Category Archives: commentary

Interrupted sleep?

Monday. Feb. 6, 2017

Yes, it appears that thunder and lightning will be visiting our area during the late night hours tonight.  Also, the Severe Storms Center has us in a “slight” risk area for severe thunderstorms tomorrow.  However no severe storms are expected with tonight’s rain/thunder/lightning.

The situation looks like this:  a weak upper air disturbance will float slowly over the Ohio Valley between (roughly) Midnight and Noon tomorrow.  This system is starting to pick up some  Gulf moisture and rain/thunderstorms are popping up over northern TX, AR, west TN and southern KY.  Rain should become widespread over our area after Midnight and finally end around midday.  Thunderstorms will be embedded in the rain shield with the best chance for thunder here about 5 A.M. to 10 A.M.  Overnight instability will be low and the upper air dynamics, while good for an April/May severe weather situation, are actually pretty low for a winter system.  As a result, I don’t expect any severe storms overnight or tomorrow morning.  The dynamics aloft will have a hard time overcoming the lower level thermodynamics.

Then, atmospheric conditions change tomorrow afternoon/evening.  The morning system will drag most of the deep layer of moisture northeast of us.  But, a cold front will be approaching from the northwest.  The dynamics with this coupled surface/upper air system are expected to be much stronger than the overnight system.  However, most of the moisture will have disappeared.  So, the chances for thunderstorms to form along this front are quite small – about 10-20%.  But, if thunderstorms do manage to form, strong gusty winds and hail will be likely.  So, severe storms are possible late tomorrow afternoon , but the chances we’ll have any in the area are less than 10%.  Not much to worry about.  (But a few flurries will be possible early Wednesday.)


A couple of weeks ago, a major change in the upper air pattern looked like a good possibility for North America for this month.  The models were leaning toward temperatures being below normal for much of this month.  That trend lasted several days, but since then has shifted back to the primary pattern it has shown much of the winter – cold and wet over the western states and warm and wet over the east.  It looks well locked in, so not much hope for snow lovers.  Bad winter in that regard.

Super Bowl

It was amazing to watch New England turn the tide and rally last night.  You’ve got to give Tom Brady and the Pats credit for putting themselves to win the game, but to my mind, they NEVER should have won the game.  Atlanta just outright “gave” the game away.  With time running out, Atlanta had a second down with the ball in easy field goal range AND an 8 point lead.  Keep the ball where it was.   Run down the clock with a couple of runs – kick the field goal – game over – Super Bowl winners!  But, wait!  Somebody (I assume it was the offensive coordinator) calls a pass play that requires a deep dropback  by the quarterback.  Play starts, qb drops back and gets sacked.  13 yards lost – no longer in field goal range – Patriots get the ball back with a chance to tie the game.  And, they did –  then made it look easy in overtime.

Whoever called that play must have thought he’d catch New England off guard.  Seattle thought the same thing two years ago.  Look where it got them.


The popcorn you buy at a movie theater costs more per pound than a filet mignon.

Friday flurries!

Friday, January 27, 2017  4 P.M.

A weak upper air disturbance this morning brought us some flurries and a second one will bring us some more flurries for the evening rush hour.  With temperatures safely above the 32-degree mark, no problems are expected.

Cold weather should remain through the weekend with additional weak disturbances bringing additional periods of flurries.  Finally, a much stronger upper air system will cross the area Sunday afternoon and evening.  This is expected to upgrade the flurries to  a period of light snow and/or snow showers.  This morning the GFS and NAM were far apart on their portrayals of what the result will look like, but now the NAM upping its game toward the GFS solution.  But, don’t get too excited – even the “stronger” GFS still keeps snow expectations below one inch.

The current outlook for Sunday calls for some light snow/snow showers between (roughly) 3 P.M. and 8 P.M.  This should not have much of an effect on surface roadways, but bridges/overpasses/etc. could get some slick spots.  Snow accumulation should be light – anywhere from a dusting up to an inch.  For Louisville, about a half inch seems likely.


My post earlier this week has already proven me right and wrong.  My long time conviction that long range prediction is  a fool’s game has been proven yet again.  But, my insistence to try it anyway is where I went wrong (probably).  My idea that the cold air arriving this weekend would hold through next week will not happen – unseasonably mild weather will return for next week.  Further, I said that some really cold weather should arrive around Super Bowl time – that part will probably hold, although it’s not looking quite as cold.  The worst part of my “outlook” was that the below normal trend should continue through most of February.  Sadly, that appears to no longer the case.

