Black Woolly Worms Showing Up Around The Area! What Does That Mean For The Upcoming Winter?

Everyone knows about the woolly worm and it's supposed forecasting skills for the winter. With more photos of woolly worms coming in, I wanted to share with you what the black woolly worm means because we have been getting a lot of pictures of this color woolly worm. Vanessa Marie Hunt sent me this photo of a black woolly worm in her yard yesterday.


Facebook 2 pic


Here is the real question ... can the woolly worm predict winter and what do the colors mean?


Woolly Worm ... Superstition Or Accurate Predictor Of Winter?


Let's start by looking at what a wolly worm is. The woolly worm is actually the tiger moths in the larva stage. The technical name for the woolly worm is Pyrrharctia Isabella. In the late summer / fall these woolly worms start to appear more and more. In case you didn't know, folklore says that thin brown bands on the woolly worms means a harsh winter is coming, wider brown banded woolly worms mean a mild winter,  nearly black woolly worms means a severe winter is coming, and finally the very light brown or white woolly worms mean a snowy winter according to the folklore.


The question remains... can the woolly worm accurately predict winter? There actually was research done in the 1950s for 8 years by Dr. C.H. Curran. At the time, Dr. Curran was the curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Dr. Curran found that generaly the wider the brown segments on the woolly worm the more mild the winter would be. I think you can see where the folklore was born. Since then, there have been independent tests done and most say the woolly worms are about as accurate at predicting the winter as flipping a coin.


In reality, the woolly worm can tell something about the weather, but only the winter past. To understand, we need to look a little more into how woolly worms grow. As the woolly worm grows through spring, they molt which means they shed their skin. Every time they shed their skin, more brown bands can occur. Basically it appears the more brown bands a woolly worm has can be an indicator of the age of each woolly worm or when it started to grow in the prior spring. Entomologist Mike Peters from UMASS says specifically that the colored bands on a woolly worm are "telling you about the previous year('s)" winter, not the upcoming winter.


The bottom line is the woolly worm is folklore and most scientists agree there is no correlation between the brown banding of the woolly worm and the upcoming winter.




It is fall 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"!


NEW: Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake Reported In Alaska...

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 occurred near Skwentna, AK at 9:51 AKDT today...


So far, 108 people have reported feeling the earthquake on the USGS website. We will keep you posted if there are any major damage or injury reports. The Tsunami Warning Center says no tsunami is expected.


  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
  • Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called "tidal waves"). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.


-Rick DeLuca





Video Of The Day: Gigantic Jets...

Upper-atmospheric lightning or Ionspheric Lightning are terms sometimes used by researchers to refer to a family of short-lived electrical-breakdown phenomena that occur well above the altitudes of normal lightning and storm clouds. Upper-atmospheric lightning is believed to be electrically induced forms of luminous plasma. The preferred usage is transient luminous event (TLE), because the various types of electrical-discharge phenomena in the upper atmosphere lack several characteristics of the more familiar tropospheric lightning.


Image Courtesy: Wiki

There are several types of TLEs, the most common being sprites. Sprites are flashes of bright red light that occur above storm systems. C-sprites (short for "columniform sprites") is the name given to vertical columns of red light. C-sprites exhibiting tendrils are sometimes called carrot sprites. Other types of TLEs include sprite halos, blue jets, blue starters, ELVESs and gigantic jets.

Image Courtesy: Wiki

Gigantic jets project from the top of a thunderstorm (typically in a cone) 70 km into the atmosphere. Amazing video of these gigantic jets was captured on the 20th of August in Taiwan. It has been slowed down so that you can see all of the details in the burst of light...


Video Courtesy: BingXun Wu


-Rick DeLuca






Weather Blog: Game On Baby

From Jude Redfield...

    The forecasts for the local games on Saturday look tremendous. It will be a bit warm, so plan on sweating a little bit. Also if you are in sitting in the sunshine you can still get a burn this time of the year.





NASA Solves Mystery of Two Decade Old Supernova!

14-231_hst_companion_star_0This is an artist’s impression of supernova 1993J, which exploded in the galaxy M81. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have identified the blue helium-burning companion star, seen at the center of the expanding nebula of debris from the supernova.  Image Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI)

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a companion star to a rare type of supernova. The discovery confirms a long-held theory that the supernova, dubbed SN 1993J, occurred inside what is called a binary system, where two interacting stars caused a cosmic explosion.

