Remembering the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak of 1965

April 12th, 2014 at 10:41 am by under Weather

Yesterday was the 49th anniversary of one of the worst tornado outbreaks in The Hoosier State. While the event only lasted a mere 12-hours, 10 violent tornadoes ravaged parts of northern Indiana and northern Ohio and left scars and memories that continue to this day. All of these tornadoes would be classified as F-3 or F-4 on the Fujita Scale, which measures tornado strength. Tornadoes of that strength would have estimated wind speeds between 158-260 mph. Some experts believe that a few of the tornadoes may have been classified incorrectly and should have been listed as F-5, the most powerful category. Which such incredible wind speeds, the destruction was widespread. There are several reports of houses and towns vanishing. Some even went so far to say “the destruction was total.” In Indiana alone, 137 people died and 1,200 were injured.

Here's a map depicting the tracks and strengths of individual tornadoes during the Palm Sunday Outbreak. Courtesy: National Weather Service.

Here’s a map depicting the tracks and strengths of individual tornadoes during the Palm Sunday Outbreak. Courtesy: National Weather Service.


While Indiana saw the brunt of this outbreak (this day went down in the record books as the deadliest outbreak in state history), twisters stretched from Cedar County, Iowa eastward nearly 450 miles to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and from Kent County, Michigan southward about 200 miles to Montgomery County, Indiana. This day still ranks among the most intense tornado outbreaks on record in terms of number, strength, width, path, and length of tornadoes. It has even been reported that this outbreak included four “double funnel” tornadoes!

One possible reason why some warnings were not received and the death total was so high is because of when the event occurred: Palm Sunday – many people were likely attending church services.

You can read more on the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak of 1965 here.

Don’t go planting just yet!

April 11th, 2014 at 9:38 pm by under Weather

With the springlike weather we’ve experienced and the weekend highs in the 70s that are ahead, I’ve already been getting questions about when people can start planting their gardens and flower pots.

Well, the answer is not yet!  That’s because temperatures of 32° and below are still highly possible at this point in the spring.  In fact, it’s looking like we’ll drop to around 30° on Tuesday morning and the upper 20s Wednesday morning.  Temperatures this low, of course, can damage and kill common garden plants, if they’re not protected.

Based on climate data from 1980-2010, the median date for the last 32° freeze is between April 21-30.  Keep in mind since we’re talking about the median date, a freeze after this point is definitely not out of the question.

Common wisdom around these parts identifies Mother’s Day weekend (May 10 & 11 this year) as a good planting time.  Growing up, though, we often used Memorial Day (May 26 this year) as a guide – that is likely to be a better bet.

Double check with your garden center as to how hardy your plants are that you wish to put in the ground…different plants can withstand different conditions.  And, if you do plant soon, be sure to tune in to your Live Doppler 15 Fury Forecast for any frost/freeze alerts to see if you need to cover up and protect your plants from the cold air.

Total Lunar Eclipse – Will Weather Cooperate?

April 11th, 2014 at 5:52 am by under Weather

Here’s a reminder! Overnight Monday/the early morning hours of Tuesday will feature a total lunar eclipse. This is something you’ll definitely want to look for if you can. The biggest concern is the forecast. Take a look at the important times you need to know, and we’ll explain the forecast concerns after.

   Partial Eclipse Begins: 1:58 AM Tuesday, April 15th

          Total Eclipse Begins: 3:06 AM Tuesday, April 15th 

          Greatest Eclipse: 3:45 AM Tuesday, April 15th

          Total Eclipse Ends: 4:24 AM Tuesday, April 15th

          Partial Eclipse Ends: 5:33 AM Tuesday, April 15th

A storm system will be moving through the area throughout the day Monday. This brings a very good chance of rain Monday and much cooler temperatures behind it for Tuesday and Wednesday. The exact timing of the departure of this system is still uncertain, but it unfortunately may keep clouds around after midnight which will hinder the lunar eclipse visibility. Here’s a look at the GFS (a weather model) during the period of the lunar eclipse. What we see here is the advancement of a cold front through the area around the peak times of the eclipse. Many times, cold fronts moving through and then high pressure building in behind will help clear skies. With that being said, if this cold front can move through soon enough we may see enough breaks in the cloud cover to get a decent view! It’s going to be a very close call. Keep checking our forecast video for the latest hour-by-hour forecast with Futurecast. Our videos get updated 6 or more times per day, so you’ll always be informed with the latest!

GFS Monday 11 pm Courtesy: NOAA

  GFS Monday 11 pm
Courtesy: NOAA

GFS Monday 1 am Courtesy: NOAA

GFS Monday 2 am
Courtesy: NOAA

GFS Monday 4 am Courtesy: NOAA

GFS Monday 5 am
Courtesy: NOAA


We Finally Hit 70°!

