Winter 2012-2013 Snow

The data below shows the snow so far this winter, departure from normal and the snow last year on the same date.
Click on image to enlarge.

 

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Posted under Precipitation Totals, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on November 30, 2012

The Amazing Speed of the International Space Station

Have you seen the International Space Station (ISS) passing by? Many times people act surprised when I tell them they don’t need a telescope and in fact they don’t even need to have a really dark sky to see the ISS. When high in the sky it is literally brighter than any other object up there; certainly much brighter than the flashing lights on a jet.

How fast does it “appear” to be moving? Not quite as fast as a 6.5 mile high jet traveling at 550 miles/hour, but almost. That jet flying directly overhead will cross the width of your hand on your outstretched arm in about 13 seconds. The ISS will make the same trek in about 15 seconds.

It may look like the ISS is moving slower than a jet, but it definitely is not! It’s actually screaming along 31 times faster than the plane!! It’s going so fast that you probably would not even see it coming if it passed nearby.

Its velocity is around 17,240 miles/hour or 4.8 miles/second. At that rate it would take the ISS a mere 10.6 seconds to travel the 51 miles from where 380 crosses the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids to where 380 crosses the Cedar in Waterloo! If you are like me, numbers like 10.6 seconds and 4.8 miles/second don’t mean a whole lot so I figured it would be better to make the journey into a sound track with 51 clicks, each click representing a mile traveled at the ISS speed. Click here for the track. Think that’s fast? The same trip would take 1.7 seconds going at the average speed of a meteor, i.e. 30 miles/second. At warp-1 the trip would last around 3/10,000 [0.0003] second.

A distance many of us can relate to better is the quarter mile around a standard cinder track. The ISS would scream around it! Here is 58 laps. It would make 19 laps (heard as clicks) each single second! Not bad. Consider this too, the ISS has a mass of about 419.6 metric tons (925,000 pounds). It must have taken a lot of push to get all that up there.

Any satellite at the altitude of the ISS needs to go super fast just to stay in orbit. The station is actually the lowest continuously orbiting satellite there is. It must be important to keep the eyes of the astronaut observers relatively close to the ground. I imagine it would be easier to reach as well.

It is literally moving through a tenuous atmosphere. This explains why it is losing altitude (1.2 miles per month) and needs to be boosted often. Capsules are flown to the ISS to provide the fuel.

Next time you see a satellite of any kind, imagine how fast it must be going and tell others. They too should be impressed.

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Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by on November 30, 2012

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Snow Cover Comparison

The two maps below show the snow cover comparison from today to November 30, 2011. Click on image below to enlarge.

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Posted under Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on November 30, 2012

Weather Hot Shots on Fri. November 30

Submit your weather Hot Shot by clicking here.
One photo is shown on the 5 pm newscast and one on the 10 pm newscast.

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Posted under Hot Shots, Photo

This post was written by Schnack on November 30, 2012

Fog Possible Tonight and Saturday

UPDATED at 4:30 PM

Tonight: Mostly cloudy with fog and drizzle developing. Low: 35-37. Wind: SE 5-10 mph.

Saturday: Cloudy with a 20% chance of light rain/drizzle. High: 50-54. Wind: S 10-15 mph.

Saturday Night: Decreasing clouds. Low: 36-43. Wind: SW/NW 5-10 mph.

Sunday: Mostly sunny. High: upper 50s.

Monday: Partly cloudy and windy (S 15-25 mph) with a 20% chance of showers. High: near 60.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High: upper 40s.

Wednesday: Partly cloudy and windy: (SE 15-25 mph). High: upper 30s.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy and windy (S 15-25 mph) with a 20% chance of showers. High: mid 40s.

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High: mid 30s.

We started out with haze and fog this morning and early this afternoon northeast Iowa was still dealing with it (see image below)

A warm front will be across Iowa tonight as it slowly moves north across the state. Overnight we have another chance of fog developing as clouds move into the area. Clouds and areas of fog with light rain/drizzle will be possible most of Saturday. The Warm front is forecast to be north of Iowa by noon. Despite the clouds, temperatures will be in the 50s. A cold front will be moving through Iowa Saturday night eventually clearing out the clouds/fog and rain chances. Here is the forecast map from HPC for Saturday evening.

The amount of rain/drizzle will only amount to a couple hundredths of an inch where rain falls. Here is the rain forecast from Friday evening to Sunday evening.

