05/23/2018

When to Expect the First Named Tropical System

Hurricane season starts in just a little over one week, and we are tracking a low pressure moving toward the Gulf of Mexico.  The National Hurricane Center has steadily been increasing their chances over the last few days that this develops into a tropical disturbance of some sort.  Currently it is at 60% chance of formation.  If it does come together, it would be named Alberto. There are six lists of hurricane names that are cycled through.  However, the names of especially damaging storms are retired to avoid confusion when they are referred to in the future.  Each list starts with the letter "A" and works in order through the English alphabet, so the "A" storm is always the first named storm of the year.  The average date for the first named system in the Atlantic is July 9 (from NHC data 1966-2009). 

Remember, just because a storm gets a name does not mean it will impact the United States.  Tropical systems are named to help avoid confusion.  In the past they were referenced by latitude/longitude which doesn't really help the public.  The World Meteorological Organization puts together the lists, so all sources use the same name for the same storm. 

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Michael Lowry, now a Strategic Planner for FEMA and formerly a hurricane specialist with The Weather Channel, tweeted, "Since 1960 the earliest forming named storm was Alex in 2016 (January 12th), and the latest forming storm was Arlene in 1967 (August 30th)."  He added that the first named storm occurring outside official hurricane season (June 1 - November 30) happens roughly every 4-5 years.  If this low pressure headed toward the Gulf were to become Alberto, it would be a little earlier than normal but certainly not unusual.

Below is the discussion from the National Hurricane Center released with this map above about potential development in the Atlantic this week:

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

  1. A broad surface low centered near the coast of northeastern Belize continues to produce a large area of cloudiness and showers extending from the northwestern Caribbean Sea across Cuba and into the Florida Straits. Little development is expected during the next couple of days due to strong upper-level winds and proximity to the Yucatan Peninsula. However, environmental conditions are then forecast to become more conducive for development, and a subtropical or tropical depression could form this weekend over the eastern or central Gulf of Mexico. Regardless of development, locally heavy rainfall is possible across western Cuba and the Cayman Islands during the next few days, and over much of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast during the weekend. For more information on the heavy rain threat, please see products issued by your local weather office. The next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued by 800 PM EDT.
    * Formation chance through 48 hours...low...near 0 percent.
    * Formation chance through 5 days...medium...60 percent.

Thursday, May 24, the National Hurricane Center will release their official outlook for this hurricane season. They will evaluate whether this season will be more or less active than average.  Watch the blog for updates on their outlook.

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-Hannah Strong

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Air Quality Alert Issued for Thursday

An Air Quality Alert has been issued by The NWS in Louisville, The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

It is in effect for tomorrow from 7 am until 12 am for metro Louisville. This includes Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham, Floyd, Clark Counties.

This is a CODE ORANGE, which means it only impacts some individuals. It is unhealthy for sensitive groups and they may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.

Read more about the alert below. 

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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.
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For more information, visit the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District's website or the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at their website.

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-Katie McGraw 

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Holiday Weekend Sneaky Peek Shows Problems

From Jude Redfield...

    The dew point drop is on, but it will be brief. Dew points in the low 60s this morning fall into the 50s tonight and tomorrow. You might even be able to open the windows tonight. Jungle air races back for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Get ready to sweat!

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    Expect mostly cloudy skies at times this weekend, but temps will be on the warm side. This combined with sultry air makes it perfect to swim. Unfortunately some areas will experience more of the annoying pop up storms similar to what we've had over the last week. Some get drenched, some get not much or nothing at all. A pattern like this makes it difficult to have a plan set in stone right now. This means a game time decision Saturday-Monday. So far nothing suggests all day rain outs.

Temps

    Locally heavy rain and frequent lightning will be the main hazards with the scattered weekend storms.

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    The greatest potential for coverage sets up in the afternoon and evening.

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    If you have outdoor plans my advice is to check in daily with the weather team. We are constantly monitoring new information to help lock in the most likely times for rain. -Jude Redfield-

05/22/2018

2 TIMES! You Have A Couple Chances To 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.

How To View The International Space Station

The first pass will occur at 9:33 PM and lasts for 6 minutes. Look about 2/3rd's up in the horizon with a max height of 63 degrees...

