Upcoming Rainfall & Seed Corn Depth at Planting……Frost/Freeze Potential Around April 22 & VE-V1 Growth

April 10th, 2012 at 6:33 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Farmers are working with the right depth to place seed corn in the soil as planting season ramps up early this year.  Much of this is based on precipitation forecasts when you are trying to place the seed at the right depth to get moisture, while trying to make it where it can still push through the soil.

Well, a good 1-1.5″ rain looks likely next week after a 0.25-0.55″ rain this weekend.  This will replenish topsoil moisture.  It looks unlikely that it will pour all of that rain down at once, which will create significant soil crusting.  As cloddy & chunky as many soils are in worked up & planted fields, it appears such rain will melt clods, but it is unlikely it will pulverize then, nor create ponding of low spots.

There are signs of 70s this weekend & upper 60s next week, followed by another frost/light freeze near April 22.  At that point there may be VE-V1 stage seedlings in fields with the expected 60s & 70s on the way with one night next week around 60.  With 29-32 currently expected with that particular frost/freeze, if there is any damage, the mesocotyl will be undamaged & the corn should be okay.  Many plants will far just fine in those early stages.  We will keep an eye on it.



Freezing, Wind & Fire

April 10th, 2012 at 2:19 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Lows this morning ranged from 30-35 with a brisk wind dropping wind chills as low as 18 degrees!

With a breeze tonight, we will have an advection freeze.  These freezes have very little, if any, frost, with a wind blowing through the night.  The temperature from the ground to hundreds of feet up is the same.  The wind may be a touch lighter in our western counties, allowing lows of 27-29, but the rest of the viewing area is looking at lows of 30-31.

Wednesday night looks like a radiation freeze.  These freezes have much more frost & a wide difference between temperatures in valleys & near the ground.  Winds look like to calm with an inversion or lid developing, which will trap a lot of cold air near the ground.  So, it may be 30 degrees 6′ up, but 25 at ground level.  This will be the main night for damage to some sensitive vegetation.

Regardless, some fruit loss in orchards is in inevitable, but dry soils & hardened foliage will prevent this from being very damaging to fruits.  Strawberries will definitely take a hit Wednesday night, though.

The strong, gusty winds & high fire danger continue.  Relative humidity levels are as low as 17%.

Cumulus/stratocumulus are bubbling & pivoting southward into the viewing area, turning skies partly to even mostly cloudy in our northern & northeastern half.


Roger Blalock

April 10th, 2012 at 12:16 pm by under Sports 18

Tuesday, April 10,

We lost one of the real class acts in area sports when Roger Blalock passed away Monday night.

Roger was a longtime Purdue athletics administrator and former Boilermaker basketball player who retired last January. I interviewed him on the day he retired and when we were done with the interview we continued to have an off-camera conversation that lasted over half an hour. It felt more like three minutes because Roger was such a great guy to listen to and talk to. He listened like every word you were saying was the most important word he was going to hear. He cared deeply about Purdue and was skilled in a lot of areas. He even spent time working in Purdue’s admissions office.

I always looked up to Roger—literally, because I’m 5’10″ and Roger was 6’7″—when I saw him but Roger never looked down on me—-or anybody else. He always had time for others because he cared. And he brought the whole package to life: passion, hard work, intelligence, camaraderie, class.

Roger thanked a lot of people on the day he retired but it should be us—including me—that should be thanking Roger Blalock.

We’ll miss you dearly, Roger.

Blog to you soon,



Fire Danger Today & Wednesday…………….Crop & Short-Term Drought Discussion

April 10th, 2012 at 11:52 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


Fire danger remains high today & will so tomorrow, as well.  Strong winds, combined with very dry air will give any small fire the ability to spread rapidly to brush, crop fields & woodlands to structures.


Overall, our topsoils are dry right now, but subsoils moist.  I have heard many people say that this is bad & we desperately need rainfall.  This dry weather is not necessarily bad this time of year & we haven’t reached desperation level yet.  I welcome dry weather in March & April (not devoid of rainfall, but not a lot of rain………no rainfall at all for a month will have real complications).  Here are the reasons:

1.  Nothing is worse for newly-planted corn than wet & cold soil.  Germination & stand development is very inconsistent & the low spots often fail to germinate.

