Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse of the Heart

How many of you will be listening to a little Bonnie Tyler over the next couple weeks?  Am I showing my age?  For those of you who don't know, she sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" back in the 1980s.  Which, by the way, the 1980s was the greatest decade for music.  Now that we have that settled, let's talk about the total eclipse of the sun. :)

In grade school, I was taught about the "solar sandwich".  Of course if you relate anything to food, I pay attention, especially when it comes to sammiches. 

The moon will pass between the earth and the sun and it should be spectacular.  The only thing making me worry is any cloud cover that day.  It's possible given the pattern we're in this August.  Even with cloud cover, it won't be entirely disappointing if that happens.  With as much as 90% of the sun blocked out, we should see things get dark.  

As a certified "weather geek", I can't wait to see how much temperatures drop during the eclipse.  I have heard some say as much as 15-20°, but I think that might be a bit extreme.  How will winds react with the diminished thermal currents?  These are the things I can't wait to examine!

Also, closer to the path of totality, which will be just north of Arkansas, I wonder if street lights turn on?  I bet they do!  How will birds and animals react?  Will they think it's sunset?  There are so many interesting dynamics to this eclipse.

Since school will be in session, I hope teachers take this opportunity to get kids excited about science.  Make it an all day science lesson and outdoor activity, if weather permits.  PLEASE remember, have certified protective solar eclipse glasses.   Safety first!

Will you miss this eclipse?  Never fear, another will appear.  As a matter of fact, a total solar eclipse will pass right over Arkansas in April of 2024.




Thursday, August 03, 2017

Remembering August 3, 2011

It has been awhile since I have blogged and I'm sorry.  Not much happens in the summer around here PLUS, I'm spending time with the kiddos.  

As for this August, I have more towards the bottom of this post.  I have HUGE doubts we hit 100° this summer as we should go into a very unsettled weather pattern next week with plenty of rain chances.  For now, onto 2011...

The obvious forecast was for a hot day, but I don't think anyone in their right mind saw what was coming.  After all, who forecasts an all-time record high temperature?  Some of you know we have the ability to communicate with the NWS through a chat room.  It's main use is in times of severe thunderstorms, but I thought I would log in as the heat was getting out of hand.  Former NWS meteorologist John Robinson was also logged in at his NWS desk.  He kept giving a temperature update every few minutes.  For temperatures to get up to 114 degrees, the dew point value must not be elevated.  To start the day, those dew point values were crazy high, but started to slowly come down throughout the day most likely due to a process called "mixing".  Drier air was mixing down to the surface causing the dew point value to drop significantly.  In the chart below, you can see that happening.  As the dew point dropped, the temperature soared.  I remember seeing John type: 110 degrees,  111 degrees, 112 degrees. I thought we were done and we maxed out, but he kept typing as the temperature rose to an astounding 114 degrees just before 3 PM.  With the temperature that high, moisture started to build once again and the heat index sky rocketed up to 120 degrees.

Misery all over the place that day in 2011
An hourly look at that day.  We hit 114° shortly before 3PM, but look at that heat index around 4PM when it shot up to almost 120°.  That'll leave a mark, Clark.
Here are a few charts that day in 2011.  Look at the bottom left.  That upper level high was parked over us and that's a pressure cooker!

Now onto next week (August 2017).  Looks much different than 6 years ago, huh?  7 day rainfall amounts could exceed 4 inches in spots as we see rain chances increase.  Temperatures should range at or below average over the next 14 days and with more moisture in the ground from expected rainfall, this should dampen out the chance we hit 100 degrees.  I have learned to "never say never to Arkansas weather".   I think the latest we have ever hit 100 is September 6, 1922.  If we can get close to that date, I'll gladly throw in the towel! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cindy... To The Point

*Thursday will not be a wash-out.  

*Expect scattered showers and storms to develop, especially this afternoon 
*There's a very low chance that a storm could produce a brief tornado or two this afternoon and evening across mainly southern Arkansas, but the chance is on the low end.

*Heavy rainfall will be likely tonight into early tomorrow morning for areas south and east of Little Rock

*Gusty winds across southern and eastern Arkansas may cause a few power outages.
*A flash flood watch is in effect for those areas south and east of the metro for 2-4'' of rainfall with locally higher amounts.

*Some areas north and west of the metro will see little if any rainfall 

*Friday should NOT be a wash-out.

*Rain will taper off from west to east during Friday morning

*We'll receive a break in the rain Friday late morning into the afternoon

*A front will move into Arkansas from the north Friday afternoon and evening

*Scattered showers and storms will redevelop later Friday

*Some could be strong to severe, but the chance is low

*MUCH cooler and drier air begins to arrive this weekend.

The following maps are from the 3KM NAM off of  It's simulated radar and it's never perfect, but has a fairly good handle on the situation.

6PM Thursday.  Scattered showers and storms with locally heavy rainfall likely.  There's a low chance of a brief and isolated tornado.
Midnight Friday morning shows the heavy rain in southern Arkansas.

6AM Friday... heavy rainfall over eastern and southern Arkansas.

By noon Friday, the heaviest of the rain is crossing over the Mississippi River.  The chance for rain will decrease and a break is likely.
A new front will run into unstable air by late Friday afternoon into the evening.  This is 6PM.  Scattered showers and storms could be strong.
Flash flood watch east and south of the metro for 2-4'' of rainfall with isolated higher amounts.
Slight risk for severe weather southeastern Arkansas later today. The main threat will be strong winds and a brief tornado or two
Euro rain totals guidance. Heaviest south and east with little north and west.  Notice the strong rainfall total gradient!