Unable to hurdle the Divide

Here is a pretty big surprise. There was a large system that developed over the southern High Plains, aided by a wave in western Colorado. There was a lot of action going on around Greeley, but instead of seeing persistent light snow as a result of all the destabilizing forces, as had been expected, they instead saw nothing. No snow whatsoever for the last two days. The snow was trapped in the Plains and in southeastern Colorado, unable to shift north of the Palmer Divide and sparing Greeley, Fort Collins and surrounding communities. On the other hand, the clear skies did allow temperatures to drop down to 3 degrees both Friday and Saturday morning, which made me feel better about myself, since Victoria-Weather featured a cooler solution. The best solution, though, belonged to The Weather Channel, who not only tied for the best temperature forecast, but also managed to be the only one who didn’t call for snow for two straight days.
Actuals: Friday – High 23, Low 3
Saturday – High 28, Low 3

Grade: B-D

Detroit, Michigan to Lakeland, Florida

All right! We’re all caught up! This trip is only a two day adventure, covering 1175 miles. The average speed will actually be a little swifter, despite traveling through a more well populated part of the country. Apparently Atlanta doesn’t slow things down nearly as much as Chicago. 1175 miles stand between Detroit and Lakeland, as I noted, and we will cover that ground at a pace of 65.2mph, which will work itself out to 521 miles on the first day. Let’s get on with this second road trip of the day.

DAY ONE (Sunday)
This is going to be a tough drive. Light snow will be falling in southern Michigan, including Detroit, as we head out for the day, and will only get heavier as we leave and head south. It will probably start snowing hard enough to cause traffic to come to a standstill somewhere between Bowling Green and Findlay. Visibilities of under a mile in heavy wet snow will continue to be a possibility as we continue south to at least Dayton. The good news is, as we make our way to the south, the system will be making its way to the east, which will improve visibilities, but on the other hand, snow will have accumulated more significantly on roadways. Somewhere between Dayton and Cincinnati, precipitation will slowly turn to to rain. It won’t be precipitating nearly as heavily when we reach Kentucky, and when the precipitation is falling as rain, naturally, but there will still be light rain all the way to Knoxville, which is where the day will end.

DAY TWO (Monday)
High pressure will be developing behind the system that will plague us on Monday will be great for the Ohio Valley. Unfortunately, we will be south of the Ohio Valley, and driving through the base of the ridge. There will be light showers through north Georgia, as far south as Macon, and then another threat for some more significant thunderstorms in the afternoon when we cross into Florida. The threat for thunder will last until Ocala, but after that we should finally be in the clear. 80 degrees is well deserved after such a terrible drive through Ohio!

Lakeland, Florida

We’re headed for Florida today, one of the parts of the state that’s still warm. I’m looking forward o seeing some of these PMnumbers.

At 915PM, ET, Lakelan was reporting a temperature of 64 degrees with overcast skies. There was a heavier thunderstorm to the east of Port Charlotte, while scattered showers remained just to the north of Lakeland, getting ready to cross I-4 into the city. The activity littered the state as the tail of a cold front lay just south of Ocala, discernable by a sharp drop in dew points. It was 64 in The Villages, and only 52 in Ocala.
A weak high level jet was helping to destabilize the Florida Peninsula, with the left exit region intersecting with the end of the boundary, and leading to seom weak cyclogenesis in the area. The jet will break down through the period and so too will the shower threat. A favorable zone for shower development will remain on the Atlantic coast through the remainder of the period, but it will be significantly reduced by tomorrow afternoon in Lakeland. As a system moving through the Ohio Valley approaches New England, it will tap into the Gulf of Mexico, drawing moisture across the Florida Peninsula and up the Gulf Stream. There may be some convective development overnight in north Florida Sunday into Monday, but for Lakeland, expect only continued cloudiness.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, with some clearing. High 82, Low 63
Monday – Mostly cloudy, High 81, Low 64

TWC: Tomorrow – PM Thunderstorms, High 83, Low 62
Monday – Partly cloudy, High 83, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – Warmer with clouds and breaks of sun; a shower in the afternoon High 82, Low 64
Monday – Some sunshine giving way to clouds High 80, Low 64

NWS: Tomorrow – Scattered showers, mainly after 4pm. Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, partly sunny, High 81, Low 64
Monday – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Patchy fog before 7am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, High 82, Low 64

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny. Patchy fog in the morning. Isolated showers in the morning…then scattered showers in the afternoon. High 82, Low 65
Monday – Partly cloudy. A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 82, Low 65

WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy with Isolated Showers High 81, Low 64
Monday – Partly Cloudy with Isolated Storms High 82, Low 64

FIO: Tomorrow – Rain starting in the afternoon.High 79, Low 64
Monday – Foggy in the morning.(ealy rain) High 81, Low 65

So, everyone thinks it will rain the next couple of days? Everyone but me? All right then. HEre is the current radar.

