© 2019 Terry Swails

59 YEARS OF EYES IN THE SKY...

April 4, 2019

April 1st. 1960 is a huge day in the history of meteorology. It's the anniversary of the launch of TIROS-1, Earths first weather satellite. Below you can see the first available television image. While the detail of the images were grainy and limited to a few per day, Tiros opened up a new world of accuracy and possibilities to forecasters.

TIROS itself weighed 270 pounds, and was equipped with dual TV cameras. The cameras could record black-and-white images to tape, which could be played back and relayed to ground stations when the satellite was in a favorable broadcasting position. It was powered by a battery fed by a massive array of solar cells. Although it only operated for 78 days, the satellite was a massive success, and proved that space-based images of Earth were useful in predicting weather and tracking storm systems.

TIROS-2 launched in November 1960 and failed in January of 1961. TIROS-3 went up and lasted 230 days, and discovered Hurricane Esther. TIROS derivatives continued to launch through 1998, and TIROS-1 is still up there. It's the 11th oldest human-made object in orbit.

 

Today, the latest version of our weather satellites come from GOES 17 (east and west) which take continuous high resolution images of earths weather. Look at the quality of today's pictures from those of 59 years ago. The detail is astounding. We've come a long, long way baby.

The weather around the region Thursday will be influenced by a weak weather disturbance that will produce plenty of clouds and a few spotty showers or patches of drizzle. While the rain won't amount to much temperatures will remain cool with east winds and the lack of sunshine. The EURO is showing highs generally in the 40s and 50s.

By the weekend some dramatic changes are expected which will bring a few days of mild weather to the Midwest. It's even possible a 70 degree high could could make it into parts of the area. The EURO is the most bullish on the possibility putting forth highs that look like this Saturday afternoon.

If we can get to 70 in Cedar Rapids that would be the warmest temperature in 180 days going back to October 9th. 

After Thursday, the next rain is not due until Saturday night or Sunday. By then then conditions should be much better (if only for a few days)! I see an important storm for the middle of next week. Roll weather...TS

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