Friday, May 28, 2010

This Hurricane Season Could Be Busy!

At least that's what NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is thinking! They issued their 2010 Atlantic hurricane season outlook yesterday.
The outlook calls for:

  • 14 to 23 named storms (this includes tropical storms and hurricanes)
  • 8 to 14 hurricanes
  • 4 to 7 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5)

Why does NOAA think it could be such a busy season? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

Hurricane Ike - 2008

The first reason is warm Atlantic Ocean water, which serves as fuel for tropical systems. Right now, sea surface temperatures are 4 degrees warmer than average in areas where storms generally develop. Second, El Nino has dissipated, which means less wind shear at the upper levels of the atmosphere. Wind shear often keeps tropical systems from developing vertically and therefore intensifying. Last, we continue to be in a high activity era. Since 1995, 8 of the last 15 seasons have ranked in the top ten for having the most named storms. That being said, last hurricane season was quiet with only one storm, Tropical Storm Claudette, making landfall in the United States.

While all the main ingredients look to be in place for the upcoming hurricane season, we'll still just have to wait and see. We need to be ready for any tropical systems Mother Nature may send our way this year.

Meteorologist Sonya Stevens

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring, Summer, or Sprummer?

It's still spring and will be for another 5 weeks, but it feels like summer has already made at least a few appearances. Our normal high for this time of year is in the lower 80s, yet we have already had 8 days in the upper 80s. Let me add that the 7 day forecast also has plenty of upper 80s in it, too!

The real start to summer isn't until June 22nd although summer vacation is about to begin for most youngsters and Memorial Day is right around the corner (the unofficial start to summer according to most people).

As we head through May and closer to June, we know that the real heat isn’t far away.

Here are a few quick heat tips to keep in mind in the coming months:

1. Slow down...only do strenuous outdoor activities early in the morning or in the early evening.
2. Dress in lightweight, light-colored clothing.
3. Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages.
4. Don't get too much sun, and stay in A/C when possible.

Heat Index

What else do we associate with summertime? Humidity! We got a taste of it the past few weeks, but it's only going to get worse. Get ready for dewpoints to climb into the 60s and 70s and stay there! And then, when you have both the heat and humidity combined, meteorologists get the pleasure of talking about the heat index. I know everyone is just dying to hear me say, "It's going to feel like 100 today." Don't worry...I'll stall as long as possible, but it's ultimately up to Mother Nature.

Meteorologist Sonya Stevens

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Controlling the Weather?

We've all wanted it at some point in time or another; to control the weather. We want to make sure it doesn't rain on that big day, or just want it to pour so our crops will be fertile. Unfortunately it's not something that's been feasible. Or is it?

Researchers at the University in Geneva were the first to create rain clouds...from lasers. They shot several intense beams of infra-red light, each carrying several terawatts (the equivalent of a few billion light bulbs in a small amount of space) into a cloud chamber in their laboratory. The result...water started to form instantly inside, and not just small amounts that you could see with a microscope, but enough to be seen with the naked eye.

Eager to test their new findings, the scientists rolled their laser outside at night and shot it into the sky on clear nights. The laser formed small clouds in the sky, however; these clouds were too thin to be detected by eyesight alone and had to be detected by another, less powerful, laser.

So while this is a big accomplishment in the creation of weather, we are still a long ways away from actually doing something tangible with it. Don't count on being able to call up Switzerland and let them know that you have October 17 set as your wedding day and you need clear skies (it's actually good luck to rain on your wedding day, but more on that later). But every major innovation always starts with those first few steps.

Meteorologist Jason Disharoon

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ben? Speechless?

Well, Mallie, our illustrious web, entertainment, and biking expert, has asked me to pipe out a blog. I gotta tell ya, for once, I really have nothing to talk about. Who could have guessed, me...speechless. Now that I think about it, there was another time when I was speechless.

About ten or twelve years ago, we had a severe weather situation that almost went VERY wrong. It happened on a Monday. We were just beginning the Midday show, when a tornado warning was issued. Now, it is customary that any time we have severe weather, the meteorologist starts the show as the top story. I was ready for just such a task. What I wasn't ready for related to the interview guest we had scheduled for that day. We had an animal trainer from Wild Adventures Theme Park here with a little spider monkey named Buttons.

Don't get me wrong, Buttons was a cute little guy, all decked out in his premie diaper, but he was also quiet the wild adventurer himself. Right as the show opens, they toss to me for a weather "hit". At the same time, Buttons decided that he'd had enough of waiting...and enough of sitting in his cage. Sooooo, as I was talking over a shot of the Doppler, I hear a loud CLANG! This, of course, is the now familiar sound of a cage gate opening. What happened next nearly left me speechless.

Buttons ran over to ME, grabbed on tightly to my leg, and began shaking it like an elephant trying to fell a tree! Mind you, this was all below the camera shot. So as I was talking about serious stuff, I was trying to get a monkey off my, leg. The audience had to be wondering what was going on. Needless to say, I broke a sweat.

That was a fun day.

Chief Meteorologist Ben Jones