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  • Icy Christmas Eve update

    Posted by PJ Lacey

    .SYNOPSIS...(412 PM EST WED DEC 23 2009)
    STRENGTHENING LOW PRESSURE WILL FORM IN THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
    LATE TONIGHT AND MOVE NORTH INTO SOUTHERN IOWA BY CHRISTMAS MORNING.
    LOWER MICHIGAN WILL BE ON THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE STORM
    SYSTEM...WHICH WILL BE THE WARMER SIDE. SOME LIGHT SNOW AND SLEET
    WILL BE POSSIBLE THIS EVENING OVER FAR SOUTHWEST LOWER
    MICHIGAN...OTHERWISE A DRY NIGHT IS EXPECTED.

    THE MAIN STORM SYSTEM WILL BEGIN TO AFFECT THE AREA WITH FREEZING
    RAIN FROM CHRISTMAS EVE AFTERNOON INTO CHRISTMAS MORNING. A WINTER
    STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR ICE ACCUMULATION. THE BEST POTENTIAL
    FOR ACCUMULATING ICE WILL BE ACROSS CENTRAL LOWER MICHIGAN. STAY
    TUNED TO LATER FORECASTS FOR POSSIBLE WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES.

    AS THE LOW IN THE PLAINS DRIFTS OUR DIRECTION OVER THE
    WEEKEND...SNOW WILL BE A POSSIBILITY FROM SATURDAY INTO MONDAY. THE
    SNOW WILL TREND TOWARD LAKE EFFECT BY LATE IN THE WEEKEND...WITH
    SOME ACCUMULATION EXPECTED ALONG AND WEST OF HIGHWAY 131.

    &&

    .SHORT TERM...(412 PM EST WED DEC 23 2009)
    (THIS EVENING AND TONIGHT)
    MAIN ISSUE IN THE SHORT TERM WILL BE THE INITIAL PUSH OF SOME WARM
    AIR ADVECTION PRECIPITATION THIS EVENING. THE PRECIPITATION IS
    ASSOCIATED WITH A SHORTWAVE LIFTING NORTHEAST AHEAD OF THE MAIN
    SYSTEM. A MIXTURE OF PRECIPITATION IS OCCURRING ACROSS NORTHERN
    ILLINOIS AND NORTHERN INDIANA. AS THE PRECIPITATION MOVES FURTHER
    NORTH INTO THE COLDER AND DRIER AIR WE SHOULD MAINLY SEE SNOW OR
    SLEET. FOLLOWED SREF POPS AS IT DOES LOOK LIKE THE PRECIPITATION
    WILL MAKE A MOVE INTO THE FAR SOUTHWEST CORNER OF THE STATE.
    ALLEGAN...VAN BUREN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTIES WILL STAND THE BEST
    CHANCE AT SEEING PRECIPITATION. OTHERWISE EXPECTING INCREASING
    CLOUDS WITH A BRISK EAST WIND.

    &&

    .STORM TERM...(412 PM EST WED DEC 23 2009)
    (THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY)
    COMPLEX SYSTEM TO UNFOLD THROUGH THE HOLIDAY PERIOD.  LOW PRESSURE
    WAS DEEPENING OVER THE TX PANHANDLE TODAY...WHILE AN UPPER LEVEL LOW
    WAS WEST OF LAKE WINNIPEG.  THESE TWO FEATURES WILL MERGE OVER THE
    MIDDLE OF THE NATION.  DUE TO INFLUENCE OF THE NORTHERN STREAM
    LOW...THE TRACK OF THE SURFACE LOW WILL BE UNUSUAL...DRIFTING ALMOST
    DUE NORTH FROM EASTERN TX INTO IA BY FRIDAY.

    THE RESULT WILL BE A PUSH OF GULF MOISTURE AND WARM AIR TOWARD THE
    GREAT LAKES.  THIS WARM AIR ARRIVES FIRST IN THE LOW/MID LEVELS...
    WHILE STUBBORNLY COLD BOUNDARY LAYER AIR HOLDS ON.  THEREFORE...
    INITIALLY THE EXPECTED PCPN TYPE CONTINUES TO BE FREEZING RAIN. 

    HAVE LEFT THE WINTER STORM WATCH INTACT.  HOWEVER...WITH THE SYSTEM
    MOVING MORE NORTH THAN IT IS EAST FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS...WESTERN
    MICHIGAN WILL CONTINUE TO STAY ON THE EASTERN FRINGES ON THE PCPN
    SHIELD.  THE LAKESHORE AREAS COULD SEE MIXED PCPN AS EARLY AS MID
    DAY ON THURSDAY...BUT THIS SHOULD BE LIGHT.  THE ADVANCEMENT
    EASTWARD WILL BE VERY SLOW UNTIL THE SYSTEM IS GIVEN A EASTWARD PUSH
    BY THE NORTHERN MERGER LATE THURSDAY NIGHT.  AT THIS POINT IT
    APPEARS THE PCPN WILL ONLY MAKE IT TO U.S. 131 DURING THE EVENING
    HOURS...THEN FINALLY PUSH ACROSS THE REST OF THE CWA AFTER
    MIDNIGHT.  SO...ALTHOUGH THE WATCH WILL REMAIN INTACT FROM LATE
    THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON...WILL SPELL OUT
    THE FINE DETAILS IN THE TEXT OF THE WSW.

