Could We See The Aurora Borealis Friday And Saturday?

Over the past couple of days we have seen a lot of activity from our sun in the form of powerful solar flares. With these solar flares the sun can release what are called “Coronal Mass Ejections” or CME’s that can hurl VERY hot plasma towards earth and effect everything from satellites circling the earth to our electrical grids here on the surface.

Here is a nice picture from the Solar Dynamics Observatory of a flare that was produced on Wednesday that was pointed right at the earth.

Solar Flare

Thanks to the flare shown above and a previous (weaker) flare earlier in the week, two CME’s are now headed near earth and could potentially affect us in a variety of ways into the upcoming weekend. When a CME (or in this case two CME’s) come near earth they interact with our planets magnetosphere causing geomagnetic storms which increase electric current.

Because of this the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G3 Geomagnetic Storm Watch for September 13th (Saturday) So what is a G3 geomagnetic storm you might ask? Here is the criteria for a G3 storm per the Space Weather Prediction Center. (here is the entire scale for geomagnetic storms)

G3 STRONG Geomagnetic Storm

Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.

Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.

Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50° geomagnetic lat.)**.

OK, did you get all of that? The sun can potentially cause A LOT of problems here on earth with these types of solar storms. THANKFULLY this time around we’re expected to be just fine.

Now on to the title of this post! Will we see the Aurora Borealis because of this? The short answer is maybe! In past events similar to this the dazzling northern lights have been known to reach this far south. The best chance to catch a glimpse of them would definitely be Friday and Saturday night, at any point during the night just look north!

If you’re interested in more on solar storms and how they have impacted earth here are two excellent reads about the Carrington Event Of 1859 and The 1989 Blackout of Quebec BIG thanks to our Chief Engineer, Fred Vobbe for pointing out these significant events!

-Kyle

Wednesday West Central Ohio Severe Weather UPDATE

9/9/2014

I’m still watching for the potential for severe thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening here in West Central Ohio that could include damaging winds and the threat for an isolated tornado.

All of Northwest Ohio continues to be under a “Slight Risk” Wednesday afternoon and evening as a strong cold front moves into the region.

DAY 1 OUTLOOK

In my post yesterday I talked extensively about shear and CAPE and how these two severe weather parameters could influence storms on Wednesday. Here’s the blog post I won’t re-hash much on the dynamics of the system today because not that much has changed. The shear will be in place with this storm to help aid severe weather but the question continues to be whether or not we’ll get enough instability or CAPE during the afternoon and evening.

As of this writing, severe storms are ongoing over parts of the midwest and will race eastward overnight into the early afternoon hours tomorrow. The latest models show that the remnants of these storms will spread clouds, showers and thunderstorms over West Central Ohio into the early afternoon hours. This would be GOOD news since it will drastically lower our severe weather chance by keeping our atmosphere free of ample mid day sunshine thus keeping us more stable.

Wed 2 PM Future

Notice in the picture above that as the remnants of Tuesday’s storms are moving through West Central Ohio, the main cold front will still be well off to our west. It’s the time period between when the first round of showers and thunderstorms move through  and when the actual cold front brings the second (potentially stronger) round of storms into West Central Ohio when we’ll see if we can get some clearing.

Wed 4 PM Future

By 3 or 4 in the afternoon on Wednesday all eyes will be along the cold front to see the severity of storms that develop. If the area I have highlighted in red gets some sunshine and destabilization late afternoon then it’s very possible we could be looking at a pretty good severe weather set up. For now, our Futurecast model shows the main front moving through late evening with the better chance for widespread damaging wind probably staying to our south and west where the better instability will likely develop (CAPE) during the day.

Wed 10 PM Future

But as I mentioned in my previous blog post, it doesn’t take much CAPE at all in a situation like tomorrow’s to generate severe thunderstorms thanks to strong wind shear that will be in place. Here are my main concerns Wednesday into the 4PM to 11PM range as the strong cold front moves in.

SEVERE HAZARD OUTLOOK NEW

Damaging wind is the biggest concern along with the chance for an isolated tornado. There could be heavier downpours possible in some of the storms too leading to over an inch of rain in some locations into late Wednesday evening.

