Archive for May, 2010

Extreme Heat Possible Next Weekend
May 31, 2010

Despite that it is late spring, it will feel like mid to late summer this coming week. Warm and humid conditions will build back into the area on Tuesday and continue through the week. There is a chance for a few scattered showers and storms on Thursday along a frontal boundary. By late week the front will surge to the north, a ridge will strengthen and move overhead, and the mercury will sky-rocket. Highs could reach the mid 90s in northwest Arkansas and the upper 90s in the river valley. The heat index could reach 100 degrees or higher through the entire viewing area. On a side note, if Fort Smith hits 100 degrees on Saturday it will be the earliest in the season that we have ever recorded a 100 degree day. The earliest on record right now is June 6, 1911.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

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OLD FORT DAYS RODEO PARADE
May 31, 2010

The unofficial start of summer in the River Valley begins with the Old Fort Days Rodeo Parade.  Here is a look at the latest forecast for the parade which starts up at 10am.  There could be a few areas of drizzle within some of the clouds, but that might actually feel good seeing how warm and muggy temperatures will be this morning.  Our very own Chief Meteorologist Drew Michaels will be in the parade so make sure you wave at him and say hello as he drives by! 🙂

BLOG ENTRY BY: PATRICK CRAWFORD (5-31  4:15AM)

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Memorial Day Forecast
May 30, 2010

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible on Memorial Day. The best opportunity for rainfall will be in the afternoon and early evening hours. The rain will be scattered in nature, meaning it will not be an all day wash out. Highs will reach the mid 80s to low 90s through the day. A couple surges of heat will take place later this week. The first will arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs will reach the low to mid 90s. The second wave of heat will hit on Friday and Saturday. Saturday highs could be close to record highs in the low to mid 90s. A few areas could even see the upper 90s possible. Even though we aren’t expecting triple digits at this time, it is interesting to note the earliest 100 degree day ever recorded was June 6, 1911 in Fort Smith and June 11, 1953 in Fayetteville.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

State Parks & Camping Forecast
May 29, 2010

Here is your updated state parks forecast for Sunday and camping forecast for Sunday and Monday. There is a slight chance of a shower on Sunday. The best chance for the isolated showers will be in Carroll, Newton, Madison, Franklin, Johnson and Logan Counties. There is a much better opportunity for widespread showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening on Memorial Day.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Memorial Day BBQ Forecast
May 28, 2010

The summer grilling season officially begins this Memorial Day Weekend.  A lot of folks will be enjoying time together on Monday, so how’s it looking for the Memorial Day outdoor barbeques?

The early part of Monday should be fine; however, during the afternoon and evening, there’s a 40% chance for some isolated showers and storms to develop.  They will be very hit and miss, and not everybody will see the rain.  If you do get caught under a storm it could quickly rain out your grilling time.

Drew Michaels

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Outdoors Holiday Weekend Forecast
May 28, 2010

Whether you are hiking, camping, swimming, grilling, boating, working, or taking it easy this weekend we have your forecast below. It will be a great weekend weather wise for all of these activities. A few scattered thunderstorms are possible late day on Memorial day otherwise it should stay dry and warm.

 

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Backyard Astronomy…Summer Stars
May 28, 2010

Many thanks to Dave Grosvold from the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society for this backyard astronomy blog entry.  You can read more about the club at www.aoas.org

After an unusually long solar minimum, activity on the Sun is picking up, with sunspots and other magnetic phenomena frequency increasing. Solar activity should continue to increase until the next solar maximum, which is expected in 2013.

The Sun in Hydrogen-alpha light

Solar images taken in red hydrogen-alpha light reveal much more information than the while-light images you might see through a normal solar filter. Hydrogen-alpha (Hα) light is a specific red wavelength of light produced by the emissions of the hydrogen fusion process in stars. Astronomers use a special filter that allows only light of this wavelength to pass through and be recorded either on film or by digital sensors. You might want to learn more about the Sun at the Solar and Heliopsheric Observatory (SOHO) site. Caution – Never look directly at the Sun! Always understand and use the proper filters and equipment before attempting to view sunspots or other solar phenomena.

