Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Looking Back

A brief recap of 2011 is all that is needed for a year which didn't feature many memorable events for weather in Howard County.  While this was a year for extreme weather for many portions of the United States, Kokomo & Howard County pretty such sat out for all but one. 

Ground Hog Day Blizzard 2011

After seeing the big snow storms hitting the east coast, it was nice for us to be in the bullseye for once.  The talk on the Internet between weather hobbyists began much earlier than any of the public forecast discussions from the National Weather Service or broadcast media.

I hinted at the snow event 9 days in advance and started sharing more detailed forecasts 6 days in advance.

Forecast models had latched on rather early and some of the snow accumulations were very impressive to beyond believable.  Some had 2+ feet of snow across our area.  The timing was particularity troublesome for such a significant storm.  It was to begin Monday evening and on Saturday, the public was still generally unaware a potentially historic snow storm was a little more than 48 hours away.

Synoptically this storm had a remakable resenbence to the Valentines Day Storm of 2007.  That should still be fresh enough in most peoples minds to know how bad things got around the area.  

I truly felt many would be unprepared including some vital services so for the first time, I contact Howard County Emergency Management's Director and filled him in on what I was thinking.  We went back and forth and I know he passed along my forecast to the Howard County Highway Department.

By Sunday morning, the National Weather Service was on board with the idea of a significant weather event and began alerting the public.  Broadcast media also followed suit.  Besides significant snow amounts, a likely more devastating ice storm event loomed for areas south of a line from Muncie to Indianapolis to Terra Haute.

In the end, warm air and a dry slot staved off the ice storm and locally, we were hammered with sleet.  In fact three inches of it fell across the county.  A bit north however they were pummeled.  Chicago had the infamous shots of Lake Shore Drive being shut down with stranded cars and lake effect snow produced three feet in South Bend.

I did nail the prediction of three snow days for county schools but busted on my call of 6-10 inches of snow with 1-2 inches of sleet. 

We also did receive the constellation prize on the following Saturday when we received our biggest snow of the season when 6 inches fell in a very peaceful storm.

Winter 2010-2011 Ends Early

Another potent storm system was forecast for the 25th of February.  I had forecast 4-7 inches thinking my 7 could be on the low side.  The National Weather Service had us for 6 inches.  However dry air again crept in and brought the totals down.  I recorded 4 inches and that was the last measurable snow for the season.  A couple more trace events occurred leaving us with a season total of 34.3 inches and 5 snow days for the county schools.

Severe Weather Season Starts Early

No sooner had winter breathed it's last gasp of (dry) air did severe weather season begin on February 26th.  It did not amount to anything significant locally and March which followed was rather boring.  It wasn't until April when severe weather season really kicked in.

While tornadoes and severe weather made headlines across the state with a record with 72 confirmed tornadoes, the closes any came were Cass and Grant Counties which had two each.

Nationally, there was a late start but then several significant outbreaks which caused an unthinkable about of tornado related deaths.  I mention it because with spotters, chasers, sophisticated radar, and advanced early warning systems, you would think people would be in shelters when storms hit.

While many of the deaths can be attributed to unusually violent tornadoes hitting populated areas, many still didn't head the warnings or even pay attention to the watches issued hours in advance.  Regular readers of my blog know I preach being alert, situational awareness, and to think about what to do and were to go when severe weather happens.  We don't always have the luxury of being home or having a basement when severe weather strikes.

A Warm Summer

Summer started early with 90 degree readings by the middle of May.  Weather became rather boring once summer arrived.  About the only thing weather fanatics could do besides lament the boredom with weather was to see if we could break a record or hit the century mark.

Kokomo finally hit 100 degrees on July 21st.  It had been more than ten years since the last 100 degree reading.

Indianapolis broke the old record for consecutive 90 degree days.  A new record of 23 days in a row was set between July 17th and August 8th.  Summer was warm overall and while we didn't see below normal precipitation, much of Indiana did.

 For the year, pretty much everything east of the Rockies saw above normal above average temperatures. 

