Eastern Kentucky Weather

A Pattern of Major Ups & Downs

Superstorm Sandy brings rain and snow to eastern Kentucky. Now this week I think we have a good chance to see highs in the low 70s.

These are some pretty impressive ups and downs in the weather world. Now the Northeast could see another... more normal.... Nor'easter come rolling their way. Our pattern will just be in one of the upswings.

By the time Friday arrives it looks like highs around here will be somewhere arounnd 60 degrees areawide. The weekend could even bring even warmer air into play. Many will have a good chance of seeing 70 for daytime highs.

This warm-up would truly be what we consider Indian Summer. It would come after a good widespread frost. In our case... it's coming after a major winter storm. Here's what else I found about Indian Summer... An Indian summer is a heat wave that occurs in the autumn. It refers to a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions, usually after there has been a killing frost. Depending on latitude and elevation, it can occur in the Northern Hemisphere between late September and mid November.

Also... we have some great news coming from the NWS Jackson. The folllowing information comes from those folks.

During a two-week period, beginning November 2, 2012, the Doppler radar at your National Weather Service Forecast Office will undergo an upgrade to incorporate new technology. For these two weeks, radar data will be unavailable from NWS Jackson! Surrounding radars include: Indianapolis, IN, Wilmington, OH, Charleston, WV, Blacksburg, VA, Greer, SC, Knoxville, TN, Nashville, TN, and Louisville, KY.


This much anticipated upgrade is part of the NWS vision to build a Weather-Ready Nation to better protect lives and livelihoods. This exciting upgrade will incorporate a new technology called dual-polarization, or dual-pol. This new technology will result in 14 new radar products that will enable us to continue providing our suite of high quality products and services to the public. This new technology and data will primarily help forecasters identify the type of precipitation that is falling as well as improve rainfall estimates

Why Upgrade to Dual-Pol?
Current NWS Doppler radars transmit and receive pulses of radio waves in a horizontal orientation. As a result, the radar only measures the horizontal dimensions of targets (e.g. cloud and precipitation droplets). Dual-polarimetric radar transmits and receives pulses in both a horizontal and vertical orientation. Therefore, the radar measures both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of targets. Since the radar receives energy from horizontal and vertical pulses, we can obtain better estimates of the size, shape, and variety of targets. It is expected that this will result in significant improvements in the estimation of precipitation rates, the ability to discriminate between precipitation types (e.g. hail vs. rain), and the identification of non-meteorological returns, such as chaff, ground clutter, and smoke plumes from wildfires that are not uncommonly detected by weather radar systems such as WSR-88D.
Current NWS Doppler Radar
Dual-Pol Radar
The Benefits of Dual-Pol
  • Better estimation of total precipitation amounts
  • Better estimation of the size distribution of hydrometeors (raindrops, snowflakes, hailstones, drizzle)
  • Much improved ability to identify areas of extremely heavy rainfall that are closely linked with flash floods
  • Improved detection and mitigation of non-weather related radar echoes (chaff, smoke plumes, ground clutter)
  • Easier identification of the melting layer (helpful for identifying snow levels in higher terrain)
  • Improved ability to classify precipitation type

The full benefit of dual-pol radar, however, will not be fully realized until NWS forecasters and research meteorologists develop real-time expertise.

What is Polarization?

A radio wave is a set of oscillating electric and magnetic fields, oriented 90 degrees to each other. Polarization of the wave is the direction, or orientation, of the electric field.

Horizontal Polarization

Horizontal Polarization Graph

The electric field is oriented horizontally, along the x-axis (blue). The magnetic field is oriented vertically along the y-axis (white).

Vertical Polarization

Vertical Polarization Graph

The electric field is oriented vertically, along the y-axis (orange). The magnetic field is oriented horizontally along the x-axis (white).

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