07/24/2015

Video: Tornado Crosses Highway Near Venice, Italy...

A destructive tornado hit near Venice Italy on July 8th, 2015. The scary video was taken with a dashcam as it passed over highway A4. You can actually hear debris slamming into the car and notice how the winds change direction as the tornado moves by...

 

Video Courtesy: NeonDGT

 

Are These Rare?

With interest in tornadoes and waterspouts growing around the world, it appears the number of reports are also rising. The most recent data I was able to research suggests about up to around 40 tornado or waterspouts are observed per year in Italy. While they are less frequent in Europe than the US, they still have a very real tornado climatology. According to "The Climatology of Tornadoes And Waterspouts in Italy", the period from 1991-2000 saw 5 strong EF-3 tornadoes.

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

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Air Quality Alert For Louisville Metro...

...AIR QUALITY ALERT IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO MIDNIGHT EDT
SATURDAY NIGHT...
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THE LOUISVILLE METRO AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DISTRICT AND THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT HAVE ISSUED AN AIR QUALITY ALERT FOR SATURDAY. A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ALERT FOR OZONE HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE LOUISVILLE METRO AREA.
3
MEMBERS OF SENSITIVE GROUPS MAY EXPERIENCE HEALTH EFFECTS. THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS NOT LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED. SENSITIVE GROUPS INCLUDE THE ELDERLY...CHILDREN...PERSONS WITH ASTHMA OR OTHER BREATHING PROBLEMS...AND PERSONS WITH LUNG AND HEART DISEASE. PEOPLE IN THESE GROUPS ARE ADVISED TO LIMIT THEIR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO REDUCE THEIR EXPOSURE TO OZONE AND PARTICULATE POLLUTION.


-Rick DeLuca

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07/23/2015

NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth...

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.” 

The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone -- the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet -- of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.

452b_artistconcept_comparisonwithearth

This artist's concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger in diameter. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle
 

"On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0."

Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet. While its mass and composition are not yet determined, previous research suggests that planets the size of Kepler-452b have a good chance of being rocky.

While Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, its 385-day orbit is only 5 percent longer. The planet is 5 percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the Sun. Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun, has the same temperature, and is 20 percent brighter and has a diameter 10 percent larger.

452b_system_comparison

This size and scale of the Kepler-452 system compared alongside the Kepler-186 system and the solar system. Kepler-186 is a miniature solar system that would fit entirely inside the orbit of Mercury. Credits: NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt

“We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, biggercousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth’s evolving environment," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who led the team that discovered Kepler-452b. "It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth. That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet.”

To help confirm the finding and better determine the properties of the Kepler-452 system, the team conducted ground-based observations at the University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, and the W. M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. These measurements were key for the researchers to confirm the planetary nature of Kepler-452b, to refine the size and brightness of its host star and to better pin down the size of the planet and its orbit.

Fig10-new_kepler_planet_cand

There are 4,696 planet candidates now known with the release of the seventh Kepler planet candidate catalog - an increase of 521 since the release of the previous catalog in January 2015.
Credits: NASA/W. Stenzel

The Kepler-452 system is located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. The research paper reporting this finding has been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

In addition to confirming Kepler-452b, the Kepler team has increased the number of new exoplanet candidates by 521 from their analysis of observations conducted from May 2009 to May 2013, raising the number of planet candidates detected by the Kepler mission to 4,696. Candidates require follow-up observations and analysis to verify they are actual planets.

Twelve of the new planet candidates have diameters between one to two times that of Earth, and orbit in their star's habitable zone. Of these, nine orbit stars that are similar to our sun in size and temperature.

Fig6-surfacetemperaturevsenergy

Since Kepler launched in 2009, twelve planets less than twice the size of Earth have been discovered in the habitable zones of their stars. Credits: NASA/N. Batalha and W. Stenzel

“We've been able to fully automate our process of identifying planet candidates, which means we can finally assess every transit signal in the entire Kepler dataset quickly and uniformly,” said Jeff Coughlin, Kepler scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who led the analysis of a new candidate catalog. “This gives astronomers a statistically sound population of planet candidates to accurately determine the number of small, possibly rocky planets like Earth in our Milky Way galaxy.”