The summer months of June, July, & August were dry but the other months have made up for it pushing us well above normal for year.

Fall was pretty quiet on the weather front too.  So quiet I didn't write much about it.

The Start of Winter

I did put out my Composite Winter Outlook for 2011-2012 on November 1st.  Like most, I went with a cold and snow start for December.  It has been anything but.  While the precipitation was there, the cold has never materialized.

There is  pretty good bet too that the long term patter stays warm for January too.  The first part of shows continued warmth for the most part.  A short term cold show will user in the 2012 though.

Social Media

If you have not done so already, I want to encourage you to Like Kokomo Weather on Facebook.  While I continue to use the blog for bigger events, short term musings usually end up there or on Twitter where I can banter in 140 characters or less.

Acknowledgements & Friends

No doubt there are others who share my passion for the weather.  Locally I speak often with a handful of users and want to share their websites with you.

765 Weather - Over in Lafayette, they are blessed with Tim and his vast knowledge of weather history.  About any kind of weather phenomenon, Tim can crunch the numbers and tell you the extremes or averages for dates, years, seasons, or storms.  I encourage you to check out his blog from time to time.

Indiana Tornadoes - The title should give away the focus of Ryan's blog.  He keeps track of tornado events in Indiana plus other weather facts. 

(Thank goodness for Tim and Ryan and their memory for weather.  I am blessed with their knowledge often.)

Maurice Shammel - is a trained meteorologist in Evansville and shared his deep knowledge of the weather with the Tri-State area and Indiana.  Not enough can be said about his invaluable expertise.

IndyWX - Bill also is a regular forecaster for this area of Indiana.  Always enjoy reading his take on the weather and evolving patterns.

About Me

For those who don't know, I work full time in K-12 education in Information Technology, am active in Howard County EMA in communications, am a licensed amateur radio operator beginning in 1975, and work part time professionally in photography.  If I'm not on the sideline of a sporting event, I'm usually somewhere at a marching band or winter guard event.

I also enjoy the weather even though I have no formal training, I can do a good job with short term forecasting and focus on Kokomo and Howard County.  You may have already guess but I am not a fan of boring weather.  While some find it odd, at 50 years old, I still love snow and lots of it too. I also maintain a weather station at my home and that is where the updates on the main webpage some originate from. 

Most importantly, thanks for being a visitor to Kokomo-Weather. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A rather quiet month for winter.  Also quite warm.  The good news is the patter looks to be changing for the better (if you are a winter lover).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick Observation

The HRRR Model was pretty consistent all day with its hourly forecasts.  You can see the how the heaviest snow forecast and the current IDHS (Indiana Department of Homeland Security) restricted travel map lines up rather nicely.

I updated it to add the snowcover and cooperative snowfall map.  Again, the HRRR rocked this one.

Here is the NWS story on this system.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Updated Forecast: 4-8"

All things point to Howard County getting right into the heaviest snow path.  It isn't very wide so it was difficult to forecast but everything is lining up very nicely.  At this point, I think 4-8" us likely across the county.  Enjoy!

Join us on Facebook or Twitter too!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rain & Snow

Am impressive amount of rain will continue to fall through Tuesday afternoon when it changes to snow.  The NAM model continues to impress with 8+ inches of snow.  I so think it is high and this banding for the best snow will be rather narrow and the cut off quite sharp.  Small shifts or thermal differences will have huge implications. 

At this point I am forecasting 1-3" of snow and will continue to monitor the progress tomorrow as the event unfolds.  Mini updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Possible Snow Event...

November may end with a small rain changing over to snow event.  The bulk of the precipitation passes as rain as the cold air hurries to catch up.  However it does produce a small amount of snow.  We are about 3 1/2 days away from the main event so the fine details remain uncertain.  It will be the fine details which will mean the difference between a dusting to several inches.  A delay for school on Tuesday is somewhat probable at this point...

Here the the two most recent runs of the GFS (12z (7 am) and 18z (1 PM)).  You can see the snow band is rather narrow and it is moving around between model runs.  That can make or break on what we score. 

