It’s been pleasantly cool across the northern portion for the country, at least for the last few days, so it’s a bit unusual to look at a forecast for a place like Joplin from the beginning of last week and see temperatures still pinging the low 90s. Victoria-Weather stayed close to the NAM, which had a warmer solution, and that paid off, giving us a narrow victory, in a sweaty SW Missouri. :
Actuals: Monday-  High 91, low 64
Tuesday – High 93, low 69

Grade: B

Forecaster of the Month

September has been so busy, we haven’t had time to look back to August to confirm the forecaster of the month even yet. If anyone is upset about that, it is certainly going to be Accuweather, who not only won the month, but won it going away, and 2/3rds of the way through the year have taken the lead in the annual standings. 

Blacksburg, pre-Florence

We have two forecasts in the bag for Blacksburg, including one from about 10 days ago as we awaited the landfall of Florence. The thought was that the lingering shower activity in the area would erode and give way to a nice beautiful day before things turned south. Well, that didn’t happen. Rain never cleared out, and showers lingered from last Friday to last Saturday. Not only did that throw precipitation forecasts out of alignment, but the extra clouds also through the temperature forecasts off. In the end, it was Weatherbug who had the top temperature forecast, thanks to their cool bias, but also because they nailed that precip.
Actuals: Friday the 14th, .14 inches of rain, High 75, Low 68
Saturday the 15th, .41 inches of rain, High 70, Low 66

Grade: B-F

Blacksburg, Virginia

We’re going to make a return to Blacksburg today. Fortunately, I have been busy enough in the rest of my life that we didn’t smash these two forecasts back to back. How is southwest Virginia coping in the aftermath of Florence?

At 355PM, ET, Blacksburg was reporting a temperature of 70 degrees with heavy rain. Temperatures have come down swiftly with the rain, and sites nearby, such as Roanoke, which has not seen rain as yet, are still in the low 80s. Given the rain that has afflicted the region over the past couple of weeks, the high country of Virginia was under a flash flood watch. 
The remnants of Florence are spiraling off to sea from eastern Canada, trailing a lingering cold front south to the Appalachians and connecting with a disturbance parked over south Texas. The Canadian feature is going to spin poleward, while the feature in Texas is going to be drawn north into a developing low over the northern Plains. This will leave the boundary over Blacksburg at least through the day tomorrow, and as the Texan feature drifts north, it will be reinvigorated with moisture, which could mean more dangerous rains for the Blacksburg area.
Tomorrow – Isolated showers and storms, High 67, Low 62
Monday – A few less clouds, still a chance for rain, High 68, Low 58

TWC: Tomorrow – Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers in the afternoon High 65. Low 60
Monday – Cloudy with periods of light rain. High 66, Low 58

AW: Tomorrow – Cloudy, a couple of showers; cooler but humid High 65, Low 60
Monday – Low clouds, a little rain High 66, Low 59

NWS: Tomorrow – A chance of showers before 9am, then a chance of rain after 9am, Cloudy. High 62, Low 55
Monday – Rain likely, mainly after 3pm. Patchy fog. Otherwise, cloudy, High 64, Low 57

WB: Tomorrow – Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain, High 65, Low 61
Monday – Rain likely. Patchy fog, High 66, Low 59

WN: Tomorrow – Cloudy with chance of light showers, High 62, Low 58
Monday – Mostly cloudy with light rain likely High 64, Low 57

FIO: Tomorrow – Light rain starting overnight, continuing until morning. High 64, Low 56
Monday – Overcast throughout the day. High 66, Low 57

So that’s quite a bit chillier than what we’ve had going on. The air mass is warmer, but the clouds butted up against the mountain will not be cooperative. Here is a look at the popcorn thunderstorms battering the region this afternoon. Not a good way to dry out, that’s for sure.

A valley floor

Forecasting for the intermountain west should be challenging, and last week, our look at Ogden was indeed a bit rough around the edges. The high temperature forecast was spot on, and there was no rain, as we all expected, but those low temperatures. Sheesh. Those lows ended up at least 10 degrees under the forecast, and that was true for every one of our forecasting outlets, for both days of the forecast period. Sorry, Utah. Weatherbug had the top forecast, for whatever that’s worth.
Actuals Tuesday the 11th, High 86, Low 48

Wednesday the 12th High 80, Low 47

Grade D

Fayetteville, North Carolina to Gadsden, Alabama

Today we embark on a one-day road trip, from eastern NC to northern AL. It’ll be a lengthy day, will the weather cooperate with us getting to Alabama in a timely manner?

A nose of high pressure is extending over the Carolinas into parts of the Deep South, so our day should start off dry and mostly sunny. The weather shouldn’t be an issue as we get into Georgia, the main issue will be hoping the roads we need to be open to get out of NC are actually open, considering rivers continue to crest with catastrophic flooding continuing over the Eastern Carolinas. A cold front is pushing into the OH Valley tomorrow evening, trailing back into the Southern Plains, but should remain far enough off to the northwest as to not adversely affect our final push towards Gadsden. A couple spotty showers may sprinkle the landscape, but nothing too concerning.

Blacksburg, Virginia to Joplin, Missouri

We’re going on a westward journey, trying to head away from Tropical Depression Florence. The trip will take a day and a half, spending a lot of time astride of the waterlogged Appalachians, and covering 907 miles. The first day will be through after 528 of our miles have been covered thanks to a pace of 66mph. Let’s find some dry land.

