Archive for October, 2010

Rain Chances Returning
October 31, 2010

Clouds will increase during the day on Monday, as a low pressure develops down in Texas.   This will draw up gulf moisture from the south, and it is appearing more likely that this will get far enough north to bring scattered showers to the area.   An isolated shower is possible as soon as Monday afternoon.  However, rain becomes more widespread across most of Arkansas and Southeast Oklahoma Monday Night and Tuesday.  An isolated thunderstorm is possible Monday night, but no severe thunderstorms are expected for our area.  These  showers  move out of Northwest Arkansas Tuesday afternoon, and the River Valley Tuesday evening. 

Damon Shaw, 40/29 meteorologist

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Trick Or Treat & State Parks Forecast
October 30, 2010

A great sun filled day to head out to the Arkansas State Parks and check out the fall foliage.  Afternoon highs in the 70s Sunday afternoon will lead to some pleasantly cool evening temperatures for the trick or treaters.  For Northwest Arkansas, in the lower 60s around sunset.   However, falling into the 50s after 7pm.   For Fort Smith, temperatures will be mainly in the 60s Sunday evening.  Temperatures in the River Valley will drop to around 60 degrees 9pm Sunday.

Damon Shaw, 40/29 Meteorologist

Follow us on twitter at “4029weather”

Backyard Astronomy
October 29, 2010

Thanks to Dave Grosvold from the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society for this week’s post.  You can read more about the club by visiting www.aoas.org

This week the Moon is well on its way toward Last Quarter, which occurs at 7:47 AM Saturday, Oct 30th. Forecasts call for several clear evenings into the weekend, an excellent opportunity for a little night sky observing — especially since the Moon won’t rise until after 11:00 PM CDT.

During the latter part of the week, yellow-bright Capella is shining in Auriga, well up in the northeast by mid-evening. Look off to its right in the east for the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.

 

The beautiful Pleiades (PLEE-ah-deez,) star cluster is also known as Messier 45 (M45), one of the original 103 objects Charles Messier catalogued in 1771 as “objects to avoid” while comet hunting, which was his main passion. Messier’s list became better known to history as the first list of interesting non-stellar objects in the night sky. Several objects have been added to the list, which now numbers 110.

 

The Pleiades are probably the most well-known star cluster visible to the naked eye. A group of young, blue-hot stars surrounded by nebulosity, the cluster is thought to be less than 100 million years old. By contrast, the Sun is thought to be more than 4.6 billion years old. In Japan, the Pleiades cluster is known as Subaru, and is graphically depicted as the corporate logo for the automaker of the same name.

Below the Pleiades, spaced by about a fist-width at arm’s length, is the orange giant Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, and lies only about 65 light years distant from our Solar System. Aldebaran (Al-DEB-a-ran) means “the follower”, presumably because it appears to follow the Pleiades. For the Seris of northwestern Mexico, Aldebaran is there to provide light for the seven women giving birth (the Pleiades.)

 

Every year for several days around October 29th, the bright star Arcturus, in Boötes, takes a special position sparkling in the fading twilight low on the west-northwestern horizon. This position marks the spot where, months earlier in June and July, the Sun stood at the exact same time of the evening. Then, the summer daylight was still strong in the evenings, now the autumn light is fading and this much smaller, scintillating gem is all that remains in the west, the Ghost of the Summer Sun, marking the mid-point of autumn.

Mars is still hanging around very low in the southwest after sunset as well. Use binoculars to scan for it early in twilight. Don’t confuse Mars with Antares, which is off to Mercury’s left and just a tiny bit brighter. The name Antares comes from Ancient Greece, so named because the star can easily be mistaken for Mars. Antares literally means “holds against Ares,” (Ares is also Mars in Roman mythology.)

Jupiter still shines high in the southeast between Pisces and Aquarius rising high into the south-southeast as the evening wears on. Right now, it is by far the brightest star-like point in the sky. Jupiter continues to appear a big 47 or 48 arc-seconds wide in a telescope or binoculars.

Once again, the tiny black shadows of two of the Galilean Moons, Europa and Ganymede, fall on Jupiter’s face from 11:16 PM CDT Saturday evening to 1:59 AM CDT Sunday morning. These can only be caught with the aid of a small telescope — binoculars won’t do.

Saturn is visible in Virgo, low in the east in early dawn. The best time to try observing it with a telescope is in moderately bright morning twilight, perhaps an hour before sunrise, when it will be less blurred by the low-altitude atmospheric mess. Saturn’s rings have opened to 7° or 8° from edge-on, and so are more prominent than they were just a few months ago.

Uranus is still within 3° east of Jupiter. Neptune, in Capricornus, is high and almost due south at about 9:00 PM CDT.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Saturday Night Trick or Treat Forecast
October 29, 2010

Great weather Saturday afternoon will carry into the evening for all of the lil’ ghouls and goblins!  Expect temperatures in the evening to start in the mid to upper 60’s before falling into the 50’s by 9 p.m.  

A southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph will be common with no rain!  Be safe and have fun!

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Saturday Outdoor Forecast
October 29, 2010

Beautiful weather is expected as we go into the weekend.  Look for a sunny sky on Saturday with highs returning to the 70’s!  If you’re wanting to check on the changing fall colors check out the latest fall foliage report below!

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Great Halloween Weekend
October 29, 2010

Despite the windy conditions this week, fall color is still coming along nicely with peak conditions across much of the area this weekend. Perhaps, it will be the last good weekend in northwest Arkansas to enjoy the color before it fades this coming week.

