Cooler air slogs into central Illinois

A big blob of rain, with a few thunderstorms embedded within a big swirling low inched towards Decatur late last week. Since late Wednesday night, that rain has made it as far as the Great Lakes. So it rained in Decatur during our forecast period of Thursday and Friday, but the radar was less and less intense as time went on, and temperatures dropped off to become seasonable, and eventually, below normal. If there was a silver lining to all the clouds, it was that forecasts for the region were pretty good. Forecast.io gets top marks.
Actuals: Thursday – High .09 inches of rain, High 79, Low 60
Friday – .13 inches of rain, High 63, Low 51

Grade: A-C

Average hurricane season now a little busier

Every ten years, weather averages are reconsidered and updated. Daily high temperatures, low temperatures and precipitation are now based on the most recent 30 years, reflecting the most recent information in our ever changing climate. In addition to the daily changes, monthly and seasonal changes are also instituted.

Hurricane seasonal averages were updated, replacing the 80s with the extremely active 2010s. Now, an average season will see 14 named storms, with 7 hurricanes, up 2 and 1 from the previous averages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is has a lot to do with the active years early in the past decade, and especially the last several years, which were busier than even the new normal years.

There is something to be said about the warming of the north Atlantic, but also, the El Nino pattern, which was more prevalent in recent years. Somewhat surprisingly, the eastern and central Pacific didn’t have any revision to their annual averages. The Atlantic also didn’t see an increase to the major hurricane forecast.

Satellite data and naming conventions really were revolutionized in the 90s. Improved satellite data will, as a result, not be a factor in future changes to averages, but they may have led to some change in this update. Hurricane season, officially, begins on June 1st, and we are coming off the busiest season of all time.

Saint George, Utah

While most of the population of Utah is in a narrow strip of the Salt Lake Basin, right along I-15, there is at least one big outlier: St. George and Cedar City in he southwest corner of the state.

At 156PM, MT, St. George was reporting a temperature of 77 degrees with clear skies. There is a bit of an absence of upper level dynamics, and across the arid inter mountain west, that means sunshine and dry air. Dew points are sitting in the teens, so temperatures this afternoon should warm unabated.
The entry region of the nearest jet is centered over the Pacific Northwest, and it will shift towards Wyoming through the day tomorrow. Flow in the wake of the jet will curl cyclonically to join the jet streak, leading to the development of low pressure over Nevada. Southerly flow will emerge in southern Utah later in the day Tuesday. Expect dry conditions to continue over St. George, but some rain and snow to emerge over the southern faces of taller Wasatch Mountains through central Utah by Tuesday night.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 82, Low 51
Tuesday – Partly cloudy and breezy, High 81, Low 51

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. High 84, Low 50
Tuesday – Partly cloudy early. Mostly sunny skies with gusty winds developing later in the day. High 81, Low 52

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sun High 83, Low 47
Tuesday – Mostly sunny; breezy in the afternoon High 79, Low 53

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 83, Low 51
Tuesday – Sunny, High 79, Low 55

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 81, Low 55
Tuesday – Partly cloudy in the morning, then becoming sunny, High 80, Low 56

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 85, Low 51
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 81, Low 55

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 84, Low 50
Tuesday – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 81, Low 53

This was an interesting forecast to construct, watching low pressure develop on the same map in an area that wasn’t the High Plains. Not something we get to look at every day. It’s pretty sunny today, though.

Soggy start to April in Boston

Our last post of March was actually a forecast that covered the first couple of days of April in Boston. I have to say, it is not weather that I would have enjoyed. After a very rainy start to the month on the 1st, temperatures struggled to even reach 40 on Friday the 2nd. If there was a silver lining, it certainly wasn’t for Bostonians, but rather for Victoria-Weather, who easily won the day.
Actuals: Thursday, April 1st, .98″ of rain, High 58, Low 36
Friday, April 2nd, High 40, Low 29

Grade: A-B

Augusta, Georgia to Decatur, Illinois

The Masters start tomorrow in Augusta, and if you are a local, I bet it’s not your favorite time of year. So why not get out of town, say, by driving as far as you can in one long day. It will take almost 12 hours to get from Augusta to Decatur, covering about 744 miles at a pace of about 64.5mph. It’s definitely going to be an adventure!

Augusta, Georgia

Low pressure in the mid-Mississippi Valley is rapidly occluding, which means it is slowing down and weakening. As a result, it’s not going to clear the route by the time we get moving, but it’s also not going to provide a lot of heavy weather as we drive on Thursday. There will be some rain and isolated thunder with the tail of the front in the high terrain northwest of Atlanta to about Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At that point, we will get into a dry slot, which will be cloudy and glum, but OK for driving. The dry slot will last for the rest of the day, though the further north, and closer to Decatur we get in while driving in southern Illinois, some light rain becomes more and more likely. So don’t go any further north than Decatur, I guess, is what I’m saying.

Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois

Central Illinois is calling our name this evening.