    MOST AREAS WILL CHANGE OVER TO RAIN CHRISTMAS MORNING FROM SOUTH TO
    NORTH AS THE WARM AIR MAKES IT DOWN TO THE SURFACE.  ICING COULD BE
    PROLONGED SINCE GROUND TEMPS ARE NEAR THE FREEZING MARK AND ALTHOUGH
    WE MAY REACH 33-34 DEGREES ICING AT THE SURFACE MAY CONTINUE. 
    HOWEVER WITH MID AND UPPER 30S EXPECTED BY MID DAY...MOST OF THE ICE
    ACCUMS WILL END.  ONE AREA WHERE THE PCPN MAY NOT CHANGE OVER WILL
    BE THE NORTHERN COUNTIES FORM LUDINGTON TO CLARE.  HERE IS WHERE THE
    HIGHEST ICING ACCUMS CAN BE EXPECTED.

    COLD AIR WRAPS AROUND THE SYSTEM AND PUSHES IN FROM THE SW LATE IN
    THE DAY ON CHRISTMAS.  THIS WILL BEGIN TO CHANGE THE PCPN TO SNOW
    TOWARD EVENING.

    &&

    .LONG TERM...(412 PM EST WED DEC 23 2009)
    (FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY)
    STILL LOOKS LIKE LOWER MICHIGAN IS DRY SLOTTED FRIDAY NIGHT AND MUCH
    OF SATURDAY AS THE OCCLUDED CYCLONE BEGINS TO FILL OVER IOWA.
    RAISED HPC POPS ESPECIALLY NEAR THE LAKE SHORE SUNDAY AND SUNDAY
    NIGHT AS WE EXPECT LAKE ENHANCED SNOW COMBINED WITH DEEP MOISTURE
    WITH THE UPPER LOW. OVERALL...THE INTENSITY OF THE LAKE ENHANCED
    SNOW LOOKS LESS IMPRESSIVE THAN IT DID YESTERDAY DUE TO THE TRACK OF
    THE LOW AND LOWER CONVECTIVE LAYER DEPTHS IN THE FORECAST SOUNDINGS
    THAN PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED.

    SNOW WILL GRADUALLY DIMINISH MONDAY AS THE LOW MOVES EAST AND THE
    DGZ DESATURATES. FOLLOWING ON THE PREVIOUS DISCUSSION...WILL KEEP
    CHANCES FOR SNOW IN THE FORECAST TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY DUE TO THE
    POSSIBILITY OF AN ARCTIC FRONT MOVING THROUGH THE AREA. THE ECMWF
    APPEARS TO SHUNT THE COLDER AIR MORE TOWARDS THE NORTHEAST STATES
    COMPARED TO THE GFS...SO THIS REMAINS A LOW CONFIDENCE PART OF THE
    FORECAST.

    .AVIATION...(1250 PM EST WED DEC 23 2009)
    LOW CLOUDS ARE MIXING OUT ACROSS CENTRAL LOWER MICHIGAN...WITH VFR
    CONDITIONS PREVAILING ACROSS THE TAF SITES. FOR THE MOST PART...VFR
    CONDITIONS SHOULD CONTINUE THE NEXT 24 HOURS. MAIN CONCERN IS THE
    BAND OF LOWER CEILINGS ASSOCIATED WITH PRECIPITATION STRETCHING
    ACROSS INDIANA AN ILLINOIS. VERY DRY AIR IS IN PLACE ACROSS LOWER
    MICHIGAN WITH A DRY EASTERLY FLOW...SO FORECASTING CEILINGS TO
    REMAIN VFR THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT. MVFR CEILINGS WILL BEGIN TO
    SNEAK INTO KMKG TOMORROW AFTER DAYBREAK THURSDAY. WILL BE KEEPING A
    CLOSE EYE ON THE LOWER CEILINGS AND PRECIPITATION TO THE SOUTH...BUT
    AGAIN NOT EXPECTING THEM TO MAKE A BIG PUSH INTO SOUTHWEST LOWER AT
    THIS POINT.

  • Faith Hill Christmas Special Tonight

    Posted by PJ Lacey

    Faith Hill will once again be featured on the CBS adoption special "The 11th Annual A Home For The Holidays With Faith Hill."  It's the second year the singer is playing a prominent role on the show, serving as the host.  Hill, who was adopted as an infant, has said the subject is very dear to her.  She's also proud of the success of the annual show in both the awareness and yielding results in finding parents for children needing families.  This year's special will also feature performances from Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood, as well as Mary J. Blige and Shakira. 