I won't be around on Saturday until the evening.  I'll update the forecast then but don't be surprised if you start to see other forecasters start to mention it more seriously tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011-2012 Snowfall Totals

Snow Total: 20" & 2 Trace | Snow Days: 0
Winter Forecast: 35" | Snow Days Predicted: 4

11/10/11 - T
11/29/11 - 5" (School Delay)
12/8/11 - 0.5" (Overnight/Moisture Starved Clipper)
12/27/11 - 2" (Heavy/Wet Snow)
1/2/12 - 0.5" (LES)
1/12-13/12 - 2" (School Delay)
1/13-14/12 - 0.5" (Flurries)
1/19/12 - 3" (Daytime Clipper)
1/20/12 - 2.5" (Messy)
1/25/12 - 0.5"
1/27/12 - T
2/8/12 - 1" (NW School Delay)
2/10-11/12 - 1" (Includes LES)
2/13-14/12 - 1.5" (Quite different from 5 years ago.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 2011 - 2012 Winter Outlook

Before we talk about this winter, let’s take a brief look back at last winter.  The revisit is not pleasant for me.  There was a blown forecast, some heartbreak misses, and a physical injury to top it all off.  

I thought last winter would be mild and feature no significant snow storms for Kokomo.  For temperatures, I had forecast a cold start to winter with a warming overall with us finishing up with slightly above average for winter.  While we did start quite cold in December, January remained below average.  February did climb above normal but the damage was already done.  We finished with more than 2 degrees below normal.  

I completely fail with the snowfall.  A top ten winter was never even in my wildest dreams but I happened.   I measured 34.3” with 6 trace amounts.  While Kokomo is not an official reporting location for climate data, we average about 24” or so.  Indianapolis recorded their 7th snowiest winter on record.   My prediction was slightly below average with 22 to 24”.

Where I totally failed was with my snow day forecast for the county school.  After several successful years of predictions, I am not even sure I deserve credit for trying.  I said there would be no snow days but instead there were five missed days.  However there were just two instances to get these five days.

The first instance was January 11-12.  The first day was not true snow day since school started on time but they did dismiss very early.  It was all planned and while I could have not counted it, in other years I would have so I took the hit this time.  It was just 4.5” overall but it was enough to get the job done.

What could have been historic for Kokomo ended up being big disappointment after it was over.  Forecast models were showing 2+ feet of snow.  (Yeah, feet!)  While we knew that was overdone, I did go with 10” plus a couple of inches of sleet.  The forecasts for south of here were for an apocalyptic ice storm.  Many heeded the forecast and bought generators.  (I bought one.)  This event unfolded with two waves.  The first wave was significantly weaker than expected and the second wave turned out to be a sleet storm.  An inch of snow and three inches sleet was what I decided to recorded for the event.  The mess did result in more three snow days for the season.  It also resulted in my wife falling on the sleet and breaking her arm.  That made for an unpleasant six weeks. 

The one bright spot was the very unexpected snow on Saturday February 5th.  Six inches fell and was the biggest snow of the season.  There were 18 measurable snow events staring on December 1st and ending on February 25th.  Just a couple of trace amounts were measured after that date.  

I do look back on last winter with some frustration.  Many places got pounded with snow and we just missed more than a few times.

So how does the winter of 2011 – 2012 look?  

One word: Awesome!  

For the record, I am not a trained meteorologist or skilled in long range forecasting.  I am generally a short range forecaster but love winter.  For months, I read and analyze many other forecasts and weigh each one taking into their past verification records in addition to their skill set in meteorology.  Add in a few sprinkles of my own here and there and we have my winter outlook.  With that said, here we go…

The consensus seems to be cold and snowy for the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes region.  

Temperatures will be more volatile this winter compared to last with deep intrusions of cold pushing down from Canada but then relaxing with surges of warmth from the south.  Many forecasters have thought winter would start off significantly with December being much below normal.  The models have been hinting at a big flip to winter in the last half of November so that call looks like a good one.