"This is like a crime scene, and we finally identified the robber," said Alex Filippenko, professor of astronomy at University of California (UC) at Berkeley. "The companion star stole a bunch of hydrogen before the primary star exploded."

SN 1993J is an example of a Type IIb supernova, unusual stellar explosions that contains much less hydrogen than found in a typical supernova.  Astronomers believe the companion star took most of the hydrogen surrounding the exploding main star and continued to burn as a super-hot helium star.

“A binary system is likely required to lose the majority of the primary star’s hydrogen envelope prior to the explosion. The problem is that, to date, direct observations of the predicted binary companion star have been difficult to obtain since it is so faint relative to the supernova itself,” said lead researcher Ori Fox of UC Berkeley.

SN 1993J resides in the Messier 81 galaxy, about 11 million light-years away in the direction of Ursa Major, the Great Bear constellation. Since its discovery 21 years ago, scientists have been looking for the companion star. Observations at the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, suggested that the missing companion star radiated large amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light, but the area of the supernova was so crowded that scientists could not be sure they were measuring the right star.

The team combined optical light data and Hubble’s UV light images to construct a spectrum that matched the predicted glow of a companion star, also known as the continuum emission. Scientists were only recently able to directly detect this light.

“We were able to get that UV spectrum with Hubble. This conclusively shows that you have an excess of continuum emission in the UV, even after the light from other stars has been subtracted,” said Azalee Bostroem of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Astronomers estimate a supernova occurs once every second somewhere in the universe, yet they don’t fully understand how stars explode. Further research will help astronomers better understand the properties of this companion star and the different types of supernovae.

The results of this study were published in the July 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope, while STScI conducts science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For images and more information about Hubble, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

Information Courtesy NASA


Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell


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Image Of The Day: Wyoming's Devils Tower...

Although Devils Tower has long been a prominent landmark in northeastern Wyoming, the origin of the mammoth rock obelisk remains somewhat obscure. Geologists agree that Devils Tower formed from molten rock forced upwards from deep within the earth. Debate continues, however, as to whether the rock cooled underground or whether Devils Tower magma reached the surface.

Photo Courtesy: Wiki

Current research supports the conclusion that Devils Tower was not a volcano, but was injected between sedimentary rock layers and cooled underground (as a laccolith). The characteristic furrowed columns are the result of contraction which occurred during the cooling of the magma. Geologic estimates have placed the age of Devils Tower at greater than 50 million years, although it is likely that erosion uncovered the rock formations only one or two million years ago.


Photo Courtesy: Wiki


-Rick DeLuca





VIDEO: Crazy Time Lapse of Rare Wave Cloud!

Time lapse of the rare, UNDULATUS ASPERATUS, wave clouds that rolled over Lincoln NE on July 7, 2014.


YouTube Video Courtesy Alex Schueth

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell


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Mapping The Journey Of A Giant Coronal Mass Ejection...

Two main types of explosions occur on the sun: solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Unlike the energy and X-rays produced in a solar flare – which can reach Earth at the speed of light in eight minutes – coronal mass ejections are giant clouds of solar material that take one to three days to reach Earth. Once at Earth, these ejections, also called CMEs, can impact satellites in space or interfere with radio communications. During CME Week from Sept. 22 to 26, 2014, we explore different aspects of these giant eruptions that surge out from our closest star.


Video Courtesy: NASA Goddard

On July 23, 2012, a massive cloud of solar material erupted off the sun's right side, zooming out into space. It soon passed one of NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft, which clocked the CME as traveling between 1,800 and 2,200 miles per second as it left the sun. This was the fastest CME ever observed by STEREO.

Two other observatories – NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and the joint European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- witnessed the eruption as well. The July 2012 CME didn't move toward Earth, but watching an unusually strong CME like this gives scientists an opportunity to observe how these events originate and travel through space.

STEREO's unique viewpoint from the sides of the sun combined with the other two observatories watching from closer to Earth. Together they helped scientists create models of the entire July 2012 event. They learned that an earlier, smaller CME helped clear the path for the larger event, thus contributing to its unusual speed.

Such data helps advance our understanding of what causes CMEs and improves modeling of similar CMEs that could be Earth-directed.



-Rick DeLuca





Weather Blog: Killer Hornets

From Jude Redfield...

    Thank goodness we don't have giant, killer hornets like this around here. These things are massive. This is a must watch video documentary and more info on the Asian Giant Hornet can be found below the video.