2.  Dry soil heats up much better than wet soil.  Even on a cool day like today, the strong March sun will heat the dry soil for newly-planted corn.

3.  Germinating corn roots have to reach deeper for water, which makes then more resistant to summer dry, hot spells.  Nothing is worse than a wet, wet spring with bad corn stands & germination with shallow rooting, followed by a hot, dry summer.  The corn falls over in storms & yields are drastically reduced, as the stress of shallow rooting in dry soil sets in.

4.  It is dry enough that soils are working up well for planting, prevent any worry of compaction or rock-hard clods to plant in when you work it a little moist in spring.  Sometimes, in wet springs, you just have to go out & work it up just to air it out & let the cold dry, then get a rain on them with dry days to melt them & then you have to work it again to plant.  This costs a lot of money to growers.

5.  Grass roots on lawns have to grow deeper to get water, making the sod more resistant to dry, hot spells in summer.  It is better to have the dryness & get the roots deep than to have shallow rooting & then get dry & hot mid-summer.

6.  When you have heavy rains after field work, soil runs off & all your herbicide, insecticide, fungicide & fertilizer application can run off into streams & rivers.  With no run-off, this isn’t an issue & germinating plants can soak it right up.

7.  Crops that are planted earlier can handle heavy May & June rains.  Young plants are notorious for not having the ability to handle flooding, but advanced crops can.  So, not only do you have better drought-resistance (like we mentioned above) we have better flood resistance.

8.  Crops planted earlier in this dry weather have a longer time to dry & cure in the field when you get that hot, dry weather in August.

9.  Heavy rains atop newly-planted crops can create a nearly impenetrable soil crust, which hampers germination in a crop.  This is especially common on clay soils.

10.  With the kind of wind we have had this winter & spring, if you get a lot of rain on these planted & worked-up fields, that soil crust will form & the wind will cause considerable blowing soil. Bad wind erosion & dust storms in our area have been caused by this soil crust that forms after working/planting.

11.  Drier weather makes plants more resistant to frost & freezing.  When you deplete the plant cells of water a bit, they are less plump & there is less likelihood that the cell wall will burst, thus ensuring foliage wilt & death.  Cells

12.  Dry soils can prevent heavy frost development on cold, clear nights.

13.  Plants buffeted by dry winds, gradually colder weather & lack of rainfall, are much more resistant to any cold snaps, then getting ample rainfall & warmth with less wind & a rapid cool-down.

14.  On another note, recedence of lakes, bogs, rivers & streams has meant a BOOM in food for migrating & resident bird species of our area.  At Celery Bog, in West Lafayette, the receding water of the bog has opened up mollusk & insect-rich mudflats to birds.  I have never seen such a variety of marsh & shorebirds (many migrating northward that I have never seen before) in one area.  All of the birds are fattening up on their long migration journey, ensuring higher likelihood of survival.  From plover to sandpipers to yellowlegs, this has been a boom for birds there.

15.  Mosquito breeding is less due to less standing water.

Overall, it is better to be dry now when it is not so hot, so all of our plants will become more resistant to what Mother Nature throws at them over the next few months.  Granted, we will need some rain to get the crops up & keep the grass green.  If the summer does end up overall dry, like I am thinking, we will need nice resistance to set in now.


The northern half of the viewing area is in a moderate short-term drought, while the rest of the area is abnormally dry in the short-term.  Severe to extreme short-term drought exists just to our west in Illinois, where stream & river flows & levels are record-low for early April.

Longer-term, we actually have a surplus of water after a wet late fall & early winter with river flooding.  Since February, it has been drier, however, with little, if any, run-off.  This is leading to very low river, stream & lake levels & drier than normal top soils.

Lack of rainfall, combined with record warmth & evaporation with the very windy conditions over the winter & spring has led to the short-term moderate drought to abnormal dryness.


Below, you can see that we are running a surplus of rainfall since October 14, but a deficit since late winter & an especial deficit since March 12.


Deserving Dave

April 9th, 2012 at 11:58 pm by under Sports 18

Monday, April 9,

Purdue athletics Monday announced a contract extension for Boilermaker volleyball head coach Dave Shondell that will carry Shondell’s contract through 2017. This was a very, very good move for a number of reasons.

