Archive for January, 2009

The Nor’ Easter And How It Might Impact You
January 31, 2009

A Nor’ Easter is expected to develop along the east coast early next week. The storm will develop along the cold front that is expected to move through our area on Sunday. Behind this system, cold air will return to the area for both Monday and Tuesday. Right now it looks like we will stay dry early next week and then begin to warm up by the middle part of next week.

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Many times a strong Nor’ Easter can leave behind a dense, cold airmass that doesn’t want to move out very quickly and the overall weather pattern slows down. Since we are going into a very dry period, the dry weather may last even longer. On the other hand, the cold air may try and linger on through Wednesday as well with a slow warm up taking place late next week. However, the warm weather will win out at some point late next week with a few days back in the 60s.

Ross Ellet

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Wildfires Scorch Oklahoma
January 31, 2009

Wildfires have scorched parts of northwestern Oklahoma on Saturday. The wildfires were large enough for fire warnings to be issued and for the smoke plumes to be picked up on radar. Very dry, warm, and windy weather prompted the conditionsfavorable for wildfires. We have had the similar conditions in our area over the past day or so. However, we are not in any great wildfire danger due to the heavy precipitation we have received this past week. Here is an image a couple minutes before 2pm on Saturday showing the fires igniting.

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Here is the doppler radar image from 3pm Saturday.

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Here is the doppler radar image from 4pm Saturday.

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Ross Ellet

Alaskan Volcano Getting Ready to Erupt
January 30, 2009

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While we have been dealing with the devastating effects of an ice storm, residents near Anchorage Alaska are bracing for a volcanic eruption. 

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According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, the Redoubt Volcano is showing seismic unrest that is moving  well beyond normal background levels.  The area is currently under a volcano watch. 

A reconnaissance flight over the volcano reported no ash cloud; however, it did observe significant steaming from a new melt depression at the mouth of the summit crater near the vent area of the 1989-90 eruption.

No communities are in the immediate vicinity of the Volcano, and the nearest residents were some 40 miles away on an opposite stretch of coastline of the Cook Inlet; however, Anchorage residents will have to wait and see which way the wind blows. 

Many residents are already taking precautions and getting ready.  Although nobody knows when the Volcano will erupt, Scientists feel confident that an eruption is likely within days. 

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The largest threat with this type of volcano is the ash cloud.  Redoubt will most likely spew ash up to 50,000 feet in the atmosphere.  If the winds aloft are just right, the ash cloud may be carried across the western United States.  Major eruptions in history have caused a short period of global cooling.  We’ll continue to update you on this event!

Drew Michaels

Well Above Average Saturday….Cold Next Week
January 30, 2009

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Tomorrow, westerly flow aloft will push our temperatures back into the mid to upper 50s across Northwest Arkansas, and the 60’s throughout the River Valley into SE OK and SW AR.  For the last day of January, our temperatures will be well above average.  The averages for January 31st are shown above.

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This warming trend will last into Sunday, but as the ridge slides east, another trough will introduce winter temperatures back across the area for Monday and Tuesday.  850 mb temperatures on Saturday will warm between 7 to 8 degrees Celsius; by Monday, they cool drop down between -4 and -6 degrees Celsius.

Drew Michaels

Cavanal Hill Ice
January 30, 2009

I drove up on Cavanal Hill (just west of Poteau, Oklahoma) today to see how much ice was up there. Melting had already occurred but there was still about 2 inches of ice. Before the melting there could have been amounts close to 3 inches up there. Here are a couple pics.  In the first picture you can see there was also still icing on top of Sugarloaf Mtn (left of tree) and Poteau Mtn (right of tree).  The second picture shows the icing and the freezing fog still showing above the river valley in the distance.

Cavanal Hill Icing
Cavanal Hill Icing
Cavanal Hill Icing
Cavanal Hill Icing

many more pics are on my website – here

Post by Brian Emfinger on January 30, 2009 at 6:15PM

What If?
January 30, 2009

The final data will take a while to calculate, but at this time it appears the Ice Storm Of 2009 is easily the worst winter storm to hit the state since the Ice Storm of 2000 and may end up becoming the worst winter storm since December 14, 1932 according to the National Weather Service. That was over 76 years ago, nearly a lifetime. The Ice Storm of 2009 very well could be a storm that children end up telling their grandchildren about, but could it have been worse?

