Thursday, April 29, 2010

Severe weather is on the way to Iowa tonight. There is a tornado watch in effect for southwest Iowa until Midnight.
A slight risk for severe weather continues in the area...but with the high wind speed at the surface today we will see a chance for tornadoes to be spun up as a cold front moves our way.
Expect stronger storms in the Des Moines Metro by 1 AM.
Most of the severe weather will hit late tonight through early tomorrow morning. Then a second round of storms will develop late in the day tomorrow.
The weekend is looking dry...and cooler.
Stay with us tonight on Channel 13 and on Iowa's Weather Plus on Channel 13 .1.
Also make sure you have have your severe weather radio ready to go.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You are looking at the chances for severe weather over the central portions of the U.S. Thursday night and again on Friday. The green outline shows slight risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

The high wind tomorrow will also be a problem for drivers. The south wind will top out around 30 to 40 mph. Those folks driving east or west across the state will have to hang on to the wheel and watch for high-profile trucks swinging through the lanes.
Highs Thursday will be very warm. We will see the highs in the lower to middle 80s. That south wind will push the temperatures 20 degrees above average.
All watches and warnings will be running live on Iowa's Weather Plus... channel 13.1 or 276 on Mediacom cable.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volcano Lightning

You just can't really help but check out these amazing pictures of the Iceland volcano. That is lighting that is stretching through the plums of ash.
Lightning is not that rare in volcanic eruptions. The particles within the cloud contain the same positive and negative charges that create lightning in our severe thunderstorms.
These pictures were taken by Vilhelm Gunnarsson with EPA. More dramatic are the evening pictures with the lightning and the magma shooting into the air.
The jet stream is moving the cloud of ash farther away from the very busy air ports of northern England...but there is still a very good chance the plums of ash could cast gloom on the skies over Europe as the volcano shows very little change with the intense explosions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fireball In The Sky

During the 10 PM news Wednesday night our phones were lit up with viewers who saw something really large light up the central Iowa sky.

The chat line that we use with the National Weather Service was also busy with questions as to what was racing across the night sky around 10:05 PM.

One of the National Weather Service meteorologist was in Oksaloosa last night conducting a storm spotter's class and said he saw the event as he was driving home just after 10PM. He said the fireball had a tail that trailed off from the northeast to the southeastern horizon.

One explanation could be Gama Virginids...a meteor shower that peaks around April 14th and April 15th. Has the information. also had information about a huge space storm on the sun Tuesday that had a chance to enter the Earth's magnetic field by April 15th.

We are still looking for the answers... and hopefully will have some pictures or video by the morning show.

If you have pictures or video of the event...please email me at


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Severe Weather Plan For Your Family

This is going to wrap up the severe weather awareness week in Iowa. It is something we focus on each year during the first week of April...but we need to remember the safety rules all year long. Those rules apply to all hazardous situations. Mother Nature is not the only source for hazards to our family. The basic elements of a disaster plan can save lives.

Five Step Plan To Save Lives

1) Learn about possible dangers in your area and become familiar with your communities disaster response plan. Common weather disasters in Iowa include flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

2) Talk to your family about what to do in an emergency. Pick two locations where you will close to your home and another removed from your neighborhood just in case you can't return to your home.

3) Develop a communication plan to make sure your family will be able to stay in contact if you are separated during a disaster. Cell phone towers could be knocked down. Two-way radios could be used.

4) Create emergency preparedness kits for your home, office and car.

5) Practice your plan.

Disaster Kits

A disaster kit should include enough food,water and other supplies for every person to last at least three days.
Here is a basic list...
- Food and Water
- Battery or hand-crank operated radio
- First aid supplies
- Clothing, shoes and blankets
- Whistle
- Cash and coins
- Photocopies of important documents such as ID's and credit cards
- Baby needs
- Sanitation items like hand sanitizer and toilet paper
- Specialty items such as prescription medications and eyeglasses
- Games to pass the time.

**There should be one gallon of water per person...per day. It's recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep the water in it's original container without opening the bottles. Always observe the expiration date...use the water before it goes beyond the "use by" date and replace it with fresh water.

Prepare Your Home

- IF you live in a flood-prone area... elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home.
- Consider installing sewer back flow valves
- Add waterproof veneer to exterior walls.
- Remove dead or rotting tree branches that could fall and cause injury or property damage.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Consider an all-home generator.

Stay safe my friends. It is better to over prepare than to have emergencies the overwhelm the safety of your family and home.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Severe Weather Awareness

Severe weather has always been a part of the Iowa experience. It can be very dangerous to live in tornado Alley.
The way you receive watches and warnings has changed dramatically. We have so many ways to keep you informed through your cell phones, computers, TVs, radio and all-hazard weather radios.
They are called all-hazards radios because other emergency situations are sent via the airwaves. It might be a chemical spill or power outage or even amber alerts.
The real gift of the radio is that it can be set for your address and will only go off when your area is affected by a natural or man-made emergency. You can keep it in your bedroom to wake you to the hazard. That's what we do in the Wilson house.
Severe Thunderstorms...a few questions and answers.
What makes a storm severe?
A) A thunderstorm is considered severe if the wind in the storm is at least 58 MPH and the hail is at least 1 inch in diameter.
What is the difference between a watch and a warning?
A) A watch is issued when severe weather is expected. You need to Watch the sky for severe weather. A warning is issued when severe weather is happening.
How many people are killed each year from lightning strikes?
A) On the average 55 to 60 people are killed each year by lightning in the U.S.
How hot is lightning?
A) Lightning heats the air to over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stay safe this severe weather season.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Big Storms Tuesday

It was a severe weather awareness Tuesday. Highs were in the middle to upper 80s in central Iowa and then colder air collided along the storm front by the afternoon to really kick up monster-sized storms.

