The Week Ahead 11/30/14 – 12/6/14

We’re back in action for good now. It’s a pretty normal week ahead, with a couple of road trips and a handful of forecasts.


Sunday – Road Trip from Billings, Montana to Champaign, Illinois
Monday – Albany, Georgia
Wednesday – Greeley, Colorado; Road Trip from Reno, Nevada to Greeley
Saturday – Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Columbus, Indiana to Richmond, Virginia

We had been missing out some road trips for quite a while, but we’re back in action with our back to back treks. It’s only going to take us a day to cover the 632 hours, albeit a long day, lasting nearly 10 hours. The trip will be at a pace of 64.7 miles an hour, which, given the terrain, isn’t really that slow.

An area of low pressure moving to lie just north of Lake Superior will also move to an area that it can start to draw moisture north from the Gulf of Mexico. Fortunately, we’ll be driving early enough in the day that we will be well be in eastern Kentucky by the time shower activity starts to develop west of Lexington. From there, it’s only about an hour or two to Charleston, and by then, we’re going to be out of the woods, ahead of any shower activity that may develop. We’re going to arrive in Richmond to find sunny skies and increasingly warm temperatures.


Richmond, Virginia

We’re off to southeastern Virginia for today’s forecast. It’s about two days too late for the big time weather system, but perhaps we have a little intrigue coming up this weekend?

At 254PM, ET, Richmond was reporting a temperature of 44 degrees with mostly sunny skies. A deep trough is moving off the coast, providing for the chilly conditions this afternoon. A wave developing along the Canadian Border in the Upper Midwest will help to ensure that warmer air is again drawn north and Richmond will see more tolerable conditions.
As the system lifts north into Quebec, warm air will nose further to the northeast. A trough will develop along the western slope of the Appalachians and bring some light rain to there, but over the East Coast, southerly air and even warmer temperatures will be drawn north.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 50, Low 25
Sunday – Even warmer, a bit breezy, High 62, Low 34.

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 51, Low 29
Sunday – Sunny, High 63, Low 37

AW: Tomorrow – Partial sunshine High 51, Low 27
Sunday – Pleasant and warmer with a full day of sunshine High 63, Low 37

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 50, Low 27
Sunday – Sunny, High 61, Low 36

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy in the morning…then becoming partly sunny. High 50, Low 25
Sunday – Mostly sunny High 62, Low 35

WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy High 50, Low 27
Sunday – Mostly Sunny High 61, Low 36

Seems like a nice couple of days, especially with how crummy it’s been out east lately. Here is the satellite, just showing a few clouds spilling over the Appalachians and not even reaching our forecast city.

Temperature Tantrums

The big snowmaker along the east coast originated in the eastern Gulf, but it moved quickly away from Pascagoula. It also did a pretty good job of effectively driving cold air south into southern Mississippi as it departed. The result? Clear skies and lows that were ultimately up to 12 degrees cooler than expected. Highs played nice, but everyone missed out on the freeze they saw on Wednesday, and the near freeze on Thursday. Well, nearly everyone. Accuweather dominated this forecast, with only 10 degrees of error, while everyone else missed by at least 18.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 62, Low 30
Thursday – High 60, Low 33

Grade: C

Grand Junction, Colorado to Columbus, Indiana

Hello, and Happy Thanksgiving! This is our first road trip in a while, and it will take us home after what was surely a luxurious Turkey Day feast. Our trip will cover 3 time zones, but only 1369 miles. Thet drive will necessistate about 2 1/2 days of driving, getting us back to Columbus by the afternoon on Sunday. Just in time to get back to work. To get there, we will need a pace of about 64.5MPH, meaning our first two days will involve 516 miles of driving.

DAY ONE (Friday)
Grand Junction
This time of year can be awful snowy in western Colorado, but much to our benefit, there will be a stout ridge building into the central Rockies and High Plains. This means warmer than normal temperatures across the region, some popping clear into the 70s over eastern Colorado and western Kansas. After the headlines of the last several days, not exactly what you were expecting, is it? The drive will end in Grainfield, Kansas, which is between Colby and WaKeeney, neither of which you have heard of either. I wonder how they came up with the name “Grainfield”?

DAY TWO (Saturday)
It will continue to be pleasant in Kansas as the weekend begins. Sunny skies and warm weather will be our escort as we continue into Missouri. Kansas City will be just fine as well, save for the traffic. An area of low pressure moving through the northern US, however, will be drawing moisture further north, and some of it will lead to the development of showers closer to St. Louis. Expect it to be mostly clouds, with very isolated storms, and for most of the activity to be well out ahead of us. It will start early in the day around Marshall, Missouri and drift west before really coming together over Illinois. We won’t reach Illinois before the day ends, so I think it’s highly likely we stay dry all the way to Warrenton, Missouri, which isn’t far from the St. Louis metro.

DAY THREE (Sunday)
The models don’t know what to think about Sunday. I think they want to hint at scattered thunderstorms, but they can’t, because the coverage and intensity will be minimal. Still, ahead of a cold, which will still be lying over the Upper Midwest, it’s not hard to imagine at least a few showers embedded with clouds over the course of our drive on Sunday Vacation’s over.

