Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TV 13 Weather in the Register

Good morning...and hello sunshine. We need about 12 days like today to get rid of the mini-Minnesota lake-land that is going on again in Iowa.

More on the flooding in a moment.... but we are happy to let you know that we are working with the Des Moines Register to bring you the forecast on the register weather page and on line at http://www.desmoinesregister.com/

This is a great friendship that has grown through the work of our sports teams and now has become a friendship with the paper the state of Iowa reads everyday.

You will see breaking weather details and the live Mega Doppler on the register's home page and find the seven day in the paper with finer details of the next 24 to 48 hours. This is for you... another way for you to get the forecast each morning.

The flood map is looking better this morning. There are still many areas of flooding over the central Iowa area...extending into southeastern counties. There will be some improvement today... but then we hit another wet weather wall tomorrow night.

Heavy rainfall is going to come our way Wednesday night through Friday. It is looking better for the weekend.

Here is how we stack-up...or float-to-the-top right now.

Normal Rainfall for the month-to-date: 3.19"
Actual Rainfall for the month-to-date: 4.95"
Last years April rainfall to date: 5.82"

Make sure you stay tuned to Channel 13 and our digital weather channel..."Iowa's Weather Plus" on channel 13.2 or 246 on your digital cable box. Watch on line at http://www.whotv.com/ and now.. read about your weather everyday in the Des Moines Register.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tornado Drill Day

Here we are...the peak of the severe weather awareness week... tornado drill day. Kind of sounds like the highlight of some religious holiday, but it is very important to check the outdoor warning sirens and have a chance to practice all the rules of staying safe during tornadoes.

At 9:50 a Tornado Watch will be issued for the state of Iowa. Then at 10:15 central Iowa will have our test Tornado Warning. The area sirens will sound and kids will move from their classrooms to the center of the school covering their heads until the sirens stop and the all-clear is given.

I remember doing this when I was in school. Back-in-the-day... we had one student that would quickly open the windows in our classroom. The thought was extreme low pressure in the center of a tornado was strong enough to create huge pressure in a building...making the structure implode. Now we know that is bunk. Buildings are not blown-up like a balloon with too much air... they are wrecked with high wind and the debris that is thrown through the air at 200 mph. Stay away from windows! To think I thought is was a cool honor to stay back and open the windows.. like I was little Super Ed...saving the class from eminent danger. Captain Storm Safe! Stop day dreaming Edwin! Oh yea.... anyway get away from windows and put as many walls between you and the outside. Stay low, in the center of the building. In the basement under a staircase or pool table or work bench is a good idea. If you can make a safe room in the basement with essentials like flashlight, blankets, weather radio. The Red Cross has a wonderful web site with a list of items for your family in severe weather or other hazardous events.

At 10:30 a special statement from the Severe Storm Prediction Center and the National Weather Service will explain what has just happened... and end the tornado warning. The tornado watch will end at 11:00.

This is time to remember what to do during severe weather. Have a safe place for your family to meet during and after severe weather events. Think it through like a fire drill.

We will make sure you stay safe with the real warnings. Keep the NOAA all-hazards radio in your home. We have a great portable weather radio available at the a-ha! Store at the Science Center of Iowa. Take it to the outdoor events or keep it in your car...stay safe all year long.

Have a great day. The sky will be blue and the temperatures warm as the sirens sound today.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Severe Weather Aware...Thunderstorms

This is severe weather awareness week...so it is time to just go over a few basics of severe thunderstorms.

Lightning Facts:

-At any moment there are about 1800 severe thunderstorms moving over the Earth...annually about 16 million storms.

-Lightning is hotter than the sun. A bolt of lightning can be 50,000 degrees. That heat is what expands the air and creates thunder.

-If you hear thunder you are close enough to the storm to be hit by lightning.

-30 minute rule.... the moment you year thunder is time to go inside. Wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder to head back outside.

-If you hear thunder you are close enough to the storm to be hit by lightning.

In Iowa we are set up really well to see our fare share of severe storms. We have the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that leaves us sweating with heat and humidity....to the north cold air that sweeps through with Canadian cold fronts. High winds are pretty familiar to most of us...that adds lift and momentum to the storms as strong lows pass overhead. The perfect storm effect is located right here.

When you hear or see a Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued for the areas... that means we are experiencing all those elements of strong to severe storms. It means you should be on the watch because conditions are right for the formation of storms that might be severe.

If you see or hear a Severe Thunderstorm Warning...that means a severe thunderstorm is going on right now. You need to seek shelter if that storm warning is for the area around your home or school or office.

New Severe Storm Criteria

This year new severe thunderstorm criteria was handed down from the Storm Prediction Center. Until now.. a severe thunderstorm with 3/4 inch hail was considered severe. Now the hail size for severe storms has been increased to 1 inch in diameter. This should help to reduce the amount of time we take crawling the severe warnings across the lower 1/3 of the screen. It's a good idea because we often cried wolf over storms that were strong...but not really severe. Remember this... if you are in a storm with 3/4 inch hail...it is still a strong storm. Make sure you have a place to hide from the elements of lightning...hail and heavy rainfall.

More Lightning Facts

The odds of getting hit by lightning are one in 5000. That means if you continually stood outside during strong storms... you would have the 1/5000 chance of getting struck by lightning. So don't just stand outside in strong storms... get in a building or a car. Do not stand under trees.. or near tall objects...or even an open shelter house. You need walls and a roof between you and the storm. If you are stuck outside and there is no way to get to shelter...crouch down on your tip-toes or the balls of your feet. Pull your head down to your knees. Don't lay down. Keep as little of your body as possible in touch with the ground. Lightning strikes spread out over the ground. The less of you touching the ground the better.

