We set a new mark for “coldest temperature of the season” this morning – anyway, coldest at FAA reporting sites. The temperature dropped all the way down to 13 in Land O’ Lakes. Here in Wausau the the low was 21 which was also the coldest of the season so far. This might have some worried about the weather trend for the upcoming deer hunting weekend. Don’t get too concerned. It looks like some mild weather will prevail on Saturday and Sunday – maybe to mild. In the past when I have hunted, it seems the perfect day is a low temperature in the 20 to 25 range and a high temperature a little above freezing, let us say 33 to 39. Partly sunny skies are nice as well. As long as the high temperature stays in the 30s, then any snow on the ground will not melt (which is not a concern this year), the harvested deer cooldown quickly, and you don’t have to shed too much clothing. I have gotten too hot in previous years when lows were in the 20s and high temps were in the 45 to 50 range. I guess the best way to prepare for that type of weather is to wear layers instead of a big insulated suit/parka. That is the type of preparation that might be needed for this upcoming weekend.
It looks like the day will start out in the mid to upper 20s. Partly sunny skies and a southeast wind (about 10 mph) on Saturday will help boost the temperature into the mid 40s (maybe even the upper 40s). That is not too hot for hunting but it is pushing it. On Sunday, the southerly wind will continue as well as the mild temps. Low temps on Sunday will likely be a little above freezing and high temps will reach the low to mid 40s. If there is some hazy sunshine on Sunday, then high temps might get close to 50. That being said, I do expect more clouds on Sunday and I am currently forecasting a 30% chance of light showers. I have seen some hints that the rain might hold off until Sunday night, so the Sunday forecast could change a bit as the week rolls along. Stay tuned for updates here in the blog.
A few updates from the sky above this week. The LCROSS mission planners (the “bombing the moon” mission, which was a terrible choice of words) have analyzed more of the data returned from the impact and have found a signature of plentiful water in the shadowed area of the target crater on the moon. This is great news and bolsters the chances of building a successful human colony on the Moon.
The “bombing the moon” terminology has led a group of concerned citizens to create a group called Friends of the Moon to protect it from further harm and impact missions. The moon has been “bombed” at least a couple dozen times in the past with no ill effect and the LCROSS mission did no harm either – as expected. Yet the terminology used to publicize the effort garnered too much of the wrong kind-of attention. Some people speculated that the moon would “ring”, or “hum”, or fracture, or something bad and that there would be wide ranging effects even here on earth.
The Spacecraft DAWN has entered the asteroid beltand will remain there for the rest of its mission. It will rendezvous with the asteroid Vesta in approximately 619 days – doesn’t that seem like forever. It will orbit Vesta for a while and then take off for the dwarf planet Ceres (which is also in the asteroid belt). Thinking about how long these missions take sometimes makes me a little pessimistic on the hopes for human travel to the rest of the solar system. The only way I could envision the trip (with current engine/rocket technology) is to have one or two stops at large rotating space stations. These would provide a false gravity and give passengers a chance to “stretch their legs”, making a 1 or 2 year trip a bit more palatable.
On Mars, mission planners are hoping to test escape manuevers with the rover Spirit today. As you know, poor Spirit has been stuck in sand for the last couple months. Engineers have tested different escape move here on earth and plan to start using these with Spirit today. Updates are sure to come later this week. If it cannot get unstuck then it will likely end the mission for Spirit. Thankfully, Opportunity has been doing well and will continue exploring.
You may have heard the Leonid meteor shower is expected to be above average this year. That may be so in Asia tonight, but by the time we have an opportunity to see the shower here in the U.S. (early morning on Tuesday), the meteor rate is expected to be only 1 every two to three minutes. I have seen some good meteor showers in the past when the rate was 2 or 3 every minute, and that was pretty cool. Once you get less than 1 per minute, it gets a little more difficult to see and enjoy.
Speaking of something that was a little difficult to “see” and enjoy was the movie 2012. I saw it with my wife on Friday afternoon. It was certainly a huge special effects disaster bonanza and on some levels I did enjoy it. However, the drama and disaster special effects were just a little too over the top for my taste. An interesting note about the movie is that there were at least 4 specific mentions of Wisconsin in the movie (might have been 5). It makes me wonder if one of the writers, directors, or producers were from Wisconsin. Also, just in case you were wondering if any of the 2012, Mayan calendar, Nibiru, disaster scenarios are true, the answer is no – based on all the available evidence to date. There is exactly zero supporting evidence to date – so don’t get too worried. (Another debunking of 2012 scenarios)
And in our “fun and interesting yet time-wasting” segment today – how about this very detailed 3D video rendering of the Hudson River plane crash from earlier this year. Listening to the conversation between the pilots and the tower was amazing in that respect that they remained quite calm. I was also surprised at how long it took the air traffic controllers to realize that the plane had lost both engines and there was no possibility of landing at a nearby airport.
Have a nice Monday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Posted under Space
This post was written by jloew on November 16, 2009