These findings, presented in the seventh Kepler Candidate Catalog, will be submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. These findings are derived from data publicly available on the NASA Exoplanet Archive.

452b_artistconcept_beautyshot

This artist's concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Scientists now are producing the last catalog based on the original Kepler mission’s four-year data set. The final analysis will be conducted using sophisticated software that is increasingly sensitive to the tiny telltale signatures of Earth-size planets.

Ames manages the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

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07/22/2015

Will the "Bruce Lee" El Nino pack a Wallop this Winter?

Yesterday, NOAA released this image of sea surface temperature anomalies over the Eastern Equatorial Pacific comparing current conditions (on the right) to those of the strongest El Nino that has been observed in the last 30 years (November 1997 on left).

El-nion

A Bruce Lee El Nino?

While the current El Nino is drawing comparisons to the famous 1997-1998 event, one NOAA writer is comparing it to the late, great Hollywood Action Star, Bruce Lee...

Tropical storms and hurricanes have been given names since the early 1950s, which helps to clarify communications. In recent years, the Weather Channel has attracted attention by naming winter storms, perhaps with similar intentions. “So why don’t we name ENSO events?” you ask. Excellent question! I propose we do name them, starting this year. Since I think we should have a theme to the names, and the theme should be action movie stars, I hereby designate the 2015-2016 event as El Niño Bruce Lee.

610px-Hong_kong_bruce_lee_statue
Statue of the movie star and Chinese martial artist Bruce Lee on the Avenue of Stars of Hong Kong. Photo by Soerfm from Wikimedia.org.

In all seriousness though, the current El Nino is strong and sea surface temperatures have risen to their highest level in nearly 20 years off the coast of Ecuador.

Nino sst

So what does this mean for late Summer and early Fall?  

The Climate Prediction Center, which heavily biases it's seasonal forecasts on strong ENSO (El Nino - Southern Oscillation) events, recently updated their August - October predictions indicating that wetter than normal conditions will likely continue in our area and for much of the West-Central US. 

Cpc aso fcst

Temperature-wise, the expectation is for slightly cooler than normal conditions through the period.

How long could this El Nino last?

Current climate models are in good agreement that the current El Nino event will continue and possibly strengthen through the fall months and will likely still be going strong by the start of winter.

Nino forecast

How will El Nino impact our winter?

Strong El Nino events tend to have a strong influence on the weather over the US during the winter months.  

In the plots below, are odds of a wetter/drier and warmer/cooler than normal January thru March time frame (Winter/Early Spring) based on 100 years worth of data collected between 1896 and 1995.  

Nino analog jfmThe plots show the odds of a wet/dry or warm/cold season with ENSO conditions preceding the season. ENSO conditions are defined from the SOI index. The lead time is 3 seasons to concurrent. Results are based on the US climate division dasaset for 1896-1995. Extreme is defined as being in the highest or lowest 20% of the 100 year record. ENSO is defined as the top 20 SOI years (La Niña) and the lowest 20 SOI years (El Niño). Four extreme events would be expected by chance. A decrease number of years to zero or one year would be significant at the 99.3% and 95.7% level, respectively. An increase to seven, eight or nine years would be significant at the 95.4%, 98.6% and 99.9% levels. Actual significance is probably less due to the number of tests run and time/space correlations in the dataset.

So what does this mean?  

The above information indicates that we will likely have a drier than normal winter this year and temps could be below normal again.  

While strong ENSO events do carry weight going into a winter forecast, ultimately it is not the only climate signal that influences our weather and at the end of the day we will have to wait and see how these other indicators come together before making a true assessment of our 2015-2016 winter season.

It is worth noting, however, that the last time we had an El Nino as strong as this one, we ended up with a HUGE February snow when Louisville picked up a record 22" snowfall on February 3 - 6, 1998.