A few flurries between big snows

Once again, the model nobody believed was the one that bore itself out. There were snow showers in the forecast in Fayetteville for a handful of outlets, as they anticipated a descending surface ridge producing some flurries in the Ozarks on Thursday. Instead, as guidance suggested, it was a dry day in Fayetteville, though there were a few sites nearby that did report snow. On the other hand, while the GFS kept all of the Red River Valley clear, other models, including the NAM in particular and the Euro to a lesser extent expected a wave moving down the Front Range to blossom as it rounded the base of the ridge and sock the Ozarks. Everyone kept Fayetteville dry on Friday. There was, in fact, a trace of snow. The GFS was very wrong, to the tune of 3-5 inches across the region. Despite issues with precipitation, some outlets did a great job with temperatures. Forecast.io had a perfect low yesterday, which catapulted them to victory.
Actuals: Thursday, High 33, Low 18
Friday – Trace of snow, High 20, Low 11

Grade C-F

The Week Ahead 3/1/15 – 3/7/15

We’re beginning March tomorrow, and hopefully, we won’t fall as far behind as I did this week. Spring Cleaning refers to our schedule, perhaps.
Sunday – Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Tuesday – Jefferson City, Missouri
Thursday – Hartford, Connecticut; Road Trip from Nashville, Tennessee to Hartford
Friday – Honolulu, Hawaii

Greeley, Colorado to Detroit, Michigan

This was supposed to be a yesterday forecast, but I just didn’t get to it. Many apologies. Let’s take a look at this 2 1/2 day trek today instead! It is a 1244 mile journey that we will cover at a pace of 65mph. The first two days will allow us to cover a whopping 520 miles, but we will leave the final 200 miles for Tuesday. Let’s get this delayed journey underway!

DAY ONE (Sunday)
By delaying our trip, we have probably saved ourselves some headaches. Indeed, expect mostly sunny skies over Nebraska, and for snowfall to remain south of the Palmer Divide in Colorado. It will be chilly, but the snow that threatens to rise out of the central PLains today will be well ahead of us. In this case, a cold front will have developed south of Nebraska, and clear skies and cold temperatures will only be an issue when we stop for gas. The drive will end in Garner, Iowa, which is just northeast of Council Bluffs, and will be getting partly cloudy as we stop for the night.

DAY TWO (Monday)
High pressure will continue rotating east through the southern Great Lakes, like a bubble over our car during our trip. Chilly conditions will continue along our route, but they will begin to modify as the ridge contracts. Clouds will be more likely, as will traffic, but we will make our way to Bethany Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan in the state it was named after by the end of the Day Monday.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
Now we pay for our delay. A massive area of low pressure developing in the Plains will just begin to move into Michigan in the morning on Tuesday. Sure, warm air will eventually turn things too rain in the Lower Peninsula, but I think as we are making our trek, we need to worry about the potential for sleet or freezing rain, particularly from Kalamazoo to Ann Arbor, but the possibility will be there essentially for the entire trip from Bethany Beach to Detroit. When we get to the Motor City though, it will turn to rain, so that’s something, right?


Detroit, Michigan

Forecasting in the dead of night. It’s peaceful in the Victoria-Weather offices, but will it be in Detroit?

At 153AM, ET, Detroit was reporting a temperature of 5 degrees with clear skies. Outside of the city, temperatures were already at or below 0, and it promised to reach that point in the Motor City as cold high pressure had settled in across the Great Lakes.
High pressure will retreat through the day Saturday, with an upper level jet ridge rising north through the Ohio Valley. The rising jet ridge will carry with it warmer air, though it will be undercut by another more southerly jet. Likewise, the southerly jet will stem the flow of moisture into the warm frontal boundary, and will disrupt cyclogenesis in the Plains. A distended wave will develop well south of Michigan, though there will be flurries through the day Sunday in Detroit as the wave shifts east. Better organization won’t come until the wave is well east of Detroit, and chilly high pressure will return once again.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 19, Low -2
Sunday – 1-3″ of persistent snow through the day, High 26, Low 14

