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Learn how to be a winter weather spotter at free webinar tonight

News, Weather

December 14th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowans are invited to an online webinar on winter weather tonight (Monday) being hosted by the National Weather Service office in Johnston. Meteorologist Alex Krull says they’re constantly recruiting weather spotters to help be the eyes and ears for forecasters. “We’ll talk about how we forecast different types of winter precipitation and how we officially report that then to the National Weather Service,” Krull says. “That includes how to properly take a snowfall measurement, if you have any ice on trees or power lines, how you can take a picture and officially report that to the National Weather Service and to be able to identify differences between things like snow, sleet and graupel.”

You don’t know what graupel is? Graupel is considered a soft hail or small snow pellets. Spotter training sessions were cancelled earlier this year due to the pandemic and Krull says these webinars are a good alternative for now.  “There are plans to host more online virtual severe weather spotter training sessions come this springtime,” Krull says. “At this time, it doesn’t quite look like we’ll be able to have in-person meetings again, come springtime.”

The webinar is free and runs from 7 to 8 PM. Register to take part here: www.weather.gov/dmx

Snow Ordinance may be activated in Clarinda this weekend

News, Weather

December 10th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

Clarinda Police Chief Keith Brothers says with a potential winter storm approaching our area Friday night through Saturday morning, the Clarinda Police Department would like to remind the citizens of Clarinda about the snow ordinance. The ordinance says “No person shall park any motor vehicle or other apparatus upon any street of the city that will obstruct the removal of snow when there has been an accumulation of two (2) inches or more. Any vehicle left parked on any street in violation of this ordinance may be impounded, and the registered owner of the vehicle will be subject to a $30 parking fine, and payment of all applicable towing and storage fees before the vehicle is released.”

Chief Brothers says the parking ban remains in effect until the snow ceases to fall and the streets have been plowed from curb to curb.

With storms approaching, tonight is the best night to see the Northern Lights

News, Weather

December 9th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – For Iowans who long to watch the fascinating swirls of green and purple waves of light in the sky, tonight (Wednesday) will likely be your best opportunity. A powerful solar flare is expected to push the famed Northern Lights further south into Iowa for a rare view. Meteorologist Andy Ervin, at the National Weather Service bureau in Davenport, says a storm front is forecast to arrive tomorrow (Thursday).

Locations from Washington state to Maine may be seeing the lights each of the next three nights, but clouds are expected over Iowa both Thursday and Friday nights. Ervin says if you can carve out a little time tonight to gaze skyward at the celestial spectacle, do.

A longtime Quad Cities resident, Ervin says he’s seen the Northern Lights before.

The Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado says the geomagnetic storm will peak late tonight into early Thursday. The solar flare was recorded on Monday.

November temperatures were 5 degrees above normal in Iow

News, Weather

December 2nd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa/KJAN) – State Climatologist Justin Glisan says preliminary data shows a statewide average of two inches of precipitation fell in Iowa last month. While that’s exactly what’s average for November, Glisan says precipitation amounts were far below average in northwest Iowa. “We saw precipitation departures of anywhere from one to two inches,” Glisan says. That means some areas of northwest Iowa, where there are drought conditions, recorded little, if any precipitation last month. On the flip side, south central and south east Iowa were much wetter.

“We kind of had the storm track locked on that part of the state,” he says. “That’s where we saw the largest positive departures, anywhere from 1.5 to 2 inches.” That means some pockets of southern Iowa had twice as much rain as average. Glisan says due to a lack of precipitation over the past three to six months, a few counties in northwest iowa are in extreme drought.

“You can kind of cut Iowa in half, typically right down I-35. Anywhere east of that we’re above average precipitation wise and anywhere west of that we’re below average and that’s where we see…abnormally dry conditions all the way to the extreme drought conditions up in that northwest corner.”

Weather during the month of November here in Atlantic, was warmer and drier than normal. Data compiled at the KJAN studios (The OFFICIAL National Weather Service reporting/record keeping site for Atlantic), show the Average High for the month was 56 (55.8), which was a full 10-degrees above normal. The Average Low was 27.3, which is nearly one-tenth of a degree above normal. Rain and melted snowfall for the month amounted to 1.76 inches, which is nearly one-tenth of an inch below average.  Snowfall amounted to just one-half of an inch.

During the month of December, in Atlantic, the Average High is 32.9-degrees, the Average Low is 14.4, and rain/melted snow typically amounts to 1.11-inches. Check the Weather Page Jan. 1st, to see how our stats this month compare to the records.

Based on astronomy, winter starts on December 21st, but based on climatology and meteorology, December 1st is the first day of winter. Glison says that means the drought conditions are likely to persist. “Drier soils will freeze faster and they’ll freeze deeper,” Glisan says. “If we get into a cold period in which we dip below freezing for a good amount of time and the soils freeze, any precipitation in the form of rain or snowfall getting into a melt period will not infiltrate into that soil very deep, if at all.” The other factor is subsoil moisture is depleted, especially in western Iowa. Temperatures in Iowa averaged five degrees above normal for the month of November.

“Typically when we do see warmer temperatures along with these windy days that we’ve had, especially in November, that produces atmospheric demand for water vapor,” Glisan says. And that exacerbated evaporation of what moisture there had been in the soil. Glisan says the short term outlook is for warmer and drier than normal conditions in December for the western three quarters of the United States.

