Super Bowl Blizzard

Don’t worry, a blizzard isn’t going to hit the ACTUAL Super Bowl, being played in Santa Clara, CA. I doubt the area has ever recorded a blizzard in their recorded history. The weather for Super Bowl 50 will be quite perfect with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s. However, other parts of the country could be seeing some rough conditions as they head to friends’ houses for the big game

An area of low pressure is dropping out of southern Manitoba and will shift over Upper Michigan by the late evening hours. Light to moderate snows are expected over the Upper Midwest from this system, but totals shouldn’t be too terribly high, mainly on the order of a couple inches. The big issue, however, will be a howling winds that are expected to develop over the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Potent NNW winds are expected to develop on the backside of this storm, and the NWS has already issued Winter Weather Advisories (Purple), High Wind Warnings (Tan), and Blizzard Watches/Warnings (Green/Orange) for a healthy chunk of the region


Gusts could reach 45-60mph in the Eastern Dakotas and Western Minnesota as the low drops in, causing near zero visibilities in areas. Oftentimes, “snowstorm” and “blizzard” are terms used interchangibly, when in fact there are actual parameters that have to be met for a storm to be officially considered in a blizzard in a location. The 2 factors are:

1) Winds of 35mph or more have to last for 3 consecutive hours and
2) Visibilities must be 1/4 mile or lower for 3 consecutive hours.

A storm can impact a region and drop 2+ feet of snow, but if the wind never gets above 10mph, then it’s just a crippling snowstorm, not a blizzard. On the flip side, you can get blizzard conditions with very little, if any, snow falling at all, since blizzard criteria aren’t based on the amount of snow that falls. Hopefully football fans in the Northern US take precautions before venturing out for the game, it might be more prudent to just throw a pizza in the oven and enjoy the game at home.

Wichita Falls, Texas to Morristown, Tennessee

This is an interesting drive. It’s not exactly urban, but there are good benchmarks, passing through Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville in our journey of nearly two full days. We will cover 984 miles, and will camp for the night at the 539.8 mile point because of a pace of 67.5mph. I think it will be fun.

DAY ONE (Saturday)
Wichita Falls
A nascent area of low pressure over southern Louisiana will extend an inverted trough into the Piney Woods of east Texas, and there is a pretty good chance we will encounter some rain in a narrow band from Paris to Texarkana. We will be well ahead and away from any other development through Arkansas, however, and will call it a day in West Memphis. I will leave it to you to figure out where that is.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
It’s a long drive end to end across Tennessee, and very different from Memphis to Morristown, and the Mississippi to the Smokey Mountains. Of course, one thing that will be consistent will be the weather. It should be just fine all the way across the Volunteer State.

Morristown, Tennessee

We’re headed to eastern Tennessee this evening. Fun, right?

At 1115PM, ET, Morristown was reporting a temperature of 30 degrees with clear skies. There is a conveyer belt of jet flow from the northern Gulf to the Gulf Stream. A weakness in the jet flow over Nova Scotia has fostered a system that brought heavy snow to eastern New England today, while there was a sharp upper level trough sliding through the Mississippi Valley, that is going to invigorate the strong jet streal along the Gulf coast.
Meanwhile, high pressure remains over the Smokey Mountains. The jet trough aloft will drive far enough south that when it triggers cyclonic development, it will be in the Bight of Georgia, and will then be forced northeast through along the Gulf Stream. Morristown will remain dry, but it will see an infusion of dry air as the system sweeps off shore, but another system in the Northern Plains will buoy temperatures, and there won’t be a sharp cooldown.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 47, Low 23
Sunday – Sunny, High 51, Low 25

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon, High 47, Low 26
Sunday – A mainly sunny sky, High 50, Low 28

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny High 47, Low 22
Sunday – Plenty of sunshine High 50, Low 27

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 48, Low 28
Sunday – Sunny High 50, Low 29

WB: Tomorrow – Partly Sunny, High 48, Low 23
Sunday – Sunny, High 50, Low 29

WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy High 45, Low 25
Sunday – Mostly Sunny High 48, Low 28

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 53, Low 29
Sunday – Partly cloudy starting in the evening. High 56, Low 28

It could definitely be worse in February. The water vapor image shows the dry air south of the jet pretty well.

