Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No 100-degree days in August: not as uncommon as you might think

Today after my Noon weathercast, Kim Setty and I chatted briefly about the lack of 100 degree temperatures in Wichita this month. That got me thinking: does this happen often? Thanks to records on the Wichita NWS web page, I found that surprisingly it has happened twice since 1997. In that year and 2002, Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport recorded no 100 degree temperatures in the month of August.

I'm into weather stats (I think I've mentioned that in previous posts!) so I did a little more investigating. Comparing the last time this happened (2002) to this month, I found 2002 had 8 100 degree days (all in July). So far this year, we've had 4 days: 1 in June, 3 in July.

I also took a look at the monthly rainfall totals in both of these years. 2002 stacked up this way:

May: 5.7"
June: 5.37"
July: 1.96"
Aug: 4.90"
TOTAL: 17.93"

June: 4.51"
July: 3.55"
Aug (through 24th): 3.81"
TOTAL: 14.81

The reason I'm looking at the rain totals is that wet ground doesn't heat up as quickly as dry ground. We've definitely had timely (and at times excessive!) rain here in Wichita thanks to a predominately northwest flow in the atmosphere and repeated cold fronts/storm systems moving through.

This begs yet another question: will Ross' prediction of no more 100 degree days in Wichita this year come true? Possibly. As it stands right now, we have no 100 degree temperatures in the Wichita forecast through next Tuesday (9/1). The last time Wichita recorded a 100 degree day in September was in 2000. During that hot summer, we had 23 days of 100 degree temps in August and 6 in September (including 16 days in a row from August 19 through September 3).

As I often like to say: "Stay tuned!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cool start to weekend, Hot start to the work week

If you got up early Saturday morning to watch my weathercasts, you'll recall 4 cities here in Kansas established or tied record lows. Wichita made it all the way down to 53 degrees, breaking the old record of 56! Hill City, Russell and Concordia also ventured down into record territory too.

The weather pattern now is decidedly warmer heading into the start of the new work week. We should see the 90s return for the first half of the work week, followed by storms then the 80s again. It's staggering to think we've had only 4 days of 100 degree weather here in Wichita this summer and none so far in August. We'll see how the rest of the summer fares.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's All in the Timing

Forecasting the possibility of showers and storms this morning wasn't difficult: the timing of the individual storms is the pain in our side. I took a phone call this morning from a viewer trying to plan an outdoor activity today and was trying to pinpoint the best time in which to do that. Well, the first round of storms settled through but with just enough weak lift and storm outflows, we've had additional shower and thunderstorm development. Imagine throwing a dozen rubber balls into a small room. A few bounce around, some bounce into others, which then hit a few of the other rubber balls...not an easy task!

Here's an idea of what to expect the rest of today. The rain should be a little more hit and miss this afternoon but increase greatly overnight into tomorrow morning. I think we get a little bit of a break tomorrow afternoon but then Tuesday night into Wednesday morning...yep you guessed it. The computer model data we look at has yet another strong signal of showers and storms.

And we may not be done until Thursday morning. As you can guess, repeated bouts of rain mean the flooding threat will be on the rise through the next couple of days. Severe weather is possible too with high winds and some hail the threats involved.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Different kind of shower Tonight

Image Copyright 2009 Spaceweather.com
There will be a beautiful treat in tonight's sky: the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower! Anytime from 9pm to near dawn on Wednesday morning will be good stargazing weather. The weather looks downright delightful tonight here in Wichita: clear skies, light east to southeast winds and temperatures in the 60s.
You'll want a nice, dark location to watch the show and give your eyes some time to adjust to the night sky. Don't look at the moon! You'll need to look to the northeast (see above picture) to see the streaking meteors. While the early evening will have less moonlight to contend with, the peak rate of meteors--expected to be around 200/hour!--will not be reached until 3am CDT.
For more information about tonight's event, I recommend the following links: Spaceweather.com and NASA.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Record Lows followed by heat

It's nice to be back in a routine after my recent vacation. I had a great time with my family as we headed out of town for a few days. I got caught up on sleep too and finished some projects at home so it was all good!

Great is a better word describing our weather this morning. If you were outside early, you were in for a real treat! Mid-Continent Airport dropped down to 56 degrees, setting a new record low! The old record was 58, set way back in 1927. So now, you're probably hoping that this is a prelude to an early Fall. Wishful thinking!! Summer will return with a vengeance this week as we'll warm to the low to mid-90s today. Tomorrow: a little hotter as we'll likely see upper 90s here in Wichita, with western Kansas into triple digit territory. It looks hot through mid-week when we get some brief relief. And I do mean brief as the heat cranks up again late week into the weekend.

Rain chances will be very hit and miss over the next 7 days. Southwest Kansas may see a few storms late today and then overnight we may see a storm or two close to Wichita. Another chance of storms will be around Monday night into Tuesday morning in eastern Kansas. We'll have yet another possibility of moisture here in Wichita Thursday morning.