Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gearing up for the Holidays

I haven't purchased any Christmas gifts yet but Thanksgiving is now just one week away. As we do every holiday season, the Storm Team 12 Travel Hotline will be in business this upcoming Monday, November 21st. From 4 until 7 p.m., you can call and we'll give you the forecast for your Thanksgiving destination.

In addition to the phone lines, we'll be setting up a live chat online. I've been assigned the task of taking your questions there. So if you're traveling to Calvin, Oklahoma or Hobbs, New Mexico, we'll supply the forecast information you need.

Look for more information on the air and online on here in the next few days.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

4.7, 5.6 and 4.7

Those numbers a week ago wouldn't have meant much but my how that's changed since the past weekend!

I woke up to our Saturday morning newscast explaining there had been a 4.7 quake overnight in Oklahoma. Some people in Wichita had felt it but not me, as I slept right through it.

Ironically, when I got to work, I asked if anyone else felt the earthquake and ended my post with "here's to a less-eventful night ahead." Fast forward to our 10 p.m. news, which got off to a late start thanks to the big LSU-Alabama football game. Just after starting the show, the ceiling rafters began to shake a bit. The sound was similar to the noise the building makes when a big gust of wind hits it. (and we had plenty of that earlier in the day).

Then the weather set shook a little.

I can safely say that I never thought I'd be working a newscast when an earthquake hit. I immediately went to Facebook and asked if anyone else felt that. Facebook proceeded to blow up with numerous accounts of the shaking, from Salina to Kingman to Kansas City to Hays and Dodge City. And of course as you've heard, this Oklahoma quake measured 5.6!

While I wasn't at work Monday night when yet another quake hit (4.7) I certainly felt it at home while working in the office. So did my daughter who was in bed, nearly asleep. She didn't like it one bit. Again Facebook exploded with the numerous accounts of the shaking, which to me felt like a brief, up and down motion, much like a washing machine that was out of balance.

What I found interesting a little later was the account of a forecaster in Topeka, seeing a post from a colleague in Oklahoma saying he just felt another earthquake. He waited about 30 seconds and then felt the quake himself as it moved through their city.

I've spent my adult life thus far tracking and studying atmospheric motions but having to watch out for ground motions now is kind of strange.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Early season snows: a tough challenge

Storm Shot from Hays: 5:15 pm Wednesday

Ross and I talked about this yesterday, as we put together our snowfall forecast. The early-season snowstorms are particularly challenging to forecast, as often times the ground and pavement temperatures are warm enough to melt that initial snowfall as hits the surface. Eventually the ground will cool off but how much?

Here's what we were facing: a quick-moving storm system emerging out from the Rockies and over Kansas. We had above normal temperatures in the 60s and 70s Monday and Tuesday. Meanwhile, ground temperatures were in the 50s and 60s, so we anticipated snowfall totals would be held somewhat in check. And as expected, many of the reports today stated the snow was "melting as it hit the ground but was not accumulating." In fact, pavement temperatures were between 35-40 in southwest Kansas and between 40-50 over the rest of western Kansas.

On the picture above, you see the dusting of snow occurring in Hays late today. Thanks to these reports and other sources, we've been able to keep up with the progress of the storm. If you'd like to track the storm (along with future ones), here are a few of the links that will come in handy:

KWCH Interactive Radar
KDOT Road conditions/web cams
RWIS (Road and Runway Weather Information System) Map and Weather Data