All posts by Ryan

Taking the edge off summer

Summers in TuscaloosaTuscaloosa, Alabama come early, but they seem to slow everything way down. The heat is usually capped in the low 90s, but the number is both kept low numerically and augmented in effect by oppressive humidity. Neither the heat nor the humidity were able to show up this weekend, as a strong cold front swept all that junk out to sea. An unseasonably pleasant dome of high pressure kept temperatures in the 80s, with lows dipping to a sleepable 64 degrees on Sunday morning. The stifling heat was kept at bay following some early rain on Saturday, but it will surely come soon enough. Victoria-Weather had the top forecast for the weekend.
Actuals: Saturday – .34 inches of rain in thunderstorms, high 86, Low 73
Sunday – High 81, Low 64

Grade: B-C

Fort Collins, Colorado

Keep an eye on Fort Collins, pretty much at all times in the summer. Some of the best radar imagery of the summer comes from the Front Range. Is there anything coming up that radar enthusiasts can look forward to?

At 1056PM, MT, Fort Collins was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 60 degrees. A light wind was blowing towards the Rockies, as high pressure sat from the Dakotas to the southern Appalachians, with east to west flow at the southern end f the angled ridge bringing slightly more humid air into the Front Range. This high pressure will remain in place through the day on Monday.
A weak upper level trough moving through western Canada is expected to immediately trail the broad trough that has dominated the weather pattern for the past week or so. As the upper level trough reaches the High Plains, expect a lee trough to develop swiftly at the surface. In response to that developing feature, expect some fairly big thunderstorms to develop late in the day on Tuesday, though Fort Collins’ position, snug up against the Rockies will likely keep the town dry, as most of the activity will crop up in the eastern part of the state. The heat will certainly increase with greater southerly flow.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 85, Low 53
Tuesday – Increasing clouds, and much warmer, High 91, Low 55

TWC: Tomorrow – Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 86, Low 52
Tuesday -Sunshine and clouds mixed. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 92, Low 56

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and warmer High 84, Low 53
Tuesday – Partly sunny with widely separated thunderstorms in the afternoon High 90, Low 56

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 84, Low 52
Tuesday – A 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, High 91, Low 55

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 83, Low 54
Tuesday – Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms, High 87, Low 56

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 84, Low 66
Tuesday – Partly cloudy with isolated storms, High 91, Low 84

FIO: Tomorrow – Light rain starting in the afternoon, continuing until evening. High 83, Low 55
Tuesday – Light rain in the afternoon. High 88, Low 56

It’s pretty lonely out here on this island, forecasting no rain in Fort Collins.  I really think they stay dry. Here is the satellite this evening, showing nothing for Colorado, but some serious storms in the Texas Panhandle, showing up nicely on the late night IR satellite. 

State College, Pennsylvania to Odessa, Texas

We’re all set for another road trip, this time covering 3 full days, as we head from Pennsylvania to west Texas. The mileage will be 1676, which we will cover at a pace of 69.8mph, which means we will blast through the Midwest, covering 558.7 miles a day. Thank you, Eisenhower interstate system! Let’s start the week right, with a trip to Texas!

DAY ONE (Monday)
We’re still enjoying the after effects of a strong cold front that moved through the eastern United States, as temperatures are cool and the air is dry. The atmosphere aloft is still in the grips of a massive trough, that is only getting shorter in wavelength, which means increased perturbation of the atmosphere. A weak bundle of energy moving through the Great Lakes will bring the threat of some light, popcorn showers by the time we hit central Indiana, and we may see some light rain through Indianapolis, but certainly nothing severe, and mostly likely with the sun visible, peaking around the clouds as it rains. We’ll make it to Brazil, Indiana, about 15 miles east of Terre Haute, and call it a night.

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
Any more consternation that the weak Great Lakes feature wants to prolong will be suppressed by the strong dome of high pressure smothering the region. Expect things to remain mostly sunny and still quite dry as we slice through the center of the country, spending time in Illinois and Missouri, passing through St. Louis on our way to the eastern suburbs of Tulsa, where we will caall it a night, still managing to avoid any particularly inclement weather.

DAY THREE (Wednesday)
Things are going to start returning to normal by mid-week. That is to say, expect much warmer weather as an area of low pressure moved into the northern Plains, beginning to draw that summer time heat northward. Along with heat, don’t forget humidity, which will also be on the rise, especially with thunderstorms beginning to emerge on the Gulf Coast. Our route will take us through Oklahoma and Texas, artfully slicing between both stormy features, and we will instead only enjoy the baking heat of the southern Plains. Get some ice cream in Odessa, as you will certainly want some.

