Storm Effects Unchanged Here, But Growing More Impressive to Our Northwest

December 18th, 2012 at 5:58 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Storm effects remain unchanged here, but storm system’s snow & wind to our northwest looks more & more impressive.  It appears 14-19″ of snowfall & wind gusts to 60 mph are a good bet in the southeast part of Wisconsin with gusts to 55 mph in Iowa & up to 12″ of snow.

Snow in Kansas will reach 8″, but gusts of 60-65 mph will be possible.

Big chunks of 5 states will likely reach blizzard status Wednesday-Thursday before surface low reaches its greatest strength in northeastern Illinois to southwestern Michigan.  It may not reach bomb status, but will certainly undergo an additional rapid re-strengthening as it pivots just northwest of our viewing area Thursday.


Still Doesn’t Look Like Too Much Snow Here From Big Thursday Storm (But A Lot of Wind)

December 18th, 2012 at 2:19 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Still doesn’t look like much snow for us with this next system.

Still going less than 1″ nearly area-wide from snow showers late Thursday-Thursday night.

1-3″ of lake effect snow is possible Fulton, northern Miami to far northeastern Pulaski counties with perhaps near 1″ in northern Newton, Jasper, eastern Pulaski, far northeast White to Cass & central Miami counties.

This would all be after a squally rain band (with some thunder) passes through Thursday morning to perhaps early afternoon & gusts of 45-50 mph behind the strong cold front (as the low rapidly deepens near Chicago).

Some Fog/Slick Spots Early Tue. A.M………..A Few Tweaks to the Forecast for Thursday…….Post Christmas-New Years Outlook

December 17th, 2012 at 10:02 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


The showers will gradually end tonight, but not before mixing with a little wet snow, perhaps going to all light snow briefly.

After this, some partial clearing may occur late with some fog.  This, combined with wet pavement & temperatures dropping to near 31 will result to some slick spots here & there.


I have made a few tweaks to the Thursday forecast based on the latest data.

1.  I have upped the wind gusts a bit for Thursday.  Definitely looks like Wind Advisory criteria with perhaps High Wind Watch/Warning just north & west of us.

2.   Also, I went ahead & went “less than 1″ snow” for ENTIRE area for snow showers later Thursday.  Still have 1-3″ for far northeast.

3.  Thinking rain will be confined to a squally rain band with perhaps some thunder beginning as some showers early, early Thursday morning & then passing through throughout the morning, before tapering in the early afternoon.

4.  Thinking there may be a bit of a break with a dry slot Thursday, which will be just behind cold front.  Probably won’t be any sun, but the rain will shut off.  This is where the really strong winds will start to arrive.

5.  Cold, cold air may actually pivot in from the SOUTHWEST & WEST not the NORTHWEST as very strong low wraps up near Kankakee to Chicago & Milwaukee.

6.  Thinking snow showers will pivot in from the southwest & west for later in the day.

So, that rain & wind likely Thursday with highs in the 50s early, rapidly falling into 30s by afternoon after a break in the rain.  Again, wind looks to be a pretty big issue Thursday with some gusts in the viewing area at 45-50 mph.

Winds may gust to 55 mph in northern Illinois, Wisconsin & Missouri to Iowa.  This will lead to BLIZZARD conditions there.  Gusts to 60 mph will be common in Kansas with the snow, resulting in a BLIZZARD.

In terms of those snow showers pivoting in, accumulations look like under 1″ area-wide.  Thursday night-Friday lake effect snow may bring 1-3″ in our far northeastern counties.


Looks like cold air will become pretty entrenched in our area with negative NAO/AO.  Meanwhile subtropical jet will be very active & polar jet will have several very potent jetstreaks embedded in it to spin up storms from the Pacific to the Midwest.

This said, pattern more conducive to wintry weather still looks to arrive.  A wintry system with snow &/or mix may affect us a day or two after Christmas with another near New Years & a lot of cold weather in-between.  Still thinking a night or two may see single digits or even zero in parts of the viewing area.

