Friday, November 30, 2007

Saturday's Ice Storm: Thursday Night Forecasts

Forecasts for Saturday's weather event changed from snow and ice to primarily an ice storm on Thursday's late-evening newscasts. Thursday was also the final night of the November "sweeps" - the Nielsen Media Research ratings period.

First, the official "Hazardous Weather Outlook" statement issued at 5:37 a.m. from the National Weather Service forecast office in Valley, Neb.:

Freezing rain or sleet will develop over the area after midnight, possibly beginning as a period of light snow. Glazing is expected by daybreak with significant ice accumulations possible by mid-Saturday morning. A winter storm is in effect from late tonight through Saturday evening.

Freezing rain or sleet should change to rain Saturday. This changeover should occur in the morning along and south of Interstate 80, and by early afternoon over the rest of the area. Additional glazing can be expected in the morning. The precipitation could change back to freezing rain or freezing drizzle Saturday night before changing to light snow or flurries early Sunday. At this time, freezing rain or sleet appear to be the main weather hazards from this system.

The exact path of the storm and the timing of the precipitation switch are still somewhat uncertain.

And the late-evening TV forecasts (in alphabetical order):

KETV Chief Meteorologist Bill Randby led off the newscast by emphasizing that there was still a whole day to "analyze, assess and prepare" for a blast of winter weather on Saturday. His initial forecast graphic emphasized freezing rain and rain.

"Noon to 6 will be rain but from 6 a.m. to noon it's that band of ice," Randby said, referring to a 75-mile wide band on his forecast map.

In his main weather segment, Randby said forecasts for a quarter to a half-inch of freezing rain on Saturday morning, followed by a quarter to half an inch of rain on top of that, has him worried.

"If that happens, that wouldn't be so bad," Randby said. "My worry is that somebody
- probably up here (pointing to an area in northeast Nebraska and northwest Iowa) - gets stuck in just freezing rain for the duration and has power outages and trees down and power lines down."

Randby said the stage is set for a "very nasty Saturday morning in Omaha," but then added, "if our computer models are true to what they're saying tonight, we'll be spared because we'll get above freezing in the afternoon. (We) shouldn't then have power line issues and trees coming down."

KMTV Chief Meteorologist Ryan McPike, whose forecast segment always leads off the late-evening newscast, emphasized that several weather systems will converge on the Midwest, putting the "First Warning Threat Tracker" in the orange, or highest level.

McPike said to expect frozen precipitation - snow or sleet, possibly changing to freezing rain, sometime after 4 or 5 a.m. Saturday morning - followed by rain around noon.

"Here's the setup: the storm track (is) very close to Omaha," he said. "It looks like it will be just south or right over the top of us."

More details on the forecast are posted on the station's weather blog.

KPTM Chief Meteorologist Tyson Pearsall told viewers in his main weather segment to expect a little bit of snow through the overnight hours in the Omaha metropolitan area, followed by freezing rain.

Pearsall said Omaha will receive its heaviest precipitation - in the form of freezing rain - between 6 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

"Yes, we could see some snow here in the Omaha metro, but the bigger concern right now is the ice," Pearsall said.

WOWT Chief Meteorologist Jim Flowers led off his main weather segment with a follow-up to the two computer forecast models he referred to in his forecast on Wednesday.

"Tonight, those same models are in much better agreement in terms of the type and amounts of precipitation," he said. "There could be a little bit of snow or ice pellets at the beginning, but the amounts are insignificant compared to the amounts of freezing rain and rain (that are) forecast."

Flowers said around 4 or 5 a.m., light snow, possibly mixed with ice pellets, will be falling in Omaha. But about an hour later, freezing rain takes over.

"Then the system begins lifting on to the northeast," Flowers said. "As it does so, we expect a changeover to rain by about 10 or 11 a.m. from Omaha on toward the south."

Flowers said the station's in-house weather computer model is forecasting about a third-of-an-inch of ice for Omaha.

Read more about the forecast on the station's weather blog.


Anonymous said...

We reached orange on the threat tracker?

I can't remember. Does that mean a terrorist attack is imminent or we should just be vigilant?

Anonymous said...

Boy am I glad I built that bunker in the backyard.'s sure gonna come in handy now.

BillyBobThornton said...

The cancellations and postponements are already rolling in.

If this thing doesn't pan out, heads should roll.

Anonymous said...

I see the storm of the century on the horizon...batten down the hatches brothers and's gonna be a big least that's what he said.

Anonymous said...

We've already had the Storm of the Century four times and it's only 2007.

I think its time for "The Storm of the A.D. Time Frame"

Kind of long, I admit.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Matt Perrault says that this is the biggest storm we'll ever see. He's gotten this from a source of a source and Travis Justice is backing him on it...more to come.

Anonymous said...

On friday's 5pm news, the only chief meteorologist on the air was Ryan McPike. A big ice storm and the other guys let their top weather predictors go on vacation?

Anonymous said...

I have decided to not be intimidated by this storm. I will not be terrorized. I am going to live my life like I always had. If we submit to our fear, we are only giving the weather exactly what it wants!

Anonymous said...

OPPD is going to use all the hot air that Perraut spews to melt the ice off their lines.

Anonymous said...

Jeepers. Some people really have it in for Matt Perrault. I listened to him a couple of times, wasn't impressed, and I moved on.

Anonymous said...

Maybe BS590 can reassign him to night-time traffic reporter.