Moral of the story:  I should follow my own advice!

Pattern change ahead.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Another weak cold front will pass through the area tomorrow evening.  And, the expected weather will be very similar to last week’s light rain.  The front and the upper energy will be arriving from the northwest and will not have much moisture with which to work.  So, same idea as last week – a pretty high probability for a little bit of rain.  For those who received some rain last week (unfortunately not my yard),  it’ll be about the same again – a trace up to about .10″ of water.  So, the dry conditions will continue.

Changes ahead

For most of this fall, our warm, dry weather pattern has been caused by a strong upper level ridging pattern (upper air high pressure) pushing the primary jet stream far to our north over Canada.  The ridging pattern has been dominate, but has weakened at times to allow some weak cold air masses to invade the eastern U.S.  But the ridge has always rebuilt quickly to bring back the above normal temperatures.  That’s been the basic upper air pattern since late August with the predictable result of a warm, dry autumn.

Last week, however, the global forecast models started pointing toward a breakdown of that system.  In general, the upper air ridge sitting over the central U.S. is expected to retrograde (shift westward) to the southwestern U.S./eastern north Pacific.  This will open the door for an upper level trough (upper low) to dig into the eastern half of North America.  This will not happen quickly.  It is starting now and will bring us some Canadian air by Wednesday, then a second burst of energy will bring us even colder air by the weekend.  Then, a third system will bring even colder air early next week.

How long this trend will continue is an open question.  Yesterday, the GFS brought a massive storm into the Ohio Valley (with snow!) on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Today, it has forgotten all about that storm idea, at least for the Ohio Valley.  Meanwhile, the European model is generally a little colder than the GFS with the upcoming colder trend AND it still is hinting at a major pre-Thanksgiving storm over the Ohio Valley or the southeastern states.  It’s still far to early to do any serious speculation on any storms.  But, it does appear very likely that we’e going to drop into the “below normal” temperature category for the next 10 days to two weeks.

Election Day

Ever wonder why our Federal elections are held on a Tuesday?  If your answer is “no”, stop reading and be sure to VOTE tomorrow.

If, however, your answer is “yes”, continue reading.  Back in the early days (late 1700’s and early 1800’s) there were no national laws governing elections.  States could chose to hold them whenever they wanted…as long as they had their votes counted before an early December meeting of the members of the Electoral College in Washington.  That worked pretty well until the number of states starting growing larger.  In the 1810’s Congress tried to organize some of the randomness by mandating that the state elections had to be held within a 34-day period of the fall.  By the 1840’s, as communication methods improved, the varying dates of state’s elections started to play a role with the later-voting states’s voting patterns, or so it was believed.

So Congress agreed that everyone should vote on the same day.  But how to chose the day?  Back then, the country was mostly agrarian, so it should be a time after the crops were harvested.  But, the winter had frequent snow storms (remember, most of the U.S was in the northeast back then), so the winter months were too risky.  That left November as the logical choice.  But which day of the week?   Sunday was out because it was church day and a day of rest.  Monday was out because of Sunday.  Back in the horse and buggy days, many voters would have to travel the day before (Sunday) so they’d have the time to vote and get home on Monday.  So, Monday lost out due to possible Sunday travel (not a good idea in those times).  Wednesday was Market Day – when the farmers brought their goods to town to sell to the city-dwellers.  To Congress, the logical winner was Tuesday.  In 1845 the matter was settled by Federal Law – Election Day would be on  the Tuesday immediately following the first Monday in November.

That’s tomorrow…please VOTE.

I don’t want to complain, but…

Saturday, August 13, 2016  11:45 P.M.

What a miserable week of forecasting we’ve been victimized by all week and the worst is still happening.  Thursday and Friday the forecasts, aided by the ever-willing media hype made it sound like we were due for ark-building rains.  Only one thing was wrong – the models had already backed off of the extreme rain forecast by THURSDAY.  By Friday, the models had backed off the threat of heavy rain even more.  It was obvious that heavy, flooding rains were out of the picture for today and Sunday.  So, the NWS did the “obvious” thing – issued a Flash Flood Watch for Louisville area and southern Indiana.

