Brrrr… Temps fall below zero

December 14th, 2010 at 3:27 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather

This morning’s temperatures were the coldest the area has seen since last February. Almost all of our western counties fell below zero. In Wautoma the mercury dropped to -16°.

But for parts of western Wisconsin it was even colder. Eau Claire fell to -22°!

It’s not too uncommon for that part of the state to see the extreme cold. In Eau Claire they see more than 30 days below zero each year. It’s even colder, or worse depending on your preference, in Rhinelander. On average, they have more than 40 days below zero annually.

In that part of the state, lows will generally drop to -25° or -30° at least once a year. Further south there is some improvement. Green Bay’s coldest temperature of the winter generally falls between -15° and -20°.

Our record low, from 1888 is -36°. The states record comes from Couderay, located in northwest Wisconsin. During a cold snap in February of 1996, Couderay plummeted to -55°.

Meteorologist Andrew Thut

35 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck

November 9th, 2010 at 5:28 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather

It has been 35 years since one of the most historic shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. On the evening of November 10th, 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior.  The wreck has evolved into a Midwestern legend and is well known due to Gordon Lightfoot’s song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The song was written as a tribute to this ship wreck and the men who lost their lives.

The freighter was one of the largest on the Great Lakes (729 feet long) and was carrying almost 26,000 tons of ore on its last voyage across Lake Superior. The final route of the Edmund Fitzgerald is documented in the image below.

Edmund Fitzgerald Route

On the afternoon of Sunday, November 9 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald departed Superior, WI en route to a steel mill near Detroit, MI. Shortly after leaving, the Fitzgerald made contact with the Arthur M. Anderson, a freighter headed on a similar route toward Gary, IN.

Due to an intensifying storm system, the two freighters decided to take a more northern route than was typical for the voyage. The forecast called for gale force winds to come out of the Northeast, and the more northern route would bring the ships close to the Canadian shoreline at the storms peak. This would provide a buffer for the ships and reduce the speed of the winds and the waves that the ships would experience.

On the afternoon of November 10th, the wave heights of more than 15 feet were reported and the Fitzgerald began taking on damage. By around 7 PM wave heights of more than 30 feet were reported and the Anderson made final contact with the Fitzgerald. When asked how the Fitzgerald was doing they replied “We are holding our own”. Shortly afterwards the Fitzgerald disappeared from the Anderson‘s radar screen. The freighter sank 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan. The Great Lakes Shipwrecks museum has the final chatter between the two ships posted on this page at the bottom of their website. There are numerous theories regarding how and why the ship sank, but no one definitively knows what led to the Fitzgerald’s demise.

Meteorologist Andrew Thut

GOOD things to take on a Road Trip.

August 26th, 2010 at 9:24 am by under Uncategorized

SpongeBob suckers. Individual DVD players. And this really, really cool map license game!

I will admit that I was dreading this road trip to the East Coast. But our friends had just gotten a lake house, and we had a week of vacation to do something fun with, and we really wanted to get away from our flooded yard.
To save money we decided against the plane tickets and decided to load up our trusty? SUV. I spent a little time putting together a bag of goodies for each of my daughters. Coloring books for the 2 year old. Activity books for the 8 year old. And a brand new box of crayons for each. But the one thing that really turned our trip into a fun family adventure was the License Plate Game. Now I know I could have gone old school and used paper and pen. Or I could have stepped it up a notch and gotten a paper map of the U.S.A. But this LOOKED neat, and it was made to last and it had parts that wouldn’t get lost in all the car’s crevices. Most of all.. It would be a “new” toy for Bella. And THAT is what she lives for. So.. Off we went. I didn’t expect to have to pull it out right away, but boredom set in quickly. But let me tell you. The moment I pulled that out, the hunt began in earnest. My husband dove head first into it. He wouldn’t let one car go by without checking the plates. They found Maine and Tennessee and West
Virginia. Every time he would find a new one, my daughter would squeal and say “good job Dad!” Then he would explain where to find it on the map. It was educational. And It was way cool. And it didn’t get old for TWO DAYS.

The ride home is a completely different story.

All this rain is not GOOD for my garden.

July 28th, 2010 at 9:35 am by under Uncategorized

I just came back from 5 beautiful days in Door County. A little overcast, but nothing that ruined our plans. We kayaked, biked, hung out in the hammock, played croquet, you get the idea…

But as I sit here at work, thinking about the summer, it has been a REAL BUMMER. I’m fortunate enough to have a work schedule that gives me my afternoons free to enjoy the sunshine and the outdoors. In recent years I have come to really enjoy spending time in my garden. Now looking at my garden gives me a stomach ache. I look out the window and I can see my plants wilting. They are literally drowning. I sometimes put on my rain boots and wade out to see what’s up. But it just makes me feel worse. I think back to the early spring when things were just starting to green. At the time I was thinking it was going to be a great year! Not so much.

Now I know it could be worse. That hail storm that went through the valley destroyed a lot of gardens. People at EAA have been stuck in mud. Folks in Appleton have ruined belongings lined up at the curb.

But I just wanted to be sad for a moment about the plants I’ve lost. I’ll get over it. Especially because my Hydrangeas are LOVIN’ all this wet weather. And I LOVE my hydrangeas! You’ll see those in a later post. Right now I’m mourning the loss of a viburnum and my favorite phlox.