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Just 2 degrees saved Fort Smith from an even bigger blow. If the temperature was at 32 instead of 34 degrees last Tuesday the city would of had nearly twice the destruction of northwest Arkansas and rivaled the worst ice storm in world history which occurred in eastern Ontario and southwest Quebec in 1998. That area got between 3 – 4.5″ of freezing rain, cost 8 billion in damages, killed dozens, and took months to restore power. Meteorologically speaking being just 2 degrees off on a forecast is considered a decent forecast. A slight warm up saved the city and river valley of a massive catastrophe. On a lighter note but just as impressive, if the upper atmosphere remained cold enough to support snow it would have demolished records. Northwest Arkansas would have been dealing with more than a foot and a half of snowfall. The river valley would have seen over 40″. In other words, it would of been almost like getting a decades worth of snowfall in just one day.

Ross Ellet

 

Weekend Warm Up
January 30, 2009

A much deserved warm up is on the way. Today temperatures will jump into the upper 40s in the river valley. Temperatures will be a little cooler today then if we didn’t have the dense fog and low level moisture to contend with. The forecast for Northwest Arkansas is very tricky this afternoon. The computer models are indicating highs in the low 50s today. However, we know that is very unlikely because of all the snow and ice still on the ground. Today’s warming and energy will go into melting the snow and ice instead of boosting temperatures into the 50s. As a result, we are expecting highs in the upper 30s. However, the snow and ice pack should nearly be gone by Saturday. Therefore with a strong southwesterly flow and plenty of sunshine, temperatures will make a run at 60 degrees all across the area.

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Ross Ellet

Freezing Fog
January 30, 2009

The NWS in Tulsa has issued a freezing fog advisory until 9am.  Freezing fog is composed of extremely small liquid droplets that are below freezing.  They can deposit a very thin layer of ice on some roads but often the main affect is to cause limited visibility.   Visibilities in some areas will fall below 1/4 of a mile.  I was out shooting video earlier this morning at the Fort Smith Pavilion.  I was parked near the edge of the retaining wall and I could not see Target from that location (across the parking lot).  Some roads across the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas have had some freezing fog accumulate on the roads.  On Phoenix Avenue in front of Academy Sports the road was completely covered with a dusting of freezing fog and the road was slick at that time.  Road crews have been out salting.  Here are a few pics. Notice in the first one the millions of little freezing fog particles:

freezing fog accumulating on Phoenix Ave

freezing fog accumulating on Phoenix Ave

freezing fog accumulation on trees in Fort Smith

freezing fog accumulation on trees in Fort Smith

Post by Brian Emfinger on January 30, 2009 at 5:40AM

Ice Storm Pics
January 29, 2009

Here is video I got while I drove around Westville, Oklahoma.

Here are some pics from Westville where there was about 1 1/2 inches of ice accumulation.

ice storm in Westville, OK

ice storm in Westville, OK

ice storm in Westville, OK

ice storm in Westville, OK

on the way home I saw some ice falling from a cell phone tower north of Ozark… you definitely want to be careful to keep an eye out for falling ice as the ice begins to melt in earnest tomorrow and Saturday.

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ice falling

More pics can be viewed on my website – HERE

Post by Brian Emfinger on January 29, 2009 at 5:05PM

More Photos From Fayetteville, And West Fork
January 29, 2009

I have been able to grab a little bit of rest over the past 24 hours and a lot of photographs from Northwest Arkansas. Growing up in the Midwest, seeing an ice storm from time to time wasn’t uncommon. However, the scenes from the Ice Storm of 2009 are at least twice as bad as any ice storm I have ever seen. Here are a few of my photographs that I took on Wednesday, January 28th of the good, bad, and ugly from the Ice Storm of 2009.

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The last two photos are of my twin sons Bryce and Simon. They were fascinated by the “icy trees” as much as my wife and I. The photograph right before these two is of the American Flag that stands over the U of A campus in Fayetteville. The flag was iced solid in that position but the American flag will wave rapidly and proudly fly once again. By Saturday it will be pointed to the northeast, the opposite direction that they were blowing during the ice storm. It will be a sign of a strong southwesterly wind that will bring temperatures back into the middle 50s with plenty of sunshine.

Ross Ellet