Today worked out just the way the models predicted – a few very light showers in the metro area with heavier rain over central Indiana.  However, the Flash Flood Watch was expanded over a larger area Sat. morning…ever though the NWS forecast had reduced the chances for rain by about 20% or so for next 48 hours!

A few showers are possible overnight, but very little, if any, rain is likely for Sunday and heavy rain Monday will stay far to our west.  But, the Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through Monday.  My advice to the NWS is pretty simple:  Stop hyping a dead forecast…it died a long time ago.

More showers/t-storms rumbling toward us.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Today is another situation where we have a very fine line between strong thunderstorms and a marginally “severe” storm or two.  Nothing really to worry about as the situation just can’t quite get its act together.

Large trough dropping into the midwest will slowly push eastward tonight and tomorrow.  A strong short wave disturbance is rotating around this trough and aiming for the south.  The northern halves of AL and MS as well as western TN  should see a significant severe storm outbreak this evening and tonight.

Meanwhile, a much weaker short wave is moving over western KY right now and is generating a cluster of showers and thunderstorms as it moves toward us.  Look for this rain to reach Louisville about 4 P.M. and depart before 7 P.M.  Some of the embedded thunderstorms could be strong but should not reach into the “severe” range.  (Although with the trend of recent years for the NWS declaring almost any strong thunderstorm “severe”,  I would not be surprised if a  warning or two is issued.)  Keep in mind that a 58 mph wind (the lower limit of severe storms) will do a lot of damage.  Compared to a 50 mph wind gust (which doesn’t do a lot of damage, a 58 mph wind gust has about 35% MORE FORCE!

Later tonight, a cold front will cross IN into KY.  This front should become very active in the next few hours.  Severe thunderstorms will be possible with this front, especially over western and south central Indiana from about 6 P.M. to 9 P.M. EDT.  The southern end of this area will reach the Louisville between 9 P.M. until midnight.  No severe weather weather is expected with this line.  In fact, there’s a reasonable chance it’ll die out before reaching us.





Windy and colder tonight

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016

As the major surface low pressure area moved right over the area this morning, we actually got a break from the heavy rain and even saw some sunshine with temperatures in the upper 50’s for an hour or two.  Then, as the low moved northeast, the colder air on it’s backside dropped temperatures in a hurry…and the rain resumed.

But, we’ve seen the worst  of it now.  Winds will start decreasing this evening and the rain, possibly changing to snow, will be diminishing between 7 P.M. and 9 P.M.  After 9 P.M., light rain showers and/or snow flurries will be scattered around the area during the night.  Whether we have  rain or snow  showers doesn’t make any difference.  If it’s snow, it’ll melt on impact so there’ll be no accumulation – so it essentially makes a situation I like to call “white rain.”  It has the same impact as rain.

Temperatures should remain above freezing in the Louisville area, so traffic problems should be no worse than wet roads.

4-5 days ago the models were predicting a major cold air outbreak to hit the eastern half of the country this weekend.  But, nature didn’t seem to get the message – in reality the cold air is pushing east rather than south.  So, now it looks like a cold day tomorrow followed by warming Friday into the weekend.  Not as warm as last weekend, but still very nice for late February.

Note:    I know some forecasts floating around include the possibility of up to an inch of snow (on grassy areas), but that idea seems to me to be a real outlier.

Snow showers and flurries

Monday, 2/8/2016

Beautiful snow shower passed by my house this morning…left a nice coating of snow, but now it’s just about all gone.  Additional snow showers are likely with much the same result – melting soon after the shower passes.  Some accumulations on grassy areas, but roads remain wet.

It’ll arrive a little earlier than I thought yesterday (see Super Sunday blog), but the small pocket of upper air energy is still on target to bring us more, perhaps heavier,  snow showers this evening.  It looks as though the best chance for snow accumulations will come between about 6 P.M. – 10 P.M. tonight.  After that, it looks like more of a “flurries” regime than a “snow showers” one overnight.  I still expect road problems tonight and tomorrow morning’s rush hour.

Due to the “hit ‘n’ miss” nature of the snow showers, snow accumulations by tomorrow morning could be quite varied.  I expect that most of the area will receive at least one inch of snow, but areas hit by one or two of the heavier snow showers this evening could easily reach 2″ -3″ (or higher) by morning.

It’ll be very cold tomorrow…temperatures should remain in the 20’s all day with gusty winds and flurries to add to the uncomfortable conditions.