Anonymous said...

It's terrible here EVERYTHING IS FROZEN INCLUDING MY (you know what)....I'm running out of food supplies! I am not s-u-r-e h-o-w m-u-c-h l-o-n-g-e-r I c--a---n l---a----s----t------!--------------!

Anonymous said...

To all the forecasters on all four stations:

Thank you very much for the correct forecasts and for keeping us informed of street conditions this morning. You have all done a wonderful job on this.

Anonymous said...

Ok, no where else to fit this. Mandingo Bartholamy just did a live remote at 5 from 38th & Seward...complained about the tricky walk down the driveway on the's 51 degrees outside right now. Then she gave a phone number for OPPD...said if you are without power, call this number. Um....if you have no could you see it? The Les Nessman school of journalism lives.

Neil N. Sucket said...

3:08 PM: Uhm...ever heard of using a cell phone to call OPPD?

Ben Dover said...

@ 3:26 PM...

I think 3:08 PM was referring to how the viewer wouldn't have been able to see the report if they were without power to watch TV.

Anonymous said...

thank you, bd...nns obviously isn't anymore intelligent than she is.

Anonymous said...

WOWT live 24/7 on 87.7 FM.
Crawl out from under your rock once in awhile. Battery + radio = sound.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:41 PM - right, but just how many people are aware of that? Not that I watch WOWT much, but anytime I have, I don't recall seeing any promos for them simulcasting their broadcasts on the radio.

Don't act as if it is common knowledge, because it isn't.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of portable televisions that run on batteries and don't need electricity.

Maybe that's not common knowledge either. Radio Shack is known for its secrecy.

Anonymous said...

It has been a while but I have seen chanel 6 promote their station on 87.7. Also, off topic FYI, channel 6 does not do this on purpose. Channel 6 and 87.7 happen to be the same frequency, anywhere there is a station on channel 6, you'll hear it on 87.7. I've heard pbs on 87.7 in Colorado before.

Anonymous said...

Who is the moron at channel 3rd that we can all thank for running the crawl line for over 2 hours straight about Bo Polini being announced as the head coach of Nebraska. I mean how many times do we have to read taht Travis? Thankyou Travis guys like me pay thousands of dollars for our tvs and satellite sytems just so we can watch your irritating crawl line across the screen fro the entire Chiefs game on sunday!....What a jerk stunt to pull on us Travis!....Thanks for nothing. And yea I know the chiefs are one of the worst teams in football. Yes i am well aware that Herm Edwards is to the Chiefs what Callaghan was to Nebraska.

Anonymous said...

9:28, let's be serious. How many people in Omaha do you REALLY think just happen to have a battery powered TV on hand? Maybe about the same number that know what kind of flower Jim Pornstache wears on his lapel every night. I mean....really.

Anonymous said...

How many people own a radio? How many might turn it on if they lost power?
Face it, you tried to be a smart ass & got it half right!

Anonymous said...

@ 3:00 PM

I think the point is, if someone's power goes out and they turn on the radio, they are most likely going to tune into an actual radio station, like a KFAB or similar to get information about whatever is going on (storm, etc.) at the moment.

To expect many to remember that 87.7 = WOWT is unfair.

All I am saying is that, unless it is something they've done in the past (tune in 87.7 during an outage), most would likely tune their radio to something else.

No need for anyone to be nasty about the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Yes there is. This is the city that gives us TnT, Travis, Perrault, and a host of others that leave us citizens bitter, jaded, nasty, and cynical. Doesn't matter where we turn the radio or tv. We are all flukes of the universe, and have no right to be here.

dingbat said...

1:50. All I have to say is Hell Yeah!!

We should be taking Maniko out behind the woodshed and we should beat her something rotten. I mean, who the hell does she think she is? Giving out the phone number for OPPD when she damn well should know that there might be people unaware that WOWT is on the radio??

And even worse, she doesn't begin to research the exact market size of people owning battery operated televisions before doing such a downright foolish thing like giving out the OPPD phone number in the middle of an ice storm.

If thats not grounds for immediate firing, then I sure don't know what is!

Anonymous said...

to 1:01..

Do you really think a station lets the sports guy decide to run a crawl?? Really?

Anonymous said...

To 3:59pm. I imagine the local news stations will take your sage advice. "Don't you even *THINK* about putting out the OPPD hotline on the air? Who the F*** do you think we are, a radio station??"

I mean granted, the OPPD thing is useful for people who haven't yet lost their power. But it does no good to people who have already lost their electricity.

And if you really put your mind to it, you can get those traffic reports off television and leave them on the radio where they really belong!!

I mean, yeah, the traffic reports are useful to people who haven't yet left for work. But they do NO good to people who are already on the road. And they should, therefore, be eliminated from the local newscasts.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, happen to listen to 87.7 on the way to work and the traffic reports are very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Back to the weather...these guys all did a commendable job on the forecasts. Kudos to all!

Anonymous said...

For a good time, call fi fi fi-fo fo fo fo......ask for Maniko.

Anonymous said...

Way to go weathermen/meteorologists! Kudos to you all! Excellent job! Excellent precision! You generally only hear the negative comments on this site; for once, I wanted you to hear a positive. :)

dingbat said...

10:37am, I'm not sure if I'm more impressed by your sense of humor or your intelligence.

Or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

awww geeeez dingbat...would ya stifle y'self?

--A. Bunker--