All posts by Ryan

Freeze averted

Fresno was unusually cool for the last couple of days, but fortunately, it never quite chilled as much as most outlets expected. There were four outlets that were either a hair warmer, or hit two temperatures on the nose, and there was, as a result, a four way tie at the top, with The Weather Channel, National Weather Service, Weatherbug and WeatherNation all tied, and Fresno stayed above freezing.
Actuals: Monday – High 51, Low 35
Tuesday – High 53, Low 35

Grade – A – C

Rain in the desert

Technically, Bakersfield in southern California sees little enough rain that it can be considered a desert, so the fact that they had a weekend that saw rain both days is a rare event. Since it actually happened this past weekend, it’s good that all outlets accurately included rain in our forecast. It came down to temperatures, then, with WeatherNation claiming victory thanks in large part to having the coolest overnight low temperatures in the forecast. Points for boldness, going cool in a typically warm place.
Actuals: Saturday – .01 inches of rain, High 56, Low 38
Sunday – .03 inches of rain, High 53, Low 36

Grade: C

Fresno, California to Bridgeport, Connecticut

As if to send our California sojourn into the sunset officially, we’re going to mark the occasion with an 5 1/2 day trip that covers 14 states and 2,975 miles. The pace is surprisingly slow, given all the interstate, at 67.6,, but it sounds better when you say we will encounter about 541 miles every day.

DAY ONE (Tuesday)
There aren’t many roads that slice right through the Sierras, so our first day on the road will sweep south before curving back north .We’ll pass through Las Vegas, a part of the world that has recently seen snow, as we shoot to the northeast. Low pressure will be conglomerating east of the Rockies, and clear skies will be settling into the southwest. We wont see any fresh precipitation on our first day, which will end in New Harmony, a town in southwestern Utah.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
Our luck will continue on Wednesday, with low pressure shifting away from the Rockies just as we are shifting into the Rockies. We will be out of Utah before the next round – considerably weaker than previous incursions – of low pressure moves in from the Pacific Northwest, and we will delve into the Colorado Rockies after snow falls there. We will make it to Herman Gulch, which is just past the Loveland Ski Area, and home to a trailhead into some of the tall peaks of the central Rockies.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
Weather is going to flare up behind us in the Great Basin, while low pressure rockets off to the east. We will once again enjoy dry weather, but it couldn’t be more different. After a day of driving through the mountains of Colorado and Utah on Wednesday, we’ll spend out day in some of the flattest terrain anywhere. The day will end in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we will be able to see as far as we want, from horizon to horizon.

DAY FOUR (Friday)
There might actually be a little bit of light precipitation as we get started in Lincoln on Friday morning, but it’s more likely that we will be contending with some early morning clouds between Lincoln and Omaha. Careful either way, as any precipitation that does fall is liable to do so as light freezing rain or sleet. Regardless, we will be in clear air after we pass into Iowa, and will remain there through Chicago and into northwest Indiana. We’ll stop in Portage, before the Toll Road takes effect.

DAY FIVE (Saturday)
We’re going to be right on the edge on Saturday, with low pressure developing in the Plains and beginning to accelerate. We will still remain dry on Saturday, the way it looks right now, but clouds will build through the Appalachians, and temperatures will take a turn for the warmer as a warm front develops in the Tennessee Valley. We’ll stop near Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, though Mill Hall is closer to the interstate.

DAY SIX (Sunday)
Fortunately, the warm front associated with this wave will arrive in Pennsylvania with lot of warm air. After 5 days of pretty good conditions, the only luck we will have for our last 4 hour drive is “at least it’s not snowing!” A chilly rain, often heavy, will fall from Lock Haven, through the New York exurbs and into Connecticut. In fact, the heaviest rain will probably be as we drive through downstate New York, which is definitely not optimal. Hard to complain after the drive we have otherwise, though.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

OK, we’ve had our fun in California, but now it’s time to head east, and the shadows of New York City. We’re getting there in time for another nasty system.

At 1152PM, ET, Bridgeport was reporting light rain and overcast skies with a temperature of 33 degrees. Snow was reported as nearby as White Plains, while rain was still being noted in new York City where the urban heat island was in effect. That point is going to be rendered moot in the very near future, however, as a large mass of rain is getting ready to sweep into Long Island. Temperatures will linger near freezing, and may actually rise a degree or two with the rainfall, however colder air will cycle in by sunrise on Monday.
Fortunately, the feature is moving very quickly, and clear skies will move in by mid afternoon. The development of the surface low can be owed more to the position over the Gulf Stream, as the pressure gradient surrounding the low will be fairly weak, and although Bridgeport will be cooler Monday night, it won’t be blustery. High pressure will build in on Tuesday, and cool, crisp skies can be expected.
Tomorrow – Rain turns to snow, before shifting out in the afternoon, High 37, Low 26
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, colder, High 33, Low 19

