1939 posts categorized "Weblogs"

06/18/2017

The Tropics are Heating Up! First Two Storms of the Season Brewing...

NOAA is forecasting an above average hurricane season with 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes.  

FINAL 0523 Hurricane Graphic_pie chart-700x400

While it has been a relatively quiet start to the early part of the season (Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 - November 30th), things are beginning to heat up with TWO tropical disturbances of interest that will likely become named storms over the next couple of days. 

NHC gfx

The first one, Invest 93L, according to the National Hurricane Center, NHC, is located just off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and has an 80% chance to become a named storm.  

GULFIR

The system is expected to cross over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico over the next couple of days and is expected to impact the Northern Gulf by late Tuesday - Wednesday potentially as a tropical storm bringing a good bet for some very heavy rain for parts of the South later this week.

Panel_c_17

The second one, refered to as TWO02L, is much further out, but is approaching tropical storm strength as we speak.  

024545

This storm will likely be named either later tonight or tomorrow, however, it is forecasted to track along the Northern Coast of South America and gradually weaken as it inters the Eastern Caribbean by midweek.  

The first two storms of the 2017 season will be named Arlene and Bret.  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/17/2017

Cold Front to Deliver Storms Tomorrow!

So far this June, it's been hot with six 90° days so far including today's high of 91°, and it's been dry with only 0.76" so far officially at the Louisville International Airport.  

Fortunately, the approach of a a slow moving cold front looks to bring us some help in both categories as it arrives tomorrow afternoon.  If you have Father's Day plans, keep in mind storms will become likely during the afternoon.  

Satrad

The front, currently sparking strong to severe storms across North-Central Illinois and back into the Central Plains, looks to arrive tomorrow here locally.

Spc

While the Storm Prediction Center "officially" keeps our Indiana counties in a Slight Risk for late tonight.  It appears unlikely that  storms will reach this far south before morning, at least not in a severe form.  A few left over showers will be possible early, but any real severe threat looks to hold off until afternoon.  

Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

At1

At2

At3

At4

At5

At6

At7

As mentioned above, as storms redevelop with heating, some could become strong or severe with a damaging wind potential.  A Slight Risk has been issued for the day tomorrow.

Spc2

So what do I think?  

There is still considerable uncertainty as to exactly when storms will re-fire tomorrow, but best bet places it into the afternoon as the front slides from NW to SE across the area.  I think that some damaging wind gusts will be possible with any of the stronger storms that get going.  However, this does not appear to be a widespread severe threat and the rains could be very beneficial with locally an inch or more possible in areas. 

Keep your fingers crossed!

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/12/2017

ISS ALERT: High Altitude Crossing This Evening!

The International Space Station (ISS) will be making a HIGH ALTITUDE pass over our sky this evening.

At a blazing speed of 17,000 mph, it will cross our sky in about 5 minutes total time.  

Z iss crossing

You will be able to view it rise over the NW horizon at approximately 9:42 PM EDT this (Monday) evening.  The ISS will appear as a very bright point of light as it moves across the sky before exiting the SE horizon at approximately 9:46 AM EDT.

Unlike many ISS crossings, this one will take it very high in the sky, almost directly overhead in fact, rising to about 80° altitude at around at around 9:44.

6a0148c78b79ee970c017c370e8365970bLong Exposure Photograph of the ISS Credit: Mark Humpage

See an amazing time-lapse video taken from the ISS here.

For information on how to photograph the ISS: http://www.universetoday.com/93588/a-beginners-guide-to-photographing-the-international-space-station-iss/#ixzz2Lll4JR00

6a0148c78b79ee970c017c370e8401970b

You can track is progress live here on isstracker.com.

Outside of a few passing clouds, viewing will be good.  Enjoy! 

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/11/2017

NASA: What's swirling in the Black Sea???

Blacksea_tmo_2012139

Satellite image acquired May 18, 2017.  See full resolution image here.

Enriched by nutrients carried in by the Danube, Dnieper, Dniester, Don and other rivers, the waters of the Black Sea are fertile territory for the growth of phytoplankton. The bounty is a mixed blessing.

This natural-color image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows the eastern half of the Black Sea on May 18, 2012. Milky, light blue and turquoise-colored water in the middle of the sea is likely rich with blooming phytoplankton that trace the flow of water currents. Closer to the coast, the colors include more brown and green, perhaps a brew of sediment and organic matter washing out from rivers and streams, though it may also be a sign of phytoplankton. Puffs of spring clouds linger over parts of the coastline.

Phytoplankton are the “primary producers” of the seas and oceans. These plant-like, microscopic algae, bacteria, and protists use chlorophyll to make their own food from sunlight and dissolved nutrients. More than 150 different types of phytoplankton have been observed in the Black Sea over the years, and they have supported a rich bounty of fish and other marine organisms.