Slight Risk For Storms (created 7-16)

July 16th, 2010 at 11:58 am by under Uncategorized

There is a slight risk for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and this evening.  Isolated storms will form that could contain hail and damaging winds.  Saturday evening/overnight we could see more storms.  Saturday’s storms need to be watched closely as damaging winds and heavy rainfall is possible.  With the flooding rain we received this week we obviously don’t need another round of heavy rain. Stay tuned to Fox11 for any weather updates.

Finding the GOOD wherever you live

July 15th, 2010 at 9:05 am by under Uncategorized

Just this week we reported that Money magazine had named Appleton as one of the best places in the country to live. I could have told you that! And for so many reasons NOT listed by the magazine.
But it did cause me to make a mental list of all the things that make Northeast Wisconsin a great place to live.
We don’t have alligators.
We don’t have earthquakes.
Or hurricanes.
Or mudslides.
Or those little lizards running through our yards.
And we do have awesome squeaky cheese curds.

But seriously, we live in one of those places where we don’t have to leave our little area of the world to escape, explore or just experience something new. Have you ever been to Kohler? It’s like it’s only little world with unbelievable food, hospitality like you’ve never before experienced and a spa that is divine.
What about Door County? Sunsets to write home about. Beautiful parks. Wonderful people. And a great game of bean bags at the AC Tap. When it comes to Door County I could go on and on and on. But I’m running out of time before I have to pack my bags for a trip up the Peninsula. Ask my co-workers about the Waupaca area and they will have you planning your next family trip. Like a little more adventure? A day out on a charter boat, fishing for salmon can get your heart pumping. There are so many fun and unique places you probably haven’t heard of. (Just keep watching Good Day Wisconsin for more ideas)

When we only have a day, or even a couple of hours, and don’t want to waste a beautiful summer day — we head to the beach! For 25 dollars we bought a yearly pass to Wisconsin’s State Parks and THIS is what we got. Blue skies, endless fun in the sand, and some picture perfect moments only 40 minutes from our front door.

A friend asked me on my birthday what my goals are for the future. I asked her if she meant for the year or for my life? She said either. My answer was coastal living. Even though it was only for a couple of hours, I have already reached my goal.

I Left My Child with Strangers

July 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am by under Uncategorized

And she did just fine.
Bella survived her first overnight at camp. In fact, she did better than survive. She was beaming when we arrived at her weeklong “day” camp for a Parents Night program. I had brought along her sleeping bag and pajamas and flashlight but didn’t really think she would want any of it. Both my husband and I fully expected her to come home with us. She doesn’t do sleepovers yet. She even has a tough time at her cousin’s house when we are with her but in a different room. But her counselor said she had been talking about staying overnight all day long. So we helped her set up her cot. We brought along a stuffed animal for her to cuddle. And asked her if she would kindly remember to brush her teeth. It was tough letting go but exciting to see our 8-year-old show some independence. After the program she ran off with her friends and we went home.. still FULLY expecting a call from the camp to go back and get her. No call. No problems. And a “when can I go to camp again!” when we picked her up the next afternoon.

I’d like to send her back today.

5/16/10 Farm in twister movie gets hit by tornado

May 16th, 2010 at 6:59 pm by under Uncategorized

The heart of tornado alley has been rocked by strong storms over the past week.  A farm that was featured in the 1996 movie “Twister” was hit by an EF3 tornado. Click here for the full story.  Very large hail fell Sunday near Oklahoma City Sunday, some stones measured 4.75”.  Check out the pictures, click here.

Aftershocks Continue in Haiti 1/15/09

January 14th, 2010 at 12:34 pm by under Uncategorized

Aftershocks continue to trouble Haiti.  Several 4.0 to 4.8 quakes have occurred in the last 24 hours.   While not considered strong 4.0 quakes can cause more damage to already weakened building.

For a link to Google Maps Before and After Photo

For the latest map on Haiti quakes click here.

For a list of all quakes recorded in past 7 day click here.

For an explanation of the Richter scale click here.

Haiti Aftershock As Of Friday 9:30AM

Haiti Aftershock As Of Friday 9:30AM

A Christmas like the GOOD ol’ days

January 11th, 2010 at 10:05 am by under Uncategorized

The iphone is my new Simon
Not that Simon. (Although that reminds me that American Idol starts tomorrow.)
Do you remember the electronic memory game from the 80′s called SIMON?
I was obsessed with it! I played it over and over and over. Kind of like the Rubik’s cube. Only I was much better at Simon than Rubik’s.
Well anyway, I can’t think of a gift I’ve received since then that brought me so much fun. I get clothes and books and music and things for the house and workout clothes. My sports watch is a neat gadget, and the ipod is awesome. But the iphone with it’s apps has consumed me lately.
It started about a month ago when I searched for word games.
I love BOGGLE. And I found a couple of free apps that have the same concept.
Over the holidays, instead of reading a book, I found myself taking the iphone to bed with me!
I played SCRAMBLE until my eyes melted out of my head.
Over and over and over.
I even dreamed about words and the other words I could make with that word.
Not since the days of Space Invaders have I been so obsessed.

I met up with my college friends over the weekend in NYC.
One of them accused me of being addicted to my iphone.
I only updated my Facebook twice and showed her a couple of neat photo apps.
I mean, that was nothing.
If she only knew about my TRUE obsession and how much time I REALLY spent on my word games.
I was a little embarrassed.
So I kept my iphone tucked away.
Until I was seated comfortably(?) at the airport.. With a MILLION other people zeroed in on their iphones!