While I'm certainly not calling for anything like that this season, it will be something to watch for.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Amazing Basketball Trick! The Magnus Effect Explained...

What happens when you toss a basketball off the 415 foot high Gordon Dam in Tasmania? Add a little back spin into the equation, and the results will amaze you...

 

Video Courtesy: How Ridiculous

The Magnus effect is the commonly observed effect in which a spinning ball (or cylinder) curves away from its principal flight path. It is important in many ball sports. It affects spinning missiles, and has some engineering uses, for instance in the design of rotor ships and Flettner aeroplanes.

Sketch_of_Magnus_effect_with_streamlines_and_turbulent_wake.svg

Image Courtesy: Wiki

In terms of ball games, topspin is defined as spin about a horizontal axis perpendicular to the direction of travel, where the top surface of the ball is moving forward with the spin. Under the Magnus effect, topspin produces a downward swerve of a moving ball, greater than would be produced by gravity alone, and backspin has the opposite effect. Likewise side-spin causes swerve to either side as seen during some baseball pitches, e.g. slider. The overall behaviour is similar to that around an airfoil with a circulation which is generated by the mechanical rotation, rather than by airfoil action. 

The Magnus effect is named after Gustav Magnus, the German physicist who investigated it. The force on a rotating cylinder is known as Kutta-Joukowski lift, after Martin Wilhelm Kutta and Nikolai Zhukovsky (or Joukowski) who first analyzed the effect.

 

 

-Rick DeLuca

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07/21/2015

An Exceptionally Wet Summer So Far!

Just what we needed, more rainfall. 

Rainfall01

While most of Southern Indiana remained dry last night and early this morning, that wasn't the case for the majority of our Kentucky viewers.  

Our southwestern counties bore the brunt of this latest round of storms with widespread 1 to locally 3 inches across portions of Breckinridge, Grayson and Hart Counties.

Rainfall02

Louisville Rainfall

Officially at the Louisville International Airport, 0.37" was recorded giving us a whopping 8.5" now for the month, which is good for the 7th most ever recorded in July.

Since the beginning of Summer, it has been even more impressive with near 15 inches being recorded in a period of only about 5 weeks going back to June 16th.

Almanac2

According to NWS precipitation estimates, much of our region has seen an excessive amount of rainfall with 30 day totals well over 10 inches for many parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.  

Nws_precip_ky_30

A closer inspection reveals a stripe of 12" plus along the 65 corridor between Indianapolis and Louisville.  Meanwhile, just about the entire Eastern Half of Kentucky has seen between 10 and 15" over the last 30 days.

Nws_precip_cincy_30

If you go back a little further, rainfall totals over the last 45 days have exceeded 20 inches across portions of our area including Oldham County in Kentucky and Scott, Jefferson, Jackson and Jennings Counties in Southern Indiana.

Nws_precip_cincy_45

Intervals of very wet and dry periods

It is also interesting to note that prior the the deluge over the last 5 weeks or so, it was remarkably dry during the previous two months in which only about 3 inches of rain was recorded in Louisville between April 20 and June 15.  

Prior to that you may recall the very heavy rains and snowfall during the months of March and early April.  During the period from March 1 - April 19 Louisville picked up an incredible 18.22" of total precip.  

Gfx

During the months of Jan and Feb, we received only about half of what is considered normal precipitation, again about 3 inches during the two month span.  

Overall, despite the two dry periods, Louisville has a surplus of 13 inches on the year and an annual total of 39.45"!

So how much more can we expect? 

While the consensus of model data is pointing towards a mainly dry finish to the week and weekend, there is one notable exception.  

There has been a trend to make Wednesday night and Thursday wetter with one model indicating that it could be MUCH wetter.

The latest run of the NAM (18z) is showing a stripe of an inch plus across our central viewership. 

Rainfall projection

This, of course, would not be a good thing.

Marc will have a full update on what to expect tonight on WDRB News.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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07/20/2015

Storms Expected Tonight with Flooding and Severe Threat

The Storm Prediction Center continues with the Slight Risk for severe weather tonight.

