Topeka got throttled

Early last week, we took a look at the forecast for Kansas’ capital, Topeka. A cold front preparing to bisect the Plains was set to touch off thunderstorms in the area on Monday, and it was going to be close, whether or not those storms fired up before the boundary passed Topeka or not. Perhaps the headline gave it away. There were severe storms all around Topeka, particularly northeast of town on Monday night. They collected exactly one inch of rain before all was said and done, with hail and gusty winds to boot. There was just a trace on Tuesday, and the subsequent day must have felt much more comfortable.
Actuals: Monday – 1.00″ in heavy thunderstorms, High 99, Low 69
Tuesday – Trace in rain, high 92, Low 69

Grade: C

Victoria, Texas

While it was scorching here in the Twin Cities (record high of 95!), let’s go take a look at somewhere a bit cooler, Texas! Wait what?

At 751pm CDT, the temperature at Victoria, TX was 85 degrees under fair skies. A broad ridge of high pressure is found throughout the South, from the Southern Plains through the Southeast. Outside of typical dryline storms in West TX and normal seabreeze-esque diurnal storms along the coast, the region is fairly void of synoptic systems. That’s expected to change over the weekend as a tropical feature is spinning its way from the Yucatan Peninsula towards the TX coastline. It’s not really expected to develop into anything, just looks like a system that will bring increase rains to the Victoria area, mainly on Sunday evening. Saturday looks fairly decent, just gotta dodge those pop-up afternoon storms!

Saturday: Isolated thunderstorms in afternoon. Hot and humid. High 94, Low 76.
Sunday: Slightly cooler with increased clouds, chances of storms increases for the afternoon and evening hours. High 90, Low 75.

TWC: Saturday: Partly cloudy, isolated showers. High 94, Low 76.
Sunday: Thunderstorms. High 89, Low 76.

AW: Saturday: A shower and t-storm around. High 92, Low 76.
Sunday: Rain and a t-storm, breezy. High 90, Low 76.

NWS: Saturday: Chance of thunderstorms. High 93, Low 76.
Sunday: Thunderstorms likely. High 90, Low 76.

WB: Saturday: Chance of storms. High 92, Low 76.
Sunday: Scattered thunderstorms. High 88, Low 77.

WN: Saturday: Partly cloudy with scattered storms. High 93, Low 76.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms likely. High 90, Low 76.

FIO: Saturday: Humid throughout the day, partly cloudy in afternoon. High 92, Low 77.
Sunday: Rain starting in the afternoon. Hig 89, Low 76.

Here we see some clouds dotting the region. More noticeable, however, is a fire from Matagorda Island with it’s smoke blowing towards the northwest, just missing Victoria. It was a prescribed burn, so nothing to be too worried about.

College Station, Texas

Midweek, and time for another forecast. This time, we’re going to head to the home of one of the finer meteorology schools in the country, College Station, in east Texas.

At 153PM, CT, College Station was reporting a temperature of 92 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Some seabreeze thunderstorms were popping up along the coast, with the strongest storm presently passing through downtown Houston. A tropical wave in the Bay of Campeche was directing a southeasterly flow into the Texas coast, helping to contribute to the thunderstorm activity.
The NHC is monitoring the wave, with the expectation of some development in the next few days, though models seem to agree that it won’t develop beyond a weak tropical storm, making it Tropical Storm Beryl. In the meantime, afternoon thunderstorms will continue today, tomorrow and Saturday, as the future Beryl drifts into the western Gulf.
Tomorrow – Warm but with isolated thunderstorms, High 92, Low 75
Saturday – More thunderstorms, but still other wise warm and sunny, High 91, Low 75

TWC: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible High 94, Low 73
Saturday – Sunshine and clouds mixed. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible.  High 93, Low 74

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny; humid High 93, Low 74
Saturday – Clouds and sunshine, a shower or thunderstorm around; humid High 92, Low 74

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, High 95, Low 74
Saturday – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, High 92, Low 75

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 89, Low 75
Saturday – Partly cloudy with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 86, Low 75

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with scattered thunderstorms, High 95, Low 74
Saturday – Partly cloudy with scattered storms, High 92, Low 75

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy starting in the morning, continuing until evening.High 92, Low 72
Saturday – Partly cloudy starting in the morning, continuing until evening. High 92, Low 73

Here is a look at the radar, showing those isolated thunderstorms. Very hit or or miss, and mostly miss.

Heat Surge Subsides, but Roaring Back

It’s been a Katy Perry-esuqe couple of months over the Upper Midwest, by that I mean it’s been “Hot N Cold”. MSP had their 4th coldest April on record then rebounded with their 2nd warmest May on record, which had their longest May stretch ever of 6 straight days of 90F+ days (and included the first 100F reading in 6 years!). June so far, has been very moderate, with no days reaching more than 9 degrees either above or below normal. Dew points today actually bottomed out in the upper 30s in the early afternoon hours, making for a picture perfect day across the region!

The heat and humidity will be returning with a vengeance once again this weekend as an area of strong low pressure is expected to push up into the Dakota, tapping some gulf Moisture to pump it up through the Plains and fuel thunderstorms over the Northern Plains and into the southern Canadian Prairie Provinces. Temps around here look to push into the 90s over the weekend with juicy dew points returning to the low 70s. We’ll see how long it sticks around or if it will settle back down towards normal, where this month has been so far.

Topeka, Kansas

All right, I’m back. Anthony monitored the site and took some good notes for Lubbock while I was away, but now we’re fully staffed. My new babies are sitting here in the room with me as I make this forecast, so now the paternal pressure is on!