November 2020 weather data for Atlantic

Weather

December 1st, 2020 by Ric Hanson

Weather during the month of November, here in Atlantic, was warmer and drier than normal. Data compiled at the KJAN studios (The OFFICIAL National Weather Service reporting/record keeping site for Atlantic), show the Average High for the month was 56 (55.8), which was a full 10-degrees above normal. The Average Low was 27.3, which is nearly one-tenth of a degree above normal. Rain and melted snowfall for the month amounted to 1.76 inches, which is nearly one-tenth of an inch below average.  Snowfall amounted to just one-half of an inch.

During the month of December, in Atlantic, the Average High is 32.9-degrees, the Average Low is 14.4, and rain/melted snow typically amounts to 1.11-inches. Check the Weather Page Jan. 1st, to see how our stats this month compare to the records.

Local 24-Hour Rainfall Totals at 7:00 am on Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

November 25th, 2020 by Chris Parks

  • KJAN, Atlantic  .13″
  • 7 miles NNE of Atlantic  .12″
  • Massena  .25″
  • Anita  .05″
  • Audubon  .07″
  • Corning  .49″
  • Neola  .5″
  • Red Oak  .22″
  • Clarinda  .57″
  • Shenandoah  .45″

Local 24-Hour Rainfall/Snowfall Totals at 7:00 am on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

November 24th, 2020 by Chris Parks

  • KJAN, Atlantic  .28″ (.5″ snow)
  • 7 miles NNE of Atlantic  .28″ (1″ snow)
  • Massena  .13″ (2″ snow)
  • Clarinda  .39″ (Trace snow)
  • Bridgewater  3″ snow
  • Neola  1″ snow
  • Audubon  .36″  (1.5″ snow)
  • Guthrie Center  .39″ (1″ snow)
  • Oakland  .28″ (.5″ snow)
  • Manning .13″
  • Logan  .42″ (1.5″ snow)
  • Red Oak  .37″ (1″ snow)

Drought conditions worsen in parts of western Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

November 24th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – While there have been scattered showers, parts of Iowa have had very little rain since mid-summer and the continued dry weather is drawing down soil moisture levels. State climatologist Justin Glisan says while drought conditions are lessening in some areas, they’re worsening elsewhere, as much of Iowa’s western third is now in moderate to severe drought. “Subsoil conditions across much of the region show a below-normal percentile,” Glisan says. “Recent warm and windy days produced higher evaporate demand in the atmosphere, so the atmosphere is thirsty, especially for this time of year, those conditions allow for extraction of any subsoil moisture or surface moisture that we see.”

We’re heading into a drier time of year, so Glisan says it will be difficult to recharge soil moisture levels before spring. “With a lack of precipitation, this makes rainfall infiltration when we do get it harder to get down deep,” he says. Glisan says that lack of soil moisture may bring some help to Iowa’s farmers in the spring. “The silver lining here is that moving into the growing season, drier-than-normal conditions will make field work and planting easier,” Glisan says. “If you go back, the last two or three years, we’ve had pretty wet conditions going into the growing season with record subsoil moisture which delayed planting.”

Conditions could change within a matter of several weeks, as Glisan says the trends point to above-normal precipitation for January through March.

Forecaster: Winter’s coming and the soil’s still too dry

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

November 18th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Forecasters say drought conditions that spread across much of Iowa earlier this year will likely linger well into winter. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub — based in Ames, says it doesn’t appear there will be many chances to replenish moisture levels in the soil before things begin to freeze up.  “We had a very dry end of summer and end to fall,” Todey says. “It’s been great for harvest but not good for soil moisture recharge. By this point, it’s very unlikely we’ll get the soil moisture recharged to where we want it to be.”

Despite a warming trend in Iowa this week, Todey says winter will be here in a little over a month. “Our soils are going to go in pretty dry and when the cold does come, we will freeze up and we’re not going to have much chance to recharge soil moisture at that rate,” he says. The drier conditions typically mean a quicker start to the planting season in the new year. “When spring comes around and we do thaw and we want to get to ag activity, there’s a better chance of being able to get moving earlier,” Todey says.

“Downside is that we’ve got some fairly dry soils that we’re going to need to put some moisture in. That’s my bigger concern with this whole situation, these dry soils that we have going on into winter and into the early spring.” Todey says another danger with dry soils is that frost can get much deeper and cause damage to pipes and plants.

Warmer November weather may be coming soon and a colder winter beyond

News, Weather

November 11th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – While an active La Nina pattern continues to form over the Pacific Ocean, questions remain about what impact it will have in Iowa. Past La Ninas have led to colder winters here with some increase in snowfall. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says it appears November will be more mild than cold. “It looks like, after this cold stretch, we may be getting into a bit warmer period again for a decent part of November,” Todey says. “Are we done with La Nina and what it’s going to do for the overall winter? No, I don’t think so. I think we’re still going to see some cold coming in and more of that may be occurring later in the winter.”

Some longer-range climate maps indicate warmer-than-normal temperatures early next year, but Todey says nothing’s certain. “We’re not locked into what we are at this point and if you look at the outlooks, they are still shifting as the winter goes on,” Todey says. “The cold may be coming in and it may be the warmth of the central plains, so let’s keep an eye on this.” While we can study what’s happened during past La Ninas, there’s no guarantee this latest one will follow the playbook. “While there are some averages we can look at in the way of La Ninas, and those have been reflected in the outlooks, there are some of these big events that have not looked quite the same and have taken on a different view,” Todey says.

“That may be what we’re seeing here, at least for the first part. There’s plenty of winter to come. I don’t think the story is written about this La Nina yet this winter.”  A La Nina occurs when sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean cool below long-term normal trends.