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October ends as one of Iowa’s driest Octobers, and it was warmer, too

News, Weather

November 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Humidifiers have been running almost non-stop for weeks as one of Iowa’s driest Octobers in more than 20 years is now over. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says the month that just ended saw very little rainfall, though it wasn’t a record-breaker. “The driest one is in a class all by itself, way back in October of 1952,” Hillaker says. “Most of the state had no rain what-so-ever and the statewide average was just 2/100ths of an inch for the month. That’s our driest calendar month of any month for the year, not just for October.”

Here in Atlantic, we received just .21” of rain during the month. The normal average is 2.54-inches. While official State numbers are still being tabulated, this October saw a statewide average between three-quarters of an inch and eight-tenths of an inch of rain, which will rank it around the 10th driest Iowa October on record. It was the driest October since 1988 when we only averaged two-thirds of an inch of rain statewide. Hillaker say the just-ended month was also warmer than usual.

“The month is going to average out about three-degrees warmer than normal,” he says. “We actually got off to a rather cold start. We had an unusually cold September and the first couple of days in October were well below normal as well. A little bit of cold weather was mixed in, especially the last week or two, but most days were above normal.” As for the month ahead, November may follow suit, at least as far as warmth.

“November, historically when we’re in a La Nina weather pattern as we are right now, has quite strong odds of being warmer than normal and just a teeny tendency to be on the dry side of normal as well,” Hillaker says. Based on the forecast though, he says Iowa may see rain showers as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday) with an even-larger storm front possibly moving over the state this weekend.

The average high for October in Atlantic, was 68.5-degrees, which was slightly warmer than the normal average of 65.7. The average low was 35.9, which was slightly cooler than the normal average of 38.1.

Burn Ban in effect for Cass County, IA from 3-p.m. Oct. 7th until further notice

News, Weather

October 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Dry and windy conditions and little chance of precipitation have prompted officials in Cass County to issue a Burn Ban, which will remain in effect until further notice. The ban was instituted at 3-p.m. today (Friday, Oct. 7th), by Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon, after he submitted a request which was approved by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The ban means opening burning is prohibited until the Fire Marshal deems conditions in the county are such that open burning no longer constitutes a danger to life or property.

Burn bans are already in place in several northwestern and Central Iowa Counties. Cass County is the first in southwest and western Iowa to institute the ban. Just before the ban went into effect, a field fire was reported northwest of Atlantic this (Friday) afternoon. No buildings were in danger from the flames. Crews from Atlantic, Marne and Elk Horn were working the scene just before 3-p.m.

September Weather Stats for Atlantic

News, Weather

October 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Average High temp for the month: 73.6 degrees.  Average Low: 43.8.  Rainfall: 1.08 inches.  Date with the most precipitation recorded at the KJAN studios: Sept. 18th, @ .37″. Warmest day: Sept. 1st, 91-degrees.  The lowest temperature was 29, set on Sept. 30th.

August 2011 Weather Stats for Atlantic

News, Weather

September 1st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The average High for the month was 84.5-degrees. The hottest day was on the 23rd, when we topped out at 97, during a “heat burst” late in the evening. The average Low was 59.9-degrees. The coolest reading was 50-degrees, on the 24th. Normals for Atlantic: High – 84.2; Low – 59.7.

Rainfall for the month amounted to 6.9-inches. The greatest amount of rainfall occurred on thr 15th (3″).  Normal average rainfall in August, is 3.88″.

Heat Burst hits SW IA Tuesday evening

News, Weather

August 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

If you noticed it became unusually, and suddenly hot Tuesday evening here in Atlantic, and in the surrounding area, you weren’t imagining things. The National Weather Service in Des Moines says a rare phenomenon known as a “Heat Burst” affected portions of southwest Iowa. A Heat Burst is characterized by a sudden rise in temperature, a drop in humidity, and strong winds that can approach or exceed severe levels. They are associated with high-based decaying thunderstorms with a substantial dry layer between the base of the storm.

As rain from the thunderstorm falls into the underlying dry air, it cools the air immediately around it, which becomes denser than the surrounding air, and begins to sink. As this air sinks, it dries and compresses, resulting in the hot and dry readings recorded with heat bursts.

Here in Atlantic, at the KJAN studios…the official National Weather Service reporting station…our temperatures from 1-to 6-pm were generally in the mid-80’s. The high here at the station reached 97-degrees.

According to the Automated Weather Observation System located at the airport, just before 7-p.m., the winds began to increase from 15- to 30-miles per hour. By 7:15, were gusting upwards of 40-miles per hour, and the temperature jumped from 88-degrees at 6:55-p.m., to 99-degrees at 7:15. The temp maxed out at 102-degrees, 10-minutes later, and by 7:35 had dropped to 91. The air cooled to the mid 80’s by 8-p.m.

The phenomenon also brought some damaging winds to part of the listening area. Officials with the Weather Service say a Heat Burst-related wind event caused a tree to fall on a power line in Bridgewater, at around 6:50-p.m. At 7:05, a tree was observed down on a power line one-mile south of Brayton. Other tree limbs also fell, as winds of up to 40-miles per hour occurred. The temperature in that area also spiked, from 76- to 96-degrees in just a few minutes. There was also a sharp drop in the humidity. And, a 60-mile per hour gust of wind was recorded in Fontanelle at 7:44-p.m., by an automated system.

Heavy rain drenches western Iowa, eastern Nebraska (updated 6:45-a.m.)