Kyle Future Rainfall

Be sure to keep up with the storms on our new weather app as well, it’s a GREAT tool for tracking storms.

APP PIC

I’ll be sure to keep you updated, i’ll have the latest tonight as well on Your News Now at 10 and 11!

-Kyle

 

Severe Storms Possible Late Wednesday For West Central Ohio

9/8/2014

A strong cold front will move through the region late Wednesday bringing the possibility for severe weather including damaging wind and the threat for an isolated tornado.

The set up is one that is definitely showing that we’re nearing the changing of the seasons with a MUCH cooler air mass slated to move into West Central Ohio. The system will really gain steam on Tuesday with severe weather a good possibility through Nebraska, Iowa, Southern Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.

Tuesday Future

The cold front will continue to push east on Wednesday shifting the threat for severe weather into the Southern Great Lakes.

DAY 2 OUTLOOK

Some unseasonably strong upper level wind support will accompany this system as it moves in late Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday evening. If you read this blog you have probably heard me talk about “wind shear” and “CAPE” quite often, both being important contributors to severe weather potential. In Wednesday’s case, there will be pretty high wind shear for this time of year with CAPE values that are still in question. Here’s the set up:

Wind Shear

As the cold front nears on Wednesday evening it will have pretty good upper level wind support to help maintain storms that develop along the front. Most forecast models agree with each other and show wind shear values high enough to warrant severe weather potential here in West Central Ohio. Wind shear is either the change in wind SPEED with height or the change in wind DIRECTION with height in the atmosphere. This change of wind through the atmosphere is crucial to building and maintaining severe thunderstorms. Here is a look at where the highest wind shear will be Wednesday evening, the higher shear values are where the darker colors are in this map.

NAM SHEAR

I also look at very low-level wind shear and the chance for the atmosphere to generate LOW level circulation in thunderstorms, this is called Helicity. Helicity values from the surface up too about 1 kilometer in the sky are moderately high Wednesday evening. This is a main reason we could see an isolated tornado or two somewhere in NW Ohio late Wednesday. While our helicty values are progged to be higher than normal, the highest low-level helicity is probably going to stay to our north closer to the are of low pressure moving through the Northern Great Lakes.

NAM HELICITY

CAPE

We know that good wind shear will be in place along the front as it moves through West Central Ohio Wednesday, but the CAPE is still in question. CAPE, or, Convective Available Potential Energy is the energy in the atmosphere that is used to rapidly develop thunderstorms. Basically,The more sunshine we get on Wednesday= The higher CAPE values we’ll have to fuel potential severe weather. If you can get a lot of instability (high CAPE) AND high wind shear along a strong cold front then look out! Thankfully, our CAPE will probably be on the low side here in West Central Ohio. But that’s still not to say we’ll completely dodge the bullet.

Most forecast models are showing relatively low CAPE late Wednesday including the GFS shown below. Notice in the graphic that the highest CAPE (which is still pretty low) is off into Southern Indiana and Illinois by about 8 PM Wednesday.

GFS CAPE

Here is a look at the NAM model at the same time (this one has been a bit of an outlier)

NAM CAPE

IF, and that’s a BIG if, we can get CAPE values Wednesday afternoon as the NAM is indicating then we have the potential to see a pretty substantial severe weather outbreak for this time of year. Thankfully, as of now, I don’t think that is going to happen. Here’s why:

Strong to severe thunderstorms will be ongoing through the midwest into Tuesday night. These storms will weaken and eventually move east towards us here in West Central Ohio. These storms will spread considerable cloudiness over NW Ohio into Wednesday morning/early afternoon.

Future Wednesday Morning

Notice in the above picture that the storms will be racing out ahead of the better forcing and lift along the cold front by Wednesday morning, along with a loss of daytime heating, this will definitely weaken these storms below severe limits. IF we can stay mostly cloudy with remnant showers from Tuesday’s storms on Wednesday, our atmosphere has a good chance at staying pretty stable (Low CAPE). This is definitely what I’ll be watching most as this cold front nears.