Salinas soars

A weak cold front moving towards the California coast lost a lot of its steam as it approached. The forecast anticipated the boundary breaking down, but there was still trepidation that there could be rain in Salinas because it’s California and you always forecast for rain if there is the slightest chance. In fact, the boundary completely fizzled, and there weren’t even much by way of clouds. This led to climbing temperatures and sunny skies as a result. The National Weather Service and Weatherbug tied at the top spot for the first forecast in February.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 59, Low 39
Thursday – High 66, Low 41

Grade: B-C

The Week Ahead 2/7/16-2/13/16

We will be cris-crossing the country this week, with a road trip 4 out of 7 days this week. That Saturday schedule might be a little off, but I hope not!
Monday – Road Trip from Salt Lake City, Utah to Wichita Falls, Texas
Wednesday – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thursday – Bend, Oregon; Road Trip from Philadelphia to Bend.
Friday – Road Trip from Bend to Atlantic City, New Jersey
Saturday – Spartanburg, South Carolina; Road Trip from Atlantic City to Spartanburg

Named winter storms are still BS, but perhaps there is something to them

For another year, The Weather Channel is naming it’s winter storms, and their co-ownership with NBC means that their names are now colloquialisms in the American mindset. Everyone remembers Nemo. Everyone will be talking about Jonas for a while. This weekend, many people in the Twin Cities were talking about Kayla.
I think that is as good a sign as any that the Weather Channel’s idea to name storms is, in fact, a good one. It raises the profile of dangerous systems in a catchy, easy to remember manner. Whenever you hear a story about inclement or destructive weather and the impact it has on local residents, the common exclamation is that there was simply no warning.
The exasperated response from meteorologists almost every time is that there was warning. Ample warning, with very specific detals. Weather persons are at a loss for ways to more effectively issue forecasts and distribute warnings in a timely manner so that the necessary people are able to seek shelter and safety. There is a long way to go, it seems, with summer weather, given the tornado damage in Mississippi earlier this week was, allegedly, without warning.
Granted, winter systems are bigger and slower moving, so it’s easier to warn for them well in advance. Also, there is less potential for the forecast for a bust. Only a few blocks might see a tornado, but the entire half of a state sees snow and wind, for example. Still, it should be a lesson for meteorologists, that a little bit of marketability might be the best thing for increasing forecast visability.
Now, that all said, I would prefer it if the storm system naming practice shifted away from a media entity and to something with less to gain financially. This should be something taught in schools, frankly, rather than in a Weather Corporation webinar. What is and is not a named storm should be codified and distributed by ALL outlets, rather than just The Weather Channel and it’s affiliates. As it stands right now, it just seems like a gimmick, something that is good for The Weather Channel rather than something instituted in the interest of public safety.
One way or another, I am not sure I can take something seriously that has “Lexi” and “Zandor” among its names for the year. TWC even admits they are the same name!

