Hurricanes on both coasts

August 28th, 2014 at 8:39 am by under Weather

A very active week for both coasts as tropical storm Marie has caused 30-foot swells across the pacific coast line of California.

Meanwhile, another hurricane called Cristobal is causing large swells on the east coast. Although there is quite a bit of activity right now neither storm is expected to make the shore line or cause major issues with the exception of large waves.

Cash for grass

August 27th, 2014 at 9:48 pm by under Weather
US Drought Monitor - Darkest red color indicates the exceptional drought that's occurring.  (Image Credit: NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC)

US Drought Monitor – Darkest red color indicates the exceptional drought that’s occurring. (Image Credit: NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC)

We all know having a nice green lawn takes a lot of water and money.  Plus, there’s all the maintenance that comes along with taking care of your yard. So, how would you like to not have to worry about watering or mowing it and also not paying such high water bills?  It’s not sounding like a bad idea, right?  Also, how about being paid to remove the grass from your yard?

This is a reality for residents in many California cities (and in some other western states/cities, too).  Local governments are running “Cash for Grass” programs that give residents money for each square foot of grass that is pulled up.  I’ve seen reimbursement amounts between $1 and $2 in my research.

This is an especially important program in Calfiornia right now, where the majority of the state is under an “Exceptional Drought” and water is scarce.   According to the U.S. Drought Monitor nearly 60% of the state currently falls under this most intense drought cateogry.  The money received by participants from these programs is a nice incentive to create a yard that won’t require so much water.

Residents typically use items like stones, mulch and wood chips and certain plants that are able to live on lower amounts of water to fill their yards.   Here are a few examples of what these “grass-less” yards can look like:

Amazing pictures from outer space

August 27th, 2014 at 11:17 am by under Weather
View from outer space of hurricane Marie from Astronaut Ben Wiseman (NASA)

View from outer space of hurricane Marie from Astronaut Reid Wiseman (NASA)

Some amazing pictures and an amazing story of astronaut Reid Wiseman who is now at the International Space Station. Wiseman’s pictures have been nothing short of fantastic. The one from yesterday of hurricane Marie off the pacific coast is spectacular.

Astronaut Reid Wiseman

Astronaut Reid Wiseman

You can view all of Wiseman’s ‘tweets’ and pictures by viewing his Twitter account. Even if you are not a Twitter person these shots are worth seeing.

Rain chances decreasing, less humid air moving in

August 26th, 2014 at 7:38 pm by under Weather

The line of rain and storms mentioned in our previous post continued to weaken as it moved into our area.  Most of the area saw little more than a scattered sprinkle or two, although there was one quite strong storm which developed  in Adams and Van Wert counties and proceeded toward Celina, OH prompting a severe thunderstorm warning there.

For the rest of the evening, only a few remaining sprinkles are expected across the area.  Our attention  is now turning to the less humid air that moves in for Wednesday.  The Muggy Meter is dropping down 2 notches to simply “Humid” for Wednesday.  But, believe me, while “Humid” on many other occasions isn’t so exciting, it will be this time.  Conditions will be noticeably different from the intense humidity we’ve experienced these past couple of days.


Wednesday's Muggy Meter Level

Wednesday’s Muggy Meter Level

Tracking afternoon and evening storms

August 26th, 2014 at 2:46 pm by under Weather

Another round of slow-moving, heavy rain is possible this afternoon into the evening.

Live Doppler 15 Fury Radar Snapshot

Live Doppler 15 Fury Radar Snapshot

Storms were just beginning to enter northeast Indiana at around 2:45 PM and were tracking slowly eastward at 20 mph.  This means the potential for rain and storms across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio will extend all through the evening commute.

Tuesday's Weather Map

Tuesday’s Weather Map

A cold front is passing through the area today and, in this very hot and humid environment, conditions are right for strong and severe storms.

However, not all conditions are picture perfect to guarantee storm development.  And, in fact, portions of this afternoon line of rain and storms have been weakening as it has been entering our area.

