One for the brochure

Residents of Prescott likely live in town for one big reason. Days like those they saw at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. Temperatures were in the mid 70s for highs with bright sunshine and cool lows overnight. Not the scorching heat to the south, no humidity and just some fantastic days to spend outdoors, really participating in any activity one might want to do. The Weather Channel and Clime were able to tie atop the leaderboard. Perhaps the forecasters can be rewarded with a trip to Prescott.
Actuals: Friday, High 75, Low 51
Saturday, High 75, Low 45

Grade: B-C

North Central bakes to start June

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick off to summer for a lot of people. There is only about a week left of school, give or take, for most people, June is around the corner and even the most northerly spots in the United States would be rightfully upset if they saw snow. Still, late may and early June in the Upper Midwest is usually in the mid 70s for a high. Warm, for sure, but not sweltering.

This version of the earliest stretch of “summer” features a blocking pattern in the center of the country. A temporary pulse down in the overall flow into the ridge is allowing a bit of progression for the pattern. This means that on the western side of the ridge, there is room for the trough to lead to surface development.

And if you are a long time reader of the site, my book, or just a first timer generally knowledgeable of things meteorological, you will know southerly flow precedes low pressure, and that means a hot, humid warm up for the middle of the country. In fact, for the next week, most of the north central US will be double digits warmer than normal.

Low pressure at either coast, including the one driving warm air north, are keeping temperatures below normal in California and the mid-Atlantic, while the fact that it is just generally hot already this time of year along the Gulf Coast are dampening some of the numbers there.

The hot, soupy weather will lead to some afternoon convection for much of this warm region, while surface features bumped up into Canada will ensure a little bit of extra convection later in the week in the Northern Plains and western Great Lakes. The calendar will say June, but it will fell like July or August for a few days.

Supertyphoon Mawar is a monster, but catastrophe may be averted

Earlier this week, Supertyphoon Mawar swiftly intensified, then crashed through Guam as a Category 4 storm, the strongest in memory for the US dependency. Damage is extensive, power is out to the island and the recovery will be long and hard. Two men lost their lives, which is tragic, but also a lower figure than one might have anticipated. Mawar only strengthened after passing over the Mariana Islands, but if forecasts are accurate, Mawar will not go down as one of the typhoons of legend in the western Pacific.

There is some model consensus on Mawar’s future. An area of low pressure is expected to move out of eastern Mongolia and northeastern China, across the Korean Peninsula and into the north Pacific. It will drag a cold or stationary front westward and south through China. This will have an effect of bringing Mawar to a full stop, northwest of Luzon in the Phillippines and east of Taiwan, two major population centers.

Mawar will still get close enough to both islands to bring high surf and the portential for a little storm surge, especially given the proximity suggested by some models to Taiwan, but we aren’t expecting a direct landfall of this strong storm on either. Then, as Mawar weakens, it will turn north towards, but ultimately southeast of the home islands of Japan, another crisis averted.

That certainly isn’t to say that Mawar will be totally unimpactful after Guam. The storm will move swiflty through the Bonin and Volcano Islands, the most famous of which for Americans is Iwo Jima, which is presently uninhabited. There are also important shipping channels that will be disrupted while the storm churns between all these commercial venues.

There is plenty of time for the tropical season to take a more sinister turn, but for now, we tentatively have had a stay.

Prescott, Arizona

Arizona has a reputation as being a hot, nearly desolate place in the summer, outside of Phoenix, which is simply hot. Many population centers in Arizona though, have sought refuge in the cooler mountains in the rest of the state. Prescott is one of those towns!

At 1253PM, PT, Prescott was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 75 degrees. As if to illustrate the point of a chillier time in the mountains, the Sun Valley and Phoenix remained in the upper 90s. Temperatures were decided by elevation, and moisture was relatively low. The dry line straddling the Texas-New Mexico border was active, and keeping Prescott and the southwest out of the monsoon, which was already ongoing in the central Rockies.
Aiding the dry line was a weak area of low pressure that had found its way to an anchorage in the southwestern corner of the US. A blocking pattern in the center of the US was going to keep this regime in place for the next several days at least, with moisture kicked up and around the Grand Canyon State. The low pressure will help ensure temperatures in Prescott don’t match those found at lower elevations and to the south for the duration of the forecast period.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 72, Low 49
Saturday – Mostly sunny, high 76, Low 49

TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly sunny, High 73, Low 48
Saturday – Sunny, High 75, low 46

AW: Tomorrow – Plenty of sun; breezy in the afternoon High 77, Low 48
Saturday – Pleasant with plenty of sunshine High 77, Low 44

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 77, Low 47
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 79, Low 47

WB: Tomorrow – Breezy, Sunny, high 72, Low 42
Saturday – Sunny, high 74, Low 41

WN: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 72, Low 44
Saturday – Mostly sunny, High 78, Low 47

CLI: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 73, Low 48
Saturday – Sunny, high 75, Low 46

The low temperature guidance is completely divergent, and it appears as though many of our competitors are heeding the longer range, larger scope models. I’m wary, because it is the higher resolution models that are going warmer. I tend to trust them a little bit more when terrain is in play. And thus, I am on the higher end of those low forecasts. Here is the satellite centered over New Mexico, highlighting the flow up and around Arizona.