At 1054PM, CT, Decatur was reporting clear skies with a temperature of 66 degrees. An active area of low pressure west of the Mississippi was drawing warm moist air north into Illinois, lending to the stuffy overnight temperatures, but a great deal of rain, with embedded thunderstorms was on it’s way. Fortunately, the warmer weather should continue through most of the day tomorrow.
The sharp curl to the upper jet will induce occlusion of the system through tomorrow morning, slowing the system down and taking the teeth out of the precipitation as it moves through Decatur. Severe weather, and even strong thunderstorms are unlikely. Wet weather will arrive in the evening in Decatur on Wednesday, with rain continuing, heavy at times through Thursday morning. Cooler, damp air will linger later in the day on Thursday as low pressure parks itself in central Illinois. With a murky upper level pattern, the lingering moisture over Decatur will help set the stage for shower and thunderstorm activity later this week.
Tomorrow – Late rain, some thunderstorms close to midnight, High 77, Low 60
Thursday – Heavy rain, then overcast with spots of drizzle, High 61, Low 52

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy in the morning with scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 77, Low 60
Thursday – Cloudy early with showers for the afternoon hours. High 60, Low 53

AW: Tomorrow – Some sun, then increasing clouds and windy; a thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 77, Low 61
Thursday – Mainly cloudy, breezy and cooler with a couple of showers High 61, Low 52

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of showers after 2pm. Partly sunny, High 75, Low 60
Thursday – A 40 percent chance of showers after 1pm. Partly sunny High 60, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly Sunny, 20% chance of rain showers in the afternoon, High 75, Low 61
Thursday – Cooler. Partly sunny with a 50% chance of rain showers, High 61, Low 55

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with scattered showers, High 75, Low 60
Thursday – Partly cloudy with scattered showers. High 59, Low 52

FIO: Tomorrow – Rain overnight and in the evening. Hugh 77, Low 5
“Thursday – Rain until morning, starting again in the evening. High 65, Low 51.

Illinois looks nice on satellite, but those poufs of cumulonimbus west of Mississippi bear watching.

A District drenching

March went out like a lion in the mid-Atlantic. A batch of low pressure that emerged from the Smokey Mountains invigorated some moisture in the region, and there was nearly an inch of rain in Washington on the last day of the month. With all those showers, the temperature dispersal was fairly minimal last Wednesday, The top forecast was held by Accuweather, who correctly foresaw the gloomy end to the month.
Actuals: Tuesday, High 69, low 46
Wednesday – .92 inches of rain, High 65, Low 56

Grade: B -C

Boston, Massachusetts

Baseball season starts tomorrow. The Red Sox may not be the team they have been in recent years, but baseball is a signal of a new spring and summer season, and I’m sure Boston fans are excited anyways.

At 1054PM, ET, Boston was reporting rain with a temperature of 57 degrees. A strong, sharp upper level trough is moving from the Great Lakes to the East Coast. Presently, surface low pressure is centered well into Nunavut, but along a ranging cold front, the base of the trough has fostered more cyclonic development in the mid-Atlantic. Surface low pressure will streak through southern New England shortly after midnight. Wind and rain will continue overnight, with the back end of the rain shifting out of the area in the late morning hours.
Cold air will become cut off behind the system over New England. While skies will largely be clear thanks to the subsidence of the heavier, denser cold air, it won’t feel particularly warm. Not only will the cold air pocket be in place, but winds will be steady.
Tomorrow – Rain lasting through the morning, then clearing and still brisk. High 55, Low 36
Friday – Mostly sunny and chilly, High 42, Low 29

TWC: Tomorrow – Rain showers early with overcast skies later in the day. High 57, Low 37
Friday – Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 45, Low 30

AW: Tomorrow – Cooler with periods of rain into the early afternoon; breezy in the morning High 56, Low 40
Friday – Partly sunny and breezy High 43, Low 30

NWS: Tomorrow – Rain likely, mainly before 9am. Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, cloudy, High 57, Low 38
Friday – Mostly sunny High 45, Low 30

WB: Tomorrow – Rain mainly in the morning. Patchy fog in the morning. Much cooler. High 57, Low 37
Friday – Mostly sunny, High 44, Low 32

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with light rain High 56, Low 38
Friday – Partly cloudy, High 44, Low 31

FIO: Tomorrow – Rain until afternoon. High 61, Low 38
Friday – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 41, Low 31

That’s not a particularly nice start to opening day, but it should clear up by game time against the Orioles. Here is a look at the rain, which may, all told, add up to an inch by the end of the event.

March Forecaster of the Month

I’ve definitely said it before, and it was proven again this month. The Weather Channel comes through during months with terrible weather. They always seem to have their best forecasts when they are sought after the most, the sports equivalent of performing when the lights are brightest. Congrats to TWC for coming through when people counted on them most.

OutletForecast Wins
Victoria-Weather4.5
The Weather Channel3
Accuweather2.33
Weatherbug1.33
Forecast.io0.83
WeatherNation
National Weather Service

Coming soon…

Spring is probably my favorite season. I prefer warm weather and baseball, and both return this time of year. With the warmth, the weather can get a little more interesting as well. Will it get interesting in any of the places we have forecasts for this week?

Boston, Massachusetts

Decatur, Illinois
Road Trip from Augusta, Georgia to Decatur

St. George, Utah

Louisville, Kentucky

Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Road Trip from Louisville to Elizabethtown