Strong enough to clear the Sierras

There is a large system battering the West Coast this week, though it is second fiddle to the next in a long line of features pummeling the East Coast. Carson City lies in the rain shadow of the Sierras around Lake Tahoe, and to demonstrate just how strong this feature was, I can say that it even produced a little rain yesterday in the Nevada capital. The real show was closer to the coast where there was concern about landslides, and in the mountains, impressive snowfall. In Carson City, though, we had a forecast, and Accuweather correctly anticipated the strength of this system, and had a very good, very accurate forecast.
Actuals: Monday, High 50, Low 23
Tuesday – Rain reported, not measured, High 48, Low 30

Grade: A-C

First moderate outlook followed by 4th Nor’Easter

As I’m sure you have heard, the east coast is getting blasted by yet another strong area of low pressure thanks to the standing long wave parked across North America. Things are a little different this time, because with spring arriving today, temperatures were a little bit warmer, and there was simply more energy available for the system to feast on.

Seeing the set up, the SPC put together their first moderate risk outlook across northern Alabama yesterday. A long track super cell indeed set up, and the forecast verified very well.

At least one large tornado moved through the area, and there was large hail between Huntsville and Birmingham. In particular, the college town of Jacksonville, Alabama (home of Jacksonville State) was hit by a tornado. Fortunately, the school is on break, and not only was the campus lightly populated, but not a soul in the entire state or even in Georgia, where the storm later ventured, was injured. That is a credit both to the forecasters and media, but also residents of the region heeding their warnings.

Warnings continue now up and down the east coast, but these are for rapidly accumulating snow. The good news is that the storm won’t bring nearly as much wind, but the orientation of the upper level jet and the cold  pool, as well as a nearly stationary inverted trough mean that snow will be persistent and long lived. It looks like the most snow with this round is going to fall in the Philadelphia area.

I think this storm, given the warmth in the region, has a chance of underwhelming on snow totals, but even if it does get to the 10 inch range in Philly, that’s good enough, right?

The threat for nasty weather will shift to the west coast, and eventually the center of the country. A well deserved dome of high pressure is going to set up in the area later in the week.

Terre Haute, Indiana to Bakersfield, California

The most challenging part of a cross country drive, if you ask me, is the well traveled roads along the east coast, so therefore, we’re going to cut that part of the journey out, and simply trek from Indiana to the west coast. It will be a nearly 4 day drive, though the last day won’t be nearly as challenging. We will cover 2009 miles on our trek at a pace of about 67mph, with those first three days netting, we hope, nearly 536 miles a day.

DAY ONE (Tuesday)

Our big area of low pressure headed towards New England will be leaving a tail in the mid-Mississippi Valley that we will enjoy the fruits of throughout our first day of driving. Fortunately, the fact that it will be the day time, and the early hours of spring, temperatures should be warm enough to prevent flurries. A light drizzle will be possible for a good chunk of the morning. The clouds will be cloudy one way or another, with a threat of a break over eastern Missouri, including around St. Louis. Towards the end of the day, a finger of snow is possible over western Missouri, and we could see a flake around Springfield and Joplin, but we’ll make it back to dry weather in Claremore, Oklahoma, just to the northeast of Tulsa.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
High pressure and a sometimes brisk south wind will be our companion on Wednesday. We’ll move through the Panhandle of Texas and into New Mexico as part of the journey, stopping for the night in Cuervo, New Mexico. It sounds like there should be some tequila there, or something.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
Hoo boy, there is a strong area of low pressure looming off the west coast. Get ready for news stories about massive snow storms in the coastal ranges, thunderstorms and torrential rain at the coast. Fortunately, we will be in New Mexico and Arizona on Thursday, so we can appreciate some sunny skies and pleasantly cool air, thanks to wind coming off the chilly Pacific. We’ll make it to Seligman, Arizona, which is kind of a touristy, stop for the night kind of town.

DAY FOUR (Friday)
The heavy weather is expected to lift north away from our route, but don’t be surprised if there is a little bit of rain and even thunder in the high terrain of northern Arizona as we get going. Light rain showers are going to be possible closer to Fresno, and some fog will continue around Los Angeles, but Bakersfield will be in a nice little dome of dry weather. Boy, Google really steered us away from the rough stuff on this one. Thanks Google!

