New SPC graphics roll out tomorrow

With the 15z update tomorrow morning, the SPC will introduce new thunderstorm outlook graphics. They will do away with “see text” phrasing to instead provide better graphical representations of their forecasts with “marginal” outlooks. Additionally, they will introduce an “enhanced” outlooks, which will fall between “slight” and “moderate” risks, to demonstrate where there is a better chance for severe weather where the phrase “slight risk” may not lead to the preferred inference. Here is an example that the Storm Prediction Center provided:
If you want something a little more hard and fast, here are the particular criteria that the SPC will use for their graphical depiction:
If you would like to know more about the SPC’s changes, you can read from their post on the topic from earlier this year. Of course, the way things are looking, they may not be able to use their new graphics for a few days. Thunderstorm activity looks pretty negligible for the next few days.

Clear confusion

The sun was able to peek through the clouds often in Santa Fe over the last couple of days, both at night and in the morning, which led to temperatures skying high above forecast highs and drop below forecast lows. Not everyone had rain in the forecast, but everyone expected enough clouds to prevent temperature fluctuations as wild as Santa Fe enjoyed. The thing is, though, it DID rain. Both Sunday and Monday. The rain storms were simply discrete enough to allow for temperatures to bounce around like they did. In the end, it was Accuweather claiming their third victory in a row, thanks to Victoria-Weather calling for a dry day yesterday. Otherwise, V-W had the top temperature forecast. People notice rain before they notice 2 degrees difference in temperature though, so kudos to Accuweather.
Actuals: Sunday – Rain and thunderstorms reported, not measured. High 70, Low 39
Monday – Rain reported, not measured, High 73, Low 42

Grade: C

Fargo, North Dakota to Ithaca, New York

Today we embark on a trip from the Eastern Dakotas to Southern New York. 1,308 miles separate Fargo and Ithaca, so it’ll be a 3-day trek to get there. Buckle up!



An area of low pressure is starting to develop over the Western High Plains, bringing some gusty southerly winds over the Dakotas and western Minnesota. However, with high pressure currently in place over the Upper Midwest, that should be the only negative on this pleasant weather day! Mostly sunny skies are expected for the entire day from Fargo down through Minneapolis and well into WI until we get to Madison, our stop for the night.


The high pressure shifts slightly east during the day, but luckily for us, the axis will be directly along our trip for the day! Some scattered clouds are possible as we depart Madison, but the rest of the day should be just as pleasant as yesterday, and with less winds as well! The biggest thing we’ll have to contend with is traffic and road construction as we drive through Chicago, through northern Indiana, and past Toledo as we end our night in Cleveland.


A pleasant day as we depart Cleveland will eventually lead into overcast skies as a low-pressure system continues to sit just off the New England coastline. Scattered showers are expected to start kicking up as we drive past Erie, PA and will become more of a steady nuisance as we pass Jamestown, NY. The winding roads and persistent showers will slow down our travels a bit, but eventually we’ll make it to Ithaca by mid-afternoon.


Gorgeous Gulf Weekend

With a lack of any significant surface systems affecting the Houma area, it was largely a pleasant weekend in Southeast Louisiana. Some morning fog was seen both days, but burned off by mid-morning and then scattered clouds developed by early afternoon. Accuweather took home another victory due to their slightly cooler low temperature forecasts.

Saturday: High 82, Low 58.
Sunday: High 78, Low 60.
Forecast Grade: B

Fargo, North Dakota

Today we venture to the Northern Plains, to the bustling North Dakota metropolis of Fargo. Will the start of the workweek continue the pleasant weather they’ve had over the weekend? Let’s find out!

At 5:53pm CDT, the temperature in Fargo, ND was 65 degrees under fair skies. An area of low pressure shifting out of Ontario into the Great Lakes is pretty much the only system of significance anywhere close to Fargo and it will continue pushing off to the east over the next 24hrs. A broad area of high pressure will shift through the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest over the next couple of days. Late Tuesday will see a few increasing clouds, along with gustier southerly winds, as an area of low pressure begins to develop over eastern Montana. Dry weather in store for the next couple of days!

