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Geminids Meteor Shower, Tracking the Weekend Storm

14 Dec 2012, 1:55 pm

Geminids Meteor Shower

The peak of the Geminids meteor shower was very early this morning. This is an annual event that usually occurs in mid December and is usually the last one of the year.  This meteor shower is thought to be intensifying with each year and during peak times the meteors crash in at a rate of 100 per hour.

Viewing conditions were prime last night thanks to the new moon.

From EarthSky.org: This Geminid meteor is seen coming straight from its radiant point, which is near the two brightest stars in Gemini, Castor and Pollux. Photo taken on the night of December 12-13, 2012 by EarthSky Facebook friend Mike O’Neal in Oklahoma. He said this 2012 Geminid meteor shower is one of the best meteor shows he’s ever seen!

From EarthSky.org: “The final major meteor shower of every year (unless one surprises us!) is always the December Geminid shower, often producing 50 or more meteors per hour. It is a beloved shower, because, as a general rule, it’s either the August Perseids or the December Geminids that give us the most prolific display of the year. In 2012, there are several other factors happening to make the Geminid meteor shower of 2012 one that many will remember. First, the new moon guarantees a dark sky on the peak nights of the Geminid shower (peak is mid-evening December 13 until dawn December 14). But the nights on either side of the peak date are often good as well, and, in 2012, we’ve been getting many, many reports of fantastic displays of meteors.”

Southwest Storm

No meteors in sight across the desert southwest as a powerful storm system brought rain to the area yesterday and continues to impact the region today with more rain and snow in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

From lasvegassun.com: “Students carry umbrellas as they leave Bartlett Elementary School during light rain in Henderson Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. The storm system is expected to bring up to a half-inch of rain this afternoon and evening across the Las Vegas Valley.”

Records reported in several locations including Las Vegas.

From the NWS in Las Vegas: “THE TOTAL RAINFALL SO FAR TODAY (Dec 13) AT MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – THE OFFICIAL CLIMATE STATION FOR LAS VEGAS – WAS 0.25 INCH. THIS BREAKS THE DAILY PRECIPITATION RECORD FOR DECEMBER 13TH OF 0.11 INCH SET BACK IN 1971. …THUNDER WAS REPORTED BY THE OBSERVER AT MCCARRAN AT 407 PM PST. THIS BRINGS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF DAYS IN WHICH THUNDER WAS HEARD AT MCCARRAN AIRPORT TO 25 DAYS FOR 2012. THIS MAKES THIS THE SECOND HIGHEST TOTAL FOR ANY CALENDAR YEAR. THE RECORD NUMBER OF DAYS WITH THUNDER IN A YEAR FOR LAS VEGAS IS 26 DAYS SET WAY BACK IN 1938. THUNDER IN LAS VEGAS HAS HAPPENED ONLY 7 OTHER TIMES IN DECEMBER PRIOR TO TODAY…WITH THE LAST INSTANCE BACK ON CHRISTMAS DAY 2008.

Snow continues to fall in Arizona and New Mexico today with numerous Winter Storm Warnings and Advisories in effect.

Central Plains Impact

The Central Plains will be next up to see the effects up this system.  As it ejects out of Colorado, the area of low pressure will cross over Iowa, Wisconsin, and into the Great Lakes.

 Unlike last weeks storm that impacted the Midwest, this system is likely to bring much more rain rather than snow.  Freezing rain and mix of rain and snow will also be apart of this messy storm.  Snow will be limited to the western MN to Northern Minnesota.

Accumulating ice will also be concern.  Pink shaded areas indicate potential accumulation of ice.

Out ahead of this low, the air will be flowing out of the south.  This will be driving up temperatures to well above normal for the afternoon once again today.  Breezy conditions expected in the Central Plains.

With this southerly wind, temperatures will be well above average for this mid December.

The Rest of the Nation

The eastern US will continue to enjoy plenty of sunshine.  Showers continue through the weekend for the Pacific Northwest and more snow on the way to Montana for the Sunday.

Happy Friday!

Gretchen Mishek

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