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62 posts from March 2018

03/31/2018

Update on the Falling Chinese Space Station

Earlier this week we told you about falling space debris that could make it to earth. Click here to see the first post.  This morning the European Space Agency updated the timing for Tiangong-1's fall toward earth.  It is expected to fall around 7:25 PM EDT Sunday, but that window could stretch into early Monday morning.  Aerospace Corp., a United States-based analysis corporation, predicts it will crash at 7:53 PM EDT Sunday with a seven hour margin for error on either side of that (12:53 PM Sunday - 2:53 AM Monday). Solar activity (or lack thereof) and how that impacts our atmosphere is responsible for changing the timing the fall, so Aerospace Corp. cautioned the fall might not happen until Monday. 

Aerospace
Image Credit: Aerospace Corp.

Aerospace Corp. has set up this web page to track Tiangong-1's fall.  The threat to the United States is low; the odds of the debris hitting you are worse than winning the Powerball.  Most of this will break up and a lot of it will burn up before making it to the ground, so we expect lots of reports of fireballs as this descends.  At this point it looks like the debris will fall around Africa, but the location is at the mercy of the timing. We will have to see how long it takes to get through the upper layers of the atmosphere.  I will be sharing updates on Twitter about the timing and projected location through the day tomorrow, so follow me at the link below to see those updates. 

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-Hannah Strong

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Wintry Precip Possible This Weekend

We started off chilly but it is sunny today!  Our next cold front is hot on our tails! It is just to the north and will swing through the area today! This will bring a renewed chance for showers and drop the temps by Easter Sunday. We also have the chance for a WINTRY MIX by Sunday evening. It could result in a slushy accumulation for some. 

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The snow chance is on Easter Sunday or April 1st (and no...it is not an April Fools Joke!). If we see more 0.4'' it will go down in our record books! It would be the 10th snowiest April ever! The current top ten snowiest Aprils are below. 

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TIMING: 

Three things will be increasing today: Temps, winds and clouds.

  • Highs will be in the mid 60s.
  • Clouds will increase through the rest of the morning and afternoon.
  • Winds will be very gusty during the afternoon too! Expect gusts from 35-40 mph! 

Showers return to the area late afternoon and early afternoon. They will start off very scattered and spotty. 

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But as we move through the evening, they will become more widespread and likely. 
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These showers will continue through the overnight... 

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And into early Easter Sunday. There will be two rounds on Sunday. This first round that starts today and lingers into the morning. 

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A few spots could see showers until mid morning, but they will be more isolated at this time. 
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It does look like we will get a break from the wet weather during a portion of the day tomorrow. Enough to squeeze out some outdoor time or plans! But remember, because of the cold front moving through the area today, it will be cooler tomorrow compared to today. Highs will only be in the 40s or low 50s. 
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But plan for events to end early as precipitation returns with the second round in the late afternoon and evening. This will be a wintry mix. Some will only see rain (southern half of our viewing area) and the some could see slushy snow (northern half). 
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It will continue through the rest of Sunday night. 

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And taper off rather early into overnight Sunday / Monday morning. It will be a chilly start to the day on Monday! 

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Possible Snow Totals & Locations: 

Below are the areas I have highlighted most likely to see slushy accumulation. This is basically along and north of I-64. At this time it looks like we could see 1-2'' there of wet, slushy snow. Most of this will be confined to elevated surfaces, but a  few slick and slushy spots are possible, particularly the more north you go in our viewing area. It is important to remember that even though we are seeing snow on Easter and the first day of April, spring snow does not last long. Even if we get some accumulation it will melt very quickly because the high will be nearly 60 degrees by Monday afternoon.  A rain/snow mix is more likely to the south (about a dusting to a coating there) and it will be all rain to the south of the KY Parkways. 

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We will put out our own snow map in future blogs and on air this weekend. We will be making tweaks to the forecast all weekend long. Be sure to check back n air and online.  Hannah will have more tonight on WDRB News this evening. Also tune in to WDRB in the Morning from 6-9 am for the latest with me! Until then, you can find me on social media with the links below! 

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-Katie McGraw 

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03/30/2018

3 MINUTES! That's How Long You Can See The ISS Tonight...

Looking into the night sky and seeing the International Space Station fly overhead is mind-blowing! Just think, you are watching something that is 230 miles above you, flying at nearly 5 miles per second. If you've never taken the opportunity to check it out, it's worth a few minutes of your time...

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How To View The International Space Station

Friday:

When To Look...

The ISS will be visible in our area this evening at 8:31 pm for 3 minutes! 3 minutes should be more than enough to view it, but remember it will be moving FAST.

Where To Look...

At 8:31 pm, the ISS will appear about 15 degrees above the horizon in the northwest part of the sky and move toward the north-northeast. The ISS will only reach a peak elevation of 16 degrees above the horizon, so look low in the sky...

