Hurricane Katrina Nears Landfall

August 29, 2005 at 2:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As of Sunday night, Hurricane Katrina is a monster storm; category five (winds of at least 156 mph) on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.
The current track takes it across New Orleans on Monday. If the storm holds its strength, it will be the worst storm to ever hit New Orleans since we’ve been keeping weather records.
This would be only the fourth category five storm to ever hit the United States; The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and Camille in 1969 are two, and the third and most recent is Andrew. Andrew struck Southern Florida in 1992 and still ranks as the costliest ever.
Katrina will pose several threats to the coast. First are the obvious dangers of catastrophic winds and torrential rains. There is also the possibility of isolated tornadoes. But by far, the most damage will be caused from the Gulf Of Mexico’s water being pushed onto land, especially to the east of the eye of the storm. This storm surge creates a wall of water, with even bigger, wind-driven waves on top of that water. This water can be forced right into places like Mobile, Alabama and the entire Gulf Coast. But the affects on New Orleans could be devastating. New Orleans is below sea level. Flanked by a river and a lake, water gets forced in and only has one place to go…down into New Orleans.
Once the storm hits land, it will begin weakening as it moves through the Ohio/Tennessee River Valley, the Eastern Great Lakes and the Northeast, but massive amounts of rain are still possible along the storm’s path right through mid-week.
For the very latest on this storm, check out NBC Weather Plus which you can watch live right here on our website.

New Face on our Weather Team

August 21, 2005 at 11:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our weekend morning meterologist James Aydelott got married this weekend and is on his honeymoon. Congratulations to James and Robin! And Steve MacLaughlin is in Los Angeles for a special training session for the upcoming Muscular Dystrophy Telethon that he helps host. He and Mike Snyder are both there preparing for the big event on Labor Day. So we were short-handed this weekend. Rebecca Miller worked Saturday night and I am working Sunday night. But we still needed someone to cover the morning shift over the weekend.

Michael Hammer is a recent meteorology graduate from Texas A&M. He now works full-time for an air pollution company in Dallas. But last year he took a course in broadcast meteorology that Becky teaches each year at A&M. And she was impressed by his abilities. So when we needed help this weekend, she suggested Michael. We took a look at his tape and decided he would be a perfect fit.

Michael had never been on television before he made his broadcast debut Saturday morning. He was on again Sunday morning, and will return next weekend as well. After that you probably won’t see him for a while. Michael is not a permanent NBC5 employee. But we hope he will be able to come back and help out whenever we are short-handed in the future. We were very impressed with his on-air debut, and we have received a number of favorable comments from viewers who also thought he had a great start to his broadcasting career.

Feast or Famine

August 21, 2005 at 11:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For just about the past month, we have seen areas of showers and thunderstorms almost every day in at least some part of north Texas. And some areas, particularly to the west and northwest of the Metroplex have seen very heavy rains, ten inches or more, in just the past week. This has caused flooding that is now surging southward down the Brazos River system. At this time, the rising floodwaters of the Brazos has resulted in Highway 67 being closed at the town of South Bend, in Young County. And just below the dam at Possum Kingdom Lake, Highway 16 is closed in Palo Pinto County. Flood waters are expected to inundate a number of trailer homes in the community of Pleasant Valley, in Palo Pinto County. Here is a link to the latest Flood Statement from the National Weather Service:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=fwd&wwa=flood%20statement

But it has been a different story in the Metroplex, and especially in areas east and southeast of Dallas. Here, the rainfall has been very sporadic, and in some cases almost non-existent. Here, and to the east, the concern is not flooding, but the continuing drought. While areas between Abilene and Wichita Falls have had up to 150% of the normal rainfall this year, most of north central and northeast Texas has had only 30 to 60% of normal rainfall. Here is a link to the National Weather Service drought page:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/fwd/CLIMO/drought/drought05.html

We may see a few more thunderstorms in parts of north Texas Monday evening, or again or Tuesday. But it won’t be nearly enough to help out the current ongoing drought in the Metroplex. We need a good six-inches of steady soaking rain to really make a difference around here.

Mars Spectacular? No… Perseids? Yes!

August 8, 2005 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nope. Not this year.

Many of you have received e-mails about a big Mars Spectacular, where Mars will appear as big as the full moon!

This happened in 2003, and Mars, while a big brighter than usual, never appeared as big as the full moon. You can read more about this e-mail at
http://www.snopes.com/science/mars.asp

What IS coming up, however, is the Perseid Meteor Shower, at its peak late on Thursday and Friday nights, August 11-12 and 12-13 (for
viewers in North America). The rate of activity should pick up after
midnight until the first light of dawn.

Read more on the Perseids at http://skyandtelescope.com/aboutsky/pressreleases/article_1562_1.asp

Can we see the Space Shuttle Re-entry?

August 5, 2005 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In the past, the Space Shuttle has sometimes passed over Texas as it streaked toward an early morning landing in Florida. And that is always an amazing sight, as the ionized gases produced by the glow of re-entry paint a silver streak across the entire sky. It is definitely a sight not to be missed. But right now, it looks like the landing track of the Discovery into Florida early Monday morning will be coming in from Central America, rather than from over Texas. So it looks like we won’t be able to see the re-entry this time. But if the de-orbit burn is changed to a later time, the landing track could still change. You can keep up with the latest expected ground track at:
http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight/crew/landing.html

There is still a chance to see the Shuttle from Texas this weekend, but it won’t be during re-entry. Two bright lights in tandem will slowly drift over the metroplex sky this Sunday morning about 30 minutes before sunrise. The Space Shuttle and International Space Station will shine nearly as bright as the brilliant planet Jupiter. About three hours earlier, the Shuttle will have undocked from the Station getting ready for its Monday morning return to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. So the two spacecraft will be slightly separated.

Look to the southwest at 6:13am in the pre-dawn sky as the orbiting vehicles rise over the horizon about one degree apart. If you hold out your thumb out at arm’s length, you’ll be able to cover both spaceships since the width of your thumb is about two degrees across. At 6:16am, the pair will be nearly overhead and by 6:19am they will be setting in the northeast. Sunrise is at 6:45am, so there will be some competing sunlight sneaking into the sky.

Which is which? The Shuttle will be the slightly brighter one due to its higher reflective surface. Binoculars will definitely make for better viewing.

This is not nearly as impressive as watching the re-entry over Texas. But it is still worth a look early Sunday morning.

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