First an update on the California “missile” mystery. The Pentagon is now saying that it was a jet contrail. Before being completely convinced, I would like find out what airplanes were scheduled to fly in that space at that time. If it was an contrail-type illusion (not a missile launch), then there should be a record of some jet aircraft coming from the west (From Hawaii, Australia, or maybe even the west coast of Mexico) during that time. If no one can find details of scheduled flight then it leaves open the possibility of a missile launch. What is your opinion about the “missile”. Share your thoughts in the comment section.
In weather news, the storm we have been tracking all week is still projected to hit the area this weekend and as Brian mentioned over the last day or two, it is looking more like rain for central Wisconsin with a potential for a couple inches of snow in the northwoods.
If we do not end up with an inch of snow in Wausau, then the First Snowfall Contest will continue through at least Wednesday of next week when another storm system could bring some light snow. For this weekend, it looks like some rain will develop Friday afternoon and continue into Saturday. The rain will eventually mix with and change over to snow Saturday night and into Sunday morning. The highest chance for a couple inches accumulation will be north of highway 8 and west of highway 13. The embedded image shows the NAM computer model projections for Saturday evening, indicating a bit more westward track of the storm.
Someone asked about the hunting season forecast (opening weekend - the 20th) again yesterday and I have been trying to pin it down over the last few days.
It looks like there will be a storm moving through the Midwest around that time frame. The timing of this storm will be key to the hunting conditions. If the storm moves through on Friday (the 19th), then the hunting weekend will be cold and breezy, much colder than recent years. If the storm slows down a bit, the the opening weekend could be fairly mild with a chance of some light precipitation (mainly drizzle or light showers). The colder weather would then hold off until late Sunday or Monday (the 23rd). It pains me to say that I cannot refine the forecast more at this time. Opening weekend is still 9 days away which limits the accuracy of the forecast.
Something else that has been in the forecast over the last few days is an Air Quality Advisory in central Wisconsin. A couple years ago when the Air Quality Advisories started appearing in central Wisconsin, I was incredulous. I didn’t think there was a big enough population in central Wisconsin to create troublesome smog and particulate pollution. It turns out that the area has grown and automobile pollution is a problem. Nowadays anytime we have a few days in a row without much wind, we end up with an Advisory. It is not as bad as Houston, Atlanta, LA, or a host of other US cities, but it concerns me quite a bit.
The advisory level has been at orange over the last couple of days which means people sensitive to particulate pollution (those with asthma, other lung issues, or the elderly) should take precaution. Even though this level of pollution is not immediately “bad” for healthy folks, a lifetime of exposure has been linked to increased mortality and ill health as we age. When it comes to doing something about the pollution, tough choices need to be made. California clamped down on car pollution by instituting emission standards. Every car in the state has to pass an emissions test – which I assure you is a pain in the rear end and expensive if you own a used car that doesn’t run as efficiently as when it was new. Air pollution did go down in the Golden State over the years but it is still some of the worst in the nation. Another solution is to attempt to limit urban sprawl and promote mass transit. This has not worked so well in the US because we have a lot of space to expand into and there is more of an independent spirit in the country. Even here is Wausau it is tough to stop sprawl. When the National Guard wanted a new facility they chose to move out into the country and pave over 40 acres of “green space” instead of building something new at their current location. Building at the current location would require that they have a 2 story building. When the city (and myself) suggested building at the current location they said go fly a kite (“we don’t do 2 story buildings”). So if we cannot reign in sprawl the next best option would be to use non-polluting cars. Thankfully, there is a burgeoning electric car industry in the US and around the world. The prices of the new electric vehicles (EVs) are a little steep right now, but hopefully will come down enough to allow mass adoption in the near future, otherwise I will have to move far out into the country, or even out of state. Some of the cleanest air is in the mountain states out west, although some locations are now being affected by particulate pollution from China. Some people estimate that up to 15% of this type of pollution along the west coast originates from China. Guess what the problem in China is? Too many cars, and car ownership in China is much less than in the US, so it could get worse.
One thing I should mention, in respect to air pollution, EVs are a much better option than biofuel cars. Biofuels might be slightly better for than the environment than traditional fossil fuels, but they still produce smog. Some studies have show increased levels of some types of pollution with the use of ethanol. Plus many biofuels are still much too expensive for mass adoption. Growing the material for biofuels also takes up a lot of space. From start to finish, electrification of transportation is much more efficient.
Have a fine Thursday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on November 11, 2010