Weather

Clouds continue to decrease which means viewing should be good. Make sure you dress for a chill as temperatures fall into the 40's...

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-Rick DeLuca

Rick

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

03/29/2018

3D MELTING SNOWFLAKE: Watch The First Numerical Model Of Melting Snow & How This Could Help Scientists...

NASA has produced the first three-dimensional numerical model of melting snowflakes in the atmosphere. Developed by scientist Jussi Leinonen of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the model provides a better understanding of how snow melts can help scientists recognize the signature in radar signals of heavier, wetter snow -- the kind that breaks power lines and tree limbs -- and could be a step toward improving predictions of this hazard.

This visualization is based on the first three-dimensional numerical model of melting snowflakes in the atmosphere, developed by scientist Jussi Leinonen of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. A better understanding of how snow melts can help scientists recognize the signature in radar signals of heavier, wetter snow -- the kind that breaks power lines and tree limbs -- and could be a step toward improving predictions of this hazard.
Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ Lauren Ward
 

Snowflake research is one of many ways that NASA studies the frozen regions of Earth, collectively known as the cryosphere.

Leinonen's model reproduces key features of melting snowflakes that have been observed in nature. First, meltwater gathers in any concave regions of the snowflake's surface. These liquid-water regions then merge to form a shell of liquid around an ice core, and finally develop into a water drop. The modeled snowflake shown in the video is less than half an inch (one centimeter) long and composed of many individual ice crystals whose arms became entangled when they collided in midair.

Leinonen said he got interested in modeling melting snow because of the way it affects observations with remote sensing instruments. A radar "profile" of the atmosphere from top to bottom shows a very bright, prominent layer at the altitude where falling snow and hail melt -- much brighter than atmospheric layers above and below it. "The reasons for this layer are still not particularly clear, and there has been a bit of debate in the community," Leinonen said. Simpler models can reproduce the bright melt layer, but a more detailed model like this one can help scientists to understand it better, particularly how the layer is related to both the type of melting snow and the radar wavelengths used to observe it.

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Image credit: NASA

A paper on the numerical model, titled "Snowflake melting simulation using smoothed particle hydrodynamics," recently appeared in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres.Some of the most remote places on Earth are showing signs of change, with potentially global impacts.

In 2018, NASA is scheduled to launch two new satellite missions and conduct an array of field research that will enhance our view of Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover and permafrost. Collectively, these frozen regions are known as the cryosphere. Over the course of the year NASA will share an inside look at what the agency is doing to better understand this critical component of our home planet.

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

 

Cop Hit by Car & Tossed in Air on Snowy Highway

It was a shocking scene on a Utah Highway, after a state trooper got hit by a car and it was all caught on camera. Thankfully, he survived, but was injured. He broke his shoulder and ribs, but is expected to make a full recovery. 

The trooper, Sergeant Cade Brenchley's was helping a stranded vehicle and ended up needing to be helped himself. A passing car slid on snow and hit the officer. Brenchley's dashcam captured the accident. The video is rather hard to watch because the impact is powerful he was tossed into the air and hit the stranded car on the side of the road. 

Watch it below: 

Video Credit: Police Activity

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-Katie McGraw 

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03/28/2018

Mars or Earth? Orange Snow Hits Eastern Europe

Late last week orange snow fell in eastern Europe, and that's not an uncommon phenomenon! Meteorologists at the BBC say this happens roughly every five years, but the concentrations of orange were higher this time than normal. Read below to find out why. 


Video Credit: USA Today

How does this happen? The satellite image below from the Euorpean Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-2A shows dust being stirred up and blown around in North Africa. That dust/sand gets lofted into the atmosphere and blown away from where it started. It then acts as a condensation nucleus for clouds/rain/snow to form around.  Then the snow falls out of the cloud with the orange sand inside it, so it still has the orange tint of the sand.  The University of Syracuse even reported some skiers complained of getting sand in their mouth and others compared it to being on the surface of Mars!

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Satellite image from March 22, 2018, showing Saharan dust blown across the Mediterranean Sea. Image via European Space Agency.

Believe it or not, a similar thing happens here. Have you heard the term "dirty rain" before? After a rain your car is usually clean.  When it's a dirty rain, the specks of dust/pollen/dirt/sand, etc. in the water droplets stay on your car, so it looks dirty after the rain. It's the same process as this orange snow! 

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-Hannah Strong

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Flood Watch Issued: Heavy Rain Potential Tonight & Tomorrow

Alerts: 

The National Weather Service in Louisville has issued a few flood alerts across Kentuckiana in the past day. 

  • A FLOOD WARNING is in effect for the Muscatatuck River and East Fork of the White River in Southern Indiana from this afternoon until Saturday. Expect to see other area rivers and creeks to rise, a few to flood stage.
  • A FLOOD WATCH has been issued for nearly all of our Kentucky Counties, including Louisville. This goes into effect 8 pm EDT tonight and will remain in effect through 11 pm EDT Thursday evening. This has been issued because the heaviest rain today and tomorrow has and will take aim in central KY through Thursday night.
  • A FLOOD ADVISORY was in effect until 5:30 this evening for Lawrence and Dubois County. 

