Archive for July, 2010

Sunday’s Sizzling Forecast
July 31, 2010

If you are heading out to the Grape Festival in Altus get ready for the heat. Temperatures will approach the 100 degree mark in Altus by late afternoon on Sunday. It will stay dry with a light wind out of the east. The heat index will be around 108 degrees.

The heat will continue for the next week. Highs are expected to be between 100 and 105 degrees with a heat index between 110 and 115 degrees in the river valley. Highs are expected to be between 95 and 100 in northwest Arkansas with a heat index between 100 and 105 degrees. The National Weather Service has extended the heat advisory and excessive heat warning until Tuesday at 7pm.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Bowling Ball Size Hail Crashes Record
July 30, 2010

The clip above is from cloud9tours and shows some large hail from Texas. However, the hail got a lot bigger in South Dakota this past week. A new United States record was set on July 23 when a powerful thunderstorm produced lots of hail with a diameter of 6″+ including the record-setting stone that was 8 inches in diameter. To put this in perspective it was nearly the size of a bowling ball which is 8.5″ in diameter. The hail stone weighed a whopping 1.9375 pounds. The circumference was 18.62 inches around.

These measurements displace the previous hailstone record for weight, which was 1.67 pounds from a hailstone that fell in Coffeyville, KS in 1970. They also surpass the record for diameter, which was 7 inches for a hailstone found in Aurora, NE in 2003. The Aurora hailstone still holds the record for circumference of 18.75 inches. In order for a thunderstorm to produce a hailstone of that magnitude, the updraft feeding the thunderstorm needs to be moving upwards at 160 to 180 mph. It is calculated the hailstone fell out of the storm around 90 mph. Below is a picture of the record hailstone.

For a detailed look at the hailstone, the thunderstorm, and the weather set up that caused the record event. Take a look at the following link.

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/abr/?n=stormdamagetemplate

40/29 tried our own hail experiment by crafting a 2 pound ice chunk, similar to the record hailstone, and dropped it on a car from about 85 feet in the air. You can view the story at the link below.

http://www.4029tv.com/news/24455004/detail.html

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Small Earthquake Hits Benton County Again
July 30, 2010

A 2.1 magnitude earthquake shook at 9:51 am this morning. The center of the earthquake was in Rogers. The earthquake was not felt since it was very weak (below a 2.5 magnitude). This is just another quake in a string of around a dozen that has occurred since spring of this year.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Saturday Outdoor Forecast
July 30, 2010

Hot and humid conditions will dominate for Saturday!  Expect a mix of clouds and sun with no real chances for showers and storms to cool us down.  The heat index will range from 100 to 108 degrees during the late afetrnoon; use caution if your going to be working outdoors or playing on the lake.

The Altus Grape Festival will be in full force this weekend.  Saturday will be hot for the festival with a late afternoon high of 98 degrees.  The heat index could approach 104 degrees, so use care while grape stomping.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING
July 30, 2010

The heat and humidity will be dangerous over the next several days.  An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for Franklin, Sebastian, Crawford, Sequoyah and Muskogee Counties until 7PM Sunday.  The heat index values will reach between 105° and 110° in the counties under the warning.  Heat index values this high could lead to heat related illnesses.  Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun and check up on elderly relatives and neighbors this weekend.  And we can’t forget about the pets.  Make sure they have plenty of water and have available shade if they have to be outside.

BLOG ENTRY BY: PATRICK CRAWFORD (7-30  5:40AM)

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More on Project Vortex 2
July 29, 2010

This article about Project Vortex 2 is for all of you tornado enthusiasts.  Susan Cobb from NSSL wrote this article; my hope is that it will give some more depth into the tornado research project.

Similar to spacecraft launching on missions and ships setting sail on voyages, an armada of land-based research vehicles embarked on a historic expedition to study tornadoes in the Great Plains during the past two years.

The project was called the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2009-2010 (VORTEX2). More than a hundred researchers and students were attempting to cast a net of weather instruments around and under a supercell thunderstorm with the hope of catching a tornado as it formed.

Like space and the sea, much of the atmosphere remains a mystery. A thunderstorm is a massive monster climbing miles into the sky and stretching hundreds of miles across the land. How does such a thing begin to rotate? What causes the beast to concentrate its energy into a spinning funnel? What then draws it to the ground to destroy? When will it shrink back into the depths of the sky?

If we could find clues to the answers to these questions, could we make our tornado warnings more accurate? Could we be more specific in our alerts? Could we find something that would enable forecasters to generate warnings 30 minutes or more in advance? These questions are what drive researchers to solve the mystery of tornadoes.