With scores of cities, resorts, and villages on its shores (many for thousands of years), and with waterways carrying farm runoff and wastewater from the interior of Europe and western Asia, the Black Sea is often teeming with phytoplankton. The layered structure of the water column also promotes plankton growth, as lighter, fresher water from the rivers gets concentrated on top and does not mix with the denser, saltier water coming in from the Mediterranean and Marmara Seas.

Scientists and resource managers have been working in recent years to stem the flow of nutrients and restore water quality, which can suffer due to an overabundance of phytoplankton. Extreme and persistent blooms can suck most of the oxygen out of the water—a process known as eutrophication—and suffocate other marine life. Predominance by certain phytoplankton species can also crowd out others that give the sea its diversity of plant and fish life.

Image and information courtesy NASA

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/07/2017

VIDEO: Pecos Hank's TOP 10 Tornadoes!

Pecos Hank: Top 10 best tornado video countdown. Tornadoes manifest themselves in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are a wondrous bright white, others are dark horrific, monsters. Most are harmless grazing over rural farmland, others are worst case scenarios. I've been chasing tornadoes since 1999 and these are my top ten best tornado videos.

For licensing HD or 4K tornado footage contact hankschyma@yahoo.com

Tornado Sound:
The roar of a tornado sounds different depending on it's size, how close you are and what the tornado is striking. Ones I've heard over open fields often sound like powerful waterfalls. The bigger the tornado, the louder and deeper the rumble. Ones moving through trees get louder and can sound more like a jet engine. In town, where there are lots of homes and buildings an approaching tornado might sound like a freight train with the clickity-clack noises of airborne missiles and heavy debris slamming into your neighbors homes.

#10 on this countdown was an extremely close, stationary tornado twirling 50 yards in front of my vehicle.

#9 The El Reno Oklahoma on May 31, 2013 was the widest tornado ever recorded. Mobile doppler recorded 295 mph winds just above the surface as this tornado grew to a record breaking 2.6 miles wide. The tornado occurred over mostly rural farm. Because the most powerful winds did not strike any anchored structures, this tornado only received an EF3 rating.

#8 was a beautiful, white, shape-shifting EF4 tornado descending from a tight, high base near Alpena South Dakota on June 18, 2014.

#7 and # 6 belong to the Pilger Nebraska twin tornadoes that touched down on June 16, 2014.
Two tornadoes on the ground at the same time isn't common, however two almost identical powerful EF4's in close proximity is extremely rare.

# 5 occurred in Cedar County Nebraska on June 17, 2014. This violent tornado occurred over mostly open farm land and received a underrated EF3.

#4 touched down just south of Dodge City Kansas as two mesocyclones buckled into each other like gears. This storm was a long lived cyclic supercell responsible for dropping a dozen or more tornadoes on May 24, 2016. For most of this tornadoes life, it shared the stage with another nearby tornado and at one point three tornadoes were on the ground at the same time.

#3 was a long lived, extremely violent tornado touching down near Chapman Kansas or Abilene Kansas on May 25, 2016.
For ninety minutes this finely tuned machine was on the ground. Unbelievably, this breath taking EF4 did not claim any lives.

#2... If ever a thing haunts your dreams, It might resemble the remorseless Katie-Wynnewood Oklahoma tornado of May 9, 2016. In seconds this EF4 ripped entire roof off its walls and tossed its fragments a hundred meters into the air. The rest of the house demolished. Trees hovers above the ground while roof trusses and 2x4's whirl around the tornado like feathers and a man looses his life.

#1 takes us back south of Dodge City to that unprecedented day, May 24th, 2016. At least a dozen tornadoes touched down, but the first one was the ultimate beautiful tornado. For approximately 30 minutes this slow moving, perfect beauty presented the tornado of a lifetime up close! Well lit excellent conditions, with good roads provided a dream come true scenario for even the most dedicated veteran chasers.

Music by Pecos Hank & Southern Backtones
"Little Ghost" Southern Backtones
"Lanugo" Southern Backtones

Tornado compilation and narration provided by the uber talented Pecos Hank

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/06/2017

NASA: Flares May Threaten Planet Habitability Near Red Dwarfs!

Cool dwarf stars are hot targets for exoplanet hunting right now. The discoveries of planets in the habitable zones of the TRAPPIST-1 and LHS 1140 systems, for example, suggest that Earth-sized worlds might circle billions of red dwarf stars, the most common type of star in our galaxy. But, like our own sun, many of these stars erupt with intense flares. Are red dwarfs really as friendly to life as they appear, or do these flares make the surfaces of any orbiting planets inhospitable?