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Timing: 

After widespread rain early today, it will continue to taper off through this evening. The afternoon commute will much drier than this morning. 

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Notice how much drier it will be even a few hours later tonight!  

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But this break will brief! 

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Rain will return by overnight tonight.  
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There will be waves of showers and storms tomorrow though, compared to today's one main wave. At 7

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While there is no risk posted from SPC yet, I think there is a possibility of a stray strong storm or two in the later part of the day tomorrow, particularly along and east of I-65. Something we will be watching. 
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Showers will begin to taper off by the evening. 
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Rain Fall Totals: 

Rainfall totals in the watch area likely will range from 1-2'' with locally higher amounts possible. Again, notice how much higher the totals will be in our southern counties, especially south of the KY Parkways. In Southern IN, there will be less rain. 

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Marc and Rick will have the latest tonight on WDRB News, especially what to expect as we head into the Easter Weekend! Let's connect on social media! The links to my pages are below! 

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-Katie McGraw 

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Flood Watch

From Jude Redfield...

    Flood watch goes into effect tonight through Thursday night. Most of Kentucky will be included in this watch. Thankfully this isn't the same kind of flood situation that occurred at the end of February and early March. The heaviest rain takes aim at southern Kentucky where amounts greater than 2" are likely through Thursday night.

Stormview

    This afternoon the rain shouldn't be as widespread as what developed this morning. More widespread soaking showers and storms hit later in the overnight and continue on and off into Thursday night. The significant rain ends by Friday as cooler air swoops in.

Temps

03/27/2018

WHERE IS SPRING? April Temperature Outlook...

We are now officially a week into the spring season, it just hasn't felt like it yet. The Climate Prediction Center has a 33% chance of ABOVE average temperatures in their one month outlook temperature outlook. Take a look at the map below where blue = below, and red = above average temperatures...

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Image Credit: NOAA

Instead of simply taking their word for it, let's investigate by looking at the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) 2-m temperature anomaly maps. Hmmmm, this model says the exact opposite implying BELOW normal temperatures by the end of the month...  

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Image Credit: WeatherBell

Looking into the future, the cool air appears to be a permanent feature through the first couple weeks of April as well. With average high temperatures slowly climbing through the 60's, this would translate to highs in the 50's for us with some cold, frosty nights...

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Image Credit: WeatherBell

Is this solution real? In order to answer that, we need to dig a little deeper. When meteorologists reference a + or - Western Pacific Oscillation (WPO), they are referring to the anomaly center in NE Siberia and the Bering Strait.  Ridging there equals -WPO, while troughing there equals +WPO. Look at how negative the WPO goes early April! It's almost off the chart...

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Image Credit: WeatherBell

In this scenario, cold air usually gets dumped into a chunk of the United States. The Composite Temperature Anomalies (F) confirm that temperatures run cool for our area when the the WPO goes negative...   

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Image Credit: NOAA

It's safe to say that April will begin on the cooler side, then the cold air gradually backs off as we move into the second half of the month and number begin to warm. While this helps limit the potential for severe weather in early April, it also means we can't rule out episodes of wintry weather. Marc and I will be on WDRB at 10 & 11 timing out waves of heavy rain and updating rain chances for Easter weekend.  

 

 

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

 

 

 

 

NOWCAST: Heavy Rain Potential Tonight and Tomorrow Morning

The heaviest showers are moving through the area, but we will see more rain tonight and tomorrow morning.  Some of you haven't seen the worst of the rain yet. 

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A slow-moving cold front crosses Kentuckiana tonight which is why the potential for heavy rain (and a few thunderstorms) lasts through the early part of Wednesday. 

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Southern Indiana will see the heaviest rain tonight and overnight.  This includes locations in Kentucky near the river.  Kentucky, specifically central Kentucky, will see the heavier rain Wednesday morning.  

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This means if you didn't have to drive in a heavy downpour tonight, you likely will tomorrow morning.  As the front gets hung up in the central part of the state, heavier rain and some thunderstorms will stick in our southern counties. 

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Light rain will continue through Wednesday evening before Thursday brings us higher intensity rain again.  It looks like we could see two waves Thursday before calming down again Friday.

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This pattern of round after round of heavy rain will bring high rain totals to part of the area before the weekend.  The NAM is showing the heaviest stripe in central Kentucky where we could see up to 4" of rain.

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With that heavier rain coming in again later this week, it is still very possible we will see more flood alerts by the end of the week.  Marc and Rick are in the weather center tonight to keep you updated on the rain falling tonight and what to expect tomorrow. 

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-Hannah Strong

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