Monday: Sunny. High 63, Low 41.
Tuesday: Continued sunny, some late clouds. High 66, Low 41.

TWC: Monday: Sunny. High 62, Low 41.
Tuesday: Sunny, windy. High 65, Low 40.

AW: Monday: Pleasant with plenty of sun. High 63, Low 40.
Tuesday: Sunny, windy and mild. High 66, Low 40.

NWS: Monday: Sunny. High 63, Low 39.
Tuesday: Sunny. High 66, Low 39.

WB: Monday: Sunny. High 65, Low 37.
Tuesday: Sunny. High 65, Low 37.

WN: Monday: Mostly sunny. High 64, Low 39.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 66, Low 39.

Here we see just some high-based cirrus clouds off over eastern Montana, otherwise all is quiet over the Dakotas.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

After spending a lot of time talking about hurricanes and the tropics, we’re going to head on down to the Land of Enchantment, where something needs to go seriously awry to get a hurricane.

At 953AM, ET Santa Fe was reporting mostly cloudy skies with a temperature of 56 degrees. Clouds were fairly pervasive across the region, as there was a very week upper level wave leading to a well defined circulation over northeastern New Mexico. It won’t amount to much more than clouds across the state today, and a fairly impressive looking satellite image.
The upper level trough, as well as some lee troughing at the surface will remain persistent, however, and that low pressure will tap into a disturbance developing over the Bay of Campeche. Moisture will spill northward through the day and into tomorrow. There won’t be any synoptic organization in the New Mexico area, rather some showers in the mountains around Santa Fe. Tomorrow looks like a better potential for showers, but it looks fairly overcast on Monday as well.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, chance of some showers, High 69, Low 44
Monday – Overcast, High 70, Low 43

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy High 66, Low 45
Monday – Mostly Sunny High 67, Low 45

AW: Tomorrow – A blend of sun and clouds with a shower or thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 69, Low 45
Monday – Partial sunshine with a shower or thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 70, Low 43

NWS: Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny High 66, low 43
Monday – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny High 66, Low 44

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms. High 65, Low 48
Monday – Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 65, Low 45

WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy with Isolated Showers High 66, Low 45
Monday – Partly Cloudy with Isolated Showers High 66, Low 45

The threat for rain is low enough, as you can see, that the Weather Channel didn’t even include it in their forecast. Also, most outlets are going way below guidance, which is interesting to me.
Santa Fe

The Week Ahead 10/19/14-10/25/14

This is going to be the last normal week we have for a while. You see, in two weeks, I’m getting married. I will be doing some wedding prep stuff a couple days ahead of the ceremony, and then I will be off on my honeymoon after that, and there’s not a chance I will be posting from my honeymoon. We haven’t pounded out EXACTLY what’s happening with the site during that time, but we will be sure to fill you in next Friday. For the time being, here is the schedule for the coming week.
Sunday – Fargo, North Dakota
Monday – Road Trip from Fargo to Ithaca, New York
Thursday – Road Trip from Lawton, Oklahoma to Panama City, Florida
Friday – Naples, Florida
Saturday – Road Trip from Naples to Washington, DC

Houma, Louisiana

We are headed down to the bayou today, where we will be issuing a forecast for Houma, Louisiana. Interesting, with hurricanes headed for Bermuda and Hawaii, nary a drop for southern Louisiana.