The nomadic fleet included 10 mobile radars, a remote control aircraft, weather balloons, instrumented vehicles, and vehicles equipped to drop instruments in the path of the storm. VORTEX2 roamed across nine states during five weeks of spring 2009 and six weeks of 2010. The pace was grueling as teams drove an average of 500 miles a day in search of tornadoes. Over the two-year project, most vehicles logged over 25,000 miles.

But VORTEX2 did have to sleep.

It was a challenge to find a town with enough empty hotel rooms to host the crowd of up to 150 researchers and students that would stumble in late at night. “We usually got in to the rooms so late that we barely had time to eat before we needed to get some sleep,” recalls Sean Waugh, a student from the University of Oklahoma who works at NSSL. Waugh drove a minivan with instruments on the roof measuring the storm. He was also one of the ‘go-to’ fix-it guys and was adept at using duct tape. “I was constantly fixing various vehicles, so after a hard-days drive there was still more work to be done. We kept going though, knowing how important our mission was to the success of the project.”

VORTEX2 rarely spent more than one night in a town, relieving the strain on small hotels to position for the next day’s target storm. The crews would depart after the morning weather briefing to be ready to deploy at the honk of a mobile radar horn.

Being on alert at all times made eating a challenge. Fast food was often the only meal of the day as the chance for a “sit-down” meal was rare. It was estimated over 5,000 Subway sandwiches were consumed during the two-year project, while the numbers of tacos, burgers and ice cream cones remain unknown.

VORTEX2 teams have been home for over a month now, catching up on bills and yard work. Finally, there is time to reflect on the data collection phase of the project.

“Last year, we only got one, but the one we got was a very good one – a significant tornado,” said Don Burgess, a retired NOAA research meteorologist who works part-time with the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies in Norman, Okla.

“We encountered quite a number of smaller, short-lived tornadoes this year,” continued Burgess, also a VORTEX2 Steering Committee member.

“These are the most prevalent type of tornadic activity,” explained Lou Wicker, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory researcher and VORTEX2 Steering Committee member along with Burgess. “And they are the most difficult to forecast, detect and warn for by the National Weather Service.”

VORTEX2 researchers gathered data on at least 30 rotating thunderstorms (supercells), and 20 weak or short-lived tornadoes in 2010.

Analysis of the vast amounts of data now begins. “We’ll be looking at this data for five to 10 years,” Wicker said. “Two years from now we’re going to have a much better feel for what we’re going to learn out of this.”

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

The Worst Heat Wave In 2 Years Is On The Way
July 29, 2010

An upper level ridge will intensify and drift east towards our area. By the weekend the ridge will park itself on top of the area. Underneath the ridge, the temperatures will climb towards the triple digit mark and stay there into the middle of next week. The last time the area has seen such a prolonged period of extreme heat was at this time in 2008.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Hot Wilderness
July 29, 2010

Tim Ernst has been dodging the heat this week! You can read all of Tim Ernst’s Cloudland Cabin Journal entries at this link http://timernst.com/currentjournal.html. Here is a great segment from this past week.

07/27/10 Boy, did we LUCK out! Looks like today is going to be the coolest day of the summer, which goes against what it should be. You see our AC at the cabin quit working yesterday and the temp inside has been slowly inching up. We normally run the AC at 78 degrees (with lots of ceiling fans going), and by dark yesterday the temp was up to 82. With windows open and more fans on during the night the temp in here is now down to a very comfortable 75. The humidity outside is close to 100%, so that is what it is inside as well. As soon as things begin to warm up a bit outside this morning we’ll shut most of the windows and try to keep the coolness inside. Fortunately, the repairman is supposed to be here late today to fix the AC, we hope. This may be one indication of the economy – normal it would be at least a week before a repairman would be able to get to us.

Speaking of such things, after four or five more phone calls to Sears Home Repair Service, we finally got a phone number that someone found in a secret place for the secret office in Harrison that had connections and could get a message to have the actual repair guy who first came out to fix our dryer call us – he never showed back up a week later with the part, nor ever contacted us. And he did eventually come out to put in the new part, but guess what – the part did not work! So we continue to wait on Sears Home Repair Service to fix our dryer. Next time we will probably just buy a new dryer since this is now going to cost us almost as much, and we’ll have been without one for a full month.