DAY ONE (Monday)
As we head southwest out of town, it will seem we are headed for the part of the country that had the worst taste of Florence, but we will be on the Tennessee side of the border, likely able to avoid the threat of flash flooding on the well maintained interstates. Florence will be moving northeast, as it happens, so while we will still be driving through her rains, they will be diminishing throughout the drive. We might even break into some dry roadways around Nashville. Rain will be intermittent to non existent for our drive in western Kentucky. We’ll stop in Calvert City, Kentucky, a town that might not endure any rain from the broad scope of Florence. That will be nice, as we will definitely want to dry out. 

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
Tuesday will be about as different from Monday as you could hope. High pressure will be seated right in the middle of the country. A disturbance in the Dakotas might bring some clouds or a very isolated shower as far south as northern Missouri, but we’ll be sitting pretty in the southern part of the state, where Joplin will be hot, humid and bathed in sun.

Joplin, Missouri

The weather community in the United States is rightfully keeping our focus on the Carolinas this weekend as Florence continues to drench the region. Joplin is another place, though, with a sad note in American weather history. Hopefully, there is nothing traumatic on the way for the Ozarks this September.

At 453PM, CT, Joplin was reporting an extraordinary 89 degrees with mostly clear skies. Temperatures this warm this late into the year a pretty unusual, and the sunny skies in the region don’t suggest a change in the near future.
The current pattern is quite long ranged, with a broad upper level jet stretching from California to the St. Lawrence Seaway. The essentially straight jet, in addition to Florence holding up traffic in the east, means that the broad area of high pressure in the central Plains isn’t going anywhere. Expect more sun and more warmth to begin the week in Joplin,
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 90, Low 68
Tuesday – Sunny, High 92, Low 71

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny skies.  High 90, Low 67
Tuesday – Mainly sunny High 90, Low 71

AW: Tomorrow  Mostly sunny; very warm and humid High 89, Low 67
Tuesday – Mostly sunny; humid High 90, Low 71

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 90, Low 69
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 90, Low 70

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 89, Low 67
Tuesday – Partly cloudy, High 90, Low 70

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 90, Low 69
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 90, Low 70

FIO: Clear throughout the day. High 88, Low 68
Tuesday Clear throughout the day. High 90, Low 69

I’m going with a warmer solution, contrary to my counterparts. The NAM isn’t usually the most reliable, but in the middle of the continent, it can be, and it has been in the past 24 hours. Satellite here is focused on Florence, but even if it doesn’t afflict Joplin, it’s worth looking at. 

Gordon comes Grazing

As we sit around watching the destruction of Florence in and around Wilmington, we can think back to last week when it was Gordon we were worried with. He traveled up towards the Great Lakes, and is now a floating mass of detritus in eastern Canada. Before it got to that point, there had been a chance that the feature would bring a little bit of rain to Knoxville, and it sure did. It brought a very little bit of rain to Knoxville. The mountains deflected wet inflow, for the most part, and they stayed dry until a tail extending from the storm brought a little bit of moisture to Rocky Top. There was a 4 way tie atop the leaderboard that would have been undone by, had they had any rain at all in the forecast. 
Actuals: Saturday – High 89, low 71
Sunday – .01 inches of rain, High 89, Low 71

Grade: B

Blacksburg, Virginia

As we await the arrival of Florence on the Carolina coast, there is a hair of good news for Blacksburg, as the storm is forecast to take a bit of a job to the south. This is terrible news for Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, which now stand to take a more direct impact. Let’s see what Blacksburg will endure.

At 1135AM, ET, Blacksburg was reporting a temperature of 73 degrees with overcast skies across the region. A lingering surface trough is draped on the Atlantic side of the Appalachians, with a dwindling supply of light rain showers and overcast dotting the landscape. Florence loomed off the coast, and her slow drift towards shore will work to disintegrate the smattering of moisture. 
Thursday will actually be quite pleasant, without a threat for showers nor the onset of tropical winds. As Florence moves closer to the coast, some of the spiral bands may start to lap Blacksburg. Isolated showers and storms are possible. Overland hurricane bands are more apt to produce lightning, as well as brief, isolated tornadoes. It won’t be a wash out for Friday, but Florence won’t quite be on shore by the end of the day yet either. 
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 80, Low 66
Friday – Isolated showers and thunderstorms, High 77, Low 68

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 80, Low 66
Friday – Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. High 76, Low 67

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy; humid High 80, Low 68
Friday – Cloudy, a little rain; humid High 78, Low 69

NWS: Tomorrow – A slight chance of showers before 7am, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, partly sunny,High 81, Low 66
Friday – A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 3pm. Mostly cloudy,High 78, Low 67

WB: Tomorrow – Patchy fog in the morning. Mostly cloudy in the morning then mostly sunny with a slight chance of showersand thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 77, Low 67
Friday – Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. A slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, High 75, Low 68

WN: Tomorrow – Parly cloudy with isolated storms, high 80, Low 66
Friday – Mostly cloudy with scattered showers, High 78, Low 66

FIO: Tomorrow  Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 81, Low 64
Friday – Overcast throughout the day. High 78, Low 68

Things are going to go down hill fast in the Carolinas and Blacksburg, but in Blacksburg, there is more time to prepare. Check out the satellite of the looming storm, headed for the Carolinas.

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