As of now, my forecast is calling for low CAPE and thus a lower severe threat late Wednesday. However, with such high shear values in place, it doesn’t take much destabilization to fire up storms. With that in mind the biggest threat is damaging winds in the 6PM to Midnight timeframe Wednesday evening. Because of pretty good wind shear and low-level helicity, an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out either. Here is a look at how I think the severe weather threat will break down.

SEVERE HAZARD OUTLOOK NEW

These are just my initial thoughts right now. We still have two days until these storms arrive so I will be sure to keep up on the latest forecasts and keep you updated! ALSO, if you haven’t yet, please check out our FREE weather app. With live radar and up to date watches and warnings it’s a wonderful tool to have with severe weather approaching.

APP PIC

Stay tuned!

-Kyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hot Friday With Thunderstorms To Cool Us Down

9/4/2014

Tomorrow may be one of our last chances to reach 90 degrees for the remainder of the summer thanks to a cold front that will pass through late tomorrow evening here in West Central Ohio. During the day temperatures will easily warm into the upper 80’s along with continued dew points hovering around 70 degrees, that means another hot and muggy day.

But the warmth will NOT last into the weekend thanks to a cold front expected to move in by the end of the day Friday. With this front moving into such a hot and muggy environment, showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop by the late afternoon hours across parts of Indiana and Michigan. Based on the latest forecast models, these storms will track East/Southeast into West Central Ohio by the late evening hours. Here is a look at Futurecast by 8 PM Friday evening.

8 PM Future

This will likely end up being a broken line of showers and thunderstorms moving through West Central Ohio in the 8PM to Midnight timeframe. Headed out to a football game tomorrow night? Be sure to keep an eye to the sky!

The good news is that these storms should mostly stay BELOW severe limits. Isolated wind damage is possible, but the overall severe threat will be low thanks to a general lack up upper wind support (wind shear) as these storms move through. Here is a look at some of that shear, notice the higher shear values (darker blue and purple) stay WELL north of the area into Friday afternoon and evening.

Shear Friday

Without this wind shear support the storms that develop along this cold front will have a hard time maintaining themselves. Good wind shear allows storms to develop longer lasting updrafts that can lead to stronger storms. A few of these storms could be on the strong side, but the overall threat remains low at this time. An isolated damaging wind gust is possible along with possible flooding where slower moving storms set up.

SEVERE HAZARD OUTLOOK NEW

Even though the severe threat is low, there is a good chance thunderstorms will be in the region. If you’re headed to a football game be sure to stay up to date on the latest forecasts and radar. There is no better way to do that than with our Storm Authority Weather App which can be downloaded for free!

APP PIC

-Kyle

Will We Hit 90 Degrees This Summer?

We still have yet to hit 90 degrees this summer and now that were into the month of September we’re really beginning to run out of chances! The good news it that if you do want a 90 degree day we have a shot later this week on Friday before another cold front moves through bringing a cool down into the weekend.

Temperatures AND dew points will continue to rise here on Thursday with highs creeping into the mid 80’s, but more importantly, dew point readings potentially into the low 70’s. That will make it feel MUCH more muggy outside on Thursday.

Future Dew Points

We’ll hang onto those high dew points on Friday with temperatures expected to top out near 90 degrees! As of now, my forecasted high is at 89 degrees. But I would not be surprised if a few locations here in West Central Ohio were able to reach 90! Here’s a look at projected temperatures by early Friday afternoon.

Future Temperatures

All this heat and humidity will be wiped away thanks to a cold front late Friday with a round of showers and thunderstorms moving through. As of now, Futurecast shows the cold front moving through late Friday afternoon into Friday evening. And with a hot and humid air mass in place, there is a good chance scattered showers and thunderstorms will be present late in the day.

Kyle RPM 12KM Futurecast

Any time a cold front is moving through a primed air mass like the one that will be in place on Friday, I naturally look to see if there will be any threat for severe weather. CAPE will be high here in West Central Ohio on Friday thanks to the heat and humidity, meaning that there will be plenty of POTENTIAL energy to work with as the front moves through. CAPE values by late Friday afternoon will likely easily exceed 2,000 J/Kg which is plenty to develop scattered showers and thunderstorms along the cold front moving through.

