Bad news Billings

Sure, we started the year in Florida, but we made sure to follow up our forecasting with the notoriously difficult Billings. Indeed, with a lingering disturbance during the forecast period last Thursday, and another stronger system moving in from the west, there was a lot that could have gone with the forecast, and plenty did. There wasn’t much fresh snow, just a bit on Friday, and a strange combination of strong winds and clouds kept temperatures from dropping off on Saturday morning. I guess the bad news I was talking about in the title belonged to forecasters, who universally had some troubles with the temperatures, especially the lows, and only a couple outlets hit on the correct precipitations forecast. In the end, the Weather Service and WeatherNation snagged the top spots.
Actuals: Friday, trace of snow, High 26, Low 2
Saturday: High 35, Low 26>

Grade: C-D

(Forecast for Billings found here)

Hinesville, Georgia

The current pattern as it stands features a broad trough that doesn’t want to move. The exit arm has roughly been in the area of the Appalachians, give or take a few miles, which has meant an active start to the year in the southeast, and fairly warm January for a lot of people. Will those trends continue this week in Hinesville?

At 1256PM, ET, Hinesville was reporting a temperature of 78 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. A feature tucked from the southern Appalachians west-southwest towards the Mississippi Valley was drawing a moisture rich flow across already rain soaked lands, and overcast was common in Georgia, but parts of the coast have broken out, and temperatures in the region were 10 degrees or so warmer than interior parts of the state.
The instability derives from jets converging in the southern Appalachians, rather than from the tail of an advancing boundary, the light to moderate rain will remain in place over the interior southeast for the next couple of days. While no significant rain is in the forecast, the continued moisture filled flow across the region will lend itself to some early morning fog and low clouds, with a stray, isolated shower or thunderstorm in the afternoon for each of the next two days.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, especially early, High 79, low 60
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy with a chance of some drizzle before sunrise, High 80, Low 60

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy skies. High 80, Low 63
Wednesday – Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 81, Low 60

AW: Tomorrow – Areas of fog in the morning; otherwise, mainly cloudy and very warm, High 80, Low 64
Wednesday- Considerable cloudiness and very warm High 80, Low 61

NWS: Tomorrow – Areas of dense fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy High 79, Low 62
Wednesday – Partly sunny, High 80, Low 61

WB: Tomorrow – Areas of dense fog in the morning. Mostly cloudy. Visibility of a quarter mile or less at times in the morning. High 79, low 63
Wednesday – Partly sunny, High 79, low 62

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, high 79, low 62
Wednesday – Partly cloudy, High 80, low 61

FIO: Tomorrow – Overcast throughout the day. High 81, Low 62
Wednesday – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 80, Low 61

Not often that I am the most skeptical of an areas chances at staying dry. If they see anything, it will just be a spritz, and barely noticeable, but with this much moisture in the region, it’s hard to rule out. Take a look at the local satellite, which is showing quite a bit of cloud cover.

Cold fronts in Florida – No Joke

There was a nasty storm system that battered the country late last week and into the weekend. This verification isn’t about that system. It’s about the weaker wave that moved through just as 2020 came into being. We were looking at Deltona, Florida for our first forecast of the year. A cold front was forecast to sweep into the region, though it wasn’t expected to carry a lot of rain or severe weather with it, if you were to judge by what the models suggested. When cold fronts move through Florida, they have ready access to a healthy supply of moisture, and as the cold air blows in, it is enencumbered by frictional drag, and winds can howl, even in weaker systems. They are a real pain in the butt. This time, when the front moved through, the Deltona area saw 45mph gusts around lunch on the 4th, and nearly half an inch of rain. Victoria-Weather, which has a lot of recent experience with the Sunshine State, started 2020 off with a victory.
Actuals: January 3rd – High 83, Low 63
january 4th – .41 inches of rain, High 79, Low 59

Grade: B-C

Billings, Montana

I’m really doing it! here is a look at the weather in Billings. It’s usually a challenging endeavor, forecasting in Billings, but will the weather be even more uncooperative than usual?