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy with a mixture of rain and snow in the morning. High 41, Low, 24
Tuesday – Mostly sunny skies. High 32, Low 17

AW: Tomorrow – A little morning rain; otherwise, cloudy (early snow/sleet) High 41, Low 25
Tuesday – Sunny in the morning; partly sunny in the afternoon High 33, Low 18

NWS: Tomorrow – Rain and sleet likely before 10am, then a chance of snow between 10am and 1pm, then a chance of rain after 1pm. Mostly cloudy High 38, Low 24
Tuesday – Sunny, High 34, Low 18

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. Rain, light sleet, freezing rain likely with a chance of snow in the morning, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Little or no additional snow and sleet accumulation. High 41, Low 25
Tuesday – Sunny, High 33, Low 18

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with light wintry mix likely, High 38, Low 25
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 34, low 18

FIO: Tomorrow – Snow (1–2 in.) starting overnight, continuing until morning.High 42, Low 25
Tuesday – Partly cloudy starting in the evening. High 32, Low 18

It’s going to be a nasty morning, but the brevity of the storm means it won’t be backbreaking. That said, look at this wall of water coming towards Long Island!

Bakersfield, California to Fresno, California

It’s time for a nice short trip through the agricultural heartland of California. It’s only an hour and a half drive to head from Bakersfield to Fresno, which are 109 miles apart. That means our trip on the Golden State Highway will be at a pace of 66mph. Not too bad. Let’s see how it goes!

As you may have surmised by recent forecasts for the area, the weather looks like it is going to be on the upswing. In fact, the center of the state is already clearing up, so the drive up CA-99 will actually be even better than I would have thought this morning. The sun will be shining, and any precipitation will be in the form of snow already fallen on the peaks straddling our route.

Fresno, California

We’re headed back to central California today, with another look in the central valley. Is the weather any better?

At 1224PM, PT, Fresno was reporting a temperature of 43 with mostly cloudy skies. Temperatures were held down by clouds packed in the San Joaquin Valley. Those same clouds when sliding up the ranges ringing the valley were producing mountain snow, with a little bit of light rain scattered across the valley.
The broad upper level trough over the western US is finally breaking down. The surface reflection is going to lag a bit, but by tomorrow morning, central California will likely be free of precipitation. While the problematic trough is breaking down, it is part of a broader trough across the Coast and eastern Pacific, which means temperatures will continue to be below normal even after the moisture ends.
Tomorrow – mostly cloudy, High 47, Low 32
Tuesday – Partly cloudy, High 51, Low 32

TWC: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine High 51, Low 33
Tuesday – Partly cloudy. High 53, Low 33

AW: Tomorrow – Sunny to partly cloudy; cool High 51, Low 33
Tuesday – Mostly sunny; cool High 53, Low 32

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 49, Low 35
Tuesday – Widespread frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, High 53, Low 33

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 50, Low 36
Tuesday – Sunny. Widespread frost in the morning, High 52, Low 34

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 49, Low 35
Tuesday – Partly cloudy with widespread frost, High 53, Low 33

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy starting in the morning, continuing until afternoon.High 50, Low 31
Tuesday – Partly cloudy starting overnight, continuing until afternoon. High 52, Low 31

Here is a look at the radar right now, with quite a bit of precipitation up in the mountains. It’s a whole lot nicer for now in the Fresno, but it will also be getting better.

Columbus, Georgia to Bakersfield, California

Make no mistake, we are about to undertake a pretty long road trip, but if I’m being completely honest, this trip isn’t quite as long as I thought it would be. It will take 4 days to trek from Georgia to California, a trip of 2175 miles. The daily drive will be a nice 544 miles, at a pace of 68mph. It’s an active pattern in the northern part of the country, so let’s see if we can expect any trouble to the south as well.

DAY ONE (Monday)

The Southeast is enjoying a pretty nice start to their weekend, but as it often happens, things are going to fall apart on Sunday. Low pressure will develop in the Plains and will start to scoot through the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, A weak cold front will slice through Mississippi and Alabama as we head west. There won’t be a great deal of moisture, but there will be a threat for a spot of showers or thunderstorm activity between about Selma, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. The post frontal wind will make things cooler and force us to keep both hands on the wheel as we drive to Bossier City, Louisiana.

