March Forecaster of the Month

We’ve made it through the third month of the year that had an intense focus on the Midwest. Victoria-Weather, as should be expected, was strong for the month, but not as strong as The Weather Channel, who took the month, and the lead through three months for the year.

OutletForecast Wins (year)
The Weather Channel6.49
National Weather Service1.49

This warning is pointed the wrong way

As we learned from our last update, today is the only day to be concerned with rain in the Tampa area. To the north off the coast from Cedar Key, the NWS has issued a Marine Warning that looks strange.

Polygons usually expand through the expected storm motion to account for the potential variability of the track. Instead, this one narrows around the storm motion. That’s just a backwards polygon is what that is.

Weather may hamper bridge cleanup efforts this week, will improve

As seen in the video from NBC news, tragedy has befallen Baltimore Harbor, where a cargo vessel leaving the harbor lost power and steamed directly into a support for the Key Bridge, the outermost bridge spanning the Patapsco River, collapsing the span into the River. Two were rescued, though around 20 drivers and construction workers are through to be missing.

Today, this morning, while time is the most critical for whatever recovery can be done to save lives if possible, the weather was at least accommodating. There were clear skies and the Patapsco was calm, which will allow the waterway to be as clear as the waterway can get. It is a busy thoroughfare for maritime traffic and surrounded by a large city, so it is generally murky, and often quite chilly.

Even after the initial recovery is completed, it will be important to continue clearing the wreckage from the mouth of the Patapsco. Baltimore Harbor is one of the busiest on the Eastern Seaboard, and an important source of goods coming into and out of the United States. The longer the harbor is closed, the more likely it is to make a dent on the economy.

Unfortunately, the weather will not be cooperating in these efforts in the next couple of days. There are storms, both rain and snow, from the Great Lakes to the the Florida Panhandle, and this system is headed eastward. It won’t have much energy or much moisture for the coastal Plains, but it will rejuvenate upon reaching the ocean. Even before moisture falls, inflow will blow right through Chesapeake Bay up to Baltimore Harbor.

Rainfall will likely be most intense on Thursday morning, before a reconstituted system can pull off to sea. For the next couple of weeks, the mid-Atlantic looks to expect normal temperatures, but above normal moisture. The falling rain muddies up rivers, and will not help divers without the aid of sonar. Fortunately, for the long term recovery and replacement efforts, near normal conditions are expected around Baltimore, which means warming temperatures and average precipitation.

Hopefully, this can facilitate a rapid clean up and a return to normal for the city of Baltimore. Victoria-Weather extends condolences to those who have lost during this tragedy.

Way off the mark

Last weekend, a system moved through the Great Lakes and eventually spiraled through the mid-Atlantic with a copious amount of rain falling around New York over the weekend. But we are here to talk about Columbus. In my forecast I noted that I thought Friday would be on the overcast side, and little did I know how thick those clouds would be. Temperatures were forecast to hit the low 60s on Friday, and they didn’t even get out of the mid-40s. I did say it would be warmer, and it was only 42 on Thursday! Ugh. There was a three way tie between The Weather Channel, Weather Service and Weathernation.
Actuals: Thursday – High 41, Low 23
Friday – .19 inches of rain, High 45, Low 29

Grade C-D

At this point, most of the precipitation in southern Minnesota is falling as rain, and even then, there is a dry slot right over the Twin Cities metro area that isn’t being picked up well by models. Right now, the NAM model has among the better solutions, but the best bet is looking at the short range models. One thing all of them are consistent on is a reformed area of low pressure and another blast of nasty, and this time windy, conditions overnight.

Severe weather is the other side to the story

I wrote last week about the strange forecast coming up for the Twin Cities, where some forecast outlets were calling for a ton of snow, despite so many factors working against a huge accumulation. Well, the storm is nearly over (a recap on that through some updates on the site later) in Minnesota, but the system is still around, and bringing some severe weather concerns in the deep south.

A strong jet flowing north-northeast to the Ozarks, sequestering a pocket of energy in the Mississippi Delta

The jet across the country is strong, a common scenario when encountering spring season storm threats, and it is helping the system in the Plains occlude fairly quickly, with an additional area of low pressure developing at the surface northwest of the Mississippi Delta. There is a copious amount of moisture down here, as always, but now also quite a bit of turning in the atmosphere, or vorticity.

The vorticity is compounded by the fact that the wind is changing directions. While the wind at 250mb, as above, is coming from the southwest, winds at different levels of the atmosphere are angled at different directions. This is called vertical shear, and is something that can help a storm build upwards quickly, and produce twisters at the surface. The area bracketed by the blue has the greatest shear, and will move east into Mississippi overnight, following the storms.

There are already some bands of storms, though none of it yet severe, moving through Louisiana, and it looks like if any storms develop, they will be embedded within a line with rain falling around it. This is a typical mode for “Dixie Alley” where storms make themselves nearly impossible to find, not only by occurring in a tree filled environment, often at night, but also by usually falling in the midst of especially rainy thunderstorm complexes.

The NWS is calling for a chance for especially large and dangerous tornadoes tonight, potentially in Jackson, Natchez or Meridien, and it is important to stay vigilant as the storms develop and move into the area. There are no basements, generally, in Mississippi, so ensure a spot in a storm shelter if storms loom.

Storms will likely continue deep into the night, but the low across the center of the country will be too stretched to allow for things to continue far into Alabama or Georgia tomorrow. Additionally, there will be a pause in the rough stretch of weather, allowing Delta residents a chance to breath and recover, if necessary. Let’s hope it isn’t.

Heavy snow band setting up in southern MN

A band of very heavy snow is presently just north of the Iowa border in Minnesota. At Austin, they are reporting some thunder along with the snow, indicating the rapid rate that the precipitation is falling, and the energy in the system. The change to rain keeps moving up in the forecast though, and will be chasing this heavy band, and we still await confirmation on how much snow we will see