Asian giant hornet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Asian giant hornet
Vespa mandarinia japonica2.jpg
Adults engaging in trophallaxis
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Vespidae
Genus: Vespa
Species: V. mandarinia
Binomial name
Vespa mandarinia
Smith, 1852

The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), including the subspecies Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica),[1] colloquially known as the yak-killer hornet,[2] is the world's largest hornet, native to temperate and tropical Eastern Asia. They prefer to live in low mountains and forests while almost completely avoiding plains and highly elevated climates. Nests are created either by digging, coopting preexisting tunnels dug by rodents or occupying spaces near rotted pine roots.[3] It feeds primarily on larger insects and honey from honey bee colonies. [4] Its body length is approximately 50 mm (2 in), its wingspan is about 76 mm (3 in),[5] and its 6 mm (0.24 in) stinger injects a large amount of potent venom. Vespa mandarinia is the only social wasp that recruits members of its hive to potential food sources through food recruitment signals.[6]


The head of the hornet is orange and quite wide in comparison to other hornet species. The compound eyes and ocelli are dark brown, and the antennae are dark brown with orange scapes. The clypeus (the shield-like plate on the front of the head) is orange and coarsely punctured; the posterior side of the clypeus has narrow, rounded lobes. The mandible is large and orange with a black tooth (inner biting surface) that is used for burrowing.

The thorax and propodeum (the abdominal segment that is fused with the posterior segment of the thorax) of the Asian giant hornet has a distinctive golden tint and a large scutellum (a shield-like scale on the thorax) that has a deeply impressed medial line; the postscutellum (the plate behind the scutellum) bulges and overhangs the propodeum. The hornet's forelegs are orange with dark brown tarsi (the distal—furthest down—part of the leg); the midlegs and hindlegs are dark brown. Wings are a dark brownish-gray. The tegulae are brown.

The gaster (the portion of the abdomen behind the thoraxabdomen connection) is dark brown with a white, powdery covering; with narrow yellow bands at the posterior margins of the tergite, the sixth segment is entirely yellow. It is similar in appearance to the European hornet, Vespa crabro, and other members of the genus.

Geographic distribution

The Asian giant hornet
The Asian giant hornet

It can be found in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia, Korea (where it is called 장수말벌; "Commander wasp"), China, Taiwan (where it is called 虎頭蜂; "tiger head bee"), Indochina,Thailand, Nepal, India,Vietnam and Sri Lanka, but is most common in rural areas of Japan, where it is called giant sparrow bee (大雀蜂 or オオスズメバチ?).


The stinger of the Asian giant hornet is about 6 mm (¼ in) in length,[5] and injects an especially potent venom that contains, like many bee and wasp venoms, a cytolytic peptide (specifically, a mastoparan) that can damage tissue by stimulating phospholipase action,[7] in addition to its own intrinsic phospholipase.[8] Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University near Tokyo, described the sensation as feeling "like a hot nail being driven into my leg".[5]

An allergic human stung by the giant hornet may die from an allergic reaction to the venom.

The venom contains a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin (MDTX),[9] a single-chain polypeptide with a molecular weight of approximately 20 kD,[10] which can be lethal even to people who are not allergic if the dose is sufficient.

Each year in Japan, the human death toll caused by Asian giant hornet stings is around 30 to 40.[11][12][13]

Advice in China is that people stung more than 10 times need medical help, and emergency treatment for more than 30 stings. The stings can cause renal failure.[14] Stings by Asian giant hornets killed forty-one people and injured more than 1,600 people in Shaanxi province, China in 2013.[15]


The Asian giant hornet is intensely predatory; it hunts medium- to large-sized insects, such as bees, other hornet species, and mantises.

An Asian giant hornet feeding on a mantis.

The hornets often attack hives to obtain the honey bee larvae as food for their own larvae. A single scout, sometimes two or three, will cautiously approach the hive, producing pheromones to lead its nest-mates to the hive. The hornets can devastate a colony of honey bees: a single hornet can kill as many as 40 honey bees per minute thanks to its large mandibles which can quickly strike and decapitate a bee. The honeybee stings are ineffective because the hornets are five times the size and too heavily armoured. It takes only relatively few of these hornets (under 50) a few hours to exterminate a colony of tens of thousands of bees. The hornets can fly up to 100 kilometres (60 mi) in a single day, at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph)[16]

Hornet larvae, but not adults, can digest solid protein; the adult hornets chew their prey into a paste that they feed to their larvae. Larvae of predatory social vespids generally (not just Vespa) secrete a clear liquid, vespa amino acid mixture, whose exact amino acid composition varies considerably from species to species, which they produce to feed the adults on demand.[17]

Native honey bees

A defensive ball of Japanese honey bees (Apis cerana japonica) in which two hornets (Vespa simillima xanthoptera) are engulfed, incapacitated, heated, and eventually killed. This sort of defence is also used against the giant hornet.