Vega, in the constellation Lyra, now shines brightly in the east-northeast after dark. Vega is the first star of the Summer Triangle to appear above the horizon each night starting in the Spring. Deneb, the second of the three apices of the Summer Triangle, can be found about two or three fist-widths to Vega’s lower left. Deneb is in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. The third star of the Summer Triangle, in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle, Altair rises late in the evening significantly farther to Vega’s lower right.  Aquila is the home of the Eagle Nebula (M16,) the site of the Pillars of Creation image, made famous by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Pillars of Creation

 

Venus is less than 3/4° from the 3rd-magnitude star Epsilon Geminorum Thursday and Friday evening. Look carefully, because Venus is 600 times brighter than Epsilon Geminorum.

Ceres, the largest asteroid and first to be discovered, is passing close by the Lagoon Nebula (M8,) in Sagittarius this week. Ceres is magnitude 7.5, well within binocular range. The Lagoon reaches a good observing altitude in the south-southeast by about 1:00 AM. Ceres will be closest to the Lagoon on the night of June 1st.

Drew Michaels

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TRAVEL FORECAST
May 28, 2010

The latest travel forecast not showing any major problems.  There could be some thunderstorms if you plan on heading south, but it doesn’t look like anything severe.  Stay safe and have a great weekend!!!

BLOG ENTRY BY: PATRICK CRAWFORD (5-28  8:30AM)

http://www.twitter.com/4029weather

Upcoming Hurricane Season Update
May 27, 2010

NOAA has updated their hurricane forecast for 2010, and it’s forecast to be a rather active season.  So what does that mean for our area?  It’s impossible to predict how many storms will develop specifically in the Gulf; however, historically, when an above average season is forecast, there’s a 95% chance that at least 2 named storms will develop in the Gulf of Mexico.

If a storms develops in the Gulf, we’ll have a chance to see the remnants of that storm move north and impact our area.  Tropical storm winds of 40 mph and heavy rainfall will be possible from decaying storms.  The timeframe would occur between August and October.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Tracking Storms, Waterfalls, & A Great Weekend For Camping
May 27, 2010

Tim Ernst is tracking storms and waterfalls with this week’s sporadic and scattered storms across the Ozarks! You can read all of Tim Ernst’s Cloudland Cabin Journal entries at this link http://timernst.com/currentjournal.html. Tim Ernst’s home page is at the following link http://timernst.com/index.html. Here is a great clip from his journal today.

05/27/10 The air is filled with sweetness today – sounds of happy birds just waking up to greet the new day, cool air that has been swept clean from recent storms, and beautiful early soft light gently kissing the landscape awake.

We’ve spent a lot of time the past couple of days dodging big thunderstorms, and running around trying to keep our computers and other electrical equipment from getting blown up by them. At one point the local radar showed more than 20 of the bright RED thunderstorms in our area – those are the ones that could destroy thousands of bucks worth of equipment in a single flash. (Sorry, but contrary to popular sales hype, surge “protectors” DO NOT WORK when lightning strikes nearby, nor will the company actually pay a claim for damage – a total waste of money.) So we work as long as we can, then run around frantically shutting down and unplugging computers when the storms get too close. At times this week we’ve had five computers running at once so we have been busy bees!

We’ve been using the wireless connection on the iPam some to track the storms while the other computers have been unplugged – it has been fun to watch these big storms come sweeping right on by, most of the time not dropping a single drop of rain. Yesterday evening there was a big one that developed in northern Boxley Valley and ran right on up the valley past us – we could see all the rain and lightning that was at times just a few feet away, but nary a drop fell on the cabin and the storm raced on upstream to the south and finally disappeared.

The other day I was out on a short ramble just before dark to test out a new pair of snake-proof gaiters when I noticed the sides of all the trees light up with this beautiful color – it had been cloudy most of the day and so no direct light. I got out of the cabin without even my little snapshot camera so all I could do was marvel at the glowing forest. Then it hit me – the light was on the WRONG side of the trees! It was coming from the east – at sunset? When I finally got to an opening in the forest where I could see out I realized that the light was coming from a giant thunderhead that was sitting right on top of Mossville a couple of miles to the east, and the setting sun was bouncing off the big cloud and shining right on over onto our mountain. The cloud was glowing different shades of pink and orange. And in the middle of it all there was a patch of blue sky – with a 3/4 moon shining through! It was all very odd, and spectacular! (here is the cloud after the moon went into hiding again)