To address this question, a team of scientists has combed 10 years of ultraviolet observations by NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft looking for rapid increases in the brightness of stars due to flares. Flares emit radiation across a wide swath of wavelengths, with a significant fraction of their total energy released in the ultraviolet bands where GALEX observed. At the same time, the red dwarfs from which the flares arise are relatively dim in ultraviolet. This contrast, combined with the GALEX detectors' sensitivity to fast changes, allowed the team to measure events with less total energy than many previously detected flares. This is important because, although individually less energetic and therefore less hostile to life, smaller flares might be much more frequent and add up over time to create an inhospitable environment.

"What if planets are constantly bathed by these smaller, but still significant, flares?" asked Scott Fleming of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore. "There could be a cumulative effect."

PIA21473-16This illustration shows a red dwarf star orbited by a hypothetical exoplanet. Red dwarfs tend to be magnetically active, displaying gigantic arcing prominences and a wealth of dark sunspots. Red dwarfs also erupt with intense flares that could strip a nearby planet's atmosphere over time, or make the surface inhospitable to life as we know it.  By mining data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft, a team of astronomers identified dozens of flares at a range of durations and strengths. The team measured events with less total energy than many previously detected flares from red dwarfs. This is important because, although individually less energetic and therefore less hostile to life, smaller flares might be much more frequent and add up over time to produce a cumulative effect on an orbiting planet.  Caltech in Pasadena led the GALEX mission, which ended in 2013 after more than a decade of scanning the skies in ultraviolet light. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also in Pasadena, managed the mission and built the science instrument. JPL is managed by Caltech for NASA.

To detect and accurately measure these flares, the team had to analyze data over very short time intervals. From images with exposure times of nearly half an hour, the team was able to reveal stellar variations lasting just seconds.

First author Chase Million of Million Concepts in State College, Pennsylvania, led a project called gPhoton that reprocessed more than 100 terabytes of GALEX data held at the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), located at the Space Telescope Science Institute. The team then used custom software developed by Million and Clara Brasseur, also at the institute, to search several hundred red dwarf stars, and they detected dozens of flares.

"We have found dwarf star flares in the whole range that we expected GALEX to be sensitive to, from itty bitty baby flares that last a few seconds, to monster flares that make a star hundreds of times brighter for a few minutes," said Million.

The flares GALEX detected are similar in strength to flares produced by our own sun. However, because a planet would have to orbit much closer to a cool, red dwarf star to maintain a temperature friendly to life as we know it, such planets would be subjected to more of a flare's energy than Earth.

Large flares can strip away a planet's atmosphere. Strong ultraviolet light from flares that penetrates to a planet's surface could damage organisms or prevent life from arising.

Currently, team members Rachel Osten and Brasseur are examining stars observed by both the GALEX and Kepler missions to look for similar flares. The team expects to eventually find hundreds of thousands of flares hidden in the GALEX data.

"These results show the value of a survey mission like GALEX, which was instigated to study the evolution of galaxies across cosmic time and is now having an impact on the study of nearby habitable planets," said Don Neill, research scientist at Caltech in Pasadena, who was part of the GALEX collaboration. "We did not anticipate that GALEX would be used for exoplanets when the mission was designed."

New and powerful instruments like NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018, ultimately will be needed to study atmospheres of planets orbiting nearby red dwarf stars and search for signs of life. But as researchers pose new questions about the cosmos, archives of data from past projects and missions, like those held at MAST, continue to produce exciting new scientific results.

These results were presented in a news conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas.

The GALEX mission, which ended in 2013 after more than a decade of scanning the skies in ultraviolet light, was led by scientists at Caltech. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also in Pasadena, managed the mission and built the science instrument. JPL is managed by Caltech for NASA.

STScI conducts Hubble Space Telescope science operations and is the mission and science operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington.

For more information about exoplanets, visit:

https://exoplanets.nasa.gov

Image and information courtesy NASA

 

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/05/2017

Dry Conditions Developing. Intense Heat Could Soon Follow.

Following regular rains and near normal precipitation for the last several months, things are beginning to dry out as we've only picked up 0.20" of rain in Louisville since May 25th or over the last 12 days.  

Current_usdm

While we are not in danger of drought yet, that could change with time.

Both the Euro and the GFS agree, if we don't catch a significant shower or storm this evening, there will be little to no opportunity for rain over the next 7 days.

Gfs_tprecip_conus2_30

By the end of the weekend, a large dome of high pressure, sometimes referred to a "death ridge" looks to develop over the Eastern US.  

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Not only will this continue to limit chances for precipitation, it will also likely be accompanied by lots of heat.

The Climate Prediction Center agrees with this assessment and has placed the Eastern 2-3rds of the US in a high probability for above normal temperatures in the 6 to 10 day range.  

