Coming together

For the last verification of 2023, all of our forecasters consolidated around the same scores for Macon. There were no trends, to speak of, really. Aside from the Thursday high, every forecast verification had some values warmer and lower than what it turned out to be. That Thursday high was a bit warmer than anyone had projected, but not by much. So with everyone appropriately circling the mark, it just came down to who was the closest the most, and there wasn’t a lot to separate the top from the bottom. Accuweather will get credit for the top forecast for the day.
Actuals: Thursday – High 62, Low 43
Friday – High 50, Low 35

Grade: A-B

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City’s larger portion is on the Missouri side of the river, but many of the large suburbs exist on the Kansas side. None of this really helps with our forecast, or dictates a different climate between the towns.

At 253PM, CT, Kansas city was reporting mostly cloudy skies with a temperature of 49 degrees. West-northwest winds were blustery and bringing temperatures down a bit, but without the clouds that are being seen further to the north, it’s still a quite bearable end to the year.
The clouds and whatnot seen in the Great Lakes is a western lobe of a broader trough on the east coast. The cooler air mass is going to continue sinking further south, even without a particular threat for precipitation. This will drive an inactive cold front through Kansas City overnight, leading to a cooler day tomorrow before a stout, clear area of high pressure moves into the middle of the country.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 36, Low 25
New Years Day – Sunny, High 37, Low 20

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy skies early will become partly cloudy later in the day. High 39, Low 28
New Years Day – Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 40, Low 27

AW: Tomorrow – Colder with times of clouds and sun High 37, Low 29
New Years Day – Mostly sunny High 41, Low 25

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny,  High 36, Low 28
New Years Day – Sunny, High 37, Low 25

WB: Tomorrow – Partly Sunny, High 35, Low 29
New Years Day – Sunny, High 36, Low 26

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 37, Low 28
New Years Day – Mostly Sunny, High 37, Low 25

CLI: Tomorrow – Overcast, High 37, Low 27
New Years Day – Sunny, High 50, Low 25

Those lows in the V-W forecast are a bit lower because we used the information out of the Kansas City airport, which is well outside the city center. Check out the forecast for KCTV-5. There is a distinct focus on the Chiefs football game this weekend.

When will the blowtorch turn off?

It was a warm, rainy Christmas for the middle of the country, and just generally warm in the eastern third. The only areas that got a more traditional Christmas were in the northern High Plains and Rockies, which accounts for a very small fraction of the nation’s population. It’s all part of a month long trend, where temperatures have been warm enough that it’s inescapable that this will be the warmest December on record for a lot of places.

Temperatures to start 2024 look like they will continue to be warmer than normal, even after this first cold intrusion the country is undergoing in what seems like months. The jet is going to become established over the southern US at the same time, though, and this is going to start paying dividends, in the form of temperatures coming in line with normal, or in the southern US, cooler than normal.

The south riding jet is going to allow cool air to filter into the lower 48, but that isn’t the whole story. This jet will be strong and wavy, which means it will be active as well. An atmospheric river, so to speak. The strong areas of low pressure moving from the southwestern US and through the southern tier of states will help in keeping temperatures suppressed. To the north, where it is less likely to cloud over during the day, temperatures won’t end up on the cold side of normal. ‘

Right around normal is still awfully chilly for the northern US, so winter is going to feel more like winter. If that is too much to handle, then rest assured, things are going to get warm fro a lot of the country once again by the end of the month, according to the CPC’s forecast.

Macon, Georgia

Macon is right in the heart of Georgia, and the home of Mercer University. I hope either of these facts might help you with Jeopardy! some day.

At 353PM, ET, Macon was reporting a temperature of 65 degrees with fair skies. Winds were from the northwest, and there was a brisk flow aloft thanks to occluded low pressure over the center of the country. The primary round of wet weather has already proceeded offshore, however the cold air still remains nearer the Mississippi Valley. This postfrontal trough will not reconstitute as a cold front, however, and shouldn’t bring any rain to central Georgia.
The jet structure is robust, as it should be this time of year, and is guiding the low pressure center that brought the rain to town northeastward, and will not allow time for the secondary boundary to organize any precipitable activity. Even so, expect temperatures to continue to drop over the next couple of days, with a chilly Friday on the horizon.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 58, Low 41
Friday – Cloudy and cooler, High 49, Low 36

TWC: Tomorrow – Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 61, Low 44
Friday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine High 52, Low 33

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 61, Low 45
Friday – Cooler with intervals of clouds and sunshine High 52, Low 35

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny high 60, Low 44
Friday – Mostly sunny, High 51, Low 32

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 57, Low 43
Friday – Mostly sunny, High 50, Low 38

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 59, Low 44
Friday – Partly cloudy, High 51, Low 33

CLI: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 61, Low 39
Friday – Mostly cloudy, High 53, Low 34

A look at the satellite imagery shows some clearer skies rolling into Georgia, behind a very sharp air mass demarcation through Alabama.

A mysterious verification

Sometimes, I cause my own problems. I post something so late that the “tomorrow” of the forecast is actually the “today” of the post time. Sometimes, the issue is that the closest NWS verification facility doesn’t have a 24 hour schedule for observations. Both of these things happened in Huntsville, which made finding the information I needed to properly assess the forecast a bit more challenging. I used Huntsville International for my observations, rather than the Redstone Arsenal, which is closer to downtown, and figured out my own temporal confusions. In end the weather wasn’t particularly dynamic, and everyone assessed an early week cooldown correctly when we put together the forecast Sunday night — er, early morning on Monday. Victoria-Weather, despite our other issues, had the top forecast.
Actuals: Monday, the 18th, High 52, Low 32
Tuesday, the 19th, High 46, Low 25

Grade: B-C

Lebanon, Pennsylvania to Tucson, Arizona

Merry Christmas, everyone! Some people may end up driving over the holidays, and for those people, this one is for you. We’re taking a 4 day trip from the northeast to the southwest. The route covers 2261 miles, at a pace of 68.5mph, which means those days, especially the first three, will cover 548 miles. with the longest, dullest day for Tuesday.