CAPE Friday

So we’ll have the CAPE but will we have the wind shear to back it up? The short answer is NO.

Most of the higher wind shear will be present well north of the cold front moving through. When you get the combination of high wind shear, high CAPE and a trigger (cold front) you usually have a legitimate threat for severe weather. On Friday afternoon and evening we’ll have 2 of the 3. Here is a look at the highest wind shear values late Friday afternoon, notice the highest wind shear is WELL north of the Southern Great Lakes.

GFS Friday Shear

Without the wind shear present we’ll still get thunderstorms late Friday thanks to the passing front and high CAPE, and sure, a few of them could produce some isolated damaging wind. But overall, the threat for severe weather looks pretty low thanks to very low wind shear. Either way it is still expected to be potentially stormy Friday night, so if you’re planning on heading out to a game be sure to keep an eye to the sky! You can also download our NEW weather app so track any storms moving through on your phone.

APP PIC

I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

-Kyle

 

Severe Weather For Parts Of The Midwest Labor Day Weekend

We’re in for a change in our weather pattern as we head into the Labor Day weekend, and unfortunately it’s looking like a pretty active weather period can be expected in the Midwest through early next week.

A warm front lifting out of the south on Friday will signal the change. This front will bring a return of hotter and more humid conditions into the upcoming weekend. But there is good news! Even with the front in the region on Friday, it does look as if we’ll stay dry here in West Central Ohio for the first Football Friday Night of the season. We’ll just have to deal with a little more heat and mugginess.

After a dry first half of our Saturday, ample moisture building in out of the south will bring an increased chance for showers and thunderstorms into the evening and overnight hours. These showers and thunderstorms are NOT expected to be severe but they could bring with them some heavy rain into Sunday morning.

Saturday Rain

Once that system moves off to our east on Sunday we’ll see a gradual decrease in rain and clouds by the afternoon and evening. My attention will then shift out West where a better chance for severe weather could set up Sunday and Monday.

The National Weather Service already has an area highlighted on Sunday in anticipation of a severe weather outbreak.

Sunday Outlook

A couple of very key ingredients are expected to come together on Sunday in the region highlighted above that will help to spark severe storms.

1) Wind Shear

High wind shear is expected over Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. Wind shear is basically a change in DIRECTION or SPEED in wind as you go higher up into the sky. The more there is a change in wind direction or speed from the surface and up through the atmosphere, the more chance you have for thunderstorms that will be long-lasting and able to maintain themselves for hours at a time.

Sunday Shear

2) Instability

High CAPE, or, Convective Available Potential Energy is expected as well in this region on Sunday. The higher the CAPE values, the more primed the atmosphere is for any POTENTIAL thunderstorms.

Sunday CAPE

3) A Trigger

Without some sort of trigger, we could have all the CAPE in the world and it could still be a sunny day. In this case however, the trigger will be a strong cold front pushing through the Midwest that will be able to tap into high CAPE values and good wind shear likely triggering a round of severe weather.

By Monday all of this activity will push east and closer to us here in West Central Ohio. The same ingredients I highlighted above will be in play on Labor Day. As the aforementioned cold front continues to push east it will bring the focus for potential severe weather into parts of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana where the best CAPE and Shear will be on Monday. Where you see the cold front, high shear and CAPE come together, that’s where the chance for severe storms will be.

In the graphic below I have circled an area where shear will be high, this is also the region where CAPE values will exceed 2,000 J/kg. Both shear and CAPE will NOT be as high on Monday as it was on Sunday further west. Notice that Western Ohio is not included in the area I have circled.

Monday Shear

Here is a look at the CAPE on Monday.

Labor Day CAPE

This set up certainly catches my eye especially since it will be closer to West Central Ohio on Monday. As of now it looks as if strong to severe storms will develop late Monday afternoon over Southern Wisconsin and Illinois and then push east into the evening. By the time they would reach West Central Ohio they will be outrunning both better CAPE and shear in the atmosphere. Nonetheless, this is still something to watch late Monday. This system is still four days away and if it speeds up (which is a possibility) that would shift the focus for severe weather closer to home. This is something to keep an eye on over the weekend, I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

-Kyle

If you haven’t yet, be sure to download our FREE Weather App! I use it all the time for tracking storms when I’m not in the office.

