Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tornado Outbreak Anniversary

Thursday was the 15th anniversary of a tornado outbreak that left much of western Iowa with massive damage.
Three tornadoes were on the ground at the same time. You can see them outlined in the radar velocity image.
There were nine tornadoes that day. Three were F2 ...three F1s and one F0.
There were no deaths...2 were injured in the outbreak and there was an estimated $8.8 million in damages to buildings and crops.
We now use the EF scale. It is a better estimation of wind speed and damage. has the new and improved tornado rating system.
I remember that tornado outbreak very well. It kept us on the air for several hours. It was a moment that made an impression. How thankful we all were that not one person lost their life.
No Storms For The Holiday Weekend
There is some wonderful weather on the way this weekend. Highs will be in the middle 80s. It will be mostly sunny through Saturday. There is still a slight chance for isolated showers late Sunday and early Memorial Day.
Have a great Friday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Warm May

So far we are basking in the warmth of May. Much warmer temperatures have taken over the state this month.

Highs last weekend through Monday were well above the average. Highs in the 90s are not typical for late May.

One of my favorite sites for weather information is the Iowa Environmental Mesonet. It is run by Iowa State University's Department of Agronomy. Daryl Herzmann is the man behind some of the best information you will ever need for the weather of Iowa.

Today's post on the Mesonet shows just how hot Sunday and Monday was over the state. The lows were only that warm six other times since the late 1800s. Check out the site and keep it on your weather bookmark. It is great stuff.

More Storms This Afternoon.

More showers and thunderstorms are going to pop-up this afternoon and evening. I do not expect severe weather...but isolated storms could have small hail and gusty wind.

Yesterday the Union County area had some crazy rainfall totals. Cromwell had 3.50" in 1/2 hour. Near-by Orient had 4.20" of rain in one hour.

Memorial Day Weekend.

So far.. the Memorial Day Weekend is looking pretty decent. We will have spectacular weather Friday and Saturday. It will be sunny with highs in the middle 80s.

Sunday will be dry through most of the daylight hours. There is a chance for thunder showers late night into Memorial Day.

Monday will have a chance for early showers. Then mostly to partly cloudy skies. It will be a bit cooler with highs in the upper 70s.

Have a great Wednesday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tornado Alley

This was the live picture yesterday from our sister station KFOR in Oklahoma City.
In Oklahoma and Kansas...25 tornadoes were reported yesterday in this latest outbreak of extreme weather.
The live coverage of the Oklahoma tornado was pretty amazing. We had it on the air last night. The Chopper was in the air about 5 miles from the tornado.. but still able to zoom in to the debris cloud on the ground.

More severe weather is expected again today to the south of Iowa. The Storm Prediction Center has given a slight risk for the areas outlined on the map.
Those storms will be strong enough to lift moisture into Iowa through the evening hours. There will be a chance for scattered showers and isolated storms. Less than 1/2 inch of rain is expected in Des Moines. Heavier amounts will fall south of the Metro.
Keep watching tonight for the HD weather coverage.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

HD Ready

We are on the road to High Definition weather. You will see a huge difference the the way weather is brought to your home as we launch WHO-HD tomorrow.

The weather department is going to be a big part of the HD presentation. The maps are going to be clearer than any other station in the state.

This project has cost millions and will be worth the wait when you see the side-by-side display of WHO-HD and all other stations still using the old cameras and control rooms that were built for the last generation of TV broadcast.

There are other updates to the web page on

A new interactive radar display is now just below the Mega Doppler on the weather page. You can manipulate the radar like a google map and see the radar, satellite, temperatures, lightning, severe weather watches and warnings. It is available for your neighborhood, city, county, state and country.

We are proud to be a part of the new generation of broadcast. It is our job and honor to bring you the best weather coverage in the state. We are here to keep you and your family safe.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thunderstorms and Flooding

This was the way the radar looked this morning at 9:30.
There will be lines of thunderstorms that will move over the state today and over areas of Iowa that are already flooded.
Most of the flood-warned counties were in southern Iowa this morning. We could see more warnings over the central counties by this evening.
The wind is also a major problem today. The rain will be falling side-ways. The gusty ENE wind will gust over 30 mph within some of the storms.
There is a flash flood watch for the southeastern 1/2 of Iowa through tomorrow morning.
When you go to the weather page at you will see a new radar display that has really become one of my favorite weather tools. The radar display is under the live Mega Doppler display like the one at the top of this blog.
This Google Map project allows you to throw all the weather you want on the maps and then navigate over the map to show the widest or most pinpoint radar locations.
You can display satellite...radar...warnings...lightning... earthquakes...hurricanes. The warnings show where the tornado or severe thunderstorms are occurring each moment. Same for all warnings and watches.
Check out the new cool tool and make your own weather maps for the location you live or for the location where you might be traveling.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nore Rain...More Flooding

More rain is on the way to Iowa. The storms will move in tonight and again last through Wednesday into Thursday morning. 1" to 2" of rainfall is expected. We will see more flooding in the southern 1/2 of the state. There is also a good chance for severe weather along the Iowa/Missouri border late Wednesday. The wind will again howl across the state. The east wind Wednesday will gust up to 25 mph and then the wind direction will swing to the northwest Wednesday night and Thursday.

Flooded counties are popping back up on the state map. We have four counties under flood warnings in southern Iowa. The Chariton River basin near Oskaloosa and Chariton and the Des Moines River near Bussy are areas that will stay flooded. More flooding is possible through most of the state as soils are near the saturation levels.

It has been cool the last few days. Highs only in the middle and upper 50s to around 60 in Des Moines.

In Ames the highs have been below 60 for 5 days. The last time this happened for the same period in Ames was in 1931.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Air Quality Awareness Week

The clear sky today is giving farmer and gardeners a very nice day to catch up on the storms that moved through the state this weekend.

It is Air Quality Awareness Week. This week we take a little time to remember what we breath is the most important thing to our lungs and over-all good health.
During the year we send out weather alerts for poor quality of air. Usually in Iowa that means stagnant air that does not allow pollutants to exit the area. Iowa usually has some wind blowing out the pollution. Every once-and-a-while we see high pressure sit right over the state. That can bring down the wind and push the air down on the surface. It can mean a tough time for those who have breathing problems.
This web site: will take you to the NOAA weather site that gives great information on how to help keep our air clean and all of us breathing easier.