April 10th, 2014 at 5:45 pm by under Weather

After a prolonged stretch of cold for the first few months on the year, we FINALLY climbed above 70° in Fort Wayne today! A combination of sunshine and a  southerly wind (which gusted as high as 40 mph in Fort Wayne today) made conditions ripe for reaching this milestone!

This is the warmest Fort Wayne has been so far in 2014!

This is the warmest Fort Wayne has been so far in 2014!

This has been a long time coming! Can you remember the last time we were as warm as we were today?

It's been almost 4 months since we've seen the mercury rise to 72°!

It’s been almost 4 months since we’ve seen the mercury rise to 72°!

Once a cold front pushes through our area this evening, we’ll see winds shift to come out of the north-northwest. That being said, the airmass behind the front is really not much colder. Temperatures should still climb into the low 60s on Friday before rebounding back to near 70° this weekend.

Keep in mind the average high for today is 59° – it’s nice to be above average for something other than snowfall totals :)



The winds and the rain

April 10th, 2014 at 11:24 am by under Weather
Futurecast rainfall

Futurecast rainfall

A weather system will move in today from the pacific and bring a brief period of moderate rain across the area. Rainfall totals should be around .25″ and end after midnight.

Futurecast winds

Futurecast winds

The other problem will be the winds moving in from the southwest with sustained speeds of 25 mph through afternoon and reach gusts to 35 mph.

Futurecast winds changing to northwest

Futurecast winds changing to northwest

These winds shift to the northwest as the front moves through by early evening. You can see this shift on the Futurecast graphic.


The days go by without a 70° day just yet…

April 9th, 2014 at 7:45 pm by under Weather
Fort Wayne continues to anticipate its first 70° temp of the year.

Fort Wayne continues to anticipate its first 70° temp of the year.

We’ve been waiting patiently for some springlike weather and, while temps have made their way into the 60s some days, we haven’t been able to reach 70° just quite yet.  The last time we made it into that territory was Oct. 13, 2013!  And, as each day  goes by, we get closer to the record for latest first 70°, which is April 25th (that’s only 16 days away!).

To see a complete rundown of the regionwide 70° stats, check out this graphic from our local National Weather Service office.

We’ll come close to 70° on Thursday, but with clouds and rain around during the afternoon/evening we’re more likely going to stay a few degrees below that mark.  So, it looks like the wait continues for now…


Signs of El Niño?

April 9th, 2014 at 11:13 am by under Weather
SST for Australia

SST Anomalies

An interesting graphic representation that shows a 70% chance of an El Niño pattern developing over the summer and fall. This would culminate in December and most likely mean a milder and drier winter for our area. It’s still a little early but sometimes these patterns can be detected almost a year ahead of time. Similar predictions are  also coming in from NOAA for the summer and fall which could translate into the winter months.

Some interesting weather maps…

April 8th, 2014 at 9:51 pm by under Weather

Found these maps yesterday thanks to a couple friends of mine and thought I’d share with you here on the blog.  They give a neat depiction of the occurrence of severe weather across the country.  These maps were generated using data from 1994-2013 and were issued by Iowa Environmental Mesonet.

The map below details the yearly average time, in minutes, each individual county spends under a severe thunderstorm warning.  Allen County (Fort Wayne) checks in between 480 and 540 minutes…that’s between 8 and 9 hrs.

Severfe Warning

Image Credit: IEM – Iowa Environmental Mesonet

This next map is similar to the one posted above.  However, this map details the yearly average minutes each individual county spends under a tornado warning.  According to the IEM data, Allen County averages about 60-75 mins. each year under a tornado warning.


Image Credit: IEM – Iowa Environmental Mesonet


Global winds

April 8th, 2014 at 11:31 am by under Weather
Global Wind Patterns-(NASA)

Global Wind Patterns-(NASA)

Does the wind always blow? The answer is yes. There are always differences with cold and warm air because cold air is heavier and warm air rises. This creates high and low pressure areas and, in the larger or global aspect, winds circulating around these patterns.

Because the equator has a direct angle to the sun, it takes in most of the direct rays.  The air is then heated and, because hot air rises, it turns into a circulation or lower pressure area.  These warm low pressure areas travel to around 30 degrees north and south of the equator and, as the warm air mixes with cooler air, it begins to sink, creating circulations. The colder air then flows toward the Earth’s two poles.

Underwater weather drones

April 7th, 2014 at 7:58 pm by under Weather
Blog 1

A snapshot of a submarine drone. Credit: Jason Orfanon

We’ve heard a lot about drones in the news.  We know they’ve been used for military purposes and that companies, like Domino’s Pizza and Amazon, are working to develop drones that can deliver their products directly to consumers.

Now comes word that drones…well, really, submarine drones, have been developed by the Navy to provide better measurement of conditions in the water.  This is a good thing, since we don’t get much weather data from under or above the water as we do from locations on land.  It’s reported by DefenseOne that the hope is to be able to use this drone data, along with other data to develop consistent forecasts for up to 90 days in advance.

To read more about this, click here for the complete article.