Turkey Travel Trouble

I’m not sure why it is Thanksgiving that puts more people on the road or in the air than any other holiday. Perhaps Christmas is a bit too wintry to risk the air travel, or because we just can’t turn down a good meal. Maybe it’s because we know that it will always fall on a Thursday, and it’s a good excuse to take an entire week off. For one reason or another, Thanksgiving week is one  in which we need to keep a close eye on the weather.

As we noted yesterday when we looked at the satellite loop, there isn’t much to talk about when looking at the center of the country, thanks to a vast ridge of high pressure that is going to protect the Plains from any significant issues over the holiday week. There are a trio of weather trouble spots to consider though, just in case you need the head’s up.

West Coast
While the rest of the country would likely lament being battered by a rainy, snowy combo platter as they try to get to grandmother’s house on Thanksgiving,  the west coast, and Northern California in particular, will savor what should be a very rainy week.

An area of low pressure over the Gulf of Alaska will provide successive waves of rain to the western, particularly northwestern, United States. Mountain snows are possible, but scattered showers will start on Wednesday morning, with a more bracing cold front slamming into the region Thanksgiving morning. Moderate rain will spread as far south as San Francisco Bay, and will be heavy at times from northern California to Washington State, with lighter rain reaching the Mexican border.

Chico, California, the nearest city with extractable data from forecast models to the deadly Camp Fire in Northern California is expected to see anywhere from 1 – 3” of rain through the end of the week, which will douse the wildfire if not completely, then enough to finally get the inferno under control. All of this rain will also help in clearing the air of smoke for places not directly affected by the flames themselves. The rain will continue through the weekend in some parts of the interior west, before the storm shifts into the central Plains.

Great Lakes/New England 
There is a vast area of low pressure spiraling over the Canadian Maritimes, inducing a brisk westerly flow over the Lakes. Presently, there is a steady plume of Lake Effect snow in western New York and northern Michigan. An embedded impulse in the heavy snow showers around the Lakes will swing into northern New England in the afternoon on Wednesday. Fortunately, the return trip for New Englanders will not be snowy on Turkey Day, as the flurries will shift out of town by Thursday afternoon.

Gulf Coast
That big area of low pressure in eastern Canada is wrapping a boundary across Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. A disturbance at the tail of that boundary is going to get a little bit stronger in the western Gulf of Mexico. It’s not going to be tropical or anything wild like that, but a few showers will build into the western Gulf Coast, first over Texas on Wednesday morning, building east to the Mississippi Delta by Thanksgiving morning.

And that’s it. Those are the three spots to be concerned about through Thanksgiving. I should note that a rapidly eveloping feature over the Plains and southeastern US will mean next weekend will be considerably more challenging for travelers, particularly with thunderstorms into the southeast, and snow in the Great Lakes. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Clipper Clipped

A weak Alberta Clipper sliding through the Upper Midwest was supposed to supply Decatur with a fresh top coat to the snow that had already fallen in the middle of last week. As it turned out, the system was weaker than we expected, bringing half as much snow to Minnesota than we expected, and it failed to hold together all the way to Decatur. The outlets that had the best results were the ones who left snow out of the forecast, in particularWeatherBug had a nearly perfect forecast, and had an easy victory on the day. 
Actuals: Friday – High 37, L:ow 27
Saturday – High 38, Low 26

Grade: A-C

All’s quiet as Thanksgiving approaches

This is the colorized satellite for this evening. Not that there are a few clouds over the southeastern US, bringing some showers to the region, and some high louds over southern California. The thick white thatches are either snow, like in the Upper Midwest, or fog, like in south Texas. 

That big area of clear skies bodes well for the US come Thanksgiving, as high pressure is going to rotate east to cover the majority of the country for the holiday. We’ll be back tomorrow to touch on where the weather may not be so cooperative for travelers, but it looks pretty great tonight, almost everywhere.

October Forecaster of the month

We spent a lot of time forecasting in the month of October. The best case scenario for a month like that is for either Victoria-Weather to haeve the best numbers or for our tax dollars be put to the best use. Well, it was one of those two circumstances… The National Weather Service was the October Forecaster of the Month.

Decatur, Illinois

The first big winter storm of the year got its start in the lower Mississippi Valley before charging northeast to New England. The Eastern Seaboard is getting attention for the snow they are seeing, but they caught a little bit in southern Illinois as well.

At 1054PM, CT, Decatur was reporting a temperature of 24 degrees with clear skies and haze. The recently fallen snow and clear skies were leading to the radiation fog developing across the region overnight. Fog was prevalent throughout east central Illinois, where temperatures were slightly depressed thanks to the recently departed system, which was now centered over Cincinnati, with clouds terminating at the Indiana-Illinois state line.
The upper level pattern is quite active, so this period of tranquility around Decatur is going to be short-lived. A bit warmer weather is coming tomorrow with a weak ridge between the system that clobbered the region today and a Clipper moving through the Upper Midwest, scheduled to arrive in central Illinois on Saturday afternoon. Snowfall is going to be significantly lighter than the snow of the last 24 hours, but it will be persistent, and linger through the rest of the day Saturday.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 38, Low 24
Saturday – Snow showers start in the afternoon. Up to an inch possible, High, 37, Low 31