February starts with a bang

Well, yesterday certainly was an interesting day, wasn’t it? The recent warm up gave fuel to a tornado break in the southeastern United States, while the fact that it is February ensured that there was snow in the northern Plains, and the strength of the system ensured that winds were brisk enough that the snow storm would classify as a blizzard.
Interestingly, the unusually warm weather that was seen through the Plains as the month began was the primary factor that turned this system from a typical winter storm into a real doozy. As we all know, the primary cause for storms is a conflict in air masses, so that warmth in the Plains simply didn’t get along with the colder air that was still in Canada, despite what we were seeing stateside.
The fact that it was so warm meant that the conflict between air masses was more dramatic. This explains the depths of the low pressure, as well clash that led to the thunderstorms in the southeast. The rotating system induced the threat for tornadoes, of which a few were realized in Mississippi yesterday and Georgia today. It also meant much more moisture than most Plains systems are able to sustain this deep into winter. Many locations around the Twin Cities had a foot or more of snow, coupled with 25-30mph winds.
Usually in early February, systems don’t get wound up quite as well as yesterday’s feature. They don’t often get as snowy in the Northern Plains because they lack the moisture to produce that kind of snow, and they often aren’t tornadic, because the clash of air masses isn’t that intense. I guess we were just lucky this time.

Salinas, California

As is our custom here at Victoria-Weather, we are going to be forecasting well away from the major system rolling through the Plains. Nearly a foot of snow has fallen in the Twin Cities (I have drifts to my knees by my house) and in the south, there have been severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Is this forecast for Salinas not what you need? Would you like to order a forecast of your own? Then please, watch this video to learn how to order a customized forecast from Victoria-Weather.

At 653PM, PM, Salinas was reporting a temperature of 51 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. There were some coastal clouds throughout Monterey Bay, but most of the rest of the region, including San Francisco, was clear. This will mean a somewhat warm night for Salinas while areas to the north and inland will cool off under starry skies.
An undercutting shortwave trough is generating a strong low over the Gulf of Alaska. High topped clouds are notable off shore on satellite in association with a front being dragged through the chilly Pacific towards California. As the northern portion of the boundary comes ashore along the Canadian coast and eventually south through the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, it will weaken significantly. By the time the tail of the front makes its way into Monterey Bay early Thursday, it will carry almost no moisture. Expect the day to be fairly overcast on Thursday, nevertheless, with a spot of drizzle in the morning.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny. High 60, Low 44
Thursday – Cloudy with a bit of drizzle early. High 63, Low 45

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy, High 60, Low 38
Thursday – Partly cloudy skies, High 63, Low 44

AW: Tomorrow – Some sun, then increasing clouds High 59, Low 38
Thursday – Sunshine and patchy clouds High 62, Low 43

NWS: Tomorrow – A 10 percent chance of rain after 4pm. Partly sunny, High 59, Low 39
Thursday – Mostly sunny, High 63, Low 42

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. A slight chance of rain in the afternoon. High 59, Low 39
Thursday – Partly cloudy, High 63, Low 42

WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy with Isolated Showers High 59, Low 36
Thursday – Partly Cloudy High 63, Low 39

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 60, Low 40
Thursday – Partly cloudy until evening. High 62, Low 45

Temperatures are busting hard overnight tonight, so I have a bit warmer low than anyone else. We’ll see if my observation pays off. Here is the satellite, with a cold front sneaking east, lying just off shore.

Rumblings in Wichita

Wichita was always going to be a tough forecast. They sat astride of an oscillating boundary, awaiting the advance of a low that was to descend out of the southern Rockies. This low actually kicked much more warm air into the region than expected. This negated the forecasts for mixed precip and helped fuel the atmosphere for some thunderstorms, a rare treat in Wichita in early February. The forecasts that erred on the side of cooler temperatures were way off, but those that hedged their bets towards warmer temperatures came through nicely., still basking in their victorious glow of January, just went out and crushed this forecast too.
Actuals: Sunday – High 56, Low 38
Monday- .21 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 57, Low 33

Grade: A-C

Warm Georgia Weekend

There wasn’t much varience in the forecast for Warner Robins, as high pressure over the region kept central GA quiet for a couple of days. The only big wrench in the forecast was Sunday morning’s low was colder than anybody expected it to be. WeatherNation had no clue what was going on for low temperatures and was comically off. Weather Channel nudged out Accuweather for the victory.

Saturday: High 67, Low 33.
Sunday: High 70, Low 39.
Forecast Grade: B-D

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