Thankful for the Appalachians

Hello, and happy Thanksgiving! The good news is that the snow yesterday didn’t end up being as terrible as we expected in the larger metropolises, but there was a healthy stripe of heavy snow just inland of New York and Boston. The good news in Huntington is that they lie on the western slope of that range, and as a result, the moisture simply wasn’t able to work through the elevation and arrive in the western West Virginia town. This was a surprise for everyone, so it came down to temperatures. There were 4 outlets, The Weather Channel, Weather Service, Weatherbug and WeatherNation that all tied at 6 degrees error in their forecast. We’re all one big happy, consensus driven family.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 53, Low 36
Wednesday – High 46, Low 34

Grade: C

Massive system moving through the east coast, disrupting holiday travel

An area of low pressure is moving up the east coast, bringing a great deal of precipitation to the coast. We know that Appalachians east into the Berkshires of Massachusetts are going to get up to, and perhaps more than a foot of snow. That in itself makes the forecast particularly challenging and extremely important. Here is another fun factor, though. Take a look at the probability maps of 8 or more inches of snow from this point forward:
Look at that gradient! New York City, Boston and Philadelphia all showing less than 10% chance of 8 inches of snow. The official forecast for that trio is 1-3″ of accumulation. About 50 miles north and west of those towns? 6-10, in some cases more than that. That is a crazy sharp gradient. A slight alteration in temepratures as compared to what is in the forecast could mean a 5-6″ sway in snowfall total, particularly along that gradient, so places like Newburgh and Yonkers in New York, or Worcester in Massachusetts.
Travel today is going to be pretty rough. Regardless of how much accumulation we get in the eastern Corridor, the level of precipitation will keep things slow and airports stalled. How much snow is received, though, will be important to the recovery so get people back home after the holiday on Friday.

Pascagoula, Mississippi

There is going to be a fairly significant east coast snow storm, just in time for the busiest travel day of the year. We’ll discuss it further in the morning, but for now, let’s go to the Gulf Coast and relax for a bit.

At 353PM, Central Time, Pascagoula was reporting a temperature of 56 degrees with overcast skies. Rain was widespread to the southeast, generally off shore, associated with a stalled boundary that runs from off the coast of New England to Florida. Along the boundary, a surface wave will develop from off shore of South Carolina to east of the Mississippi Delta, and rotation associated with the low will cause it to back into Pascagoula overnight before the Low hooks up with a very strong jet stream and rockets northeast towards New England.
There is no threat of the upper level trough pressing south towards Pascagoula and thereby generating overcast conditions or instilling an immovable cold air pool. Instead, while temperatures will be off a bit compared to normal, the pattern starting before sunrise will be one that trends towards a return towards normal with sunny skies during the day both tomorrow afternoon and on Thanksgiving. Expect a bit of a breeze tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow – Rain shortly after midnight, then clearing and pleasant, High 65, Low 38
Thanksgiving – Sunny, High 64, Low 41

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny High 62, Low 37
Thursday – Sunny, High 61, Low 43

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 63, Low 32
Thursday – Plenty of sunshine High 61, Low 39

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 62, Low 41
Thursday – Sunny, High 60, Low 46

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 62, Low 38
Thursday – Sunny, High 62, Low 42

WN: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 63, Low 39
Thursday – Sunny, High 61, Low 45

So everyone has everything clearing out, the only difference is that I have rain lingering a bit longer than other outlets. Here is the current radar, showing the action off shore.

Huntington, West Virginia

Well, it looks like a winter storm is going to affect the East Coast just in time for one of the busiest travel days of the year. Will Huntington be spared its wrath, or will residents need to get out of town early?

At 1151pm EST, the temperature at Huntington, WV was 41 degrees under fair skies. An area of high pressure has nosed its way from the Mid-MS River Valley eastward over the Ohio Valley. This is helping keep the developing storm along the East Coast not make much westward headway during the day Tuesday and fairly quiet as well. The intensifying low finally overcomes the high pressure early Wednesday morning as it lifts up past the Carolinas and eventually towards Southern New England. The far western edge looks to push its way over Huntington, bringing periods of a rain/snow mix during the morning changing to rain during the day, then back to rain/snow during the evening. Only minimal accumulations are expected, if any, from this system on Wednesday.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 49, Low 35.
Wednesday: Cloudy, periodic rain/snow showers through much of day. High 43, Low 30.

TWC: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 50, Low 35.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy, some evening showers. High 47, Low 35.

AW: Tuesday: Partly sunny; breezy, colder. High 49, Low 36.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and chilly. Some evening rain/snow showers. High 44, Low 33.

NWS: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 52, Low 38.
Wednesday: Chance of rain/snow through the day. High 44, Low 33.

WB: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 52, Low 38.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, chance of evening frozen mix. High 45, Low 32.

WN: Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 52, Low 34.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with slight chance of light wintry mix. High 45, Low 32.

Here we see the stream of clouds rising up the East Coast ahead of the impending Thanksgiving Eve nor’easter. This will give us a wet Wednesday, but at least it shouldn’t hamper travel plans too much, like along the East Coast.


Craziness in Kalamazoo

The forecasts figured it was going to be a crazy couple of days in western Michigan, with freezing rain and light snow giving way to heavy rains as a strong area of low pressure shifted through Kalamazoo. However, they didn’t figure on temperatures warming up nearly as much as they did as the rain moved in, causing forecasts to lie in ruins temperature-wise at the end. Weatherbug “won”, if you want to call it that.

Saturday: 0.10″ in freezing rain, rain, and snow. High 49, Low 24.
Sunday: 1.20″ of rain. High 53, Low 47.
Forecast Grade: C

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