January is where we will begin to experience the up and down swings in temperatures.  The swings in temperatures will produce a variety of weather.  Unlike last winter were we avoided severe weather, the likelihood for severe weather seems elevated for this winter.  

February will see more moderation in temperatures but still some cold shots.

A volatile season will also likely extend winter into March.  The past two winters didn’t feature any measurable snow past the last week of February but I expect some snow in March this year. 
So how much snow will we see this winter?  

A couple of very favorable snow tracks will be in play this season.  Alberta Clippers will be responsible for frequent smaller snows of 2 to 4”.  Occasionally a clipper can be an over performer and surprise us with 5 to 6 plus inches.  Clippers make light and fluffy snow.  It is easy to shovel.

The best snows for Kokomo come from low pressure systems which originate on the east side of Colorado.  These usually produce the heavy wet snow and have the accompanying winds to cause considerable drifting.  Expect several of these tracks to be featured this winter.    

December’s cold will help with several smaller snow events.  Normal snowfall of 7 to 8” seems about right.
January snow will see increased chances for snow with the last half of the month the most likely time frame for a significant snowstorm.  Above average snow will 12 to 15” of accumulating snow.  That of course can go up rapidly with a big system.  

February will see just a handful of snows but the first week will again be the best time for a bigger storm.   Snow will measure 8 to 10” for the month.  

March should see a good snowstorm this year with 4 to 6” of accumulation.  

By winters end, we could see nearly 40” of snow but will likely be close to 35”.  The previous two winters were 32” and 34” and this once should fall right in line.  One thing I do not see is an elevated threat for ice.

Snow Days

The frequent clipper snows will produce many two hour delays.  However the heavier wet snows will close schools this winter.  For the Howard County Schools, I predict 4 weather related closings this winter.

That is the forecast for the Howard County winter and this is a high confidence forecast.  Enjoy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Century Mark

The heat wave is miserable and today it seems we have recorded our first triple digit temperature in more than 10 years.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Severe Weather & Heat

It's been a while since we chatted about the weather.  Other than the storms which rolled through Saturday of July 2nd weekend, it has been pretty boring weather. It has been hot and for some parts of the country, it has been record setting. Locally though it has been just +2 to +4 degrees above normal since June 1.

More heat is on the way for Monday & Tuesday.  While the actual temperature will just be in the low 90s, heat indexes will be in the 100s approaching 110.  Take it easy if outdoors.  Below are the Monday and Tuesday heat indexes.  Quite a large area is oppressive heat.

Heat isn't the only thing happening this week.  Monday & Tuesday will feature scattered thunderstorms.  Some will reach severe limits as there is ample instability available.  CAPE values, a measure of instability, are quite high for both days.  I will be watching anything that forms tomorrow.  The SPC has already placed us in a slight risk for both days.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Please Attend Amateur Radio Field Day

Kokomo area “hams” will join with thousands of Amateur Radio operators who will be showing off their emergency capabilities this weekend. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events worldwide. During Hurricane Katrina, Amateur Radio – often called “Ham Radio” - was often the ONLY way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer “hams” traveled south to save lives and property.

When trouble is brewing, Amateur Radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. On the weekend of June 25-26, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Kokomo area ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about. Showing the newest digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications and even historical Morse code, hams from across the USA will be holding public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities.

This annual event, called "Field Day" is the climax of the week long "Amateur Radio Week" sponsored by the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. Their slogan, "When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis.

The Howard County Kokomo Amateur Radio Club Field Day will be held at Northwestern High School in the area of the football stadium. On-air operations will begin on Saturday, June 25th at 1:00 p.m. and will be ongoing around the clock until approximately noon on Sunday June 26th. Everyone is invited to observe operations or even try their hand at the microphone as we contact other "hams" across the United States and Canada. For more information, contact Ron Julius at 765-628-3520.

Here are some photos from 2010 when we operated from EMA on Berkley Road.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Noon Update

Severe weather is likely this afternoon with damaging winds and hail being the largest threat.  A small tornado threat exists but is not the main concern for our area.