DAY TWO (Monday)
Clear skies will move in behind the front, weak though it may be, with cold air moving into Texas. The next system isn’t far behind, so the cold air will get replaced fairly swiftly as well. There might be some brisk winds, but the drive through north Texas should be pretty manageable. We’re going to make it to Amarillo before our first day of travel concludes.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
The back end of low pressure developing late on Monday will be what we are left with by Tuesday morning as we depart. Most of the rain will shuttle through central Texas as cold air sinks into west Texas, meaning a chance for flurries in the Panhandle as we get going. The snow will clear up a bit in eastern New Mexico, but flurries are a possibility to return in the higher terrain in the western part of the state Arizona looks like it will be in good shape by Tuesday afternoon, however, and our stop near Winslow will be just fine.

DAY FOUR (Wednesday)
This is the type of day I’m sure we would all expect driving through the southwest. There isn’t much threat for any precipitation, and though it will be cooler than normal, the recent rain and snow will also mean that dust will be at a minimum, while any plants in the area will probably be in bloom. The day looks good in Bakersfield on Wednesday, though Thursday might be a bit dicier.

Bakersfield, California

For the second time in the last few weeks, we will head to Bakersfield for our forecast. The weather is a little wild out west. Will it be tamed any time soon?

At 854PM, PT, Bakersfield was reporting a temperature of 48 degrees with light rain and overcast skies. A batch of light rain was about to push out of the Bakersfield area, however radar imagery probably leant to much optimism to the situation. It is true, however, that the pattern is about to take a positive turn.
The broad upper level trough that has played host to the persistent low pressure that has continued to reorganize along he west coast is showing signs of losing identity. The back end of the feature will move into the coast through the weekend, and as the coast becomes less conducive for surface cyclogenesis, organized low pressure will break down in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately for residents of Bakersfield, it won’t dry out in time for the weekend to be enjoyed, with some light rain, overcast skies and cooler than normal temperatures continuing with northwesterly flow filling the San Joaquin Valley even despite a lack of organized low pressure at the surface.
Tomorrow – Overcast with some light rain, High 51, Low 41
Sunday – More of the same, clouds with periods of light showers, High 49, Low 40

TWC: Tomorrow – Increasing clouds with showers arriving sometime in the afternoon. High 53, Low 43
Sunday – Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers High 49, Low 41

AW: Tomorrow – Clouds and sun, cool; a couple of afternoon showers High 54, Low 41
Sunday – Cloudy, a little rain; cool High 51, Low 42

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers likely, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy, High 52, Low 43
Sunday – Showers likely, mainly before 5pm. Mostly cloudy, High 49, Low 38

WB: Tomorrow – Chance of showers in the morningt, then showers likely in the afternoon. High 53, Low 41
Sunday – Showers likely in the morning then chance of showers in the afternoon. High 48, Low 42

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with light showers likely, High 52, Low 39
Sunday – Mostly cloudy with light showers likely, High 49, Low 38

FIO: Tomorrow – Light rain starting in the evening. High 52, Low 42
Sunday – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. (early rain) High 51, Low 40

It seems as though Bakersfield is in for a dreary weekend, and even a things begin to improve, it will be cooler than normal early next week, Here is the satellite, showing a heavier round of showers shifting out of town.

One upside to the West’s Wild winter

A low over the North Pacific has been pounding the coast with a relentless barrage of snow and rain. Seattle has seen one of it’s snowiest Februaries on record, while the San Joaquin Valley and Coastal Ranges to the west have endured flash flooding and mudslides.

Fortunately, all this rain is coming to a part of the world that desperately needed it. Furthermore, the rain has been persistent, rather than simply one big shot, which means the moisture has been able to infiltrate the soil. So much rain has fallen that most of the state of California is now out of the drought

This isn’t just a brief respite, either. The state will see more relief in the summer when the abundant snowfall locked away in the mountains starts to melt and feed streams and rivers throughout the region, and more importantly, sustain irrigation systems through the fertile valley.

A broader look at the American west still suggests moderate to severe drought in the Rockies and Pacific Northwest, however this is likely to lessen with spring as well. All this moisture is a long term benefit, even through these short term hassles and dangers.

Near record breaking snow

This is one of the snowiest Februaries on record in western Washington. There were successive rounds of heavy snow surrounding the weekend, and we were lucky enough to forecast for Olympia for the second one. Temperatures were wild, as they often are when looking at mountain snow storms, and the precipitation was very heavy. There were 2 inches of liquid precipitation over the course of Sunday and Monday, though the airport didn’t address total accumulations. The Seattle NWS office had a report of over 9 inches 4 miles north of Olympia, though, indicating that this storm was a doozy (and that Victoria-Weather may have been on to something with our aggressive precipitation forecasts). Unfortunately, it came down to temperatures, and WeatherBug ended up rounding up a victory, as their typically cold bias paid off.
Actuals: Sunday – .24″ of precipitation, High 34, Low 5
Monday – 1.72″ of precipitation, High 38, Low 31

Grade: C-D