Greg Shoup

Weekend warm up

November 21st, 2014 at 11:26 am by under Weather
Gulf of Mexico air moves north toward our area over the next 12 hours

Gulf of Mexico air moves north toward our area over the next 12 hours

Air from the southwest United States is coming in and a couple of things are going to happen that we need to highlight. First of all it won’t be a 100% smooth transition. This warmer air will move in to the middle layers of the atmosphere, while the colder air sinks. this will cause a brief period of freezing rain before dawn. Most of our model solutions are now favoring a very quick warm up Saturday morning so ice accumulation and dangerous weather from this situation should be rather minimal.

Bottom line is that this should be a warmer but mostly wet weekend. The majority of the precipitation comes in Sunday with one of our hi-resolution forecast solutions bringing almost an inch of precipitation! The good news is that it will all be liquid this time.

Lake effect snow

November 20th, 2014 at 11:21 am by under Weather
Lake effect snow conceptual model. (Gaylord, MI NWS)

Lake effect snow conceptual model. (Gaylord, MI NWS)

There is lots of coverage of the huge amount of lake effect snow or LES across Buffalo, NY. But what makes LES different? First off we are seeing an extremely cold air mass for this time of year, this cold air is very ‘deep’ and to add to it is very warm lake waters. These factors act as an almost perfect environment for LES.  It also causes heat and moisture to rise rapidly which is something we usually equate with thunderstorms. Cold air moves over warm waters and because of the geography of the water basin and the depth a large amount of instability is created and causes huge amounts of moisture to be carried away from the lake and that of course is turned to snow. This snow as you can imagine is very wet and heavy since there is an increased water content.

Record snowfall in Buffalo

November 19th, 2014 at 11:36 am by under Weather
Buried in snow in Buffalo. (WVIB)

Buried in snow in Buffalo. (WIVB)

If you think we’ve had a tough time with snow and cold then check out Buffalo, N.Y. They’ve already had over a foot of snowfall and there is more coming. Houses have been buried and some houses are even caving in. Here is a gallery of pictures from our sister station in Buffalo.

Records are breaking

November 18th, 2014 at 11:35 am by under Weather
4:00 am Record Low temperature

4:00 am Record Low temperature

Our low temperature record for November 18th  was set early in the morning at 4:36 am. The record maximum temperature was set in 1903 at 24 degrees.

Updated snowfall totals

November 17th, 2014 at 9:19 am by under Weather
Snowfall accumulations as of 7 am 11/17

Snowfall accumulations as of 7 am 11/17

NOAA Snow depth map

NOAA Snow depth map


The official snowfall at Fort Wayne Airport tied an all time daily record set back in 1932 of 3.4″. Here are the latest snowfall totals from the National Weather Service across the area.

Now get ready for some record setting temperatures. If we reach our forecast low of 10 degrees tonight it will tie a record for the lowest all time record for November 18th which was originally set back in 1959. If the high temperature does not get past 24 we will set an all-time daily maximum for the date. The previous record lowest maximum temperature was set at 24 in 1903. Our forecast high for Tuesday is 19 degrees.

Weekend snowfall forecast

November 14th, 2014 at 11:46 am by under Weather
We could see some accumulating snowfall Saturday night.

We could see some accumulating snowfall Saturday night.

A weather system which will bring in much colder into the region will first bring in some accumulating snowfall potential. In fact, areas north and west of Fort Wayne will see the most snowfall potential with 1 to 2 inches possible through Kendallville, Columbia City and portions of Steuben counties. An inch or less is possible for the rest of our area.

Significant snowfall

November 13th, 2014 at 11:27 am by under Weather
Heavy snowfall through Thursday morning in northwest Indiana

Heavy snowfall through Thursday morning in northwest Indiana

Early Thursday morning there was a heavy lake effect snow burst which dumped several inches of snow around the South Bend area. Here are some of the totals. Fort Wayne had very light snowfall, but there was enough to cause havoc and many accidents on local area roads and especially interstates.

More on the Polar Vortex

November 12th, 2014 at 9:22 am by under Weather
There are two semi stationary areas where the polar vortex resides. One near Greenland and the other around northern Siberia

There are two semi stationary areas where the polar vortex resides. One near Greenland and the other around northern Siberia

I saw a blog post from another meteorologist this week and it inspired me to write a short diatribe about the Polar Vortex that the national media has grabbed on as the ‘culprit’ for all the cold air. First the AMS Glossary of Meteorology:

A planetary-scale mid- to high-latitude circumpolar cyclonic circulation, extending from the middle troposphere to the stratosphere. The Northern Hemisphere vortex often features two centers—one near Baffin Island and the other over northeast Siberia—with analogous circumpolar asymmetry atypical in the Southern Hemisphere. The westerly airflow is largely a manifestation of the thermal wind above the polar frontal zone of middle and subpolar latitudes. The vortex is strongest during the winter in the upper troposphere and stratosphere when the pole-to-equator temperature gradient is strongest. The stratosphere component of the circulation may be referred to separately as the “polar stratospheric vortex.” In summer, the strongest westerly circulation is largely confined to the troposphere, and the polar stratospheric vortex reverses in the upper stratosphere because of solar heating during the polar day.

Reference: Simmons, A., M. Hortal, G. Kelly, A. McNally, A. Untch, and S. Uppala, 2005: ECMWF analyses and forecasts of stratospheric winter polar vortex breakup: September 2002 in the Southern Hemisphere and related events. J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 668–689. [1]


Term Edited 30 January,2014


While this may be helpful let’s look at more of a layman’s definition found in Wikapedia:

polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale cyclone that circles either of the planet’s geographical poles. On Earth, the base of the polar vortices are located in the middle and upper troposphere and extend into the stratosphere. They surround the polar highs and lie in the wake of the polar front. These cold-core low-pressure areas strengthen in the winter and weaken in the summer due to their dependence upon the temperature differential between the equator and the poles.[1] …The Northern Hemisphere vortex often contains two low pressure centers, one near Baffin Island, Canada and the other over northeast Siberia.

So the AMS definition even goes so far to call it a ‘stratospheric’ ‘Polar Vortex’. This would indicate that it was more of an upper air circulation that does not reside on the surface. The other part of both definitions imply that the these circulations do not move. So why does the national media insist on calling every cold air outbreak a Polar Vortex? Representing cold air as the Polar Vortex is a misrepresentation of scientific knowledge that is fact. What I believe may have happened is that someone heard a description of the Polar Vortex spurning cold air, and that cold air travels through the northern hemisphere to the lower 48.  Stating that the Polar Vortex is causing a cold air outbreak may be over simplifying what is a more complex scientific event.

The other problem is that these types of cold air outbreaks are not caused by a circulation like the Polar Vortex. Over simplifying of terms that sound sensational is a dangerous trap to get into to and probably not what most atmospheric scientists would agree to or condone.

So while the root cause may have something to do with the ‘core’ of the coldest air in the world it probably is not the single cause of this or any other extreme cold weather outbreak.






Temperatures already tumbling

November 11th, 2014 at 11:37 am by under Weather

Colder air is on the move as temperatures have already dropped 20 degrees since early this morning in Chicago. The cold air will begin to reach northeastern Indiana by late this afternoon and early evening. You can expect to see temperatures fall drastically at that time much like what has happened in Chicago today.

Do you want to be a weather spotter?

November 10th, 2014 at 10:37 am by under Weather
NWS Sky Warn Spotter information

NWS Sky Warn Spotter information

The National Weather Service has added new classes for our area to teach how to spot and report severe weather. All you need to do is register on this website and you will be able to help the Weather Service during severe storm situations.