What caused the ice pellets today?

Today was a fantastic day for weather observers! While we started out sunny, clouds quickly built up in an environment that was very cold! Temperatures at ground level were in the 50s, but freezing levels were only about a half mile above us! In fact, at the top of today’s cumulus clouds, temperatures were below zero!

As these cumulus began to produce showers, it was quite easy for them to produce ice pellets because of the very cold atmosphere above. Quite simply, the falling ice pellets didn’t have enough time to melt before they reached the ground.

Many of you have asked whether the ice pellets are hail or sleet. The pellets are not sleet, as sleet is produced by a melting snowflake that re-freezes before hitting the ground. Because our atmosphere is subfreezing all the way up from 2,500 feet, the likely term for the ice pellets is graupel. Graupel is often thought of as “soft hail.” On a totally, first-grade level these are Dippin’ Dots, versus hail which would be little ice cubes.

To make a long story less long, the conditions will only occur through about 5 or 6pm as the thermodynamic conditions weaken. -ES

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on October 27, 2011

Quick showers producing small hail this afternoon

The showers that are dotting the skies this afternoon are building up into a pretty decent sub-freezing layer of air. Because of this, some brief hail is possible…and I mean brief! Look at the size of these showers on radar. The coverage is decent, at about 40%. However, they are coming from pretty small updrafts. They will continue to move from northwest to southeast and diminish around 5pm.

If you get any photos of the hail, please send them along to weather@wrex.com. Thanks! -ES

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Posted under weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on October 27, 2011

New Weather Satellite Ready for Launch!

NASA is about to give meteorologists around the world a new science toy. On Friday, NASA will launch the newest Earth-observing satellite. This satellite is called the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project. The satellite will be the first to make both long term climate monitoring and short term forecasting observations. Once the $1.5 billion satellite is in orbit at 512 miles above the earth’s surface, it will use its’ five instruments to make many different observations. This will help weather forecasters and climate researchers with atmospheric ozone, vegetation productivity, as well as hurricanes, floods and wildfires. This satellite, over time, will help get a better grasp on the impact of climate change, the health of the ozone layer, ice cover, and air pollution. The NPP is designed to be fully operational for about five years. After that, the first JPSS (Joint Polar Satellite System) will be ready to take its place in 2016.

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Posted under science, space, weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on October 27, 2011

POLL: Are human activities contributing to warming climates?

We’re jumping right into a hot-topic (no pun intended)! While some may be skeptical about the fact, it is an accepted in the world of Meteorology and Climatology that global climates are warming. Remember, climate is the long-term average of every day weather.

The big question that is controversial is whether people believe our actions as a human race are polluting the environment enough to cause global warming. To vote, text “ERIC” (without the quotes) to 24104. You’ll receive a text that asks you whether you want to vote yes or no.

We will share the results on an important 13News 10@10 Thursday night. Thanks in advance for participating! -ES

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on October 26, 2011

Quiet, chilly weather pattern continues!

The atmospheric battleground continues to our south tonight as Game Six of the World Series was rained out in St. Louis.

The frontal boundary that fought to produce thunderstorms across our region last night is now settling in Southern Illinois. North of it, drier air is filtering in from the northwest, continuing a drying trend for the Great Lakes.

As a few disturbances arrive in the northwest flow, a few sprinkles may form (both Thursday and Friday). It’s conceivable that we may see a few flurries Friday night as temperatures fall.

Even with all of this cool air, the pattern is temporary as a region of high pressure moves in early next week boosting our temperatures into the 60s once again.

Are the 70s done? Climatology tells us no. We usually see one or two more 70 degree temperatures after this date. -ES

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Posted under cold blast

This post was written by qni_it on October 26, 2011

Colorado Snow

Here are some beautiful pictures taken by my friend Ashley Mefferd.  She is an enviromental meteorologist in Denver and is experiencing the big snow storm.  The colors of fall mixed with the beauty of winter. 

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Posted under Guest Blog, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on October 26, 2011

Weather Kids Wanted!

Would you like to see the smiling face of your child on 13 News Today?  If you said yes, then send an email to weather@wrex.com with an attached picture of your kid.   In the email, make sure you give the child’s name, age, and city.  Then watch 13 News Today to see if your kid is our Weatherkid for the day!

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on October 26, 2011

Who invited the haboob to the wedding?

A haboob is a dust storm. Get your mind out of the gutter.
 

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Posted under humor

This post was written by qni_it on October 25, 2011

One more aurora picture

Chris Dunn, Chief Meteorologist at WPHO-TV in Phoenix passed this photo along.

Eddie Bollmeier (an airline pilot) from Gilbert, Arizona took the photo from 38,000 feet. The lights in the lower left are Cleveland, Ohio with Detroit, Michigan in the background on the other side of Lake Erie. -ES

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on October 25, 2011

Amazing Red Auroras!

Last night, we got to see an amazing sight, the Aurora Borealis!  Thanks to a massive coronal ejection from the sun intensifying the solar winds on Saturday, our skies were a beautiful shade of red and a little bit of green.  All red Auroras are produced by oxygen at or around 200 miles up in altitude.  This sight is rare because the red Auroras occur much higher in altitude and are involved with a much large rush of electrons than your typical green Auroras.  Since these electrons are moving slow, it is hard for them to get deep within the atmosphere.  It is rare to see such intense color because of how high the Auroras are in the atmosphere.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on October 25, 2011