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This forecast makes sense because when you dry out this time of the year, it usually results in more sunshine and that can be a dangerous thing during the month of June when the sun angle is at it's annual peak.  Temps can get out of control quickly with a lack of moisture this time of the year. 

We don't have to look too far back for a reminder of what can happen.  If you remember back in the summer of 2012, you will remember a June which only featured 0.79" of total rain in Louisville.  By the end of June 2012 we were in a serious drought and  smashing records with intense triple digit heat as highs cracked the century mark on three straight days to end the month.

June 2012

Our high reached an incredible 105° degrees on June 29th and the incredible heat didn't stop there.  We went on to top the century mark 7 more times during the month of July during what turned out to be one of the hottest summers in recent history for our area. 

Eventually, thanks to some help from the tropics, the rains returned by late July and things simmered down some for the end of that summer. 

While I'm not expecting triple digit heat in our our near future, temps will likely soar into the 90's by the end of the weekend and this could be the beginning of a very hot summer.

In the meantime, keep those fingers crossed for rain.  My lawn already needs a drink!  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/04/2017

HD VIDEO: Volcanic Waterspouts!

Uploaded on May 15, 2009 via gravitydude99

Hot water and steam at the Waikupanaha lava delta create a micro-weather system that spawns waterspouts.

Yep, apparently volcanic waterspouts are a thing!  Who knew??  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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06/03/2017

Humidity Returns with More Heat and Possibility of Storms to End Weekend.

For the first time this year the temperature cracked the 90° mark in Louisville.  

Almanac

While it was hot, it wasn't humid.  That will change over the next couple of days as dew point temps ramp up from the west. 

Temps dp

You will feel the humidity returning by the end of the day tomorrow and in some cases, the moisture could fuel a few late day showers/storms. 

Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

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AT shows coverage of afternoon storms limited to our Southern Counties.  However, some of the data sneaks a few showers to near the Ohio River or Interstate 64 by late day.

Rain chances

The chance for storms goes up tomorrow night in advance of a cold front approaching out of the Midwest. 

Satrad

Keep your fingers crossed, we could use the rain!  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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05/30/2017

2017 JUNE OUTLOOK

May turned out to be quite a turbulent month with several waves of strong to severe thunderstorms and also several periods of well above normal temps as highs reached as warm as 89 degrees.  But there were also some very cool days as temps failed to escape the 60's on seven occasions and even one day which featured highs in the 50's!  (55 F on June 5th)  Overall temps averaged out to near normal and precipitation was also near normal for the month at 4 and 3/4".  

So what can we look forward to for the month of June? 

While data suggests near normal to above normal conditions to start the month (June 1st is on Thursday), after a potentially steamy and stormy first weekend, much of the data points us towards a colder period setting up by early next week.  

Ecmwf_uvz200_noram_31

The current run of the Euro (12z) shown above features a rather large upper level trough developing over the Eastern US early next week with temps running 10 to 15 C below normal in our area.  

Ecmwf_t850a_conus_31

While the GFS is not going this cold, it to shows this basic idea of upper troughing over the Eastern US at least into the early portions of next week.  

The Climate Prediction Center is bullish on the Euro idea and has the US bisected with above normal warmth over the West and below normal over the Eastern US in the next 8 to 14 days.

814temp_new

CPC is also foreasting wetter than normal conditions over the Eastern US corresponding with the area of below normal temps.

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Looking further out, the Euro Weeklies (featured below) gives a snap shot of what June might look like with the first week (5 day increments) at the top left, week 2 in the top right, week 3 in the bottom left and week 4 in the bottom right. 

Euro weeklies

This give us the idea that temps remain near or slightly below normal even through the end of the month. 

This differs from the current CPC forecast for June showing  near normal to slightly above normal conditions in our area for the duration of the month.

Off14_temp

So what do I think? 

This time of the year, one of the biggest factors when it comes to temps is moisture.  When it rains regularly, it keeps vegetation green which in turns keeps the air more humid and the likelihood of rain higher.  This is a feedback loop that lends itself to cooler temps overall thanks to more clouds and rain.  

So as long as we can keep the rain coming, I don't see why we don't stay cooler in the near term.  However, all it takes is a week or so without rain this time of the year and the temps can quickly get away from us.  

So while we have been able to avoid the 90 degree mark so far, there is no guarantee that will continue despite the cool forecast by the Euro.  

As far as severe weather is concerned, June is still an active month for our area and although not major outbreaks are expected in the near future, the possibility of regular rains will also pose the possibility of strong storms from time to time.  

Stay tuned.  Marc has your update on the possibility of more storms this weekend on WDRB News this evening.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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