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly Sunny, High 20, Low 0
Sunday – Snow (1-3″) High 31, Low 10

AW: Tomorrow – Plenty of sunshine High 21, Low 1
Sunday – Cold with a little snow, accumulating a coating to an inch (1-3″ storm total) High 29, Low 11

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 21, Low 3
Sunday – Snow (around 2″) High 26, Low 10

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 22, Low -2
Sunday – Snow likely until 1 pm…Then light snow. Accumulations 2 to 3 inches. High 26, Low 10

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly Sunny High 23, Low -2
Sunday – Cloudy with Snow Likely High 27, Low 10

FIO: Tomorrow – Light snow overnight. (Actually after the day in question. Not confusing at all) High 19, Low -1
Sunday – Snow (2–4 in.) until evening.High 27, Low 14

I guess the forecast is for about 2″ of snow, then. Here is satellite, again struggling to keep up with how cold it is in the Great Lakes.

Spot on snow forecast

The fun part of the forecast for Youngstown was never the temperature forecast, but rather how much snow they would receive. I am happy to say that, in my video forecast, I pretty much hit the nail on the head. About half an inch on Wednesday, and 1-2″ on Thursday. The temperature forecast, although less fun, was the thing that separated the herd, however. WeatherNation ended up with the top forecast thanks to having the top temperature forecast by a single degree over a group of forecasts that were just too darn cold. I feel like we should get extra credit for putting our forecast on tape, but alas, we do not.
Actuals: Wednesday – .5 inches of snow High 23, Low 9
Thursday, 1.2 inches of snow, High 14, Low 4

Grade: B-C

Joplin stays snow free

With a deep upper level trough and strong surface high pressure digging into the center of the country, speculation was rampant that there would be some flurry activity at the leading edge of that feature. There was, but the snow was intermittent (it was reported just across the border in Arkansas) and managed to steer clear of Joplin for the past two days. Only one outlet managed to get the correct precipitation forecast, but The Weather Channel dominated the temperature forecast, and ended up winning the day.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 48, Low 22
Thursday – Hgih 29, Low 15

Grade: A-C

Greeley, Colorado

We’re headed to northeastern Colorado for today’s forecast. It looks like things could get a little active today, so let’s see what’s going on.

At 1255PM, MT, Greeley was reporting a temperature of 19 degrees with overcast skies. Snow was being reported across the Front Fange, but it hadn’t been able to develop north into Greeley as yet. There is a sharp lee trough along the ridge line, but the real culprit for snow showers was high pressure developing over the Plains.
Aloft, a jet driving southeast towards Arizona is aiding with the development of an area of low pressure over the 4 Corners, on the other side of the Rockies. Snow showers will blossom over western Colorado today, and will only serve to reinforce the easterly upslope in eastern Colorado. Snow will develop over Greeley this afternoon, and will continue even as the surface wave moves into west Texas. Snow showers will diminish overnight Friday, but deeper, broader upper level trough will move into the Great Basin through the day Friday, allowing for a vast system to begin forming over Nevada. This system will eventually be a significant system for the center of the country, but it will take its time becoming an issue for Greeley, with much of its associated snowfall remaining south of the Palmer Divide until Saturday night. High pressure combined with upsloping will lead to very cold temperatures.
Tomorrow – Scattered snow showers likely, High 18, Low 4
Saturday – Isolated snow showers late in the evening, High 23, Low 0

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy (early snow), High 20, Low 6
Saturday – Mostly cloudy, High 26, Low 5

AW: Tomorrow – A little snow in the morning, accumulating a coating to an inch; otherwise, cloudy and cold High 21, Low 6
Saturday – Cold with snow at times, accumulating an inch or two High 24, Low 6

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, High 23, low 11
Saturday – A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly after 11am. Cloudy High 25, Low 8

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow. High 22, Low 6
Saturday – Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. High 25, Low 6

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly Cloudy with Slight Chance of Light Snow High 21, Low 9
Saturday – Mostly Cloudy with Chance of Light Snow High 27, Low 7

FIO: Tomorrow – Light snow in the morning. High 21, Low 9
Saturday – Light snow (under 1 in.) starting in the afternoon. High 26, Low 8

You know, I’m going to stick with model guidance on this one. I don’t see anything that makes me want to give Greeley warmer temepratures. They are out in the plain and are more exposed to the cold air and advection. We’ll see if this gambit pays off. Here is the radar, showing snow smothering Denver.

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