At 1153AM, MT, Billings was reporting cloudy skies with a temperature of 19 degrees. High pressure had filtered into the high Plains and was smushing a bunch of clouds and moisture into the Front Range. There were a few flurries southeast of town headed towards Wyoming, but a weak lee perturbation would ensure the chance for some light snow through the early morning hours tomorrow. There is a winter weather advisory for the region.
A vast area of low pressure, as opposed the the wave n the region right now, will shift from the Pacific Northwest, where it will do considerable damage as a snowmaker, however it will not make as much hay on the other side of the Rockies. Models indicate that Billings will be in a rain — or snow — shadow through most of the day on Saturday, even as low pressure rematerializes as the upper trough makes it’s way through the Rockies. The low will redevelop over Wyoming and colorado, however, which means Billings will be getting colder, whether or not it gets any snow.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with an early flurry, High 25, low 8
Saturday – Increasing clouds, warmer with a chance for an early flake, High 40, Low 18

TWC: Tomorrow – A few passing clouds, otherwise generally sunny. (Early snow High 33, Low 13
Saturday – A few passing clouds, otherwise generally sunny. High 40, Low 22

AW: Tomorrow – A couple of snow showers in the morning; otherwise, cold with partial sunshine High 31, low 9
Saturday – Mainly cloudy with snow showers, accumulating a coating to an inch High 28, Low 22

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of snow before 8am. Mostly sunny High 26, Low 6
Saturday – A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am. Mostly cloudy High 36, Low 20

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 29, Low 11
Saturday – Mostly cloudy, high 37, Low 22

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with a slight chance of snow, High 26, Low 6
Saturday – Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of light snow, High 36, Low 20

FIO: Tomorrow – Clear throughout the day High 32, low 11
Saturday – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 39, low 22

Take a look at local affiliate KTVQ’s forecast for the city. I’m surprised how similar the national affiliates were. What do the locals say?

Deltona, Florida

All right, guys! My sabbatical is over, and the new year is beginning in the same state we left off in — Florida!

At 253PM, ET, Deltona was reporting a temperature of 78 degrees and sunny skies. An area of low pressure in the Tennessee Valley was producing a vast cloud field in the southeastern US, sparing most of the Florida Peninsula but drawing a warm flow across the region. Deltona, as noted, was in the upper 70s, but the 80s were seen widely around the area as well.
The storm is going to advance to the northeast, along the exit arm of the parent jet trough. The center of the system will get distended as it tracks through the Appalachians, but the associated cold front will arrive early on Saturday morning. This will be good news, as cold fronts tend to be fairly active and dangerous for Florida in the day time, where there is often a great deal of available instability. The showers and storms that move through will be through by the early afternoon, which will ensure a fairly pleasant afternoon, and the avoidance of any truly nasty weather this weekend.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, increasing clouds, High 84, Low 63
Saturday – Early rain with isolated thunderstorms, then sunny and cooler, High 75, Low 58

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. High 84, Low 65
Saturday – A steady rain in the morning. Showers continuing in the afternoon High 76, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – A steady rain in the morning. Showers continuing in the afternoon – High 84, Low 66
Saturday – Mostly cloudy and not as warm with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm; breezy in the afternoon High 75, Low 58

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 84, Low 63
Saturday – Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 1pm, then a slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, High 75, Low 57

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, patchy fog, High 83, Low 68
Saturday – Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers with a slight chance of thunderstorms in the morning then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, High 77, Low 60

WN: Tomorrow – PArtly cloudy, High 83, Low 65
Saturday – Mostly cloudy with showers likely, High 75, Low 65

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 86, Low 65
Saturday – Light rain in the morning and afternoon. High 74, Low 54

Here is the satellite imagery, giving you a sense for the scale of the feature in the southeastern US. IT’s going to look markedly weaker by the time it arrives in central Florida.

Finishing strong

I know you’ve been waiting a long time for this verification, as the forecast was issued in December 9th, but that’s just the type of thing the holidays do to you. I’m happy to report good news from Punta Gorda, though. Victoria-Weather ended up getting the top forecast in southwest Florida, which will go down as a victory in my last forecast of the year. Hooray!
Actuals: December 10th – High 83, low 60
December 11th – Trace of rain, High 85, low 65

Grade: B-C