Beekeepers in Japan attempted to introduce European honey bees (Apis mellifera) for the sake of their high productivity. European honeybees have no innate defense against the hornets, which can rapidly destroy their colonies.[18]

Although a handful of Asian giant hornets can easily defeat the uncoordinated defenses of a honey bee colony, the Japanese honey bee (Apis cerana japonica) has an effective strategy. When a hornet scout locates and approaches a Japanese honey bee hive, she emits specific pheromonal hunting signals. When the Japanese honey bees detect these pheromones, a hundred or so gather near the entrance of the nest and set up a trap, keeping the entrance open. This permits the hornet to enter the hive. As the hornet enters, a mob of hundreds of honey bees surrounds it in a ball, completely covering it and preventing it from reacting effectively. The bees violently vibrate their flight muscles in much the same way as they do to heat the hive in cold conditions. This raises the temperature in the ball to the critical temperature of 46 °C (115 °F). In addition, the exertions of the honey bees raise the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ball. At that concentration of CO2, the honey bees can tolerate up to 50 °C (122 °F), but the hornet cannot survive the combination of a temperature of 46 °C (115 °F) and high carbon dioxide level.[19][20] Some bees do die along with the intruder, much as happens when they attack other intruders with their stings, but by killing the hornet scout they prevent it from summoning reinforcements that would wipe out the entire colony.[21]

Detailed research suggests that this account of the behaviour of the bees and a few species of hornets is incomplete and that the bees and the predators are developing strategies to avoid expensive and mutually unprofitable conflict. Instead, when bees detect scouting hornets they transmit an "I see you" signal that commonly warns off the predator.[22]

Hornet supplement manufacturers

Several companies in Asia and Europe have begun to manufacture dietary supplements and energy drinks which contain synthetic versions of secretions of the larvae of Vespa mandarinia, which the adult hornets usually consume. The manufacturers of these products make claims that consuming the larval hornet secretions (marketed as "hornet juice") will enhance human endurance because of the effect it has on adult hornets' performance. Because these products are marketed as dietary supplements rather than pharmaceuticals, they do not have to support their claims. Some studies have suggested that the vespa amino acid mixture itself may influence animal performance in minor ways.


Dry streak 12 days and counting!

On the heals of a very wet August, September started off just as wet.  In fact, after breaking a daily record with 2.93" of rain, on September 11th, it appeared that the wet finish to the summer would persist into fall.  

However, that has not been the case.  In fact, since the deluge on the 11th, we haven't picked up any measurable rainfall in Louisville, a period of 12 days!  (The longest such dry spell of the year)

To make matters worse, this dry pattern doesn't look to break anytime soon.  


Currently, a large surface high pressure system is sitting right on top of the Ohio Valley.  This highs is sandwiched between a pair of low pressure systems, one over the Carolinas and another located over the Plains.

Neither of these two systems will have an impact on our weather because of the surface high currently sitting on top of us and a pattern that is developing in the upper levels.  

The current run of the GFS is picking up on an expected blocking pattern that looks to develop over the East-Central US later this week and into the weekend.  


This particular blocking pattern is known as a "high over low" block and is characterized by a high pressure system aloft located to the north (over) of a cut-off low pressure system.  

By this weekend, that block looks to be well established essentially blocking our chances of any precipitation through the period too.  

So when could we finally see the rain return?  

That depends on which of the medium range forecast models you buy.  However, there is an overall consensus that precipitation chances will be on the rise Monday through Wednesday of next week.

Here's a look at the big three: GFS, EURO and Canadian...




If the GFS is correct, then we'll have a chance of showers on Monday.  However, if the Canadian proves to be correct, that chance of rain may have to hold off until next Wednesday (A full 8 days from now!)  

The EURO is by far the most bullish bringing up a healthy rainmaker out of the Gulf early next week.  

By that time we will certainly be in need of moisture, as that would make for 18 or 19 straight days without rain.  Yikes!

Keep your fingers crossed for the rain in the extended!

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell


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