Golfball to baseball sized hail fell from Lamoni to Grinnell to Waterloo.

The high wind in Grinnell dropped trees and power lines. As of 10:00 last night the power was still out in most of Grinnell.

This storm system is out of the state today. We will see just light showers on the backside of the low pressure system. Clear and cold conditions will move into the area tonight.

Tornado Drill Day

Today is the day the local emergency management officials all over the state of Iowa get to try out the tornado sirens. The test begins at 10 AM. The sirens will go off around 10:10 AM. Kids will move to the center of the school buildings and will remember to stay away from windows.

The severe weather radios will sound their alarms. We all need those weather radios in our homes and businesses so we can be ready to keep ourselves and family safe during severe weather events like yesterday.

One of my favorite rules for tornado safety is D.U.C.K.

Down to the lowest level in the building
Under something sturdy
Cover your head
Keep in your shelter

Most tornadoes in Iowa hit in April, May and June. But, there have been reports of tornadoes in each month of the year. The Woodward tornado hit on November 12th, 2005.

Most likely time for tornadoes is between 3 PM and 8 PM.

Average number of tornadoes in the state of Iowa....48.

Have a great Wednesday. Stay safe and let us know if you have more pictures of the severe weather on Tuesday.


Stormy Tuesday...Stay Informed

It was severe weather that ripped through the state Monday and again today we have the very good chance for severe storms this morning and again this afternoon.

The golf ball size hail targeted the Knoxville, Oskaloosa and Melcher-Dallas area. This is just one example of the many photolinks we received.

This is severe weather awareness week. Each day we will hit on severe weather tips that could keep you and your family safe.

Today we are going to update you on the many ways you can receive information about severe watches and warnings in your neighborhood.

1) Channel 13 and Iowa's Weather Plus. Channel 13.1 and 13.2 will be there for you every time there is severe weather in the central counties of Iowa. We cover the state from north to south.
2) All hazards weather radio. When there is severe weather and you are not watching Channel can be alert and ready to act with a severe weather radio.
We sell a great model that is portable...rechargeable and perfect for the home or car.
You can program the radio for your county.
Keep it in your bedroom so when you are asleep and severe weather strikes you will know the severe weather that is moving into your area.

Camping? The rechargeable battery will keep you updated and in-touch. Safety first and always at your side.
3) Cell phone and P.D.A.'s. Your iPhone or iTouch can be programmed to keep you informed. Channel 13 has an application that will turn your iPhone into an instant messenger for severe weather.
4) Radio updates. We are pleased to partner with WHO 1040 Radio....KXNO...Life 107.1..Capitol 106.3...KISS FM 107.5.
Stay with us and stay informed. We are here to serve you and make sure you have the chance to safe during severe weather and know when you can get out and enjoy the great weather of Iowa.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Severe Weather Late Tonight...Week of Awareness

There is a good chance for strong to severe thunderstorms later today and tonight over the southern 1/2 of Iowa. There are already very strong storms moving through central Missouri and those storms are moving north towards Iowa.

The very slow front of storms will stretch out over Iowa tonight through Wednesday. There is a good chance for heavy rainfall and for some of those storms to churn up winds that could produce tornadoes.

Make sure you stay tuned to Channel 13 all evening and overnight with Iowa's Weather Plus. But also make sure you have your severe weather radio ready to go...tuned to the county warnings that affect your area. Make sure you also have new batteries ready for the radio.

Flash flooding is the topic for the Iowa Severe Weather Awareness today. Flash flooding kills more people than an other severe weather event. Do not drive through flooded roads. Know what areas are prone to flooding in your area.

Check on your flood insurance. Most home-owner insurance policies do not include flood damage.

ALWAYS...ALWAYS....ALWAYS... have your all-hazards severe weather radio in your home and business. Make sure you have it tuned for the county where you live and work. Have batteries ready for back-up.

Have a safe day... stay with Channel 13.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Storms Moving Through Today

Strong thunderstorms ... and possibly tornadoes ... have left a line of destruction this morning from Oklahoma City to Kansas City. The severe weather is expected to stay to the south of Iowa. But we could see some areas of heavier rain and even a bit of hail in the southeastern 1/3 of Iowa this afternoon.
The stronger storms to the south are going to take away much of the potential severe storm energy from Iowa.
The clouds are also helping to keep the severe chances on the down side today. More sunshine would destabilize the atmosphere over Iowa.
Cooler highs are coming our way tomorrow. It will remain breezy with a high temperature around 60.
Easter Sunday is going to be sunny again and the highs will bump back to the upper 60s.
50th Anniversary of Satellite Weather Images
50 years ago NOAA sent the first weather satellite into orbit to keep track of our weather in ways that have changed the way we forecast and has saved countless lives over the last 5 decades.
We now have complete coverage of our world of weather. There have been set-backs because of lack-of-funding. Some of the GOES satellites were very close to burning out. The newest line of weather satellites will provide better imagery for years to come.