Friday, August 21, 2015

Early Research on 2015/2016 Winter Outlook

Ever since we had the Ice Storm in 2009, we are are more interested in the winter outlook. Even though it is August, we are already starting to research what the 2015/2016 Winter could be like in Region 8.

We have a pretty good track record on our winter forecasts. Last year, we called for a year with "above average snowfall". It was starting to look like we missed that forecast until we had a 1-3" snowfall in February and a 7-13" snowfall at the start of March. That tipped us into the "above average" category. A lot of that outlook was based on the 2009/2010 winter having a very similar pattern.

This is year, we are looking back at winters that have had similar setups and the forecast is not as easy as last year! We are looking back at years that had strong El Ninos. So far, it appears that 1965/1966 and 1997/1998 had the most similar setup. Let's start by looking at the hand-written logs from the Benedictine Sisters at the convent on KAIT road from the Winter of 1965/1966. Click image to enlarge:

Here are some of my notes about the 1965/1966 Winter:

  • December 1965 was relatively dry with 1.66" of rainfall and no snow.
  • January of 1966 had BIG SWINGS in temperatures! We were as cold as 0° and as warm as 67°, but had a long run of cold air near the end of the month. 3 rounds of snow gave a total of 7.3" of snowfall. Total melted precip/rain for the month was at a whopping 8.25". Part of that was due to heavy rain at the start of the month.
  • February of 1966 was also wet with a total of 5.24" of precipitation. 9.5" of snowfall fell on the 22-23rd! Three days after the snow, we were 51°!
Now, let's look at the 1997/1998 Winter. Here are the climate logs from KAIT from the Winter 1997/1998. Click image to enlarge:

A few notes from the 1997/1998 Winter:
  • It was windy.
  • It was wet.
  • A few areas of ice.
  • No huge snowfalls, but an early snowfall noted in early December that closed schools.
  • February was mild.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not prepared to give a final outlook just yet, but I am leaning toward a few ideas:

Winter of 2015/2016:
  • I think we will have a WET winter.
  • That may lead to 1-2 big snowfalls like we had in 1966 or it could just be rain.
  • I'm pretty confident that we will NOT see a huge ice storm like we saw in 2009.
  • I expect big swings in temperatures. Warm one day and freezing cold the next.
We are going to do some more research and release our final thoughts in the next month or so. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Quite A Week!

I've been off work for the past week. I'm so thankful that Bryan McCormick came to fill-in while I was gone. That allowed Rachel Coulter the opportunity to get a great start with the Region 8 StormTEAM! I was at the AAU Junior Olympics in Virginia Beach. I would estimate that about 20 kids from Region 8 were there representing Team Arkansas and Southwind Conference. This was my youngest son's first time to be at Junior Olympics and I was a proud dad.

He cut time in every event. His greatest highlights were winning the silver medal in the 50m breaststroke, bronze in 100m breaststroke, and being on the relay team that won gold in the 200m freestyle.
This was our first time to Virginia Beach. I knew it would be nice, but it was even better than I thought! The beaches were great and the history in the area was even better! The waves were larger than the waves we typically see on the Gulf Coast. In addition, the East Coast sunrise can't be duplicated anywhere else in the USA!

During our free time, we learned some history of our country! One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Fort Story and seeing the Cape Henry lighthouses! The oldest lighthouse was built in 1792 and was the first lighthouse built by the United States Government. We got to climb in it and it gave us a GREAT view of the newer lighthouse built in 1881!

We also visited Fort Monroe. We did not have a lot of time there, but I did snap some pictures. Here's one of them. This fort is where Jefferson Davis was in prison following the Civil War:
After we left Virginia, we went to the Great Smokey Mountains! As a kid and teenager, I visited here often, but it has grown a lot! Dollywood is much larger and has a lot more rides. That's where we went on Day 1. I highly recommend riding the Wild Eagle. I did not get any pics of it, but Google it! It was awesome.

Even Dollywood had some history! This coal-powered train that you can ride was built in 1938 and operated in the White Pass in Alaska prior to coming to Tennessee. Now, it takes about 5,000 people per day through the Smokey Mountains.

The second day was all about nature! We went into the mountains and climbed through West Prong Little Pigeon River. We could have done this all day, but we had to get home to Region 8!

Now, it's time to get back to work! As I write this, I hear thunder. It looks like an active day ahead!

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hot, But Not THAT Hot

It really has not been that hot this summer. I know many of you are throwing things at your phone and computer screen right now, but the reality of it is... it has not been that hot. In fact, if summer ended right now, it would be the summer with the coolest high temperature in 10 years:
If you look at the above graph, it shows that the highest temperature we have had so far this year is 97°. Yes, that is hot, but not as hot as we typically see as our hottest day of the year. Anyone recall 2011 when we went to 107°?

If we can make through the next few weeks, we MIGHT go a second year in a row without hitting 100°. That's pretty rare and an indication that the summer has not been that bad.

We will talk about rainfall in another blog post, but we are above normal on rainfall... so it has not been dry either!

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Heat of 1980, 1901, and This Week...

When people talk about hot weather in Region 8, they mention the summer of 1980. In July of 1980, we had 18 days at 100° or above! If you click on the image below, you can see the handwritten climate log that documented this HOT month:

You have to go back to 1901 to find the hottest day in Jonesboro though. Below is July of 1901. It's the actual handwritten log from 114 years ago, by the Benedictine Sisters. It was 116° on this date in 1901:
As you can see, we are nowhere near record levels this week, despite the heat advisories. We will be hot all week and into next weekend, with temperatures at 4-7° above average. This is Saturday:
But relief is coming! It may take 9-10 days, but models are indicating that we should be 10-15° below average by next Wednesday:
So, drink a lot of water. Stay indoors, if you can... and let's make it through this week together!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Mississippi River Is Rising In Region 8

If you have not seen some of the pics of the Mississippi River in SE Missouri, it is high! Robert Foote, a photographer from KFVS snapped this pic this morning in Cape Girardeau, where the water has risen 2 feet since Saturday morning:

The river level there is considered "major flood stage" and it is still rising. See graph:
So, that water is heading south and the river will continue to rise in Region 8. At this time, it appears that the water levels should stay BELOW major flood stage. Here is the forecast graph in Caruthersville:

Notice in the above image that the river will be about 5 feet higher this weekend. This is only considered minor flooding, so no need to worry too much at this time.

A little farther south, the river forecast is similar in Osceola. It's rising, but we are not too worried, at this time:

While the river stage forecasts are not overly alarming at this time, we will continue to watch them over the next week or so.

Have a great day!