Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jellyfish clouds and Virga

(ABOVE: Connie Clark took these pictures near sunrise in Muskogee. These small jellyfish-looking clouds are producing "virga.")

KJRH viewers emailed us unusual looking cloud pictures on the morning of June 27. "What is this? What type of clouds are these?" were common questions.

The answer: "virga".

Virga is rain which evaporates before reaching the surface. The small cumulus clouds pictured above and below were producing light rain, but the rain wasn't heavy enough to reach the ground.

Virga occurs when rain falls through a layer of dry air between the cloud and ground. If the rain keeps falling, then the dry layer moistens. The evaporation cools the air allowing the air to better support the rain. The rain eventually reaches the ground.

No rain was reported in Tulsa, but light rain was observed east of Tulsa in the less dry air.

As far as the appearance, I call these clouds "jellyfish clouds".The overly wispy-looking tails and unusual coloring was from the evaporation plus time of day. Connie took this pics at 6am. The hours near sunrise and sunset are often the most beautiful for photographing weather.

(BELOW: Jellyfish clouds! Looks spooky as the rain evaporates just before sunrise. Thanks for the pics, Connie. )

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Record heat... and car trouble!

(ABOVE: My car's external thermometer runs a tad high... it actually unknowingly warned me)

I posted the picture above on my Facebook page for a few laughs.

While idling on the record setting 106 degree day on June 27, the external thermometer registered a ridiculous temperature. Sure I've seen the thermometer run hotter than the actual air temperature when idling, but certainly nothing close to this! The thermometer sometimes runs about 10 degrees too hot-- but not 30 degrees off.

What I didn't realize is that I nearly had a major car problem!

This morning I fired up the engine to drive to work, and a zillion warning lights immediately lit up the dash. "STOP ENGINE NOW" flashed in giant red letters. I think the engine was about to explode or something. The "low coolant" light flashed too.

I checked under the hood. The coolant tank was dry. Coolant leak!

I last checked my engine fluids about a week before, so I obviously developed a big coolant leak. The 136 degree external temperature was likely picking up extra heat from the engine, a pre-warning me that my engine was too hot.

Good life lesson.

(BELOW: Fill'er up! I refilled the coolant before driving to work.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June: 2 Walks for You at LaFortune

(ABOVE: 2 Walks for You meets at the red dot in June. That's the main entrance to LaFortune Park and Golf Course at 55th and Yale.)

"2 Walks for You" is a walking club that I started this Spring. We meet the first and third Saturday of the month after the morning newscast.

Simply put, many of us think it's more fun to walk and exercise together. As Tulsa has beautiful outdoor living, I try to take advantage of our parks and trails. And as some folks don't like to walk/exercise alone, I'm inviting you to join me. :)

For the month of June, "2 Walks for You" moves to LaFortune Park. We are meeting Saturday June 4th at 9am instead of the usual 11am start. NBC is showing the French Open, so our regular 8-10am news will be from 7-8am.

If you haven't joined us before, we walk for about an hour at a modest pace. An hour of walking covers about 3 miles and includes a mid-walk break. Some folks bring their doggies!

We'll meet in front of LaFortune Golf Course at 55th and Yale this month... see you Saturday at 9am. We walk WITH you, that's 2 Walks for You. :)

BELOW: Deana Silk makes a friend at 2 Walks for You. )