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The second pass will occur at 11:10 PM and lasts for 5 minutes. This time you should look low with a max height of only 18 degrees...

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-Rick DeLuca

Rick

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

New Hazards and Eruptions: Kilauea Update

The U.S. Geological Survey has been publishing updates on increased activity for Kilauea since May 12. According USGS, "Moderate-level eruption of lava continues from multiple points along the northeast end of the active fissure system."  They added, "This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation has slowed and seismicity levels have decrease in the area."

Click here to see LIVE webcams from Kilauea. The image below shows a lava fountain shooting into the air.  Geologists report this climbed as high as 164 feet! All images here are from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Down wind of these openings, residents have to worry about SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions, vog (smog from volcanic ash), and laze. Laze is short for "lava haze" which happens when the hot lava boils the ocean saltwater to dryness. "The process leads to a series of chemical reactions that result in the formation of a billowing white cloud composed of a mixture of condensed seawater steam, hydrochloric acid gas, and tiny shards of volcanic glass. This mixture has the stinging and corrosive properties of dilute battery acid," according to USGS. That is what you see in the picture below.

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Activity in the southeast rift zone has been ongoing since 1983, just not to this degree. Volcanologist Dr. Janine Krippner tweeted, "Kilauea is not linked to other volcanic activity around the world like at Merapi or any continental US volcanoes (...) There are around 20 volcanoes erupting on any given day, all the time."

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-Hannah Strong

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05/21/2018

DUST DEVIL Chases Woman Across Street In Russia...

A dust devil chased a woman across the street in Russia, forcing her walk to become a sprint! Just when she finally thinks she got rid of it, the whirlwind turns on her for a second time. A dust devil is a strong, well-formed, and relatively long-lived whirlwind, ranging from small (half a meter wide and a few meters tall) to large (more than 10 meters wide and more than 1000 meters tall). They are usually harmless, but can on rare occasions grow large enough to pose a threat to both people and property.

Video Credit: Insanely

They are comparable to tornadoes in that both are a weather phenomenon of a vertically oriented rotating column of air, but that's where it ends. Tornadoes are associated with a larger parent circulation, the mesocyclone on the back of a supercell thunderstorm. Dust devils form as a swirling updraft under sunny conditions during fair weather, rarely coming close to the intensity of a tornado.

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

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What Monday Storms Mean for Tuesday

Tuesday brings another round of storms, but this will be a little different than what we saw over the weekend.  Instead of being driven by small-scale boundaries, we finally have a bigger pattern to help support these storms. 

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The storms on Tuesday look even more benign than the storms from Monday.  The chance of severe weather is nearly zero, but thunder/lightning interrupting your life is possible. 

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Note the timing in these images - Tuesday's rain/storm chance will start and end a little earlier than Monday's.  As the cold front comes through, it will help initiate some storms.  After it leaves the area, though, our rain chances drop quickly. 

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As far as organization, don't expect much. These will still be widely scattered which means not everyone will see them.  All of these small cells might miss you, but you all have the chance to see them. We will still have to watch for existing boundaries that could initiate storms in addition to the incoming front. 

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Marc and Rick will track tonight's storms for you on WDRB from 10 until 11:30.  Then Jude will be back in the morning from 5-9 to show you where tonight's storms have set up boundaries that could spark more storms Tuesday.

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-Hannah Strong

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Strong Storms Ignite Again

From Jude Redfield...

    For the last week we've had a summer-like pattern with a daily chance for storms.  Today and tomorrow will be the end of the road to this pattern, but only briefly. While an isolated storm is possible into the early afternoon, the greatest coverage shakes out between 4 pm and 1 am. Expect around a 60% chance for an impact by rain/storms through tonight.

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    These storms come packed with the same kind of energy we've seen over the past week.

    Radar simulations below give an idea of coverage expected today and tomorrow.

Temps

Stormview

    We should pull of a trifecta of non stormy days Wednesday-Friday. 3 in a row is pretty nice! For the upcoming holiday weekend go on and plan on increasing cloud cover and tropical moisture. This will mean scattered showers and storms developing Saturday through Memorial Day. Stay tuned if you have weekend plans! -Jude Redfield-

05/20/2018

Monday Storm Potential

Monday is yet another potentially stormy day across Kentuckiana.  A Slight Risk of severe weather barely clips our northernmost counties, while the rest of us are included in a Marginal Risk (level 1 of 5). 