The advancing upper level low and slightly negative trough will influence the weather for our area today and tomorrow.  Storms should begin forming sometime later this afternoon and continue through the evening.

Clearing is allowing the atmosphere to become charged and unlike yesterday where there was a strong cap to inhibit convection, today's cap is much weaker and should be broken easily.  CAPE valuse, a sign of instability, are already extremely high for the area.  The significant severe index is also high and you can see some storm activity in Illinois already.

Also the KIND radar is Indianapolis remains offline after a direct lightning hit yesterday.  No word on its return to service. 

Severe Weather for Tuesday

Late last week, if anyone had told me that the City-County Major League Championship would be on schedule after three days of action, I would have laughed and said no way.  Even yesterday morning when the rains were moving across the county I was thinking postponements were eminent. 

Instead mother nature didn't produce over the weekend and yesterday, games were moved to diamonds that were not submerged and play continued on Monday evening.  Still I think that today we will see some postponements for thunderstorms action later this afternoon.

An upper level low will slowly makes it way across the upper great lakes today and tomorrow and will drag with it chances for severe weather and of course, more rain.  Storms will pinwheel around the low pressure system bringing multiple rounds of convection.

I don't think either the RUC or HRRR models have a good handle on the afternoon and evening convection.  Like the previous three days, it will be a lot of nowcasting but unlike yesterday, the CAP will be minimal to things should get going today.

Quick updates on Facebook and twitter...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Severe Weather Monday Afternoon & Evening?

Usually this much heavy rain early in the day settles down the atmosphere so later day convection doesn't happen.  However the RUC shows a different story as does the SERF for later today.

Chad at Channel 18 is also on board the severe weather idea for later today.  He has a nice write up on his blog about it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rain? Yes! Severe? Probably Not...

Things have changed with this morning model runs.  The severe weather threat had drastically diminished for today and most importantly tomorrow.  The tornado threat is gone.  The most recent Day 2 shows the change in thinking from the SPC. 

Severe Weather & Rain

There will be plenty of rain over the course of the next 5 to 7 days.  Amounts ranging from nearly a couple of inches on the low side to 4+ inches in isolated areas.

We are in or very near the slight risk areas outlined by the SPC for severe weather through Tuesday.  It could extend past that too.

For Saturday, the risk is wind and hail and the threat remains rather scattered.  A very low (2%) risk for tornadoes on Saturday.  The current incoming mess is slow and should give us several hours to get in some activities outside.  Simulated short range models do show storms moving back in later afternoon.

Sunday has an increased threat for severe weather with tornadoes being possible.  The SERF has been highlighting an area in Indiana and Western Ohio as the location for tornadic activity.  The timing has been mid afternoon and evening.

Again, the treat is not as ominous as many of the recent events.  Still however one should be prepared to take action should severe weather threaten.

The 90 degree temperatures have been pulled from the NWS forecast for the early week.  By weeks end, we will be back to cooler weather with highs in the 70's again.  Severe weather should continue through mid week and there could be a much great threat for tornadoes on Wednesday if the GFS and its forecast is correct. 

I do think it will be a challenging week for the 55th Annual David A. Kasey Memorial Tournament.  Major league play will likely see a few rain outs or delays.  I say the odds of the tournament being extended an extra  day to Friday seems high given the forecast.  It wouldn't be the first time in recent years.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Record Summer Warmth?

The months of June, July, & August make up meteorological summer.  Channel 18 Meteorologist Chad Evans has made a forecast for a hot summer.  So hot in fact it would break 1933 record where we averaged 79.3 degrees with a new average of 80.1 degrees.  A rather bold prediction.

Tim, a fellow weather enthusiast in Lafayette had decided to keep detailed track of the heat just to see how this all pans out.  (He is a wizard with old weather data.)

I think this will be interesting to follow and I will update you occasionally.  Feel free to directly source the progress here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What an evening...