Carson City, Nevada

Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 51, Low 22
Tuesday – Chance of late showers,, High 53, Low 30

TWC: Tomsorrow – Sunny, High 51, Low 22
Tuesday – Cloudy, High 50, Low 31

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny and cold High 50, Low 23
Tuesday – Cold with considerable cloudiness; rain arriving in the afternoon High 51, Low 30

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 52, Low 25
Tuesday –  A 20 percent chance of rain after 11am. High 53, Low 30

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy in the morning, then clearing. High 49, Low 21
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of rain and snow in the afternoon, High 45, Low 28

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 52, Low 25
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy with scattered showers, High 53, Low 30

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy until night. High 62, Low 29
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. (late rain) High 52, Low 31

I obviously saw something in the forecast after I recorded. Temps will be a hair warmer than I said. Other than that, no big changes.

Greeley, Colorado

While the Northeast and New England continues to get pounded by nor’easter after nor’easter, things have been relatively quiet here in the Central US. Will that pattern continue or will things shake up a bit as we head into St. Patrick’s Day?

At 956pm MDT, the temperature at Greeley, CO was 36 degrees. An area of low pressure is shifting out of CO into KS, kicking up an area of rain and snow on the western side of it. Greeley is seeing rain at the moment but is expected to change over to a rain/snow mix or all snow briefly before the low continues to pull far enough away and the precip trails off over the area. As the low continues shifting towards the Mid-MS River Valley, clouds will decrease throughout the day and winds will pick up as well. By the late afternoon, it should be a fairly decent day, minus the gusty winds of course. As we roll into St. Patrick’s Day, the Greeley area looks to be between systems, so warmer temperatures and mostly clear skies are expected! If there’s any limitations to the festivities you have for the day, looks like the weather won’t be one of them!

Friday: Frozen mix in morning, clouds decreasing throughout the day and breezy. High 58, Low 33.
Saturday: Partly cloudy. High 62, Low 23.

TWC: Friday: Morning rain, then partly cloudy and windy. High 58, Low 34.
Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 63, Low 24.

AW: Friday: A bit of rain and snow early, then decreasing clouds and breezy. High 58, Low 37.
Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 64, Low 25.

NWS: Friday: Some rain/snow showers early, then decreasing clouds and breezy. High 58, Low 33.
Saturday: Sunny. High 65, Low 26.

WB: Friday: Early morning frozen mix, then mostly sunny by afternoon. High 57, Low 34.
Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 64, Low 26.

Saturday: NONE GIVEN

FIO: Friday: Morning sleet, then partly cloudy by midday. High 52, Low 35.
Saturday: Partly cloudy starting in the afternoon. High 58, Low 28.

Some rain/snow mixed shower are pushing off to the east currently. This activity should trail off during the early morning hours, making way for a pretty decent start of the weekend.

The Northeast is in the crosshairs again

New England has been battered in the last month or so by two massive Nor’Easters and the forecast is for another big storm coming mid week next week. Why has it been so relentless this winter?

This winter has been dominated by a long waved pattern. Frequency is lower if waves are longer, which is to say that the pattern slows way down when waves are longer. The wave in reference here is the upper level jet stream, which is analyzed here:

There is a lot of action on this map, which might make one believe that the pattern should be much more active, and there are indeed a few areas to watch (The Rockies, and the lower Mississippi Valley, for example) in the next couple of days, before we return our attention to New England.

The problem is that pink, stronger jet streak running from the Great Lakes to the north Atlantic. That is tied to a broader trough that is more easily identified when you look from the North Pole.

Here, you can see the north to south jet off the west coast. Over time, the jet streaks over the North American continent have or will continue to dissipate, leaving a broad trough over the US, with a strong exit region along the East Coast, wherein the exit region is the most conducive for cyclonic development.

Compounding things is a strengthening ridge in the north Atlantic, which will threaten to maintain the wave over North America for even longer. This is a summer or winter like pattern, but as we head towards spring, the differential heating across the planet will ease this logjam, and New England will start to come up for air.

Santa Barbara endures perfect weather.

A week after unseasonably cold weather brought snow to the mountains north of town, and a few months after the region was threatened by wildfires, Santa Barbara was confronted by annother weather phenomenon: The reason nobody ever wants to leave. Not only did the sun shine on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the high temperatures were near 70 in the afternoon, and a terrifically sleepable low 40s overnight. The was even a picturesque morning fog on Wednesday to complete the scene. Victoria – Weather had the top forecast.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 74, Low 37
Wednesday – High 69, Low 41

Grade: B-F

The official blog of Victoria-Weather