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It is possible we will see a few showers and weak storms Monday morning, but these will be very few and far between. In fact, most of you will stay dry until the afternoon. 

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Nothing much changes in these images from 2:30 to 6:30 Monday afternoon.  Isolated pop-up storms will be likely most of the afternoon and evening.  Again, these are not a guarantee for everyone, though everyone has a chance to see storms.  Brief, heavy downpours could lead to isolated flooding.  Small hail and gusty wind will also be possible. 

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Some stronger storms in southern Indiana will be possible after midnight (carrying through early Tuesday morning), but this depends on what happens earlier in the evening.  Make sure you check with us during the day for forecast updates for this very reason. 

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Wake up for WDRB in the Morning Monday, so Jude can walk you through any updates to the forecast and track any showers or storms that show up during the morning.  Then I will be with you at 11:30 AM and Noon, and Marc and Rick will track any storms that pop up through the evening. 

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-Hannah Strong

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More Showers & Storms: Timing & Threats

SET UP: 

There is a front and another low, near our region, that will keep showers and storms in the forecast for this evening.  At this point, the threat is conditional, because my confidence is not that high we will see that many showers and storms actually develop later today. 
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SEVERE THREAT: 

Currently, SPC (Storm Prediction Center) has a marginal risk for severe weather for most of our viewing area. This is a level one of five and any storms will be limited in organization. Scattered thunderstorms will be possible, mainly late in the day. Main threats will be heavy rainfall, locally gusty winds, hail and cloud to ground lightning. 

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INGREDIENTS: 

Heat and moisture (or dew points) both are fuel for storms. The increase of each, will in turn, increase our instability. Today, temperatures will be very warm, in the upper 80s and low 90s. Dew points will be in the upper 60s. This will lead to high instability.  

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We know that an increase in heat AND moisture both increase instability and instability is key to severe weather development. 

Notice that CAPE, or Convective Available Potential Energy (a measurement of instability) will be substantial later this afternoon between 1500-2500 J/kg. Meteorologists often refer to "weak instability" (CAPE less than 1000 Jkg-1), "moderate instability" (CAPE from 1000-2500 Jkg-1), "strong instability" (CAPE from 2500-4000 Jkg-1), and "extreme instability" (CAPE greater than 4000 Jkg-1). So we have moderate to strong instability this afternoon. 
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What is lacking today and this evening, and will therefore limit organized severe weather, is wind energy.  As a rule, we look for at least 35 kt winds aloft as a severe weather criteria, therefore this is substandard wind energy. If storms get strong, they will likely be pulse style storms. This is similar to what we see in summer. A summerstorm gets tall and strong briefly and then weakens just as fast. 

A few stronger storms are a possibility again today, but it doesn't look like an organized threat with the ingredients we have available.  
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Wind energy is the highest earlier in the day and drops even more when storms are most likely, lower the severe potential. 
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TIMING: 

While talking about all the ingredients and the set up is fine and dandy... it is worthless unless there are actually storms that develop. And there have been some serious model disagreements and changes between run to run about the timing of storms and if storms will even develop.

The main reason storms wouldn't develop or be delayed is because we have a strong cap in our atmosphere. A capped atmosphere is like a lid. It is a layer of relatively warm air aloft, usually several thousand feet above the ground, which suppresses or delays the development of thunderstorms. 

You can tell our atmosphere is less ripe for thunderstorms from this morning's activity. A cell, that had severe weather in St. Louis early this morning, continued to weaken as it moved toward us. All that is left now is light showers. 

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 Besides these lingering showers, most of the area will be dry for the next several hours. It will take time to break the cap. If it does, showers and storms will likely not develop until this evening, after 5-6 pm. 

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There is a better chance for storms the farther north you go. I only have about a 30-40% chance for showers and storms. This means not everyone will see storms.  
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Storms will wrap up late tonight, but there is another chance for scattered storms tomorrow too. 
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Be sure to stay up to date. We will have the latest info on WDRB this evening and tomorrow morning from 5-9 am. We will also post updates on social media. The links to my pages are below! 

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-Katie McGraw 

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