APP PIC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perseid Meteor Shower Is Ramping Up!

August 6th, 2014

The annual Perseid (Per-SEE-uhd) Meteor Shower is about to hit its peak with anywhere from 50 to 100 meteors per hour streaking across the night sky. Unfortunately for those looking for a brilliant show this year you may have to fight with a nearly full moon in the sky during their August 12th and 13th climax. The Perseids are widely considered to annually be the best meteor shower of the year and they’re all thanks to debris from the comet Swift Tuttle. As the earth’s path crosses through this comet’s debris cloud, meteors are created as the debris falls into the earth’s atmosphere.

Even though the peak of the meteor shower isn’t for another week, the coming nights heading into this weekend may actually be your best chance to catch some of the activity from this meteor shower. The meteors in the sky will appear to originate near the constellation Perseus in the Northeast sky. According to NASA, the best opportunity to see the meteors will be in the PRE-DAWN hours. Who’s ready to set that alarm clock a little early?

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER

But you don’t necessarily need to just look northeast to see the shooting stars. If you look up long enough you’re likely to see a few of the meteors, but again, you’ll probably be contending with a bright (almost full) moon in the sky so they may be a little bit harder to see.

NASA also states that the Perseid Meteor Shower is also known for fireballs. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and can persist longer than the average meteor streak, basically due to larger pieces of comet material clashing with the earth’s atmosphere.

Good luck, hopefully you see some shooting stars over the next week or so!

-Kyle

 

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What Can We Learn From The Toledo Water Scare?

August 4th, 2014

What would we do without fresh, free-flowing drinkable water? I know this is something I take for granted, as probably many others do as well. I drink water out of the tap without EVER questioning it, I like it that way. I’m not a bottled water person either; it just doesn’t make sense to me. Call me cheap, but why would I want to pay dollars on the gallon when I can pay mere pennies and get it right out of the faucet?

But just in the past year a couple of water scares have really caught my attention, the Elk River Chemical scare near Charleston, West Virginia back in January of this year, and most recently the toxic algae that found its way into the Toledo water system.

However, what is most alarming to me is the fact that it seems to take very little to shut down the infrastructure of an entire city or in other words, how much we seem to take water and all that we rely on it for, for granted. The most obvious takeaways from these recent events should serve as a clear reminder that all of us should at least have ONE gallon of water PER PERSON PER DAY in our households for at least three days in case of an emergency (here’s more from ready.gov). I’ll count myself as one of those who needs to learn a lesson here: if you asked me how much water I had in reserve at my place before this latest scare in Toledo I would have embarrassingly told you “zero gallons” and I have a wife and five-month-old at home. That’s unacceptable.

I’m no expert on the topic, but I sincerely hope that the algae scare in Toledo will change A LOT of things. Unfortunately, it usually takes a major scare to enact change, as is the case with many other things as well. However, if there’s one issue I think we need to be proactive about as opposed to reactive, it’s the issue of water quality. I mean, it’s water; we need it to live! Don’t we want to at least get this one right? I know I sure as heck don’t want to live in a place where we have to depend on bottled water rather than tap water!

It was reassuring to me today that on our news we heard from both Celina and Lima on how the water is treated. Celina gets 100% of their drinking water from Grand Lake St. Marys, a lake that’s no stranger to toxic algae. If it wasn’t for the investment of MILLIONS of dollars for newer and better filtration, Celina wouldn’t be able to take drinking water from the lake. Of course swimming in the lake is still highly unadvised because of the algae, but the hope is that with more awareness and recognition, maybe one day a remedy will finally be found to allow people in that area to fully enjoy the lake once again! I know one thing, I used to take for granted just getting a drink of water out of the faucet and I never really put much thought as to where our water comes from. That will be changing for me now. I invite you to share ideas here about how we all might work together to become more educated and active when it comes to keeping our community’s water supply pristine and in abundance for years to come.

Here are links to our representatives to Washington here in Ohio.

