Random Weather Thoughts

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You know, even when the cold air arrives after a storm, it seems we don’t even get cold right. Our low this AM was 32°. Granted this was a pacific storm system that didn’t tap any really cold air to the north, but still 32° in late JAN AFTER a cold front comes through?

Rainfall amounts were not the greatest with the storm, despite the unexpected t/storm activity. Either that or the storms missed most of the vast network of rain gauges. There were numerous reports of heavy rainfall, but the storms were moving so fast, 40-50 MPH, that they didn’t have an opportunity to really dump a lot of rain over a period of time. It rained hard for some, but not for long. here is a rain gauge update from the south side. I won’t bother to show you the northside since it was even skimpier.

Impressive severe weather event for the TN Valley area. Here are the reports. I’m now hearing of the 1st deaths connected to the storms (4). The cities hardest hit seem to be Memphis and Birmingham. 30K w/o power on the north side of Birmingham. AL.

The RED T’s are tornado reports. BLUE W’s are wind reports and GREEN H’s are hail reports..

Today is the 34th day I think without any decent moisture (.10″+) @ KCI. Most of the reporting stations yesterday reported less than that. Although Downtown had a nice little rain…about .2″ with hail covering the ground in the River market area.

Some of the hail got up to nickle sized or so (3/4″). Do you realize that some places have had more of an accumulation of hail than they’ve had snow for the entire winter. That’s just not right for late January.

A large sunspot on the sun has erupted and sent a streak of plasma energy/radiation (solar flare) towards the earth. This is the biggest one going back to 2005 and there is a neat picture that I saw on NOAA this AM.

Look towards the upper right side. Now look at this. These are called CME’s or Coronal Mass Ejections.

At this point it’s effects on earth may not be too bad. Although if you’re an astronaut in space, that’s not the best place to be with this. According to NOAA’s website this ranks as an S3 (strong) on a scale from 1-5 with these effects possible

Biological: radiation hazard avoidance recommended for astronauts on EVA; passengers and crew in high-flying aircraft at high latitudes may be exposed to radiation risk.***

Satellite operations: single-event upsets, noise in imaging systems, and slight reduction of efficiency in solar panel are likely.

Other systems: degraded HF radio propagation through the polar regions and navigation position errors likely.

In terms of geomagnetic storms (northern light potential) this rates as a G1 (MINOR-scale is 1-5) which means this per NOAA…however this number may be upgraded to a G2 or G3. Here is what a G1 means.

Power systems: weak power grid fluctuations can occur.

Spacecraft operations: minor impact on satellite operations possible.

Other systems: migratory animals are affected at this and higher levels; aurora is commonly visible at high latitudes (northern Michigan and Maine)**.

IF it gets upgraded to a G3 then it’s POSSIBLE that the Northern Lights can be seen this far southwards.

Depending on the angle that the CME hits the earth there should be a noticeable uptick in the Northern Lights in a couple of days. How far south they can be viewed is still a question. There is some great information here. In terms of comprehensive information go here.

IF that CME hits the earth’s ionosphere odds are we’d have way to much cloud cover tomorrow night to see anything. They are interesting though.

The Aurora itself occurs at close to 250K-400K feet up in the atmosphere!

Have a great Monday!


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