To stay alert of changing conditions, keep checking the WANE Weather Alerts page for any storm watches and warnings that may be issued.  You can even sign up for WANE Weather Text Alerts to be send directly to your phone.

Also, track the storm online using WANE Interactive Radar.


Late fall forecast points toward El Nino event

August 26th, 2014 at 9:17 am by under Weather
Climate Prediction Center seasonal outlook for November, December and January

Climate Prediction Center seasonal outlook for November, December and January

National Weather Service computer models used by the Climate Prediction Center are now predicting a 78% chance of an El Nino by late fall. You can see the late fall outlook above with above average temperatures. This would correspond to an El Nino pattern across most of the United States.  An El Nino weather pattern would cause most of the United States to see above average temperatures and below average precipitation. California and the southeast would be the exception because during El Nino years there is usually heavy rainfall. This is true across the southeastern U.S. as well.

This pattern persists because during these situations a strong west-east flow is created which is called a ‘zonal flow’. This pattern is generally a mild pattern as it brings warmer pacific air across much of the northern states.

Monday’s radar estimated totals

August 25th, 2014 at 11:42 pm by under Weather

Periods of heavy rain and strong storms moved through portions of the area Monday night.

Some of the greatest impacts were felt in Huntington County where power outages occurred and a number of trees were reported down due to gusty winds that came with the storms.  One trained spotter in Mount Etna reported a maximum wind gust of 66 mph.  The radar estimates near Mount Etna were the highest in Huntington County and the entire area, checking in at approx. .78″.

Monday’s Radar Estimated Rain Totals

While heavy rain was also experienced in Blackford County (which received 10″ of rain) last week, luckily it was not as long-lasting as last week’s storms.  Radar indicated only .53″ in the northern part of the county.

More heavy rain and strong storms

August 25th, 2014 at 7:37 pm by under Weather

Strong storms are moving through the area tonight.

To view the constantly updated list of active watches/warnings, click here.  

When it gets really hot and sticky

August 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am by under Weather
The muggy meter gives you a quick idea on what it 'feels like' outside

The muggy meter gives you a quick idea on what it ‘feels like’ outside

As the August heat has reemerged this last week we are just beginning to deal with really humid days. We talk about a couple different factors when we forecast heat and humidity. The first factor is dew point. This is one of the variables that we use more in the weather center because it is much more scientifically accurate and represents the true nature of what the weather will be like.

What you need to know about the dew point is simply that any dew point temperature over 65° is considered uncomfortable. As the dew point rises it becomes more uncomfortable. A dew point of 70° can be very uncomfortable. This plays into the forecast for Tuesday. We are expecting only our third 90 degree day of the year. The dew point will be at 71° by afternoon. We combine the temperature and the dew point and we get the relative humidity.

Relative humidity is simply the humidity relative to the temperature. So for example our humidity tomorrow will be over 50%. While that doesn’t sound oppressive, if you say the dew point  will be 71° you now have a very good idea that it will be very humid and rather uncomfortable by afternoon.

Why is high humidity uncomfortable to humans? Well, our body uses a system of cooling itself by evaporation of the sweat that we create when we are hot. If the dew point is over 65° then the evaporation rate slows down and there is an abundance of moisture that stays in the air and on your skin and your bodies cooling system does not work as well. That’s what we mean when we say it will be rather uncomfortable.



Tropical Storm Cristobal

August 24th, 2014 at 4:56 pm by under Weather

The Atlantic is starting to become a little more active as we head into what is considered the peak of hurricane season. We have Tropical Storm Cristobal  sitting near the Lesser Antilles. Cristobal is not expected to make landfall in the United States as it should begin a jog to the east further into the Atlantic. At this time it doesn’t look to affect Bermuda either as it is forecast to pass to the northwest of the island. The next several weeks will likely become more active in the Atlantic.

Forecast path of Cristobal Courtesy: NHC

Forecast path of Cristobal Courtesy: NHC

Satellite image showing Cristobal (in center) Courtesy: NOAA

Satellite image showing Cristobal (in center) Courtesy: NOAA