A lot of wind damage across the county.  I was how and saw hail several times while spotting.  A measured wind gust of 73 MPH at 5:20 on the north side of Kokomo.  There was a 62 MPH gust at the airport before the station went offline.

A lot of rain has also fallen.  I have seen 2.5 to 3.5 inch reports this evening. 

We also broke a record with a high of 95 today.  Sunday should be better and severe weather should be south of Kokomo. 

HRRR Model

Show initiation just before 3 PM and then building.  A slight lull before a second wave hits at 8 PM.

Saturday Wind Threat

Severe weather will break out across the northern half of Indiana today where there is a threat of high damaging winds.  Conditions for development are mid to late afternoon into the evening. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Saturday Severe Weather...

We might have some action to discuss...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Death Ridge = Hot & Dry

A ridge will set up over the over our area bring hot temperatures and dry weather.  The unstable weather has pushed north into the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada.  However when the ridge breaks down, expect severe weather to return.  That doesn't look to happen anytime for the next 7 days so enjoy it.

While we didn't see any truly severe weather on Wednesday, we did a several rounds of weather including a very photogenic cell.  Craig Trott captured this amazing photo over Kokomo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PDS Tornado Watch Until 2 AM

   UNTIL 200 AM EDT.
   635 PM EDT. CONTINUE...WW 370...WW 371...WW 372...WW 373...WW

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

[UPDATED WED 10:15 AM] Wednesday: Possible Tornado Outbreak In Indiana

Update 10:15 AM:  Tornado Watch until 7 PM this evening.

 Update 9 AM: As forecast below, we were upgraded locally to a moderate risk and  a high risk was issued south.  (I almost drew a map last evening for the moderate and high risk areas.  If I did, it would have been almost dead on with the SPC map this morning.)

 The SERF continues to paint a scary picture for tornadic activity today.

Already some convection with warnings to our west but this wave is not the real show.  It starts this afternoon.  The NWS in Indianapolis has issued a Special Weather Statement which would be good for you to review.


Portions of Indiana is likely to see a significant severe weather event on Wednesday including tornadoes.  Some tornadoes could be long tracked and violent.

The SERF model from the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) has placed a bullseye over our region including Kokomo.  Unlike in winter when we love to be the center of the bullseye, this is one time when you want to be missed.  These maps are 5 PM and 8 PM on Wednesday.

The SERF model has had a good history of outlining the area of tornadoes in the past couple of months.  the higher number of 40 or 50 which are depicted here are strong indicators of a large scale event.  It happened in in the south at the end of April, it happened on Sunday for Joplin, and it happened tonight for Oklahoma. 

While I am hopeful we won't see anything of that magnitude, I cannot rule that out.  It is extremely important that you follow local media tomorrow along with checking in here and on my social media stream on Twitter and Facebook.

(Please note that during active times, I am usually out Skywarn spotting and reporting back via Amateur radio to the National Weather Service.  I usually cannot answer questions but will try to tweet information as often as I can.)

Twitter followers should also consider watching the #INwx hashtag for info from many weather enthusiasts, individuals, and trained meteorologists. 

These maps show that tomorrow during the dinner hour, Cape values exceed 1500+, EHI is 4+, Helicity is 300+, and strong winds turning at carious levels of the atmosphere.  All signs of severe weather and tornadic activity.

I cannot stress enough that you need to be alert of ever changing conditions.  You need to be responsible for your own safety and have a plan in place for home, work, and anywhere else you happen to be.  There is an excellent chance things will be rocking before you get home from work.  I would suggest one or more of the free alerting services for your cell phone or email:

The Weather Channel
Emergency Email & Wireless Network
WISH-TV Channel 8

While not free, I personally use StormNow and at a cost of $2 per month, it is the best money spent.  I almost always receive a warning email before the weather radio goes off.

Besides severe weather, heavy rain is possible through Thursday.  Area where cells set up could bring several inches of rain rather quickly and cause flash flooding. 

My thoughts for tomorrow believe that we will be on the top edge of a moderate risk and a high risk will be issued to our south.  Keep alert and there should be plenty to talk about tomorrow...