event in excess of 1.0 magnitude, activities would pause while the cause is investigated. If the investigation reveals a probable connection to the hydraulic fracturing process, all well completion operations will be suspended. ODNR will develop new criteria and permit conditions for new applications in light of this change in policy. The department will also review previously issued permits that have not been drilled.

“While we can never be 100 percent sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps to protect human health, safety and the environment,” said Zehringer. “Not only will this reasonable course of action help to ensure public health and safety but it will also help us to expand our underground maps and provide more information about all types of seismicity in Ohio.”

“ODNR’s directives are a sensible response to a serious issue that regulators across the country are closely examining,” said Gerry Baker, Associate Executive Director of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. “IOGCC is pleased to work with Ohio and other states to share scientific data to better understand the nature of these occurrences.”

“These additional standards add even more strength to Ohio’s already comprehensive regulatory program,” said Mike Paque, Executive Director of the Groundwater Protection Council. “State regulators are taking an aggressive lead in tackling tough and complicated oil and gas issues and ODNR is no exception.”

More than 800 wells have been drilled in Ohio’s Utica and Marcellus shale play, including as many as 16,000 hydraulic fracturing stages from those wells. Regarding the seismic events in Poland Township, Mahoning County, ODNR geologists believe the sand and water injected into the well during the hydraulic fracturing process may have increased pressure on an unknown microfault in the area. Further hydraulic fracturing at the site is suspended but the company will be permitted to recover resources from five of the previously drilled wells located on the pad. This is also expected to have the beneficial effect of reducing underground pressure and decreasing the likelihood of another seismic event.

Under ODNR’s lead, Ohio has joined a consortium of state regulators dedicated to learning more about seismic activity, especially as it relates to oil and gas activity. The members of this consortium are currently working with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and Groundwater Protection Council to share information and knowledge. The working group also hopes to draw upon current and future research to develop common procedures for how to monitor for seismic activity and respond if activity occurs.

The Ohio Seismic Network, coordinated by ODNR and operated by various partners, began recording seismic events in 1999. Before that time, the recording of seismic events varied from distant machines and felt reports. Ohio has a history of seismic activity, and since the network has established, Ohio has experienced 109 events greater than 2.0 magnitude. Data from the Ohio Seismic Network will be used as part of our new application review process.

 

 

It is crazy that man made activity could first of all cause earthquakes, but secondly elevate a state to the quake capital of the country. It does appear that this is exactly what is happening.

 

 

 

It is summer storm season and if you want to be one of my storm spotters, you can join me on my facebook or twitter page. Just follow the link below and click "like" or "follow".

 

 

If you ever have any question, please remember I can be reached on facebook or twitter easily! Just follow the link below to my facebook or twitter page and click "LIKE/FOLLOW"!