If your weekend plans take you to the Razorback game Saturday evening or trick or treating on Halloween the forecast remains warm and dry during the late afternoon and evening on both Saturday and Sunday. Another cold shot is forecasted but not until next Monday.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Fall Foliage Report
October 28, 2010

Above taken Wednesday at sunset from White Rock Mountain in northern Franklin County.

Photo by Damon Shaw

Fall foliage report is courtesy of www.arkansas.com

Northwest/North Central – Fall foliage is changing but is still not at peak in the northern one-third of Arkansas, from the Buffalo National River north to the Missouri border. Eureka Springs reports 60% color this week with some hardwoods just starting to turn. Good pockets of color east of Springdale on 412 have been reported too. Moderate color is being reported in Bentonville, Rogers and Fayetteville with more changes expected during the next few days.

In the Harrison area, the famous maples on the Downtown Square and at Maplewood Cemetery usually change early and they are almost at peak today. Arkansas 392 and Ark. 397, looping south of Harrison from Scenic 7 Byway to its intersection with U.S. 62/412 has some color today. Oaks, hickories and other varieties in the Ozark National Forest, from Harrison south on U.S. 65 and Scenic 7 Byway past Jasper and the Cliff House Inn, to around Pelsor are at 50% or more today; with more green, unchanged hardwoods from Pelsor to I-40.

On the Pig Trail (Ark. 23) foliage is also spotty but changing, with more color starting in Madison County, and less south to I-40. Spotters in Bull Shoals and Mountain Home say there is some color, perhaps 55%. Further east, if you are attending the 28th Annual Beanfest & Outhouse Races in Mountain View some color has been reported in the area. Overall we did lose some leaves due to stormy weather but most of the Ozark National Forest is still green with moderate amounts of gold, yellow and brown. Predicted peak of color: Late October/Early November.

Central Arkansas/Ouachita Mountains – There is less color than in northern Arkansas, but change is happening in this area too. From Fort Smith to Little Rock, early-changing understory foliage such as sumac and dogwood trees are showing some color and maples are about 35% orange. Bradford Pears and other ornamentals are also starting to turn color. Oak, hickory and other varieties will require several more days to peak.

In the Hot Springs area color is also developing. Lake Catherine, Lake DeGray and Lake Ouachita State Parks offer several hiking trails to enjoy nature with a good chance to see fall foliage. Predicted peak of color: Early/Mid November.

Southern/Eastern Arkansas – Early signs are appearing in this region, especially north of I-40. Village Creek State Park reports spotty color. Helena/West Helena has early signs of color with more time needed. Hardwoods in the southern third of Arkansas will require several more days to peak. Predicted peak of color: Mid November.

Comments: If we get cooler weather this weekend with overnight lows in the low 40’s or below that the weather forecast suggest, we could see more color change start to occur. Those who travel this weekend will find some color in the northern Ozarks, mixed with green hardwoods that need a few more days. Those who make a trip the weekend of November 5-7 should see more color, especially in the southern Ozarks. Although it is developing in the southern Ozarks, Arkansas River Valley and Ouachita National Forest, these areas definitely need another week.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Coldest Night of the Season
October 28, 2010

We’re not looking at record lows for Friday morning, but get ready for some freezing temperatures.  Friday morning will feature temperatures some 10 to 15 degrees below average; it’s going to feel more like an early December night.

Make sure you take care of your outdoor pets and animals, and  take time to cover up your sensitive outdoor plants.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Leaf Blizzard In The Ozarks
October 28, 2010

Tim Ernst talks about the leaves, the wind and the blizzard of color 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.

10/26/10 It’s 3-something and I’ve been up ever since a big storm rolled through a little while ago. Actually it was not a big storm – only a few miles wide – but it was enough to cause me to jump up and run around shutting down and unplugging computers and printers and other electronic things and anything connected to a phone line. And oh my goodness it was WONDERFUL being outside in all that wind and COLD rain hitting me in the face as I ran over to the print room! Few things in life are as refreshing. I really wanted to just stop and stand there and soak it all in, but I knew that any second a lightning bolt could destroy a lot of stuff, so I had to press on. As luck would have it, by the time I returned to the dark night outside, the storm was over. I did spend a little bit of time just wandering around out there as the forest began to light up from a moon up there above the clouds somewhere. The temp dropped about 10 degrees or more, the air was damp and sweet, and the earth was soft underfoot.

I spent a good part of yesterday wishing to be outside instead of inside working. It was one of those days when every time I made a trip over to the cabin for something, I found myself veering off course just so I could spend a little bit more time outside. The wind blew hard all day, and with it came millions of colorful leaves. More than once I sat down and leaned up against a tall oak tree and just let the blowing leaves blast me in the face – oops, I hope my lovely bride did not ever happen to look out the window and catch me loafing! Actually one time she did catch me – or perhaps I caught her – both of us out in the woods embraced with swirling leaves all around us. (She can get up and out and walk around a little bit each hour that she is up – in fact next week she’ll work up to doing a full mile on the treadmill – yippie!)

It was kind of like a leaf blizzard with the leaves blowing horizontally – all coming from the south, which was kind of odd. By the end of the day the roads and trails and forest floor were covered with jewels.

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

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Trick Or Treat Forecast
October 28, 2010

There isn’t anything spooky about the trick or treat forecast. Regardless if you are trick or treating on Saturday or Sunday the forecast is the same, it will stay clear and comfortable during trick or treat hours. Temperatures will start off near 70 in the river valley and near 65 in northwest Arkansas. Temperatures will fall to around 58 and 53 degrees across the area by 8pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”