Negative NAO/AO & very active MJO with energized subtropical jet look to be with us at least to New Years Day.



Some Wet Snow With the Rain Showers This Evening

December 17th, 2012 at 5:57 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Some of the rain showers may mix with wet snow or change to a brief period of wet snow showers this evening before ending.

The damp to wet pavement, combined with a bit of partial clearing possible late, some fog & temperatures dropping to near 31 will mean the potential of a few slick spots here & there tonight-tomorrow morning.

I will have an update on the upcoming wind, rain & some snow, as well as the Christmas & post-Christmas to New Years outlook later this evening.


Some Chilly Showers Today…….Wind & Rain Thursday with Some Snow Thu. Night-Friday (Largely Lake Effect)

December 17th, 2012 at 1:32 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Some showers are passing through & will continue to do so through the afternoon to evening.  Highs near 41 still look good.  A flake or two may mix in before it ends.

Otherwise, count on dry weather until Thursday when a powerful storm with strong winds will pass & bring the coldest air of the season, so far, to end the week.

This will bring a significant winter storm of snow & wind from Colorado to Iowa, northwestern Illinois, Wisconsin & Michigan.  Here, the rain may end as some wind-driven snow showers, followed by wind-driven lake effect snow showers in our northeastern counties.  Gusts as high as 45 mph are possible Thursday-early Friday in the viewing area with this powerful storm system.  Near blizzard/blizzard conditions may develop to ourwest & northwest from Kansas to Iowa, northwestern Illinois, Wisconsin & Michigan mid- to late-week with winds gusts to 50 mph & snow.

There is a much higher frequency of significant snowfalls so far this winter compared to last winter, in the United States, specifically in the West, northern Midwest/Plains & Northeast, signaling a more normal winter pattern (rather than lack of snow nationwide [except in west Texas where it was one of the snowiest winters on record!] last winter).

Significant Lake Effect Snows North & Northeast of Here Late Week (Some Here)

December 16th, 2012 at 8:31 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

1-3″ of snow may fall in Pulaski & Fulton counties to end the week with up to 1″ in northeast White to Cass & Miami counties due to lake effect snow.  Significant lake effect snowfall is likely near South Bend, La Porte to southwest Lower Michigan.

This will occur as the cold air flows over the very warm Lake Michigan waters.

Otherwise, count on a few showers Monday & rainfall Thursday with falling p.m. temperatures.  Rain may end as a few snow showers Thursday evening-night.

Outlook to New Years

December 16th, 2012 at 12:00 am by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


It is very mild tonight with a temperature of 54 as of 11:58 p.m. after 0.22″ of rainfall today at WLFI (largely late morning rain band with more spotty showers/drizzle thereafter).  Even at this hour, there is drizzle & patchy light rain around with the brisk south to south-southwest winds.

We will likely hover in the 50s all night, but the cold front will pass Sunday late morning-midday with a few showers.  This will be followed by falling temperatures into the 40s Sunday afternoon.

Winds will switch from the south & south-southwest ahead of the front to more westerly winds behind it.  This will be followed by 32 tomorrow night.


Monday looks mostly cloudy with a few isolated showers & highs of 40-45.  This shortwave will gell with our weekend system & system in the southeast U.S., forming a Nor’Easter-type storm of rain, wind in the Northeast & heavy snowfall in New England from Vermont, New Hampshire to Maine.  It will tend to ride up from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Nantucket & then coastal Nova Scotia.

This will keep it 40-45 Tuesday, too.  Highs will run 45-50 Wednesday.


After a warm-up to near 51 early Thursday, a cold front will caused temperatures to drop through the day down to 40-42 with showers.


Colder weather will send highs down into the 30-35 range next Friday & Saturday with some lake effect snow showers flirting with Fulton/Pulaski/Miami counties (perhaps Cass).  The first widespread teens of the year will arrive Friday night & into next weekend.