Spc

As a slow moving cold front pushes into the area and an upper level disturbance arrives, scattered storms look to develop overnight with the potential for strong to damaging winds and more heavy rainfall.  

Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

At1

At2

At4

At5

At6

At7

The highest storm threat looks to occur between 10 pm and 2 am across the metro area.

In addition to the possibility of a few severe storms, locally heavy rainfall could prompt more flash flooding.  A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through tonight. 

Watch

Marc will have a full update on what to expect tonight on WDRB News at 10.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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07/19/2015

High Heat & Humidity to Fuel Early Week Storms

After a scorching hot weekend, it looks like the high heat and humidity will be sticking around for one more day before relief arrives.  

Currently, we are tracking a slow moving cold front approaching out of the Midwest.   

Satrad

Ahead of this front we have a VERY sticky air mass in place.  Behind it, a much cooler and drier air mass is set to move in for the middle of the week.  

In the meantime, the risk of strong storms returns tomorrow and into tomorrow night.  

Spc

SPC has issued a Slight Risk of severe weather that covers all of Southern Indiana and North Central Kentucky for Monday and particularly Monday night. 

Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

AT shows a mainly dry by another warm start to the day.

At1

Temps heat into the lower 90's again with heat indices near 100 during the afternoon.  A few scattered storms look to develop with the heating of the day.

At2

 Activity remains fairly isolated through the early evening hours with muggy conditions continuing.

At3

 AT then advertises a large cluster of storms approaching from the northwest towards midnight.

At4

 These storms race into much of the area overnight with the potential for damaging winds and more very heavy rainfall.

At5

There is pretty good model agreement with this Monday night system and it will need to be watched closely.  

Because of the already saturated ground, we'll need to be on the lookout for more flash flooding. 

Gfx

Fortunately, it looks like we'll get a chance to dry out for the second half of the week.

Jude will have a full update on those storm chances first thing on WDRB in the Morning.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Severe Risk Posted For Monday: Timing & Threats...

It's now the 7th wettest July on record in Louisville!  So far we've picked up 8.12" of rain with about 13 more day until July comes to an end... 

11

Our first chance for more rain comes into play this afternoon and evening. While some of us end up staying dry, scattered storms develop after 1 PM. A few of these could pack a punch with highs wind and hail, but they will all contain blinding rain and intense lightning... 

Blog 3

Blog 4

Blog 5

Another piece of energy breaks off and heads our way early tomorrow. It's won't be raining everywhere, but it's probably a good idea to have the umbrella close by with more storm firing up later in the day... 

Blog5

Canada Temps

As a cold front gets closer late Monday, we do have the risk for strong to severe storms. Damaging winds and hail are the main threats, but with all of the rain we've seen lately, flash flooding is still a serious concern... 

Blog 2

Make sure you check back in with Jeremy Kappell later today as he tracks storms and updates the severe risk. 

 

-Rick DeLuca

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07/18/2015

A Steamy and Possibly Stormy Sunday!

It was an absolute scorcher out there today and the high heat/humidity looks to continue.  

Watch

A Heat Advisory remains in effect until 8 pm ET/7pm CT on Sunday.

An excessive amount of humidity looks to bring us more oppressive conditions for the second half of the weekend.  However, strong storms could bring some relief in the temperature department by late on Sunday.  

Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

AT is showing a very warm morning with temps near 80 to start off the day.

At1

Heat and humidity build quickly during the morning with temps reaching the lower 90's by noon.  The heat index will likely be in the 95 - 100 degree range at lunchtime!

At2

Afternoon temps are expected to reach the mid 90's in Louisville with a heat index near 105.

At3

A few scattered storms look to develop by mid to late afternoon.

At4

A better chance of storms arrives during the evening hours. 

At5

Some could be strong with gusty winds and torrential rainfall once again.

At6

Areas along and north of 64 have been placed under a Slight Risk for severe weather tomorrow/tomorrow night.

Spc

Rick will have a full update on those storm chances first thing on WDRB in the Morning.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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