My First Blog At WeatherWatch 12!

Hello Everyone!

My name is Luke Sampe, and this is my first blog entry for the WeatherWatch 12 Blog!

I usually work the morning shift during the week and on the weekends, so typically Jeremy and Mark take care of maintaining the blog. I am going to try and throw in my two cents a little more often!

First I will tell you a little about myself. I am a Wisconsinite through and through. I was literally born in a small town in northeast Wisconsin called Francis Creek. You may pass by the exit sign for it in Manitowoc county on I43 if you are heading north.

I then attended much of my school years in Two Rivers and graduated from Washington High School. After that, was when I started my first rendezvous with the city of Milwaukee. I attended UW-M in the late 90s and early 2000s. I also attended Grad School at UW-M earning both undergraduate and master’s degrees in weather forecasting.

I am married to the most supportive and loving person in my life, Amy. And a father to two amazing children, Owen and Adyson.

During my graduate work I had the amazing opportunity to study under Dr. Paul Roebber. With his guidance, I was able to complete a thesis on precipitation phase transitions. I know it sounds boring, but knowing when snow will change to rain, or rain to snow is SUPER hard to forecast. This was the exact problem with the Blizzard from a few weeks ago where Milwaukee saw only a couple inches of snow and areas just to the north has close to a foot. Obviously the rain lingered on a bit longer in the Brew City.

My television career started really by chance. Growing up I was a REALLY shy kid, so talking in front of an audience still is very intimidating to me. But TV is different, and weathercasting is almost like teaching. Making people aware of their surroundings and explaining why and how it will affect them. And talking to a camera, surprisingly, is like talking to a person. Hey I can handle that!

So when I was an undergrad, I accepted a weather internship at another TV station in town. For whatever reason, my then mentor kept pushing me and teaching me. After 4 years of prodding…I decided to try it. I applied for a Chief Meteorologist position at the NBC affiliate that serves central and northern WI…and GOT it. And the rest as they say is history.

I spent just shy of 5 years at that station, and now I find myself with the amazing opportunity to work alongside some incredibly talented people. And hopefully, settle down in the city that my wife and I absolutely love.

Well enough about me…this is a weather blog, so let’s talk weather!

Looks like we will see the first 40s of December 2010! I know some may already have cabin fever, but this is not going to be the solution. Rain will also accompany the mild temperatures along with a lot of wind. If anything, it is just going to take away the little outdoor winter fun we have around the area, and cause some localized flooding.

Here are some forecast model solutions to how this week will play out.

Above is a forecast projection at 6:00 AM Friday from the NAM model. Notice the “L” signifying the center of the storm over northern Kansas. Also the black lines are denoting isobars…the tighter they are packed the windier it will be. In this orientation, this means strong southerly winds will invade. Lastly, the temperature about 5,000 feet will be above freezing meaning the “green areas” show the precipitation would be of the liquid variety.

Above is a forecast projection at 6:00 AM Friday from the GFS model. Notice the difference in placement of the “L” more to the West with secondary “L” in the panhandle of OK, TX. Either scenario does not change our weather a whole lot, the key is the “L” is going to track to our west and keep us on the warm-side of the storm.

Above is a look at contoured surface temperatures for Friday afternoon. Notice the “L” is tracking into NW Wisconsin at this time. The strong south to southeast winds will put temps close to 45 degrees on Friday. This along with the rain showers could cause some flooding as melting snow and falling rain will try to drain into frozen creeks and rivers. This will be something that WeatherWatch 12 will be watching very closely.

Snow lovers better get out there before Thursday as outdoor winter activities will be taking a hit late in the week!



9 Responses

  1. Hey Luke welcome! I attended UWM at grad school around the 1999-2001 time period? So what are the job responsibilities of a chief meteorologist vs meteorologist?

  2. Luke – nice to meet you. Interesting little things in your map. Most blogs, you tend to see the 1000-500 thickness, yet you went for the 850mb MSLP. Interesting choice. Second, the interesting difference between the two 850 maps is one with the two lows and an inverted trough vs a singular low. This is a curious difference. Makes you wonder if there is significant disagreement where upper vorticity may lie and its initialization.

    So, with Mark and Jeremy using the LRC, it will be interesting to see how or if you join this path of analysis.


  3. Hi Bryan!

    The main difference of the responsibilities of a Chief Meteorologist vs. Meteorologist is that typically the Chief is the primary meteorologist for making department decisions. This could be graphics look, how weather events get covered, staffing decisions, scheduling etc. The Chief is typically the one who handles issues with other management in the station as well.

  4. Hi Scott!

    I actually chose to show forecast surface maps (pressure), which include precip in the previous 6 hours and temperatures at 850. I chose to go that route, and will actually consider looking at temperature profiles in the lower levels. The 1000-500 thickness (although a rough estimate for precip type) is pretty crude to diagnose precip type. In fact all thickness rules (even 1000-850, 1000-700, 850-700) are pretty crude. Lot of information gets lost since a thickness can at best only estimate a “mean” temperature in a layer. Model soundings have improved greatly and considering those along with humidity profiles can allow forecasters to discern precip type much more reliable.

    As for the LRC…It makes sense…I have only put one toe in the water on it…I need to watch it a bit more and learn more about too from Jeremy and Mark.


  5. Hey Luke!

    Welcome…. great to have you on 12 and the blog 🙂 I’m sure you’ll do awesome. Thanks for the blog post about yourself and your take on the upcoming storm. I love this blog – it’s the only one I follow. Look forward to following your posts as well!


  6. Welcome Luke to WISN…the only weather reporting that I really trust. I also enjoy this blog. I’m not a meteorological officianado, but I learn a lot about why weather happens from reading here. I am also a convert to the LRC repeating weather pattern.

    When I first heard your last name I wondered whether you were part of the “Sampe” family I know from Fort Atkinson. After reading your bio, I guess you are not. It’s not a common name, so I thought you might be related to them.

    Anyhow, glad you are part of the WISN weather team and I look forward to reading more of your blog posts about weather. WELCOME!

  7. Hey Luke, we chit-chatted on Rebecca’s facebook page a month or so ago. Glad to see you’re blogging. Looking forward to your point of view.

  8. we are going to ashlend. what is the temp and weather goiong to be up their this wkend????????thursday friday saturday and sunday when we come back….in afternoon

    • Dave,

      Ashland will see most of the precip on Friday, likely some rain or a mix, then snow. Accumulating snow is possible Friday evening/night. Then expect a lot of wind and much colder temperatures. Your trip home on Sunday may be cold, but should be dry. Have a safe trip!


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