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Cold Wet Indiana Weather to Continue

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It’s been an unusually cold winter so far, and that is expected to continue for the next couple of weeks. The national weather service office has released data that places the mean average temperature for January at twenty-three-point-one degrees, as recorded at its Bloomington station. This average was over six degrees below the long-term average for the month, and Bloomington had less than average precipitation. However, as the local station does not  differentiate between rain and snow forms of precipitation, snow probably dominated as temperatures were lower than average, and as it stayed on the ground for longer than usual. Dave Tusek, at the Indianapolis office of the weather service, explains that this cold weather has been here since the Fall.

“We started that pattern really back in November time frame. It kind of reached a crescendo during the month of January in which the polar vortex, or the coldest air in the northern hemisphere, ended up over on our side of the hemisphere. So we were below normal for, I believe, the month of November, below normal for December, and here again below normal for the month of January, so more or less a continuation, just an amplification and deepening of that trough as we went on through the winter months,” said Tusek.

Tusek mentioned the polar vortex, which has been responsible for this year’s cold pattern. This has brought the coldest temperatures in the northern hemisphere down to the region, between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River. While we did experience some brief breaks of unseasonably warm weather, the extremely low positioning of the arctic vortex over the U.S. midwest has persisted for the last several months.

“That’s not uncommon to see kind of an up and down ride, if you will, in regard to your temperatures from day to day,” said Tusek. “And that was simply tied to a likely weather system that moved across the southern Great Lakes and drew warm air up from the south. But that was also, if you continue looking at the daily records, we eventually dropped back to highs around freezing and lows in the teens or a little below normal. So it’s not unusual to see this pattern persist, but to that extent in time, that’s not all that common.”

He explains that the arctic vortex has been pulled far south by the jet stream. This upper atmospheric, fast moving stream of air follows a wave pattern across the northern hemisphere. Weather systems tend to be trapped on either side of the stream. Unfortunately for us, the wave sitting over the continental U.S. had dipped unusually far to the south, and it has not moved east as it usually does. This trough has drawn cold air from the arctic to the south. By contrast, the unusually high ridge of this wave is sitting to the far north over the western part of North America, bringing that region unseasonably warm temperatures with much less than normal precipitation. The historic drought happening in California is a manifestation of this pattern. Unusually, this wave is moving a little to the west, which will bring some intermittent periods of warmer, wetter weather. Tusek provides us with weather predictions for February:

“For the month of February, expect to see our conditions more or less near normal. As we look at this larger-scale pattern that I referenced before, it’s undergoing a de-amplification. So that means instead of having really sharp ridges and troughs with extremes underneath the ridge in the way of warm and dry and in the trough cold and wet, it’s becoming what we refer to as a more zonal pattern, and with that, that means that our air will be arriving more often from the Pacific Ocean with each weather system that comes in, as opposed to coming in with arctic air. Now, that’s not to say the arctic air won’t follow on its heels because that is going to continue to happen. We certainly have some cold ahead of us here in the coming week or so, but that is expected to transition.”

So, Hoosiers will continue to experience colder and wetter weather during February, broken up by more frequent and longer episodes of warm and dry conditions, as daylight increases and the sun moves north.

Volunteer Connection – December 13, 2013

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A weekly snapshot of how people of all ages can match their time and talents to local needs. Each week Volunteer Connection brings you the “featured five” – five ways to get involved NOW! Volunteer Connection is a co-production of WFHB and the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, working together to build an empowered, vibrant, and engaged community!

Voices in the Street – New Years

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Our weekly public opinion feature Voices in the Street asks you to reflect on 2013 and speculate what is to come in 2014.

EcoReport – Marcia Veldman: Bloomington Citizen’s Climate Lobby

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In today’s EcoReport feature, Bloomington Citizen’s Climate lobby co-leader Marcia Veldman talks with correspondent  Norm Holy about the organization’s goal of promoting energy produced from non-fossil fuel sources.

Pence on Education

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On Tuesday December 10th Indiana Governor Mike Pence outlined his agenda for handling Hoosier education in 2014.   He praised Indiana standardized test scores and announced an initiative to provide grants directly to teachers, and stressed innovation in education. Highlights from his speech, here for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Monroe County School Diversity Offical Declares Most Minority Employees ‘Satisfied’

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On Tuesday a newly assigned diversity official at the Monroe County Community School Corporation said minority employees there are mostly pleased with their work environment.

Diane Hanks, the corporation’s diversity and talent specialist, said her office held forums last month for employees from underrepresented groups.

“Generally the employees were satisfied and feel comfortable in their respected environment,” Hanks said, “Their work environment is inclusive regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability and age.”

The forums were a response to the same controversy that led to the creation of Hanks’ new position.

Many community members were angry when the corporation promoted a white administrator to be principal at Tri-North Middle School. Hanks had also applied for the job, and some alleged that racial bias affected the decision, especially because Hanks had more experience as an administrator.

During that controversy, some MCCSC employees of color said a lack of diversity at the Corporation was a problem. And in her report this week, Hanks said there are indeed still issues that need addressed.

Hanks went on to say that the corporation should address concerns from employees who want more information about how to advance within the corporation.

Bloomington Beware! – Holiday Skimming

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Just in time for the holidays, there’s a new kind of card skimmer that is impossible for you to spot, and allows a thief to empty your bank account before you know it. We’ll tell you how to protect yourself on a new edition of our consumer watchdog segment Bloomington Beware!

Daily Local News – December 11, 2013

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Food stamp delivery dates are set to change starting this January; The result of a nationwide test shows that Hoosier students rank among the top four states in math and reading; The Morgan-Monroe State Forest Back-Country Area, or BCA, is being logged for the second time since its designation as a BCA by Governor Orr in 1981; The Ellettsville Town Council agreed Monday to carve out an exemption from pending regulations on secondhand shops, in hopes of protecting a local coin dealer; The Bloomington Board of Public Works approved a four hundred and seventy-three thousand dollar contract December 3rd, for work on a new intersection on the north side of town.

FEATURE
ISTA Settlement: The State Responds
Continuing our story from yesterday’s Daily Local News—Valerie Kroeger, from the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, talks about the out-of-court settlement between the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Teachers association, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

BLOOMINGTON BEWARE
Just in time for the holidays, there’s a new kind of card skimmer that is impossible for you to spot, and allows a thief to empty your bank account before you know it. We’ll tell you how to protect yourself on a new edition of our consumer watchdog segment Bloomington Beware!

CREDITS
Anchors: Cathi Norton, Kelly Wherley
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Casey Kuhn,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Bloomington Beware was produced by Richard Fish,
Ilze Akerbergs produced our feature.
Our engineer is Jim Lang,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Local photographers donate portrait sessions

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Blueline Media Productions again partnered with the South Central Community Action Program, to provide a free day of holiday portraits for low-income families in Bloomington on Sunday.

Volunteer Connection – December 6, 2013

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A weekly snapshot of how people of all ages can match their time and talents to local needs. Each week Volunteer Connection brings you the “featured five” – five ways to get involved NOW! Volunteer Connection is a co-production of WFHB and the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, working together to build an empowered, vibrant, and engaged community!

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