Christmas Eve & Day looks dry with 30s, but the pattern looks much more conducive for some accumulating snowfall after Christmas.  A generally negative phase NAO/AO (though not excessively so) & very active subtropical jet with several system coming out of California will support an increased likelihood of getting one or more accumulating snows.

It appears, a more potent shot of cold air may arrive near New Years with highs in the 20s & lows in the single digits (especially if snowpack becomes established).  0 is certainly possible in the viewing area if deeper snowpack can be realized.  There are signs of an ejecting California system bringing wintry precipitation to the area near that time (may not be totally snow, but mix of sleet & freezing rain).

All in all, it sure looks like a wintry pattern after Christmas to New Years with pattern flipped to nice storm track here & negative NAO/AO with some Greenland blocking.  I would call this typical cold & wintry precipitation, not anything really brutal or out of the ordinary for a winter around here.

Native Tree of the Week: Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadralangulata)

December 14th, 2012 at 10:40 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

Blue Ash is an interesting tree.  When wounded, it oozes sap that turns blue when exposed to air (you can make a dye out of it), the twigs are square-shaped & it has a sweet tooth.  That is, it exclusively grows on soils that are “sweet” or limy.  Most common in limestone areas, it also is found in areas where calcium carbonate crust is leached within the upper 36″ of soil.  Calcium leached deeper than this & higher soil acidity will see Blue Ash disappear in native woodlands.  It is this limy soil that gives rise to a unique type of woodland in Indiana made up of trees that have “sweet tooths”.  These species include Chinkapin Oak, Blue Ash, Black Maple, Butternut, Ohio Buckeye, Shumard Oak, Honeylocust & Eastern Redcedar.  In fact, this exclusive type of woodland is found in several areas of the state with Blue Ash making a substantial part of the forest.

It feels most at home & most common in savanna environment, though & on uplands that are rocky, very limy & well-drained.  It is not as common or nearly as widespread as Green & White Ash in the state.

Its silvery bark is attractive & is noticeable as it mixes with its frequent partner with its silvery bark:  Chinkapin Oak.  The bark, ridged & a bit flaky, unlike the typical diamond-shaped furrows associated with most other ash species.

Consideration should be given to this drought-tolerant & low-fire tolerant tree.  It tolerates very alkaline environments & holds up well in cities.  I have seen offered at a nursery in Terre Haute, Indiana, but not in Lafayette or West Lafayette.

Unfortunately, trees may be doomed by the ever-expanding Emerald Ash Borer, which has halted all ash species planting in many cities anyway.


In the limestone hill country of southern Indiana, ridgetops are dominated by Chinkapin Oak & hickories (with White & Black Oak) with mixed Blue Ash & Eastern Redcedar on cliffs.  Some limestone glades have Post, Blackjack, Black Oak with some Chinkapin Oak & Blue Ash with Eastern Redcedar.  If Chestnut Oak covers the sandstone, siltstone knobs & hills of southern Indiana, then Chinkapin Oak/Blue Ash is frequent on the limestone tops.

On lower slopes comes Tuliptree, White Ash, American Beech & Sugar Maple.  Coves harbor Black Walnut, American Basswood, Sugar Maple, American Beech & Northern Red Oak.

Low limestone woods have lots of Ohio Buckeye, Butternut, American Sycamore & Honeylocust.


Blue Ash-Chinkapin Oak barrens/savanna mixed with Black Oak & several crab & haw species in the barrens area of southeastern Indiana where large expanses of treeless grassland occurred.  Post Oak also occurred.  The region, pretty flat, & fertile with soils rich in lime & phosphorus, had nearly all drainage underground with caves.  So, very few, if any natural fire breaks existed at settlement.