Super Bowl prediction:

I was happily surprised with yesterday’s game.  Didn’t believe the Broncos could pull it off.  Their offense wasn’t going to win any championships, but that incredible defense took care of stopping Cam and co. as well as doing much of the job for the offense!

So,  congrats to the Broncs…Kent Taylor must be happiest man in Louisville today!

Windy…yes. Stormy…maybe.

Tuesday, 2/2/2016

First, the Wind Advisory…



Now, here is the NWS definition for a Wind Advisory…

Wind Advisory

A Wind Advisory is issued when the following conditions are expected for 3 hours or longer.

1) sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph    


2) wind gusts of 46 to 57 mph.

Notice anything unusual?  Yes, the forecast doesn’t came anywhere close to the definition.  And, this is the third time they’ve done this in the past couple of months!

So, let’s put it this way…it’s going to be noticeably windy this afternoon and tonight.  But, Wind Advisory criteria?  Very doubtful.

Severe weather situation

As a massive winter storm moves slowly NE out of Kansas toward the western Great Lakes, a major outbreak of severe storms is expected along the Mississippi Valley late this afternoon into early evening.  The western third of KY and southwestern IN could be hard-hit.  But for the Louisville area the situation is much different.

As is often the case with winter severe storm outbreaks, the dynamics (wind fields, etc) are very strong.  But the thermodynamics (temperatures, moisture, etc) are weak.  Sometimes, the dynamics can overwhelm the weaker thermo and wreak havoc.  That is expected late this afternoon and early evening along and near the Mississippi River.  Severe storms and some strong, long track tornadoes appear possible.

During that time, the thermodynamics will be at their peak.  But, the models never bring any positive thermos into central KY or southern IN.  Any instability dies quickly to our west after 6 P.M.  As the cold front slowly advances eastward, the expected severe storm areas consolidate into the line of gusty winds and very heavy rainfall as it approaches the I-65 corridor.  Biggest threat for our area should be flash flooding.  It’s possible we could see 2″-3″ of rain in a few hours, so watch out for flooding in low-lying areas.  If flooding is going to occur, it should be Midnight or later

As for the timing of the windy, rainy and possibly stormy weather…  For the Louisville area, the primary squally system should pass the area between 10 P.M. and 2 A.M.


The definition of the severe thunderstorm is Winds reaching 58 mph or higher and/or one inch hail.  I don’t believe either of those items will occur in the Louisville area tonight.  NEVERTHELESS, I do believe a Severe Thunderstorm Warning will be issued locally.  After all, can anybody remember the last time a moderate to strong line the thunderstorms has passed Louisville WITHOUT a warning being issued?  (It’s kind of like that Windy Advisory thing.)


I was happily impressed with the Cardinals win over UNC last night.  Good testament to the character of the team to bounce back from Saturday’s game with UVA.  It also speaks well for a team, such as UVA, that can completely change a game with their exceptional defense.

January thaw has late arrival.

Thursday 1/28/2016

Weather update:

After a couple weeks of wintry weather, a common January weather feature is entering the game – the January Thaw.  For centuries, weather watchers have noticed a tendency for a period of milder, calmer weather to hit the eastern half of the U.S. during the latter part of January.  This year (it doesn’t happen happen every year) it’s a bit late. We’ve been experiencing a rather weak example of it this week, but it’ll really kick into action by the weekend.  Temperatures could reach 60 or so then, but it’ll be even warmer early next week when even 70 degrees is not out of question. A strong storm will come out of the southwest early next week and move northward through the Mississippi Valley.  That will bring us strong southern winds and warm, rainy weather Tuesday and Tuesday night.  That’ll be it for this year’s “Thaw” as wintry conditions will return by midweek.

The “10 year deadline” has passed.  Why are we still here?

It was 10 years ago this week when former Vice President Al Gore made his (at the time) famous proclamation that if we didn’t make drastic efforts to end global warming in the next 10 years, Earth was doomed.  Well, the years have passed, Earth hasn’t warmed (according to satellite data), we haven’t done much to reduce the supposed enemy – carbon dioxide, and everything seems to be rolling along smoothly.  Of course, Al’s made a fortune acting as the shill for some climate fanatics, so he’ll be well prepared when the end arrives.

If you’d like more detail on Al’s proclamations and predictions, check out this article from the climate website Watt’s Up With That?

