Archive for October, 2008

The Most Recent Winter Outlook…
October 18, 2008

was just released by the Climate Prediction Center.  In The midsts of reports of a 17% increase in the price to heat your home across parts of the midwest this winter… finally some good news.

Based on recent weather patterns and the lack of a well defined El Nino or La Nina (in other words “La Nada”) the Federal agency is forecasting a strong possibility of above normal temperatures.  If this verifies we’ll benefit by price drops along with demand.  The official forecast can be found here: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/seasonal.php?lead=2

It’s important to remember this is a probability of temperaters AVERAGING above normal.  There will still be cold and snowy days.  This is Wisconsin afterall.

Speaking of snow, notice the bottom “Precipitation Outlook” map below the temperature map.  It show equal chances (33.3%) of above normal, near normal and below normal aounts of precipitation.  Basically, your guess is as good as ours:-) 

My money is on a mild, typically wet Nov and Dec with below normal snowfall.  I have a feeling that could change by late January with the possibility of winter running into spring.  It will certainly be fun to see how it plays out.

Lance Hill

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What is Frost?
October 5, 2008

Most of the area saw their first frost on Saturday morning as temps fell to near freezing away from Lake Michigan. There are a lot of misnomers about what exactly creates frost.

Frost is not frozen dew. Dew occurs when the temperature at the surface cools to the dew point and condensation occurs. Frost is actually created as water vapor freezes on objects. This is called deposition. Frost normally occurs on clear nights and happens on roofs, cars, grass, and other plants. Temperature sensitive plants can die if a frost occurs.

Another question I always hear is, “how can you get frost when the temperature is above freezing?” The official height of a thermometer is 5.5 feet above a grassy surface. On a clear and calm night, the closer you get to the earth’s surface the colder it gets. At 5.5 feet the temperature can be five degrees warmer than at the surface. This is why frost can occur even when the temperature at the height of the thermometer is above freezing.

Mark Baden