It appears that Blue Ash/Chinkapin Oak savanna/barrens tended to occur the most on the edge of the more open & scrubby barrens & prairies, that is they required bit less fire frequency to maintain themselves.  In the heart of such savanna, Black maple would occur around more protected limestone sinkholes & wetter areas where underground streams suddenly surfaced.


Here, Blue Ash is found in two eco-types.  One, the mesophytic limestone forests in rolling uplands & ravines & around streams with White Basswood, Yellow & Ohio Buckeye, Tuliptree, Chinkapin Oak, American Sycamore, Eastern Redcedar, American Beech & Black Maple.

In the less-sloping areas, there was some Bur Oak-Chinkapin Oak-Blue Ash savanna at European settlement.  This is a northern extension of the great Blue Ash-Chinkapin-Bur Oak savanna of the Kentucky Bluegrass region.  Usually with a grassy understory with prairie wildflowers, the environ needed low fires to maintain itself in flatter, stream-less areas.


Blue Ash reaches its greatest occurrence in this region of Indiana where it is found in forested ravines & slopes with Chinkapin Oak, Black Maple, Ohio Buckeye, American Sycamore, Butternut, Black Walnut, Eastern Redcedar, American Beech & Tuliptree.  It grows most commonly in the sweet soil where chunks of limestone protrude from the ravines.  On limestone cliffs, it is frequent with Eastern Redcedar & American Sycamore.

In southeastern Indiana where streams have eroded through the acidic Illinoian Till Plain (with all of its clayey, sticky, acid soils made up of flatwoods), limestone may be exponsed in these cut canyons.  There, pockets of limestone-loving Blue Ash, Chinkapin Oak, Eastern Redcedar, Ohio Buckeye & American Sycamore can be found.


Blue Ash occurs in this region around gravelly eskers & kames of calcareous gravels & sands (ground limestone) & till plain over limestone & calcium carbonates leaches within upper 36″ of the soil.  This occurs in young deposits of Wisconsinan glacial till where calcium has been leached the least in the soil.

At European settlement, great forests of Ohio Buckeye, Blue Ash & other species (especially Beech & Black/Sugar Maple) made up large expanses of the Tipton Till Plain in central & eastern Indiana.

It appears areas of park-like Bur Oak-Blue Ash-Chinkapin Oak-Black Maple savanna existed when European settlers arrived in parts of central & eastern Indiana near prairie pockets & even away from them.  This savanna/forest time in limy areas was probably barrens/prairie in the past, as Black Maple, Bur Oak, etc. in this area seems to indicate a woodland of Beech/Maple cut off from original forests & evolving into a woodland commonly found in bottom areas in Iowa & Nebraska & in old prairie areas over limestone in Ontario, Ohio & Michigan.

This calcareous till (where Blue Ash is common) may have it origins in glaciers scrapping off limestone uplands in Ontario & depositing this till at the end of the Wisconsinan glacial period.

I have found Ohio Buckeye, Black Maple, Chinkapin Oak, Blue Ash, American Basswood woodland behind the Colony Pines subdivision in West Lafayette by a creek.  Ohio Buckeye was abundant in this woods.


In the deepest, youngest wind-blown silt deposits off the Wabash River valley in southwestern Indiana, there are some scattered populations of Blue Ash, where it is usually with Chinkapin Oak.  Such sites usually have considerable loess kindchen (hardened calcium deposits in the soil or floury loess).  The calcareous loess is often yellowish to buff-brown in color & very fertile.  Native Americans used loess kindchen for dolls & Europeans in their homelands used loess kindchen for the same thing.  Some of the “kindchen” is even hollow inside & rattles, so some of them were used as rattle toys.  The term “loess”  is German for “loose”, as floury loess is very easily eroded by wind & water.  “Kindchen” means “young child” or “kiddy” in German.  This refers to the using of kindchen found in the loess deposits of the North European Plain to make dolls for kids.