    Hip-hop reggae funk artist Michael Franti, frontman for the group Michael Franti and Spearhead, is this year's featured adoptee, while actresses Jenna Elfman and Nia Vardalos are among the stars who'll present inspirational stories about adoption.  "The 11th Annual A Home For The Holidays With Faith Hill" airs on CBS tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

  • christmas in other countries

    Posted by PJ Lacey

    Belgium -- On Christmas Eve, a special meal is common.  It starts with a drink and some nibbles, followed by a starter course such as seafood, and then stuffed turkey.  Father Christmas is called Saint Nicholas, and he brings presents to children on December 6th, "St. Nicholas Day," a long time before Christmas.  Small family presents are given at Christmas too, under the tree, or in stockings near the fireplace, to be found in the morning.  Christmas breakfast is a special sweet bread called 'cougnou' or 'cougnolle' [[ kuh-nyew / kuh-nyul ]] - the shape is supposed to be like baby Jesus.  Some families will have another big meal on Christmas day.

    Brazil  -- Father Christmas is called Papai Noel.  Many Christmas customs are similar to the United States or United Kingdom.  A special Christmas meal may include chicken, turkey, ham, rice, salad, pork, fresh and dried fruits -- often with beer. 

    France  --  Christmas is always called Noël.  Christmas trees are sometimes decorated with red ribbons and real white wax candles.  Fir trees in the garden are often decorated too, with lights on all night.  The Christmas meal is an important family gathering with good meat and the best wine.  A traditional dessert is called 'la bûche de Noël [[ lah boosh deh no-el ]], which means "Christmas log."  It's a cake made with cream. 

    Germany  --  Germans love to decorate their houses at Christmas.  Many houses will have little wooden frames holding electric candles in their windows, and colored pictures of paper or plastic which look beautiful from the outside at night.  Most homes will also have little wooden cribs - a small model of the stable where Jesus was born, with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and animals.

    Greenland  --  In Greenland, people observe Christmas by visiting each other and feasting on cakes and coffee.  They also eat Mattak, which is whale skin with a strip of blubber inside.  It is tough to chew and is usually just swallowed.

    Latvia  --  Latvians believe that Father Christmas brings presents on each of the 12 days of Christmas starting on Christmas Eve.  Usually the presents are put under the family Christmas tree.  The special Latvian Christmas Day meal is cooked brown peas with bacon sauce, small pies, cabbage and sausage.

    Portugal  --  The Portuguese celebrate a feast called the consoda. During the feast, which falls on Christmas morning, extra places are set at the family table. These are for the souls of family members who have passed on.  They believe that offering the gift of food to these souls will ensure good fortune for the family in the coming year.

    Russia  --  In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much.  New Year was the important time, because that's when "Father Frost" brought presents to children.  With the fall of Communism, Christmas can be openly celebrated  --  either on December 25th or more often on January 7th.  This unusual date is because the Russian Orthodox church uses the old Julian calendar for religious celebration days.  Special Christmas food includes cakes, pies and meat dumplings. 

    Switzerland  --  The week before Christmas, Swiss children go up and down the street with bells and small gifts, calling people to attend midnight Mass.  After the church service, families gather to drink hot chocolate and huge homemade doughnuts called ringli.  Also, instead of Father Christmas, Swiss children get their presents from the Christkindli, an angel wearing a white veil and a crown.  The candles in the Christmas tree are lit as she enters each home and distributes presents from a basket held by her child helpers.

  • Track Santa

    Posted by PJ Lacey

    According to NORAD, Santa's flight usually begins at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean with a westward track.  He wraps up his travels in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Central and South America.  NORAD says that just like airplanes, Santa's route can change due to weather conditions.  Children of all ages who are too excited to sleep can get the most up-to-date location on Christmas Eve of Santa and his reindeer by signing onto www.noradsanta.org. 

  • icy Christmas Eve

    Posted by PJ Lacey

    ...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY AFTERNOON
    THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON...

    * FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN THURSDAY EVENING
       ACROSS SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN AND CONTINUE INTO CHRISTMAS
       DAY. WARMER AIR IS EXPECTED TO SPREAD NORTH CHRISTMAS MORNING
       AND CHANGE THE WINTRY MIX OVER TO RAIN.

    * UP TO A QUARTER INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION IS POSSIBLE.

    * AREAS NORTH OF A PENTWATER TO ALMA LINE WILL SEE THE GREATEST
       THREAT FOR FREEZING RAIN AND ICE ACCUMULATION.

    * AREAS SOUTH OF A WHITEHALL TO ST JOHNS LINE WILL LIKELY SEE
       FREEZING RAIN CHANGE TO RAIN CHRISTMAS MORNING.

    * EASTERLY WINDS COULD GUST TO 30 MPH.

    IMPACTS...

    * HOLIDAY TRAVEL AFTER NIGHTFALL ON CHRISTMAS EVE INTO
       CHRISTMAS DAY COULD BECOME IMPACTED. ROADWAYS AND SIDEWALKS
       COULD BECOME ICE COVERED AND SLIPPERY.

    * ICE COATED TREES AND GUSTY WINDS OVER 30 MPH COULD LEAD TO
       DOWNED TREE LIMBS AND SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES.

  • Kellie Picklers Christmas

    Posted by PJ Lacey

    Kellie Pickler prefers to spend the holiday away - far away. Kellie tells us, "Usually I flee the country on holidays to avoid running into family. That's horrible, I know." Last year at this time Kellie entertained our troops in Afghanistan followed by a Christmas vacation in the Bahamas.