Yesterday morning I made a made dash out the door before sunrise to hike into an area of three waterfalls that looked like had received a couple of inches of rain overnight. They were all pretty easy to get to – all in a row right along the Ozark Highlands Trail. But all that rain had been soaked up by the landscape and the waterfalls were not running well enough for photos. What I did discover was the fact that with all of the rains of late, combined with the open canopy above from the ice storm last year, the hiking trail was already overgrown with tall weeds – it is very early in the summer for this to happen, but conditions are just right and so we have the lush weeds. The trail was easy to follow, but just a warning to hikers – be sure to wear LONG PANTS for any hikes on wilderness trails in Arkansas from now on this summer!

One note about ticks and snakes – even though I’ve been bushwhacking through some of the thickest of the thick jungle that you would ever encounter in Arkansas, I’ve only seen one poisonous snake all year, and I’ve only been pulling off one or two ticks a day. Wear bug spray, and watch out for snakes, but don’t let the threat of them keep you from enjoying the woods!

My lovely bride has been busy working on the new ARKANSAS WILDFLOWERS guidebook that we are publishing for the regional wildflower expert, Don Kurz. We are really excited about this new guidebook – it will be much easier to use than anything available for Arkansas before, and will be filled with Don’s great flower photographs. Pam just completed scanning many of those (our dining table has been set up as the scanning station this week – another computer we’ve had to worry about shutting down as storms approach!). Don has been out crisscrossing the state making sure he has new photographs of all the species – more than 400 of them! Pam will do all of the design and layout work with Don’s text starting next week, and we expect to have the book available this fall.

Speaking of Don Kurz, it was great to have a visit from him at Cloudland the other day – always a treat to be in the company of such a botanical wizard as he! If you ever get the chance to go on a hike with Master Kurz it will be well worth your time.

My sister and her husband from Illinois also stopped by for a visit this week, and we spent a delightful day just sitting around and visiting – something I almost NEVER do. The weather was nice and hawks put on quite a show right out in front of us as they soared and dove and played in the air currents above Whitaker Creek.

I’ve been mostly over in the gallery/print room working on some new canvas prints for the ArtFest show in Bentonville in a couple of weeks, and continuing the process of editing pictures for the Arkansas Autumn picture book that I’m SUPPOSED to have done by next week – I’ll be a little bit late on that one I suspect, although there will be several all-nighters in my near future – sometimes I get in that zone and I just keep on working ’til dawn.

No bears yet, but I expect to see one every time I look out the window. We’ve probably had some circling the cabin since the dogs have thrown fits several times – they have a different fit for bears than for people. Now that I have posted this, we’ll probably get hit by a bear tonight! (garbage is in the freezer so he won’t get much)

Wildflowers in Mom’s meadow have exploded of late – May was her month and she wants to make sure that we remember her! Not a day goes by…

The sun has now appeared above the ridge to the east and its warming rays are touching the sea of clouds below – causing them to wake up and start to move around and head out for their appointed rounds. Nothing but blue sky above, but many of those baby clouds will rise up and become puffy white clouds that may drift past your window later today and create a daydream or two…

Courtesy of Tim Ernst. You can read more on his Cloudland Journal at the following link. http://timernst.com/currentjournal.html

Weekend Camping Forecast:

If your outdoor plans leads to camping this weekend, you are in good shape. An isolated afternoon shower is possible on Friday but most of the area will stay dry. Then a weak cool front will push in by Saturday morning. It will bring with it slightly drier air which will make it feel a bit more comfortable. Lately the dewpoint temperature (humidity/moisture level) has been near 70 degrees which makes it feel oppressive outside. The dewpoint will fall to near 60 degrees for the weekend. As a result, it will still feel humid but not oppressive like most of this past week. It will be a great weekend for camping with morning lows around 58 to 60 degrees in northwest Arkansas and 64 to 66 in the river valley. If you are camping through Memorial Day you will wake up to temperatures in the mid to upper 60s with a few scattered showers possible. Scattered thunderstorms are possible through the day with highs in the mid 80s. It will be a great weekend to spend outdoors!

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”