Thursday, February 25, 2010

Winter of Records

Getting cold feet? This is what we call 2 feet of snow.
This winter we are doing records. Breaking the most 4 and 5 inch or more of snow depth records.
This morning we hit -7 degrees. That broke the old record of -6 set in 2003. Our high Wednesday was only 14. The warmest high temperature this month was 35 degrees.
Des Moines has seen a cold snap over the month of February...but interestingly we are only in the top 30 coldest for the month of love. The huge snow pack and cloudy nights have allowed our temperature range to very tight...but with little extremely cold overnights.
Everyone is asking about flooding this spring. We are going to let you know much more about the extreme threat of flooding as we start to warm-up the next few weeks. We need the steady and slow rise in temperatures. This week is going to be a great example of what we need. Highs in the upper 20s and lower 30s...letting the angle of the sun really take over the snow melt.
Now is a good time to start preparing for the risk of flooding.
Make sure your insurance covers floods. Make sure your neighborhood is ready for the chance of flooding. The following links are great places to start.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Top Five Snowiest Winters

We have been talking about this for the last few weeks. We were in the top nine snowiest winter countdown this morning with 58 inches. This noon we were already in the top 8 and by this evening we will be in the top 5.

Here are the numbers through 6:00 Friday Night.

72" ... 1910-1911
70.9" ... 1885-1886
64.1" ... 1961-1962
62.9" ... 1981-1982
61.7"... 2009-2010 ((((As of 6:00 PM Friday)))
59.7" ... 1974-1975
58.5" ... 2007-2008
58.4" ... 2003-2004
58.2" ... 1959-1960
57.8" ... 1904-1905

Melting snow will equal flooding.

The folks who keep the close watch on rivers across the state gave up their second Spring Flood Threat Report for 2010. It does not look good.

A high threat for flooding will continue through the spring. There are several areas that have more than a 70% chance for flooding this year. Many of those hot spots are located along the Des Moines River and Raccoon River basins. Those rivers feed from north and northwest Iowa into Des Moines. The Iowa River also has several areas of high threat of flooding. Marshalltown has a better than 70% chance for major flooding.

Here is the latest report.

Watch our forecasts tonight for the update on the top-ten and for the snow forecast Sunday.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pavement Warmer Than Air

This image is from Iowa Environmental Mesonet from the Iowa State University Department of Agronomy. It is a graph that compares yesterday's air temperature to the road surface temperatures on I-35 near Ames.

You can see the sun has the power to really warm up the surface of roads when the roads are not covered in snow. The surface temperatures of I-35 were in the middle 40s while our air temperatures were still in the 20s.

This has done so much to help all of us get from home to work without the worry of taking the last drive of our life.

My extreme thanks goes to the man behind the daily weather facts from ISU. Daryl Herzmann is the brain behind the Iowa Environmental Mesonet. You can find so much about the current forecasts...climate data...web cams... anything that has anything to do with Iowa weather can be found right here:

Thanks Daryl!!! You are the man.

Have a nice warm day on the pavements of Central Iowa.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Records on Records

We have seen enough records this winter season. There are so many that we would be better off to list the records we haven't broken.

We are just talking about the Des Moines records here. There are many records that have been reached or broken around the state... but for now I just have the time and space for the Des Moines numbers.

As of today we are sitting at 70 days with 5 inches or more of snow. We came in second yesterday with consecutive days of a trace or more of snow reported at the Des Moines International Airport. We wound up with 12 days...the first place record still holds at 16 days.

We are first place for 58 inches of snow by the 15th of Febuary. The 58 inch total leaves us at number nice all-time snowfall for any winter. That may be enough talk of inches of snow... but even if we get just the average snowfall the rest of the season...that would put us within reach of the number one winter season of snow. That was 72 inches during the 1911-1912 winter.

Here is the link to the record numbers for snow.http://

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blowing and Drifting Snow

Gusty wind is really going to kick up this afternoon and tonight. The snow we had over the last 48 hours is very light and will reduce visibilities and create drifting of snow over rural areas.
Speaking of snow....the storm system really stalled out over the central and northern counties of Iowa. Over a foot of snow was measured near Highway 20 and north. That 2-day total is going to put many cities within reach of record snow levels for the season. Many of us are seeing record snow totals for this time of winter.
Since December first the city of Des Moines has experienced 51 inches of snow. Normally we should have about 18 inches of snow by this time of winter. Next we look to the all-time record snowfall record for Des Moines. In the winter of 1911 to 1912 we had to dig out from 72 inches of snow. There is more snow on the way this weekend.
We are excited about a new weather computer system that is being installed in the Channel 13 Weather Center. It is going to change the look and the way we present the weather story to you each day. It also has the most advanced forecasting tools available anywhere in the world. Our forecasts will be even more accurate than anyone else in the state. It won't make the temperatures any warmer...maybe someday we will be able to control the weather. How frightening.
Watch out for the very slick roads tonight and the dangerous wind chills. Have you heard that enough this year?
Stay warm and safe.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Storm Moving In

Another winter storm is going to become an issue for travel tonight and tomorrow. The precip along the southern border of Iowa this morning was mostly light freezing drizzle. Much of it was not hitting the ground.

The surface is becoming more saturated. We will wait and see if the high pressure that is still moving to the east will have some effect on the amount of moisture that is going to be available for snow in central Iowa tonight and tomorrow.

The expected snow amounts are expected to reach 2 to 4 inches by tomorrow evening. Some forecast models are indicating much less snowfall. It is not going to be easy for us to get this one just tune in through the day and evening. We will be updating the timing and amounts about every three hours.

New product from the National Weather Service....

The NWS has a cool new map product that will give you highs and lows and precipitation over a map of the state of Iowa. It incorporates the reporting stations around the state of Iowa. You will see the high, low, rainfall, snowfall and snow depth from the stations that report all that information. Here is the link for your favorite tabs.

Watching and waiting for the next storm...see you tonight.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Moved From Florida This Winter

Eve Fairchild and her family moved to Pella this year. They came from Florida and their children had never seen snow.

The picture to the left is their first snowman. They named him Ed.

Grant Fairchild is 13 years old and loves winter weather. Or at least he did when this email was sent last week.

Grant loves anything weather related. His Mom thinks Grant's interest in weather came from a very scary hour of riding out a hurricane when Grant was just a baby. Eve thinks Grant might have the love of weather in his blood.

Thanks to the Fairchild family. Our hearts are there for you this year as we deal with another bought of winter weather later this week.

We have a new record for 5 inches or more of snow on the ground in Des Moines. Today was the 56th consecutive day of 5+ inches of snow on the ground. The old record was actually set yesterday. Prior to that we had a record of 54 days set during the winter of 1961 to 1962.

Our snow depth this evening was still 9 inches. There is a very good chance for new records through the next several days. More snow is on the way Friday and Monday. More cold next week too.

Groundhog. Puxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today. That means another 6 weeks of winter. Even though many believe in the myth of the groundhog and love to celebrate his appearance each year... Phil only has an accuracy rate of 39%. We would be fired if we only hit the forecast 39% of the time.

It's's winter. More snow and cold is on the way.

Stay warm and keep the faith.