We are in late spring at this point, and have been undergoing a somewhat early season-ish spell, in which systems were charging through the southern US, leaving the northern US unaffected. As a local resident who was battered through the winter, I fairly appreciate that. It has made for a a chillier stretch through mid-May though, and that is what Iowa City was experiencing towards the beginning of last week. Without a feature moving through on Tuesday, temperatures soared into the 80s, however the next day, a system in the Tennessee Valley brought temperatures in Iowa City back down to the low 80s for a high. Forecasts were fine, though with mostly clear skies we would all like to have done better. The Weather Service and Accuweather drew level for this forecast.
Actuals: Tuesday, High 81, Low 57
Wednesday – High 73, Low 52

Grade: B-C

A reset spring

So many years in a row, we’ve been talking about premature tropical storms, or the ongoing western drought. This season, if there are any major stories, they are of the short lived, spring tornado variety. You know, the type of scenario you would expect if you’ve studied American climatology.

A robust snow season led to considerable concern for a massive flood season, especially in the Upper Midwest and further south through the Mississippi Valley. Fortunately, despite all the snow that the Dakotas and Minnesota saw this season, Iowa saw very little, and instead of aggregating, the threat for downstream flooding withered away. There was flooding in typical spots in the Upper Midwest, but nothing that was particularly overwhelming. Places that are often underwater were once again underwater for a couple of days.

The heavy snow also afflicted the Sierras in California, and while the melting of the season did fill some reservoirs and watery spots that aren’t accustomed to be watery, the snow really served as a net positive, scuttling years of drought, and rescuing the local agricultural economy. In fact, there isn’t even a forecast for drought to return this season. Its part of a nationwide drought recovery forecast this summary, and surely the most notable part.

There is nothing to say that the tropical season won’t be just as active as the forecasts call for either, but that activity had stretched outside of the early bounds of the normal Atlantic hurricane season multiple times in the last decade or so. There are only 10 days until the North Atlantic Season starts, and we still await our first A storm, and will likely wait until the season begins.

There are still plenty of weather stories to continue to monitor and keep your eyes on, but this season is a full reset on a lot of the major weather stories that started the 2020s. For now, we are back to “normal”.

Iowa City, Iowa

Its forecast time, friends! It’s been stormy to begin May in Iowa, and the nearby town of Coralville was winged by a tornado not a month ago. I suspect we will enjoy a bit more tranquil weather this week.

At 1152AM, CT, Iowa City was reporting mostly cloudy skies and a temperature of 62 degrees. It was a bit cooler than might typically be expected in May in eastern Iowa, thanks to low pressure parked over eastern Kansas. In fact, Iowa City was a bit warmer than points westward, where a northerly flow was pressing into the region. Upper level flow is weak, so a look towards lower levels will help dictate the weather through the middle of the week.
As the low center moves nearly due eastward through the Ohio Valley, mostly cloudy to overcast conditions will remain in place through tomorrow morning. Finally, there will be a breakthrough in the afternoon, with sunnier skies and warmer temperatures. The tail of a cold front will slump southward through the Upper Midwest, drawing some southerly flow to the region, followed by a dip in temperatures as flow switches to northerly once again on Wednesday
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 76, Low 55
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy, High 72, Low 53

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy. High 80, Low 54
Wednesday – Partly cloudy. High 76, Low 51

AW: Tomorrow – Pleasant and warmer with times of clouds and sun High 81, Low 54
Wednesday – Mostly sunny and beautiful High 76, Low 52

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, High 79, Low 53
Wednesday – Sunny, High 73, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny in the morning then clearing. High 78, Low 53
Wednesday – Sunny, High 75, Low 53

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 79, Low 53
Wednesday – Mostly sunny, High 74, Low 52

CLI: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 77, Low 52
Wednesday – Sunny, High 73, Low 52

Quite a bit of overcast for the state of Iowa this afternoon, but a warm up is on the way.

An unpleasant start to May

Now with forecasts of severe weather and a pending heat wave, it seems like a long time ago that we were talking about the chilly start to the month, as we were in Youngstown.. Well, I guess it was, not that it is already the 14th, but I digress. There was indeed some light snow mixed with rain on the 2nd, which is far too deep into the spring season for my taste. The forecast was a pretty neat affair, with little separating the top forecast from the bottom. The Weather Service and WeatherNation split honors, with a 4 way tie for second just behind them.
Actuals: Monday, May 1st, .31 inches of rain/snow, High 46, Low 38
Tuesday, May 2nd, .39 inches of rain and snow, High 43, Low 37

Grade. A-B

April forecaster of the Month

April was generally cooler than normal for a large swath of the country, and for a long stretch of the time. Lets try to remember the month fondly, though. There was at least one week where the temperatures were in the 80s here in Minneapolis! And Clime can remember things fondly as well, as they were hot in the month of April as well. They secured the top spot for the month.

OutletForecast Wins (year)
National Weather Service2
The Weather Channel0.5