Oceanside oasis

The news through the middle of last week was the oppressive heat and humidity that smothered the desert Southwest. Even if you got just inside the Coastal Range in southern California, temperatures were climbing into the 120s. Along the coast, in San Diego, things were significantly more tolerable. It only reached the low to mid 70s on Wednesday and Thursday, during our forecast period, a solid 50 degrees cooler than other parts of the state. The Weather Channel had the top forecast, navigating the completely isolated weather patterns of the coast.
Actuals: Wednesday, High 74, Low 65
Thursday – High 71, Low 62

Grade B-D

Tuscaloosa, Alabama to State College, Pennsylvania

It’s truly not on purpose, but once again, it appears that we have avoided terrible weather for our road trip. We will cover a day and a half, straddling the Appalachians as we move from Alabama to Pennsylvania. The mileage on this trek is 896 miles, which we will proceed at a pace of 64.7mph, which means our first, longer day will necessitate 517.5 miles on day one. Let’s see if we can find State College.

DAY ONE (Sunday)

Now that a cold front has reached the coast, and a nice pool of cool, dry air has settled in over the interior southeast, there isn’t much more you could ask for as a motorist. We should reach the southern end of the Appalachians without any problems, and will enjoy the view through eastern Tennessee and on into western Virginia with a few little dabs of puffy white clouds painted across the sky. We’ll nearly make it to Blacksburg, but will stop for the night in Pulaski.

DAY TWO (Monday)
An upper level trough is rotating its way into the eastern part of North America, a small pool of energy moving through the Great Lakes has, and will continue to kick up some light rain showers. The batch of energy isn’t strong enough to really threaten to overcome any elevated terrain, looking almost like a batch of lake effect snow. At the very end of our day Monday, we might encounter a spot of light rain in State College, but before that, expect mostly sunny skies and perfect temperatures for rolling down the windows.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

All right gang, let’s head down to Alabama, where they have recently been battered by Tropical Storm Cindy. Will it be just as problematic at the back end of the storm? Certainly not, but how will it be in Tuscaloosa?

At 120AM, CT, Tuscaloosa was reporting a temperature of 73 degrees with light rain. A stronger round of thunderstorms has just shifted through Tuscaloosa, leaving a smattering of rain from Tuscaloosa westward. The remnants of Cindy have been absorbed by a broad upper level trough that has swept into the eastern United States, and a ranging cold front is sweeping from the Eastern Seaboard to the Carolinas and west towards the Red River Valley. Unlike what is typically seen with similar features, this boundary is ultimately progressive, so the training shower activity presently seen in Alabama is also drifting south. Expect rain to end around midday.
The upper level trough is very strong, almost springlike in its structure. The cold pool is strong enough that it is going to force the cold front all the way south to the Gulf Coast, and bring a stabilizing area of high pressure over the northern half of Alabama when the rain clears out this afternoon. Expect a much more pleasant weekend in Tuscaloosa than most residents of the south are used to in late June, with cooler, drier air prepared to allow all manner of outdoor activities this weekend.
Tomorrow – Early showers,  then clearing and pleasant, High 86, Low 73
Sunday – Sunny and unseasonably cool, High 83, Low 68

TWC: Tomorrow – Scattered showers and thunderstorms. High 84, Low 72
Sunday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine.High 84, Low 67

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a shower or thunderstorm around; humid High 83, Low 73
Sunday – Some sunshine High 84, Low 68

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between noon and 5pm. Mostly cloudy High 85, Low 72
Sunday – Partly sunny, High 84, Low 68

WB: Tomorrow – Thunderstorms likely, High 81, Low 74
Sunday – Partly cloudy, HIgh 82, Low 69

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms likely, High 82, Low 73
Sunday – Partly cloudy, High 84, Low 66

FIO: Tomorrow – Rain until afternoon. High 85, Low 74
Sunday – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 82, Low 68

Here is a look at the rain, showing the last of the really heavy activity shifting away from Tuscaloosa for the time being. Good days to be outside for the next couple of days.