DAY ONE (Sunday)

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

The weather is going to get a little bit interesting as the drive progresses, but for our Sunday, a strong ridge is parked on the east coast, and aside for some very dense morning in many parts of our route, the weather should cooperate. The drive will take us through some un-turnpiked Ohio and Indiana, before we stop in Greenfield, just east of Indianapolis.

DAY TWO (Monday)
It’s probable that we will get underway with dry but foggy skies on Christmas morning, but an advancing cold front will intercept us before reach the Illinois border. The heaviest rain is going to come in eastern Illinois, between the Indiana border and Effingham. The rain will mostly be wrapped up before we hit the Mississippi, however, and blustery conditions will take over in Missouri. The drive from St. Louis to Sampson, Missouri, which is about 40 miles before Springfield, will be windy and increasingly crisp, but dry.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
It will be dry and sunny for the first time of our drive on Boxing Day, but one variable will be different. It’s going to be chilly as we pass through Oklahoma and head towards Amarillo. The wind will be a bit breezy, but not as bad as on Christmas. Some warmth will start building back in by the time we arrive in Texas/ We’ll take the Panhandle, Texas exit, which is in the Texas Panhandle east of Amarillo.

DAY FOUR (Wednesday)
The last day will be spent mostly in New Mexico, which is a notoriously difficult place to get right. It is higher in elevation than the Plains, a little bit wetter than the desert further west, and all together susceptible to the changing winds. OF course, the biggest fungible variable is temperature, which doesn’t matter unless it’s down towards freezing, which it won’t be. New Mexico won’t be a problem, and Tucson will be delightful.

Tucson, Arizona

Huntsville, Alabama

It’s time to put together a forecast in this very warm December. We’re far enough south already that it’s not a concern usually, but I’m not worried about putting snow in the forecast. Will there be storms?

At 1053PM, CT, Huntsville was reporting overcast skies with a breezy northwest wind and a temperature of 44. The clouds are working to arrest a brief cool down as a narrow trough swings through the Great Lakes behind the strong system crashing through the mid-Atlantic. Satellite shows that Huntsville is under the last swatch of overcast, and cooler temperatures should come through by daybreak tomorrow.
Cooler temperatures are going to be short lived. High pressure and flow from the southwest will work to bring the warmth back to town. The ridge will take more than the next two days to sneak back out of town, so unseasonable warmth can be expected. Clearer skies overnight will provide a cooler start on Tuesday.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 52, Low 35
Tuesday – Clear and a tad cooler, High 48, Low 26

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny skies. High 51, Low 35
Tuesday – Sunny skies. High 45, Low 22

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy; breezy this afternoon High 53, Low 36
Tuesday – Plenty of sunshine, but chilly High 45, Low 24

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 52, Low 34
Tuesday – Sunny, High 44, Low 22

WB: Tomorrow – Breezy. Partly cloudy in the morning, then clearing. High 53, Low 38
Tuesday – Sunny, High 46, Low 26

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 52, Low 37
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 45, Low 24

CLI: Tomorrow – Clear, High 50, Low 27
Tuesday – Sunny, High 41, Low 21

Looks terrific for Huntsville, but a pretty reasonable cool down on Tuesday. The satellite shows that last wisp of clouds in north Alabama.

Greenville, South Carolina to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

We are approaching Christmas, and to celebrate, we have a one day road trip. There is some weather looming for the route in question, but for now, the pace for the 542 mile trek is going to be about 66mph. We’re spending the most time in West Virginia on this trip, so you know there are going to be hills.

Greenville, South Carolina

Low pressure will be moving from the Gulf of Mexico to the Bight of Georgia overnigh.t. Heaviest precipitation will be downstate, but there will be significant rain coming from the region. There might be a bit of clearing shortly after we leave Greenville, but it will catch up, as this feature is really moving. The thereat for rain will undulate through the day, but will become steady, albeit lighter as we cross from West Virginia to Pennsylvania. There is an inverted trough that isn’t bringing the robust moisture that we will follow north to Pittsburgh, but it does offer some measure of reliability. Fortunately, it will still be too warm for snow, so expect some more light rain as we proceed into Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pre Christmas storm ready to batter the East Coast

A strong area of low pressure is coming out of the Gulf of Mexico is presently leading to a slight risk of severe weather across the Florida, with wind and tornadoes possible in the Sunshine State overnight tonight. The storm will cross north Florida overnight tonight and track into the Carolina Plains by the end of the day tomorrow.

The storm will continue northward, with the center of the storm moving north through the Hudson River Valley on Monday morning, eventually arriving in Canada by nightfall. Storms will be possible tonight in Florida, as I noted, and along the Carolina coast tomorrow, with the severe threat winding down as the system smashes New York and New England.

One thing to note is the track of the storm. With these coastal storms, the warm side is to the east, the cold to the west. With the center of the storm expected to pass over New York and head northward, the entirety of New England will be in the warm sector for the storm until the heaviest of the precipitation is through. This is going to be a wind and rain event for the largest population centers.

Without a deep cold trough, the heavily accumulating snow is going to come for the Appalachians and down stream from Lake Erie. This snow will also wait until after the main thrust of the season is in the Maritimes, and will be related to the post system flow from the northwest.

The last work week of 2023 is going to be fairly unpleasant for a lot of people, and will slow down travel plans, but it could be worse. This is a strong fall like system, and not a true winter nor’easter. While travel will be slowed, it will bounce back quickly with plenty of time for the holiday.