At 1047AM, CT, Houma was reporting a temperature of 79 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. Flow has generally returned to become southerly across the region after a few days of brisk northerlies that dried the region out. It has become increasingly likely once again for some morning fog and more widespread overcast thanks to the latent moisture of the region.
Fortunately, there isn’t anything going on synoptically through the Plains that would enhance flow through the region, and a disturbance over the Bay of Campeche is cutting off the fetch off the Gulf. Additionally, the solar angle is certainly not as direct this time of year as it can be. The net effect is a generally stable environment in Houma, but with the necessary moisture for some morning visibility issues.
Tomorrow – Morning fog, otherwise mostly cloudy, High 83, Low 61
Sunday – A carbon copy, with fog early and general clouds later, High 82, low 61

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly Sunny High 84, Low 62
Sunday – Sunny High 80, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – Plenty of sunshine Hgh 82, Low 60
Sunday – Plenty of sunshine High 80, Low 62

NWS: Tomorrow – Patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, sunny, High 83, Low 64
Sunday – Mostly sunny High 80, Low 64

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny in the morning then becoming partly cloudy High 82, Low 65
Sunday – Partly cloudy in the morning then becoming sunny. high 80, Low 65

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly Sunny with Patchy Fog High 82, Low 64
Sunday – Mostly Sunny High 81, Low 64

This is the time of year to get down to southern Louisiana (assuming there isn’t a hurricane on the way). Temperatures are tolerable, and there are no storms in sight. Mmmm, Cajun food. There is a little bit of action over the Bay of Campeche, but otherwise, we’re looking good.

Bellingham, Washington to Washington, DC

Cross country road trips usually take a full doggoned week, and this trip is no different. Expect 5 1/2 days to cover the 2850 miles between western Washington and…. Washington. So much time on interstates will mean a travel pace of a delightful 64mph. This means that the 5 full days will be through after about 512 miles. We have some ground to cover, so let’s be on our way.

DAY ONE (Friday)
We head from the Puget Sound, south through Seattle and then off into the wilderness of the Cascades and the Pacific Northwest to begin our cross country trip. We will be racing to beat a Pacific cold front attempting to come ashore in Washington tomorrow. As we head up through the Cascades, we will likely see some clouds, fog and showers, but when we start heading back down into the Yakima Valley, it will clear out. Clear skies will continue to prevail through the Chimney of Idaho and to Tarkio, Montana, where we will end the day. If you don’t know, Tarkio is about 40 miles west of Missoula.

DAY TWO (Saturday)
Flow will come sweeping gently down the Rocky Mountains, providing a bit of a Chinook wind effect, and raising temperatures to something fairly comfortable for this time of year in Montana. We will cover most of the state with our trekking on Saturday, ending the day in rural Hathawaym which is barely there, west of Miles City.

DAY THREE (Sunday)
It’s almost unforgiving how straight I-93 is through North Dakota. At least for the first couple of days, the road twists and turns through the Mountains, and even has to swing south to hook up with Billings in Montana, but essentially as soon as we cross into North Dakota, it’s a straight shot across the state. We will make it the whole way across North Dakota free of anything particularly frightening climatically, and make it to Barnesville, Minnesota, which is about 25 miles southeast of Fargo.

DAY FOUR (Monday)
It’s way too early in the year to be calling it this, but there is sort of an Alberta Clipper forecast to swing out of the Canadian Prairies into the Great Lakes over the weekend into early next week. The drive between Barnesville and the Twin Cities shouldn’t be an issue, but we could start to encounter the back end of this system by the time we pass through Eau Claire, Wisconsin. it won’t be much, just overcast skies and drizzle, but it will be the first precipitation we will have seen since the Cascades. We’ll stop in Janesville for the night.

DAY FIVE (Tuesday)
That wave will still be attempting to pull out of the Great Lakes as we drive through the region. Conditions are expected to be clear as we get started, and should remain so through Chicago, but clouds will make their way back into the picture as we reach South Bend. By the time we hit the Ohio border, drizzle will have already begun to enter the scene. Light rain, nothing too terribly heavy, but certainly persistent, will dominate the drive through Ohio. We will nearly make it thorough the Buckeye State, ending in North Lima, about 10 miles from the border.

DAY 6 (Wednesday)
The system will continue to spiral out to sea overnight, and driving through the mountains of western Pennsylvania should be a scenic treat. When we clear the mountains, however, the Potomac Valley will still be socked in. Clouds and showers look to hang on through the early afternoon, meaning it will be tough to see even the Wsahington Monument from great distances.

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