TWC: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine. High 37, Low 25
Saturday – Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers in the afternoon. High 39, Low 24

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny; chilly High 40, Low 29
Saturday – Mostly cloudy, cold; a flurry around in the afternoon High 40, Low 27

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 39, Low 24
Saturday – Cloudy, High 40, Low 28

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 37, Low 27
Saturday – Cloudy, High 38, Low 25

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 39, Low 28
Saturday- Mostly cloudy with isolated showers, High 40, Low 28

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy starting in the morning. High 37, Low 25
Saturday – Overcast throughout the day. High 37, Low 28

Well, this is interesting. I know Clippers, especially when they arrive with warmer temperatures, aren’t always a sure thing, but I’m surprised snow is being left out by so many outlets. Here is a look at the satellite, with the monster area of low pressure that brought snow earlier, looking like a hurricane over the Ohio Valley.


Florida is both easy and difficult to forecast for. You can say that there is no synoptic scale reason to expect any significant thunderstorm threat, as I did in Deltona, but there is always a myriad of microscale phenomena to latch onto a moist parcel and blow up rogue thunderstorms, which is exactly what happened on Monday. Though the synoptic forcing seemed to want to kick things to the north, or so it seemed, a slow moving thunderstorm parked over Deltona shortly after noon, bringing nearly half an inch of rain, and preventing temperatures from reaching their full potential. Other than that thunderstorm, Victoria-Weather had a perfect forecast. Of course, because  of that storm, the NWS and WeatherNation snuck in for victory.
Actuals: Monday .41 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 84, Low 68
Tuesday – Rain reported, not measured, High 88, Low 71

Grade: A-C

Deadly wildfires sweep California

There are, as you have undoubtedly heard by now, two terrible wildfires are laying waste to parts of California. The Camp Fire has killed dozens, particularly in the town of Paridise near Chico, and 2 in the Woolsey Fire in Malibu. Both have been terrible. 

The Woolsey Fire has earned headlines because of the A List celebrities who have been touched by this fire. WeatherNation has some overhead imagery from this inferno.

The Camp Fire, much larger and more deadly, is fortunately not in as well populated terrain. CBS News provides the pictures and updates. 

Weather Wayback – Holiday hangover

As we approach Thanksgiving 2018, we can look back to Christmas 2017 and think “wow, what happened there?” Shortly after Christmas, Anthony put together an unusually chilly forecast for Tallahassee, and much to the surprise of all interested parties, a cold frnt made it even colder than anyone expected. Nearly half an inch of rain fell on December 27th, and on the 28th, temperatures only made it to 48, a far cry from the forecast highest in the upper 50s.It was a bad forecast across the board, but the NWS and WeatherNation ultimately pulled off a sllightly better forecast.
Actuals Thursday December 27th, .41 inches of rain,  High 50, Low 43
Friday December 28th, High 48, Low 33

Grade: C-D

Coming soon…

The holidays are approaching, and with Thanksgiving in particular coming up next week, we won’t have much for targeted forecasting, but we will have a few posts more generally about the weather.

Decatur, Illinois

Canton, Ohio

Deltona, Florida

Let’s think about a trip down to the Sunshine State shall we? Mmm, that IS quite nice. If your imagination isn’t there yet, why not enjoy this forecast telling you exactly what the weather looks like?

At 853PM, ET, Deltona was reporting a temperature of 72 degrees. There were light showers being reported near Orlando, but they weren’t perceptible on radar, though there were a few areas that looked suspicious on the water vapor imagery. There was a light onshore flow south of a diminishing front in the northern part of the state.
The lingering boundary to the north will continue to diminish as the base of an upper level trough helps with the explosive develop a strong area of low pressure at the surface over Texas. It will collect a massive amount of moisture as the system drives to the northeast. Warm, moist flow will be transported across Florida as the system tracks through the Tennessee Valley. Florida will be dry on Monday, but as the boundary lifts to the northeast, and a cold front moves into Alabama and Georgia, cross flow across Florida will increase, and scattered showers and thunderstorms will become increasingly likely for Deltona on Tuesday evening.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 87, Low 68
Tuesday – Scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening, High 88, Low 71

TWC: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine in the morning with more clouds for later in the day. High 86, Low 68
Tuesday – Partly cloudy early with thunderstorms becoming likely during the afternoon.  High 87, Low 70

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy High 86, Low 68
Tuesday – Times of clouds and sun, a shower or thunderstorm around High 87, Low 70

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, High 87, Low 66
Tuesday – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, High 88, Low 71

WB: Tomorrow – Considerable cloudiness with a slight chance of showers,  High 83, Low 69
Tuesday – Considerable cloudiness with a chance of showers and slight chance of thunderstorms, High 85, Low 71

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with isolated showers, High 88, Low 67
Tuesday – Partly cloudy with scattered showers, High 88, Low 71

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 85, Low 66
Tuesday – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 86, Low 67

Here is a look at the satellite I reference. A couple off pop up clouds near Orlando, even if I can’t see them on radar. 

The official blog of Victoria-Weather