News, Weather

August 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Heavy rain has flooded some streets and basements in far western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Standing water blocked streets early Monday morning in Council Bluffs and across the Missouri River in Omaha, Neb. Council Bluffs officials asked residents in the Playland Park neighborhood on the west side of the city to remain in their homes until the rain runoff had dropped to safe levels. No evacuations were ordered. The American Red Cross says it was opening a shelter at Community of Christ Church on the east side of the city so people have a place to stay.

In Omaha, some streets just north of downtown were closed, and golfball-sized hail was observed.  Two- to three-inch diameter hail which fell at around 3:45-a.m. ,broke out several automobile windows in the Bellevue, NE.,   No injuries or deaths have been reported.

The National Weather Service in Valley, NE, reports 2.79-inches of rain had fallen near Glenwood, with three separate waves of hail ranging from pea to quarter-sized having fallen, as well. In Carter Lake, 3.31-inches of rain had fallen by 5-a.m., and anywhere from two-to three-inches of rain had fallen in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area.

Iowa DOT still looking over flood damage to western Iowa roads & bridges

News, Weather

August 20th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation are hoping they don’t hear the word “flood” for years to come. Iowa D-O-T spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher says they are still in the process of surveying the damages done to roadways across western Iowa that have been underwater for more than two months.  “An inventory of all of the assets that we have in the areas that are flooded,” Gray-Fisher says. “Those could be signs that might be damaged, the roadway, culverts, bridges. That’s kind of the first step.” Gray-Fisher says there is bridge damage at Hamburg Iowa along Interstate-29. There’s also a report of an 11-foot hole under a section of pavement that eroded. She says it’s too early to see if there’s damage to the Mormon Bridge between Omaha and Council Bluffs and to the bridge between Onawa, Iowa and Decatur, Nebraska, further to the north.

She says, “That is one area that we already know there’s a serious problem with some bridges there and that’s going to take some major repair work and it will likely prolong us getting back to a recovered state.” Gray-Fisher says the DOT is continuing to monitor the situation by air as the flood water is preventing crews from getting a close-up look at the damage.  “Some of the aerial visuals we’ve seen, we do know that damage has occurred, we just don’t know the extent until the waters go down and that will begin, more significantly, by the end of this month,” she says. Along with I-29, there are seven major Iowa roads closed due to flooding.

The Iowa side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge that connects Council Bluffs and Omaha also remains closed.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Hail pounds western Iowa college campus

News, Weather

August 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Broken windows, damaged buildings and landscaping may be part of the college scene next week as classes begin at Iowa Western Community College on the east side of Council Bluffs. Powerful thunderstorms ripped through the area Thursday night, leaving thousands of people without power. Softball-size hail pounded the college campus and vehicles parked there. In another part of Council Bluffs, officials reported that an ambulance was stranded by high water and mud for more than 90 minutes. It wasn’t carrying a patient.

MidAmerican Energy says power still hasn’t been restored to more than 5,000 customers in Pottawattamie County, across the Missouri River from Omaha.

Storms pound eastern Nebraska, western Iowa

News, Weather

August 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Powerful thunderstorms that ripped through eastern Nebraska and western Iowa damaged homes, vehicles and businesses and has left thousands of people without power. Omaha Public Power District reported that more than 8,100 customers didn’t have power as of 4:30 a.m. Friday, down from a peak of more than 40,000 customers at 11 p.m. Thursday. MidAmerican Energy says power still hasn’t been restored to more than 5,000 customers in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Omaha.No storm-related deaths have been reported.

Hail from the rain-laden storms shattered windows, roofs and siding at homes around the region. Omaha’s Eppley Airfield was closed for a time and more than a dozen flights were canceled. Damage to seven aircraft was reported. Winds gusted at more than 60 mph.

Severe Storms bring large hail & damaging winds to western IA (updated 10:50-a.m. 8/19)

News, Weather

August 19th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Storms across the Midwest last night, brought heavy rain and large hail to portions of South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. The National Weather Service says a storm near Omaha produced softball-size hail and winds of more than 65 miles per hour.

Winds gusting up to 65-miles per hour were reported one-mile west of Harlan at around 4-p.m. Emergency management officials said a farm was damaged five-miles northwest of Harlan at around that same time, where grain bins and outbuildings were destroyed, and a 1,000-gallon propane tank was moved 10-feet.

Winds of more than 70 miles per hour were reported north of Villisca just after 6-pm, Thursday, along with quarter-sized hail. In Griswold, winds gusted up to 55 miles per hour and heavy rain was reported at 5:15-p.m. A KJAN listener who lives near Interstate 80 and the Olive Street exit in Cass County, said hail estimated to be about the size of ping-pong balls fell for about 5-minutes, just after 7-p.m., Thursday. KJAN News Director Ric Hanson observed pea to nickel-sized hail falling just before 7:30-p.m., in the same area.

Baseball-sized hail was reported to have fallen four-miles south of Stanton, other reports of golfball-sized hail came from Council Bluffs, and areas near Tennant, Nodaway, Farragut, Gravity, and Randolph. Charles Ambrose, Emergency Management Director in the Taylor County town of Gravity, told the media at least one downtown building had its windows broke, and hail completely covered the ground.

Quarter-sized hail was reported at many other locations, including Hancock, Underwood, Glenwood, and Clarinda. Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued in all three states

late Thursday afternoon, with a tornado warning in north central Nebraska.