Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trending...Kids in Pumpkins?

We love the fall photos that are being sent to our photolinks on Recently, many have sent in pics of their little pumpkins inside real pumpkins.

Is this a new Halloween trend? These pictures are cute, I guess. But the kids do not look particularly happy about the situation. The first kiddo in the gourd is Charlotte "Charlie" Dorsey. She is 7 Months old and is the daughter of Katie and AJ Dorsey from Gowrie.
Next we have Gia. Gia is the 8 and 1/2 month-old daughter of Kaily Defino. The Defino family is from Indianola.
The last kid in the pumpkin pic is from Taylor Breuklander, also of Indianola, showing off her "5 month-old pumpkin."

We do have a picture at the bottom of the page with a kid outside the the pumpkin patch. Maybe little Benjamin is just checking the pumpkins in the Carroll Pumpkin Farm for a perfect fit. Thanks Mindi Blizek of Promise City for that picture.

Keep sending the pictures our way. Photolink upload is...,0,6687110.framedurl

Also follow me on twitter for the latest weather and random news @EdWilsonWX13HD

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wonder Northern Lights Last Night

This picture was taken last night around 9PM just north of Winterset. Donna Rayne had the chance to get away from the city light and capture this great shot.

It was an active night for the northern lights. From : A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth on Oct. 24th at approximately 1800 UT (2:00 pm EDT). The impact strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field, directly exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparked an intense geomagnetic storm. As night fell over North America, auroras spilled across the Canadian border into the contiguous United States.
Auroras were seen or photographed in more than half of all US states including Alabama, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Montana, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Arkansas and California. Many observers, especially in the deep south, commented on the pure red color of the lights they saw. These rare all-red auroras sometimes appear during intense geomagnetic storms. They occur some 300 to 500 km above Earth's surface and are not yet fully understood. is a great source for checking out the forecasts of northern lights. They even have an app that will call you when there is a good chance to see the Aurora displays in your area.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Winter Forecast! La Nina...Cold Winter Witch

This beautiful graph is the 5-day temperature mean of the waters over the Pacific Ocean. Buoys in the Pacific record the temperatures on the hour. The data is sent to NOAA and recorded.

I took a picture of a similar buoy at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It is used to collect data of wave heights for tsunami events...but is similar to the floating recorders used to take the water temperature in the ocean.

La What?

Right now we are in a La Nina event. La Nina is Spanish for "the girl". In weather geek terms it means the water in the Pacific is cooler than normal.

El Nino...Spanish for "the child". Means warmer waters over the Pacific Ocean.

What the heck does it all mean for Iowa? Good question.

In La Nina years we usually have colder than normal temperatures during the winter months. Over the southern 1/2 of Iowa wetter than normal winters can be expected. Drier than normal winters are common for the northern 1/2 of the state.

Notice how we are split in half? These mid-latitudes are great for seasonal change, but murder when forecasting who is going to be slammed with snow during La Nina years.

Here are the forecast maps for November through January. (All maps are provided by National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.)

You can see we have equal chances (EC) of above or below average temperatures or snowfall. There is a slight chance for above average precipitation over the extreme southeastern corner of the state....but just for about 3 or 4 counties in Iowa. It really doesn't look that bad. In fact in La Nina years we usually have a pretty mild end of fall and start to winter.

Now check out the forecast maps for January, February and March. The two lower maps.

For the January through March period we see a mostly equal chance of average snow and a greater chance for below normal temperatures over the northern counties.

Last year we had our 34th coldest winter and 9th snowiest winter. It was the 5th straight snowier than normal winter...and the 4th straight that was colder than normal. We only had about 3 inches more snow than average in Des Moines. It was nothing like the 2009-2010 season that left us with a near record 69+ inches of snow.

The Winter Weather Wrap....Ed's Prediction.

La Nina is not particularly strong this year...but is trending cooler. So I agree with the equal chances of just above or just below the average snowfall this year in Des Moines. So expect to move about 33 to 35 inches of snow. This is better than 69 inches of winter wonderland, but much of the state is under a mild to moderate drought conditions. We could use some rain now and some snow to melt into water tables next spring.

Temperatures are easier to read with a weak La Nina. It will be cooler than normal. The jet stream will be farther south this winter. It will keep us cooler than average and it should send more precipitation south of Iowa. It could be really good news for the drought-ridden states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Friday, October 14, 2011

45th Anniverary of Belmond Tornado

Today is the 45th anniversary of the worst October tornado to hit the state of Iowa. Belmond was devastated as a tornado killed 6, injured 172 and wiped out 75% of the businesses and over 100 homes.

This was a major storm that could have taken more people if it would have moved into town about 1/2 hour earlier when 100s were sitting on main street watching a homecoming parade.

That same day a tornado swept over Clive, Urbandale and Saylorville. No injuries were reported in those towns.

The backside of the storm left 4 inches of snow on the ground in Sioux City.

Pretty amazing to see the film of the devastation on Youtube. There are some pretty amazing accounts of the storm in the comments below the video.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Rain Needed

The current Drought Monitor shows Iowa is still in a moderate drought over about 1/3 of our 99 counties. This includes the city of Des Moines and most of our viewing area.

In southeastern Iowa the condition is considered severe.

We had some pretty nice rainfall today. It was great to wake-up to thunder this morning. This was the first time since September 3rd that Des Moines reported thunder in the current conditions.

This picture was sent to our photolink file yesterday. It shows the cracks in the ground at the Ada Hayden Park near Ames. This pic was taken in one of the parks wetland areas.

It is hard to believe that last year at this time this same area was covered in water.

There is a chance for more thunderstorms this afternoon and evening...but that will be about it for rain the rest of the week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Foggy This Morning!

The fog is a real problem for travel this morning. You can see the foggy roads from the Iowa D.O.T. camera at I-235 and 22nd street in Des Moines this morning at 8AM.

The Dense Fog Advisory is in effect for much of central and western Iowa until 10AM. The little rain we had yesterday and the light wind allowed for the fog to form.

Several deer vs. car accidents were also reported this morning. Please drive safe.

More heat on the way later today. Highs will be in the upper 70s.

More updates here...and follow me on twitter @EdWilsonWX13HD

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fires in the Fields

Low humidity, high temperatures and gusty wind is the combination farmers do not need today. You can see the smoke from a fire in this photolink picture from Humboldt County this morning.

This is going to be a huge concern through the next several days. We are not expecting a chance for showers until early next week. There is a red flag warning for high wind and special weather advisory for the high risk of agricultural land fires.

Highs will remain in the lower to middle 80s through Thursday. It will be breezy.

Burning leaves and yard debris is banned in many counties and cities across the state. Even the heat from farm machinery or car exhaust systems can easily spark a fire.

Do not throw lit cigarettes from cars. The brush and weeds in the ditches are perfect tinder for fires.

Monday, October 3, 2011

More Hot/Dry Weather This Week

A good friend of mine lost this combine in the wild-fires that swept through the state last week. The fire was in north central Iowa. It is just amazing how one spark from the machinery can cause a fire that can quickly sweep across a field of beans or corn.

I love the weather this week. We are set up for very dry conditions with temperatures getting into the 80s each day.

The records for Des Moines are all in the 90s. We should be shy of those highs.

On the other side of seasonal swings...the Sierra Nevada Mountains are under winter storm watches. They could see a foot of snow or more this week.