I’ve been on several long fitness hikes the past few days (13 miles yesterday before breakfast), but am taking the next day or two off to let my body recover. One thing that I’ve noticed is that the road is almost totally free of trash – a very nice thing to see in your own neighborhood, especially with so many thousands of other folks coming and going all the time. THANKS for helping to keep Arkansas clean! Since I spend a good bit of time with my eyes focused on the road at my feet, I do get to see interesting things that are embedded in the road, or recently churned up by the road grader. Most common are simply bits of metal of all shapes – lots of washers, bolts, and other metal items that I can’t really identify – all fallen off of one mechanical part or another. The most common item found on the road – horseshoes! I’ve found at least a dozen of them in all states of being, most of them being bent out of shape and worn way down – some appear to be historical as they are weathered quite a bit.

I’ve been finding lots of beautiful leaves on the road – bright orange and red with green veins. Most of them are blackgums, but also many sassafras and other unidentified leaves. Gazing upon a wide landscape that is at the peak of fall color is one thing, but being able to examine a single leaf like this is just as rewarding to me. You will see how much I love these little guys when you look through the upcoming Arkansas Autumn picture book – there are many macro photos of individual leaves, each with its own shape and personality. (And just a hint about this – our SPECIAL SALE price for ALL of the images in the new picture book will continue until Saturday – an 11 x 14 fine art print of ANY photo in the new book for only $29.95!!! Or with a black mat for only $49.95 – better browse the online gallery and order a couple today before you forget! I’ll get them all printed and shipped before I leave for Iceland.)

And the rocks have reappeared up near the church. A couple of months ago several large rocks appeared right in the middle of the road – you had to be very careful to keep from hitting them. These were rocks the size of a football, only flatter. After a day or two of driving around them I stopped and pulled them off of the road. More rocks appeared at the same location the next day. And then the next. And the next. Same location, three or four random rocks scattered on the road in a sharp corner so you didn’t see them until the last moment. Someone saw a dog sniffing one of the rocks and the rumor began that the dog was actually placing the rocks there – hardly. And then a week or so later the rocks stopped, after I had removed them at least six or eight times (I never heard anyone else say they had removed any of the rocks, only me). No more rocks until Saturday night, when Amber not only reported a BUNCH of new rocks in the middle of the road, but one of them was so large that it scraped the bottom of her car as she carefully tried to go past. So now this rock thing has turned into harmless vandalism into a felony. It is obvious that someone is trying to damage cars on Cave Mountain Road. I hiked over to the spot Sunday morning and removed all of them – the largest one was almost too large for me to move, that’s how big it was. I’ve heard that security cameras will be installed so the next time the yahoo puts rocks there I think they might get a visit from the sheriff.

Speaking of our lovely daughter, she may have saved the peach crop, yippie! While she was driving home the other night she scared off a bear that was climbing up into a peach tree in Benny’s garden – this was the first such visit by a bear to the garden this year, and Amber did her best to send the bear off into the next county. The bear had eaten all the peaches off of one smaller peach tree, and he had been up in the other peach tree and broke off a large limb that had at least 100 peaches on it, but the tree contains many hundreds more peaches, almost ripe. We’re hopeful that the bear will think twice about coming back – at least until all the peaches are eaten!

OK, now back to real time. We have heavy fog here this morning with a light breeze. When I look around the cabin I can see the fog actually moving through the cabin! I love days like this – cool and foggy and lush all over. It is one of those days when you can breath deep and take that moist air deep inside you – seems like you get a little extra of something with each breath. It is also one of those days that might stay this way most of the day, and I hope so, not only because of our AC problem, but also because it is a great break for the landscape to be cooled and damp.

Time to get to real work – hope you have a GRAND day, and time to step outside and suck in some delicious air today!

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

Weekend Camping Forecast:

The heat will build over the weekend. Highs will reach the mid 90s to low 100s. The heat index will be between 105 and 115 degrees. Overnight lows will fall into the mid 70s.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

2010 “100” Degree Days
July 28, 2010

Since we’re talking about 100 degree heat this weekend I wanted to get you caught up on some 100 degree stats across the River Valley.  So far this summer we’ve only had 3 days of 100 degree heat; however, on average the River Valley tallies around 10 days a year with 100 degree heat.

Going back to this summer, it’s interesting to note that the River Valley didn’t pick up any 100 degree days in July.  They all came in June!  The start of August looks hot…we’ll see how many 100 degree days we add to the 2010 list!

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Widely Scattered Showers & Storms
July 28, 2010

No real change with the afternoon and evening forecast!  Expect widely scattered showers and storms to continue through 9 p.m.  No severe weather is anticipated with the storms; however, some storms may produce some brief gusty winds and locally heavy rainfall.  These showers and storms are slowly moving to the northeast.

Enjoy the break in the heat if you get stuck under a storm!

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”