I found some native, old-growth Blue Ash-Chinkapin Oak woodland in Knox & Vigo counties in this environment.  At Terre Haute, on rolling, young calcareous loess, I found Blue Ash with Bur Oak, Chinkapin Oak, White Oak, a rare White-Chinkapin Oak hybrid called “Deam Oak”.  Another similar woodland on young, rich limy loess was made up of Bur, Chinkapin, Shumard Oak, Blue Ash, American Basswood, American Beech & Black Maple.

In Knox County, I found several large specimens with Chinkapin Oak, White Oak, Tuliptree, American Beech & Sugar Maple on deep, deep loess deposits on the east side of Vincennes.

I know of a few trees in Gibson County on steep loess slopes northwest of Patoka & a few on deep loess deposits in Sullivan County.



Potential of Accumulating Snow Increasing In Late December After Christmas

December 14th, 2012 at 1:55 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


Colder weather pattern & active subtropical jet will promote increasing potential of accumulating snowfall in late December after Christmas.

Persistent Canadian high will promote lots of dry, sunny weather at first, but storm systems in the Southwest & West U.S. & continually active subtropical jet will bring a couple to several opportunities for some accumulating snowfall.


In terms of the weekend forecast, showers are still a good bet Saturday with the greatest concentration (perhaps even an isolated t’storm) late morning-midday, followed by more spotty showers/sprinkles/drizzle afterward (& a few spotty showers/sprinkles before).  Given the fact that the main lift for rainfall will be well out ahead of the cold front, it appears the actual front may not pass until Sunday.  So, I prefer to keep a couple showers in the forecast for Sunday & keep it warm, at least for the first half (followed by falling temperatures).

This same storm has brought a lot of rainfall to the Desert Southwest & in California.  Heavy snowfall is falling in Arizona to Utah, Nevada & in the mountains of southern California.

As the storm system departs & a Nor’Easter begins to form on the East Coast, a shortwave will pivot around it & may bring a couple showers/flakes to the area Monday.


Looks dry & turning warmer.


Storm system is accelerating & will pass with showers.  Most likely we will hit high temperature fairly early in the day, then fall to near 40 in the late afternoon.


It looks dry, bright, cold & tranquil.  Persistent, significant lake effect snows will be on-going well to our northeast, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least some of these snow showers affect Fulton/Miami, perhaps Pulaski to Cass counties with some minor accumulation.  There will be lake effect cloudiness there, too, whereas much of the viewing area will be brighter during this time period.

Highs will likely run 29-35 with lows of 14-18.





Outlook to December 25…….Christmas Forecast Becoming Clearer

December 13th, 2012 at 9:59 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog

We have yet to see teens at WLFI, making this one of the latest winters to see teens in West Lafayette weather history (back to 1887).  Nearly every NWS station has NOT seen teens so far.  The only exception is the Purdue Agronomy Farm which has had 19.  All other stations have been 20 or 21.

It is looking like we will see teens just a few days before Christmas.  So, winter 2012-13 will likely end up with the 4th latest first occurrence of teens since 1887 when comparing the WLFI temperatures & Purdue Ag Farm data set.

Regardless, we enjoyed a mild Thursday.  Friday & Saturday look warm, too, with highs generally at 50-55.

Looks like wave of showers will pass Saturday, with an isolated t’storm possible.  The greatest coverage/concentration of showers look to be centered around midday, give or take an hour with anything prior to that and after that spotty to even just sprinkles (bit of drizzle afterward with any spotty showers).

After that, Nor’Easter will evolve with highs here in the 40s Sunday-Wednesday.

Warmer air will arrive on gusty southwest winds at the end of next week with a spurt of 50-55.  After another round of showers & perhaps a t’storm to end next week, much colder air will work in in the days leading up to Christmas.

Highs will only run 30-34 with lows in the teens.  There will be a lot of lake effect snow northeast of our area, but a few of the snow showers may make it into Fulton/Miami counties.

Christmas Day itself looks bright & dry, but cold with highs in the upper 30s to around 40.