2015 – Hottest Year Ever?

Last week our government announced NOAA ‘s and NASA’s findings that 2015 was the warmest year on record.  This is based on their analysis of global surface data that they have “adjusted” so many times as to be barely recognizable.  But, it fits the agenda.  Interestingly, our government also pays two groups to measure Earth’s temperatures.  Have you ever heard satellite data discussed during their “hottest this, warmest that” press conferences?  No, I didn’t think so.  The two satellite groups are GSS (Global Satellite Services) and UAH (University of Alabama-Huntsville).  The satellite global temperature surveys began in late 1978 and have closely matched each other over the years.  Why haven’t you heard about them?  This graph shows you why… Screenshot 2016-01-28 at 1.11.58 PM    Satellite data doesn’t support the agenda.

Odds and Ends

Monday, 1/24/16

Such arrogance

I saw in Saturday’s paper that the National Weather Service, in commenting on Friday’s (lack of) snow, said that the storm had “underachieved.”  I was dumbfounded!  They didn’t blame the lack of snow on a bad forecast (it was) or on the “models” (they did a pretty good job).  Rather, they blamed the lack of snow on…nature itself!  Nature doesn’t make mistakes, it always does what the physical laws dictate.  So, what happened was EXACTLY what nature intended.  The storm neither “underachieved nor “overachieved.”  It achieved exactly what it was supposed to.   When you look at the snow left behind over the eastern U.S., it is hard to say the storm “underachieved.”

Unfortunately, such arrogance runs rampant through many of our government science-oriented agencies.  From NOAA, NASA, EPA and all the way up to our scientifically gullible President the thought exists that we (mankind) have to stop nature RIGHT NOW!  If we don’t, the planet is going to kill us all.  Nonsense!!!  Who’s to say what the Earth’s average temperature should be?  Our climate always changes, has been for millions of years.  Warm spells, ice ages…it hasn’t mattered.  Life goes one, but it, too, changes.  Estimates suggest that about 97-98% of all the species that have developed on Earth are now extinct.  (Anybody ever hear of a man named Darwin?)  In more recent times, we believe Earth was warmer than now around Biblical times and again for 300-400 years centered around 1050.  Then we had the “little Ice Age” which ended in the mid 1800’s.  Since then, we’ve had an irregular, slow warming.  Over the past 100,000’s of years, what have humans done to survive?  They have adapted to the changing climate.  Or, perhaps a better word to use is (one of my favorites) ACCLIMATIZED.  They have adjusted to the changes in climate.  Now, all of a sudden, that won’t work!  We, as the human race, must stop nature in its tracks!  Our governmental gods say it can be done and have told us how.  They seem to think that we won’t notice if our economy is destroyed and our life style is set back about 100 years, or so.  Such arrogance!

We’ve already wasted trillions of dollars for projects that have given very limited results.  Solar and wind can generate power, but at a cost two to ten times higher than traditional power. (Your tax dollars are paying for that illogical economics.)  Plus, wind and solar need backup “traditional” power supplies because that have “down” times – night and calm winds.  A far, far better use of all that money would have been to rebuild/improve our nation’s infrastructure.  But, no, say our leaders, we can stop nature.  Good luck with that.

But, a happier note (maybe)

Although we humans have greatly altered and changed nature in our time on Earth, nature doesn’t really care.  It just follows the new rules and keeps on going.  The current El Nino has warmed Earth this past 6 months and will ease only slowly over the next 6-9 months.  Meteorologists who study Earth’s climate have studied and observed how climate has shorter term cycles in the weather/climate cycle that the current scare- mongering climatologists ignore.  They say the items are insignificant and are not included in any of the climate models predicting doom and gloom.

Many meteorologists (myself included) believe that plots of two of the items show a much higher correlation to reality than any climate computer model currently used.  Based on these items (ocean currents- major and sunspots- minor), we believe that Earth’s temperatures are due for a return to cooler temperatures after the current El Nino ends (late spring).  The ocean currents and low sunspot numbers, we believe, will provide a cooler Earth for the next 10 to 20 years

Just can’t let this go by…

From yesterday’s CJ…Charles Barkley on Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler…

“Other than LeBron James, he’s been the second-best player in the Eastern Conference all year.”

(As a person who made a living ad-libing, I know how easily this can happen.)