Severe weather is coming... it is our time... we are in the right place. Make sure you stay with Channel 13 and Iowa's Weather Plus on Ch. 13.2 or Mediacom Ch. 246 you will always see the warnings for our viewing area. You can also see the warnings on www.whotv.com and get weather all the time on your cell phone by signing up for weather information here: http://www.localwireless.com/wireless/signup.cfm?sid=73 You will see news and sports on your web-enabled phone too!

Keep a NOAA weather radio in your office...school and home. We have a portable model available at the Science Center of Iowa for $39.99 (same price the last three years!) It is perfect for you anywhere you go.

Be safe today and all year.

Ed Wilson

Monday, April 6, 2009

Flooding! Turn Around Don't Drown

This is severe weather awareness week in Iowa. The Homeland Security department of Iowa and the National Weather Service ask that we focus on severe weather this time of the year. The focus is really all year long...but we need to remind ourselves and family that we are headed into some of the most severe months of the year. We need to make sure we stay ahead of the weather with tips on safety.

Today's focus is on flooding. It is the most deadly of severe weather in the state of Iowa. Over the years more people have died in flooding than in lightning strikes..tornadoes..or winter storms.

The key is to make sure you know where flooding is common. If you are new to the area you can check out the basics on area river basins that flood by going to http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=dmx
This is the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. The map highlights points along area rivers that are flooding. You can also see the flood levels for each site. You can also see the past flooding events and how the area around each point is affected by the high water.

Flooding is common in Iowa. We have been through many monster floods....last year was one for the record books in Eastern Iowa.

Make sure you remember the basics of flood survival.
- Don't drive through streets that area flooded. You can't see the depth of the water. Your car can also be swept off the road with as little as a foot of rushing water.
- No playing in flooded areas. You can't see what is below the water. Open man-holes in the streets or debris under the water can be most harmful. The water can be contaminated with human waist or chemicals.
-Flood Watch means there is a chance for flooding.
-Flash Flood and Flood warnings means flooding is happening right now. Move to higher ground.

If your home has a septic pump....check it this spring. Pour water into the septic hole and make sure the pump operates by pumping the water out of the basement. You can also purchase septic alarm systems that sound when the water gets too high. There are also battery back-ups for the pumps just in case the power is knocked out during severe weather.

Flood insurance is not perfect. Many homes owner policies do not include flood insurance. You need to check with your insurance company to make sure you have flood insurance and that includes flooding from heavy rainfall. You might be surprised how many policies do not include flooding.

Much more information on severe weather coming your way this week. Tomorrow we will go over safe living during severe thunderstorms.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April Blizzard

April showers bring May flowers...April blizzards bring huge headaches.

We told you this one was on the the way all week. This is one of those storms that you might be telling your kids and grandchildren about some day.

The heavy rainfall yesterday set us up for the snow today. The warmer air did take some of the winter punch out of the storm for the northwestern portion of Iowa. I thought there might be a 12 inch total in the northwest corner of the state...but the heavy band of snow set up over the highway 20 line of Iowa.

In and near to Iowa Falls the snow brought down power lines as tree branches were snapped and pulled down the power to about 2000 people.

Conrad, Iowa is located in Grundy County...just north of Marshalltown. That town boasts the riches soil in the country. I grew up in that neck of the woods...and I can tell you that black dirt was covered with 10 inches of April white. 2.5 inches of snow fell in just 1/2 hour Sunday.

My parents live in Grundy Center...and as they walked out of the First Presbyterian Church yesterday....lightning was striking...thunder was rolling and the snow was coming down in buckets.

In Des Moines we had one to three inches of snow. It did melt quickly... and roads were in much better shape than Interstate 35 between Ames and Story City. I-35 was closed as cars and trucks were sliding into the ditch...and Iowa State Patrol units were also stranded. The DOT trucks were also going in the ditches.

Opening day of baseball and snow in Iowa... it has to be April.

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Meet me back here for some info to keep you and yours safe.

One more thing... I went to the Barnstormer's game Saturday night. My wife...both kids... our best friends and 4 of their children. Everyone had a blast (with the exception of my wife who is sooo not a sports fan and did not like her drinks being spilt on her shoes). It is going to be a great year for the 'Stormers. I will be back...with just the kids. Happy wife=Happy home.

Have a great day... Ed

Friday, April 3, 2009

Snowy Sunday

Here comes an April snow. This is just what most folks here were not waiting to hear.

April snow is not that unusual. Many of us who lived here in the early 70s remember the monster storm that stalled the state. It kept me out of school for 10 days! Now that I have children of my own...there is greater understanding and appreciation for my parents.

This storm is shaping up to give northwest Iowa a winter blast. Yesterday the National Weather Service threw out a winter storm watch for the northwest 1/3 of Iowa that will go into effect Saturday night and last through the day Sunday.

I thought the winter storm watch was a bit pre-mature. I think it's great to give a heads-up to everyone on big storms that appear to be on the way to Iowa...but mentioning 7" to 18" of snow accumulations...three to four days before the storm... could send a panic to the bread and milk isles at Dahl's.

Today is for the love of spring. It is going to be beautiful. Get out there and enjoy. I will be picking up sticks in the yard...cleaning garbage cans and throwing down some fertilizer.

Tomorrow the rain will be here by the evening. Thunderstorms are possible. The rain will change to snow on Sunday...it will be heavy snow at times in the northwest. The wind will be crazy by the evening and overnight hours. Be careful if you have to travel northwest. Stay tuned for the tune-up on the forecast this evening.