Burned out

Last week, before things got ruined by Cindy, Panama City and the rest of the Florida Panhandle was being overrun by flow off the Gulf, directed towards a series of low pressure centers sweeping through New England. It got a little bit rainier later in this week, but before Cindy would get there, it was surprisingly dry, given the flow regime. Of course, the problem was that nascent tropical feature absorbing any moisture that wanted to come ashore, so that likely played a role in that aberrant lack of rain. In fact, there was no rain on Friday, but there was a splash on Saturday, considerably less than had been in the forecast, pre-Cindy. Those sunnier than expected skies also produced temperatures that were towards the warmer end of forecasts. Victoria-Weather had warm highs, but it was The Weather Channel’s warm lows that earned them the victory.
Actuals: Friday – High 86, Low 70
Saturday – Rain reported, not measured, High 88, Low 75

Grade: B-C

San Diego, California

It’s a hot one out west. Fortunately, San Diego is right up on the coast where perhaps it will be a little bit cooler.

At 826PM, PT, San Diego was reporting a temperature of 66 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. A cool wind off the south Pacific was bringing in a shallow marine layer that was als being seen as far north as Carlsbad. It was in stark contrast to areas inland, which were still as warm as 110 degrees near the Salton Sea.
High pressure in the southern Rockies is the one of the typical features that contribute to suffocating southwestern heat waves, and there is a really good ridge out there right now. Ridging jet flow and a broad, stalled trough in the eastern US, as well as Tropical Storm Cindy will slow down any breakdown of the ridge for the foreseeable future.
Tomorrow – Marine layer clouds early, late, then sunny, High 79, Low 64
Thursday – Early clouds and fog, High 76, Low 65

TWC: Tomorrow – Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon High 78, Low 65
Thursday – Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 72, Low 65

AW: Tomorrow – Low clouds and fog giving way to some sun High 78, Low 66
Thursday – Low clouds and fog giving way to some sun High 72, Low 66

NWS: Tomorrow – Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, High 79, Low 63
Thursday – Patchy fog before noon. Otherwise, cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, High 75, Low 63

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy in the morning, Becoming mostly sunny. Patchy dense fog in the morning, High 82, Low 65
Thursday – Mostly cloudy in the morning, becoming mostly sunny. Patchy fog in the morning, High 77, Low 65

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 79, Low 63
Thursday – Partly cloudy, High 75, Low 63

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy until afternoon. High 80, Low 67
Thursday – Partly cloudy until afternoon.High 78, Low 66

So not too bad on the coast, mostly because of the marine layer, which you can see on the satellite below.

Bret, a potential friend usher in a quick start to the topical season

June 1st was the official start of the north Atlantic hurricane season, but usually, the season really gets going in the late season. There are a few ways that we can get tropical cyclones to develop out in the Atlantic this time of year, however.

  1. They stay in the warmest waters, near the equator or
  2. They churn up in the Gulf of Mexico, aided by subtropical forces.

Well, here’s the way it looks tonight, according to the NHC satellite overlay.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 is the most immediate threat to the US mainland, and regardless of the associated winds and rotation with it, it will bring the potential for isolated tornadoes and copious rain along the Gulf Coast. Guidance at this point has the center of circulation making landfall within about 100 miles of Lake Charles, Louisiana, with some targeting Houston, and some pointed towards Lafayette. Here is a good average spaghetti plot.

The storm will nearly certainly strengthen, but fortunately, a hurricane is not expected from 3, which will likely end up being Cindy.

The greatest concern with this system is going to be the rainfall, particularly that falling on the eastern flank of the storm. Think places like New Orleans and east towards Pensacola. Flooding rains are likely.

Bret, by every definition, will be a stronger storm. It’s so strong it has no time for a second t. The greatest impact Bret will impart will be to northeastern Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, all coming as the storm passes overhead within the next few hours.

Despite the early orgnization and  name, Bret will likely not even match 3  in the early stages, at least in terms of intensity.

Bret will continue to move into warmer waters off the Central American coast, and will need to be monitored as June turns towards July.

The Tropics have picked up early this season, however the activity isn’t completely unusual, and hasn’t yet proven to be exceptionally dangerous compared to other weather that has impacted the region in the past. The best thing to do, as always, is to remain vigilant and continue to keep a close eye on the Caribbean.

Lower Michigan, upper 80s

We looked at Jackson, Michigan way back last week, in the midst of their early June heat wave. Temperatures weren’t cooling off, at least not through the beginning of the week last week, as they continued to reach the upper 80s to low 90s, all as a warm front remained parked to the northwest, unwilling to move on so relief would find its way in. Forecasters generally knew how stubborn this boundary would be, and the results were pretty good. They were the best for WeatherNation, who had the victory.
Actuals: Sunday – High 89, Low 69
Monday – High 90, Low 68