I’m biased but Shondell is someone I’ve gotten to know pretty well and really, really like. He came the the Boilermakers after being an ultra-successful high school coach in his hometown of Muncie. Shondell gets the athletics side and the PR side of things. He’s recruited very good players but also very good people and he has a terrific coaching staff. Dave works as hard as high school coaches—-if not harder—-but he still acts like he’s a high school coach. And I mean that in the most flattering way. He hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings.

The best part is that Shondell has this program on the cusp of true greatness. In 2010, the Boilermakers advanced to the Elite Eight and if it weren’t for an injury to star senior Jaclyn Hart, I thought they were a legitimate national championship contender. At the very least, they were headed to the Final Four if Hart hadn’t gotten hurt in the Elite Eight match against Texas. The Boilermakers were leading the Longhorns at the time of Hart’s injury and they were coming off sweeping top-ranked Florida in the Sweet Sixteen round.

Last season the Boilers advanced to the Sweet Sixteen and finished second in the brutally tough Big Ten Conference. Shondell won Big Ten Coach of the Year honors and Ariel Turner won Big Ten Player of the Year and First-Team All-American honors. Turner is one of several returning players along with a skilled freshmen class coming in, which includes McCutcheon standout Amanda Neill.

Another reason Shondell impresses me is that he’s created a fantastic environment at Belin Court, also known as Holloway Gymnasium. The place is lively and the “Boiler Box”, the place where Purdue students cheer, is a place that’s always supportive. And Coach Shondell and the players recognize and appreciate them after every match. Shondell also holds a pre-match chat session with a number of fans—-within an HOUR of the match, in which he explains strategy. I love that kind of access and interaction with fans. Dave GETS IT.

That’s why I’m thrilled that Shondell is now under contract at Purdue for the next six seasons. He’s done some great things for Boilermaker volleyball and my gut feeling tells me he’s going to take the program to an even higher level.

Blog to you soon,



*New* Elevated Fire Threat……..The Worst Night of Freezing Setting Up Wednesday Night

April 9th, 2012 at 9:39 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


Both Tuesday & Wednesday look windy & cool with gusts to 42 mph Tuesday & 32 mph Wednesday.  Dew points will be low both days & there will be an elevated fire danger, but not critical like today.  Relative humidity levels will run 25-35%.  Regardless, with this wind & low humidity, fire danger will exist both days.


Certainly, upper 20s & lower 30s are in the cards for Tuesday night, but a breeze at 5-10 mph will help mix the air some & prevent a lot of frost.  Nonetheless, 27 or 28 in our western & northwestern counties will freeze some very sensitive plant tissues.  Dry soils & leaves & lush growth hardened off by recent cool nights & strong winds will tend to mitigate freezing effect some.

Wednesday night looks totally calm with temperatures at 6′ above ground being within 4 degrees of the dew point.  Even with dry soils, this translates to good frost production.  It also points towards an inversion setting up just above ground.  Such a scenario can bring cold, cold temperatures to low spots & many area down slopes & in low places.  With 26 or 27 expected in our northeast & eastern counties & 28-30 elsewhere, some light damage is possible to some plants.  Loss of crops with some fruit trees is inevitable, but dry soils tend to make growth more hardy, but de-plumping plant cells somewhat & preventing cell wall failure (equals wilt & death of foliage & fruit).  The loss maybe lower than what would occur with wet soils & less-hardened fruit & foliage.

Fire Danger High…..Dry Soils Will Help Some With Upcoming Freezes (Disastrous Freeze Northwest of Viewing Area)

April 9th, 2012 at 4:07 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


Fire danger remains high due to very dry air & the wind.  The potential of brush fires will exist into the evening.  They could spread very quickly.

Relative humidity is as low as 10% right now with winds gusting to 42 mph.


Pollen levels were nearly as high as they can get today with extremely high dust levels.  On a 0-12 scale, the pollen count was over 11 today with oak as the main culprit.  If you feel absolutely miserable with allergies today, this is why.


A disastrous freeze will hit Minnesota to Wisconsin & Iowa Tuesday & Wednesday nights with lows of 18-25 degrees, which will wipe out a good chunk of the fruit in those areas.