At 353PM, CT, Topeka was reporting a sultry 98 degrees with a dew point of 68. Sunny skies dominated the region, but with upper level forcing hanging out in the Dakotas today, it appeared that their was no relief in sight for the day, and 100 degrees with those sticky dew points ensuring heat indices would remain dangerous for the rest of the day.
The pattern is unusually complicated for the middle of June, with a strong area of low pressure developing over the central Plains, though that is currently inactive. Showers and thunderstorms presently on satellite are the creation of a well organized system in the lee of the Canadian Rockies producing storms in the northern High Plains, while a stationary front in the southern Great Lakes is creating storms into the Mississippi Valley.  The surface low in the central Plains will draw northeast as the upper level trough associated with the system in Alberta will dig southwestward. The cold front will hang back with the jet diving into the Dakotas, but a prefrontal trough, acting as a remnant of the original low moving away from the central Rockies, will move through in the evening on Monday. There is a chance for an isolated strong thunderstorm during the PM hours on Monday as the trough moves through. It may take some of the humidity out of the air for Tuesday, however it won’t be a whole lot cooler when the sun comes out again.
Tomorrow – Hot and humid again, with some strong thunderstorms in the area, High 100, Low 76
Tuesday – Clearer and not as hot, High 87, Low 69

TWC: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 99, Low 77
Tuesday – Generally sunny. High 91, Low 70

AW: Tomorrow – A severe afternoon thunderstorm, with damaging winds and hail; otherwise, partly sunny, hot High 97, Low 76
Tuesday – Some sun, then turning cloudy, a thunderstorm in the afternoon High 92, Low 67

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny (Late Stors), High 96, Low 77
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, (early storms) High 90, Low 68

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 95, Low 76
Tuesday – Sunny, High 90, Low 69

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with scattered storms, High 96, Low 76
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 90, Low 68

FIO: Tomorrow – Light rain starting in the afternoon, continuing until evening. High 98, Low 76
Tuesday – Light rain overnight. High 91, Low 67

This forecast both overstates and understates the thunderstorm threat. Expect storms could be extremely isolated, but those that develop could be monsters, with large hail and heavy precipitation, in particular. Truth be told, this forecast took about 3 hours to write thanks to those babies I was talking about, but here is the satellite from that time. Note all the activity northeast of Topeka.

Lubbock, Texas

Apologies for the delay in posting this forecast, apparently I can’t read a calendar! Sorry Lubbock residents! Let’s take a look at what it’s gonna be like heading into midweek for you

At 953pm CDT, the temperature at Lubbock, TX was 81 degrees under partly cloudy skies. An upper ridge is found over the Four Corners region, pushing most evening and overnight activity into the Northern and Central Plains. Meanwhile, West Texas is HOT. Well, they’re always hot in the summer, but still, many days of 100F+ highs never ceases to amaze me. That’s what it’ll be like in Lubbock for the next couple of days with maybe a few high clouds from time to time. Next chance of seeing some thunderstorm development in the region looks to be on Friday as the ridge breaks down slightly, allowing some dryline action to fire up nearby.

Wednesday: Sunny and hot. High 103, Low 72.
Thursday: Continued hot. High 103, Low 74.

TWC: Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 102, Low 73.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 103, Low 72.

AW: Wednesday: Sunny to partly cloudy, hot. High 103, Low 70.
Thursday: Partly sunny. High 102, Low 73.

NWS: Wednesday: Hot. High 101, Low 71.
Thursday: Hot. High 101, Low 73.

WB: Wednesday: Sunny. High 100, Low 70.
Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 101, Low 74.

WN: Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 100, Low 72.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 101, Low 75.

FIO: Wednesday: Partly cloudy in morning, continuing through evening. High 101, Low 69.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 99, Low 73.

Tail end of a front is kicking up storms off to the east of Lubbock, but quiet weather will take over the area tonight and last for a couple of days.

Crisp cool nights with storms on the horizon

Thunderstorms were rampant and dangerous across the Dakotas on Friday, with severe storms afflicting the central parts of those states. There were tornadoes west of Bismarck in North Dakota and gusty winds and hail along the Missouri river in South Dakota. It mostly erupted to the east of Rapid City, however, with cooler air encroaching after the strong thunderstorms blew up and moved on. There was a trace of rain Friday night for Rapid City, but their forecast was marked mostly by clear skies and temperatures that were significantly cooler than what had been forecast for the overnight lows. Victoria-Weather ended up with the top forecast for the day, to take us into June..
Actuals Friday – .01 inches of rain, High 83, Low 51
Saturday – High 72, Low 45

Grade D-F

May forecaster of the Month

We didn’t spend a lot of time in the forecasting fields this month, focusing on the big stories, like a heat wave and Tropical Storm Alberto, but there wasn’t much doubt over who the top forecaster was. The weather moderated and brought us unseasonably warm weather after a chilly April, and it brought us some white hot forecasting from The Weather Channel, who gets this shiny trophy.

Under the influence

Alberto was about parallel with Spartanburg when we compiled a forecast for the Carolina city on Tuesday, and the storm moved north towards the Great Lakes during the verification period. Over the course of that period, Alberto still exerted his influence along the Atlantic coast, training a great deal of rain fall, especially on the eastern exposures of the Appalachians. In Spartanburg, it rained about half an inch over the two day period, but more sun peeked between the clouds on Thursday to bring temperatures up a few degrees. The Weather Channel had a very good forecast and won the day.
Actuals: Wednesday – .28″ of the rain, High 82, Low 69
Thursday – .25″ of rain, High 86, Low 68

Grade: A-C

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