Sunday will be the nicer of the two days this weekend with sunshine and highs in the upper 50s. Monday will be the warmest day of the next seven days reaching the low 60s. An area of low pressure is forecast to be over southern Canada Monday. It will swing a cold front through Iowa in the afternoon. Ahead of it the wind will be gusting to 30 mph pushing the warm air north. The cold front may trigger a few light showers in the afternoon. Here is the forecast map from HPC for Monday morning.

Tuesday and Wednesday will gradually cool with 40s Tuesday and 30s Wednesday. Thursday and Friday next week will have lots of clouds and

The 8-14 day outlook (Dec 8-14) from the Climate Prediction Center has above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for Iowa.

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Posted under Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Schnack on November 30, 2012

November 30

From NWS
1934
: A winter storm brought heavy snow and near blizzard conditions to most of Iowa on the night of November 29-30, excepting the northwestern and southeastern counties where only trace amounts were recorded. The heaviest snow fell in a swath from south central up through northeastern Iowa with reported amounts ranging up to 13.0 inches at Fayette, 15.0 inches at New Hampton, and an amazing 21.0 inches at Oskaloosa. The snow drifted badly blockading most roads, stranding thousands of vehicles and motorists, and generally bringing transportation to a standstill across the state.

1928: A stormy November ended with a significant snow storm on November 29-30 as snow fell in a wide band from southwest to northeast across Iowa. The heaviest snow fell near the center of this band, roughly from Mills County to Clayton County, where generally 10 to 14 inches of snow was recorded. There was very little wind with the storm so drifting was not a widespread problem but the weight of the snow downed tree branches and utility poles and wires in some areas. The highest measured snowfall amounts included 7.5 inches at Des Moines, 8.5 inches at Corning, 9.2 inches at Marshalltown, 9.5 inches at Fayette, and 12.0 inches at Ames and Atlantic.

This Day in National/World Weather History …
 30 November 1962 → Fog played an integral role in the crash of an Eastern Airlines jet in New York City (JFK) that killed half of the people onboard (25 of 51).
 30 November 1991 → Minneapolis ended the month with 46.9 inches of snow, the most ever for any month. Although the official start of winter was still 3 weeks away, the city had already surpassed the normal seasonal snowfall with 55.1 inches since October 1. The normal for the entire winter is 49.2 inches.
 30 November 2001 → For the first time in 122 years of weather records, Buffalo, NY finished the entire month of November without any snowfall.
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Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on November 30, 2012

Storm TRACK7 Android App

It is here. The KWWL storm TRACK 7 weather app is available on Android phones. It gives you control of the radar, hourly forecast, 10 day forecast, weather alerts and more. The app is FREE!!! Click on the logo above for more information.

The app for iphones is coming shortly.

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Posted under Miscellaneous

This post was written by Schnack on November 29, 2012

November 29

From NWS
1991
: A winter storm on November 28-30 produced freezing rain up to an inch thick in northwestern Iowa, with thunder and a mix of snow and sleet at times resulting in accumulations of 2 to 7 inches and widespread tree and power line damage. The heaviest sleet and snow fell on the 29th and 30th with storm total amounts ranging up to 5.3 inches at Le Mars, 6.0 inches at Estherville and Hawarden, 7.0 inches at Cherokee and Sibley, and 8.0 inches at Rock Rapids.

This Day in National/World Weather History …
 29 November 1803 → Christian Andreas Doppler, who identified the Doppler Effect, was born in Salzburg, Austria.
 29 November 1992 → The most intense tornado recorded in Australia was an F4 which occurred at Bucca, Queensland. Nine homes were extensively damaged or destroyed, but no one was seriously injured. Four inch hail was also associated with this storm.
 29 November 1998 → The morning low in Rochester, MN of 54 degrees was actually higher than the previous record high for the date. The temperature would reach 62 degrees during the day, smashing the old record of 53.
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Posted under Weather History

This post was written by Schnack on November 29, 2012

Moon and Jupiter Photos

The full moon this evening was near a bright light in the sky. That bright light, to the top left of the moon, was the planet Jupiter. Here are two photos of what it looked like. Click here for more about tonight’s sky.

Taken by Sarah Jirak

Taken by Jaimi Brad

Taken by Kristine Kulish

Taken by Kristine Kulish

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Posted under Astronomy, Photo

This post was written by Schnack on November 28, 2012

Weather Hot Shots on Wed. November 28

Submit your weather Hot Shot by clicking here.
One photo is shown on the 5 pm newscast and one on the 10 pm newscast.

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Posted under Hot Shots, Photo

This post was written by Schnack on November 28, 2012