Here, we are headed for 20s in our western counties Tuesday night & 20s in our eastern counties Wednesday night with 30 or 31 elsewhere.  The saving grace will be some wind, but even with wind, at 26, 27 or 28, some plant tissues will freeze.  The fruit blossoms may be heavily thinned & strawberries may take a hit.  However, with dry soils & plant cells that have less water, I do not think this will wipe things out.  Nonetheless, 20% fruit loss is possible with higher loss on strawberries, mainly in those areas with 20s.

Temperatures will drop to 32 as far south as central & southeastern Tennessee to northeastern Georgia Tuesday & Wednesday night.

This Afternoon: Air Will Turn As Dry As It Can Possibly Get In Indiana; Critical Fire Danger

April 9th, 2012 at 12:06 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Dew points will continue to drop today as winds increase & temperatures rise, which will lead to air that will be as dry as possible for Indiana.  Dew points will likely drop into the single digits, especially in our northwestern & western counties with relative humidity levels as low as 8%.  This will create a very critical fire danger.  In dormant stands of prairie grasses, in pastures & woodlands, even a smoldering cigarette butt could start a brush fire, as these conditions are more typical of the western United States & a Santa Ana events in southern California.

Evaporation will be extremely high, as well, greatly drying out soils today to powder dry in the upper few inches.

It will be a very nice day, though, if you don’t mind the wind gusts of 30-40 mph through the afternoon.  Some gusts may exceed 40 mph in Newton, Jasper & Benton counties.  Highs will be well into the 60s area-wide.  Some locations may touch 70 degrees.


Pacers and the playoffs

April 8th, 2012 at 11:28 pm by under Sports 18

Time is winding down in the NBA. It is hard to believe that they have been able to cram 66 games in just a few months time but they have.

The Pacers have been on a roll. They had won four straight games including a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night until Saturday’s game against the Celtics. I think the fatigue of this schedule caught up to them on Saturday in their 86-72 loss against Boston. They are still on the right track though.

Indiana is 34-22 and holds the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference if the playoffs were to start right now. The Pacers have 10 games left on their regular season schedule and seven of those will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I think they have a great chance to hold on to the 3rd seed. I have to say that is impressive after just a season ago, this Pacers team squeaked into the playoffs as the 8th seed.

The problem is though, if the Pacers keep the 3rd seed and the playoffs started right now, they would face the Orlando Magic. The Pacers haven’t played very well against the Magic. In fact, they lost the series to them 3-1this season.

As a fan, I don’t care what team they face. I just want them to go play as hard as they can and I hope they at least advance past the first round this season. I believe they will.

It has been a fun year and for the first time in awhile I have watched more than a handful of games on TV. In fact, I will be heading to the Pacers/Raptors game on Monday night. I hope they get the win!

Follow me on twitter:@sportsguycaleb

–Caleb Martin

Fire Danger, Freezing Temperatures………70s Return For Next Weekend

April 8th, 2012 at 9:40 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


After some frost & freezing Saturday morning, we warmed nicely to near 70 Saturday afternoon.  It clouded up Saturday evening & a few showers passed Saturday night-Sunday morning, but they did not amount to much at all  (lows in the 40s).  With sunny skies & strong, gusty winds to 35 mph, we were in the 60s to 70 Sunday.

Sunday was incredibly dry with relative humidity at 13-25%.  This with the strong winds led to a high fire danger & also a chill in the wind due to the desert-dry air evaporating any moisture on your skin, which led to a cooling effect.  Some clouds are moving back in with a few sprinkles & showers just north of the area.  A couple of these may reach the ground tonight in the form of a sprinkle, otherwise, it is too dry for anything to reach the ground with this second cold front.

The only thing this second front will do is re-enforce the extremely dry air spreading in from the west.


High fire danger is likely Monday with all of the sunshine, very dry air & strong winds.  West-northwest desert-like winds will gust as high as 30-40 mph with highs in the 60s, with relative humidity levels falling to 15-25%.

The much colder air will rush in Monday night with passage of third cold front with lows in the 30s & highs Tuesday only at 49-54.  Lows Tuesday night-Wednesday morning may drop as low as 27-32.  An area-wide freeze will occur.  A second freeze is likely Wednesday night-Thursday morning.


Scattered showers & some t’storms are likely late Thursday-Thursday night & Friday with highs in the 50s, then 60s.


72-77 will return next Saturday-Sunday.