United States Congressman Jim Jordan’s office

United States Congressman Bob Latta’s office

United States Senator Sherrod Brown’s office

United States Senator Rob Portman’s office

 

-Kyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.charlestondailymail.com/News/Kanawha/201401090067

 

Weekend Severe Weather Threat

A much more warm and moist air mass will settle into West Central Ohio this upcoming weekend with a couple of chances for severe thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday!

Most of the day on Saturday will probably be dry with just a few isolated showers and thunderstorms expected in the region thanks to a warm front lifting through. It’s that warm front that by the end up the day will bring warmer temperatures into the mid 80’s along with rising dew points well into the 60’s. Some very high CAPE values/instability will build into the region by the evening hours.

Some extremely high CAPE values potentially above 4,000 j/kg are possible by about 4 or 5 PM over parts of Illinois and Indiana.

Late Saturday CAPE

The latest models show a possible Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) developing in this are of very high CAPE late in the day on Saturday. This MCS will likely track across Indiana late evening and then into the Western half of Ohio by sunset potentially.

Future 1

Most forecast models (including the above image) show this MCS diving just to the south of West Central Ohio. But this will be something to watch because if it shifts another 50-100 miles or so North, we could potentially be in for a pretty good damaging wind storm here late evening. But for now, thankfully, it looks as if that threat will stay just to our south. With that said, we still have the chance for an isolated severe thunderstorm or two here in West Central Ohio heading into the overnight hours.

DAY 1 OUTLOOK

The chance for severe weather on Sunday will be highly dependent on what happens on Saturday night. Basically if we can clear out and see some sunshine on Sunday after Saturday night’s activity we may be able to see the atmosphere destabilize enough to see a few strong to severe storms develop Sunday afternoon with a second cold front moving through. Forecast models are pointing to that scenario with CAPE vales once again on the rise into Sunday afternoon.

Sunday CAPE

By about 3 or 4PM models show that second cold front moving into the region. This would be an ideal time for showers and thunderstorms to develop during peak daytime heating.

Future 2

But with that said I’m still a bit skeptical based on the fact that we may not clear out a whole lot from Saturday night’s storms that roll through. The details for Sunday’s severe weather chance is still a bit foggy, but once we see how storms play out Saturday night we should be able to paint a better picture of what could happen on Sunday.

We’ll be watching this weekend! I’ll have all the latest tonight at 10 and 11 and Allison will be in on Saturday for further coverage!

ALSO! This weekend would be a GREAT time to have our new weather app! It’s free, check it out. I use it all the time to check the latest radar and track storms when I’m away from my desk!

APP PIC

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Kyle

 

A Very Short Lived Warm Up!

Believe it or not, we have yet to hit 90 degrees here in Lima a SINGLE time so far this July! That could be changing tomorrow, but if we don’t get there on Tuesday, the chances are looking slim for the remainder of the month. Not only will it be hot on Tuesday, but it will also be very humid with dew point temperatures expected to reach up into the low 70’s during the day! That would give us possible heat indices approaching the 95 to 100 degree mark during the afternoon and early evening. Here are a look at the predicted dew points by late tomorrow afternoon.

Future Dew Points

As I mentioned earlier, if we don’t hit 90 on Tuesday, it’s possible we may go the entire month of July without reaching the milestone! A strong cold front will move through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning that will drop our temperatures 10 to 15 degrees by the end of the week!

The front won’t begin to affect the region until after sunset on Tuesday, and even then, we’ll probably just see an increase in clouds as it approaches. By Tuesday evening at 11 PM the cold front will be well off to our NW.

Future 1

Since the front is moving through overnight I’m not concerned about severe weather. We’ll probably hear some thunder late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning though.

Future 2

By early afternoon on Wednesday the cold front will likely be through and to the south and east of us. This should keep our best rain chance focused through the early afternoon on Wednesday with clearing possible late in the day.

Future 3

I’m not holding my breath on this front either as far as rainfall is concerned. Forecast models are generally showing less than a quarter of an inch by the end of the day on Wednesday.

Kyle Future Rainfall

Stay cool tomorrow everyone!

-Kyle