All posts by Ryan

Forecaster of the Month: February

February is the shortest month of the year, and it was just as action packed as it always is. I mean, not as active as March has begun, but there were some big snows, especially in the upper Midwest, and some severe weather down in the southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley. They weren’t the headliners that the recent Nor’Easters have been, mostly because of where the nasty weather occurred, but it all provided its own forecasting challenges. In the end, it was Victoria-Weather that was able to overcome those challenges and win the monthly title

Santa Barbara, California

Here is a strange thing The Weather Service office out of Oxnard has had to place winter storm warnings on the mountains outside of Santa Barbara last week. Will that trickle down to the coast again this week? Probably not, but let’s see what is in store.

At 853AM PT, Santa Barbara was reporting a temperature of 57 degrees with clear skies. Southern California was bouncing back after a few days of well below normal temperatures and mountain snow, though there were some brisk off shore winds closer to the Oxnard area.
Weak high pressure will hang out in the southwestern US for the next couple of days, and without high pressure building in the southern Great Basin, winds will be moderate as well. Low pressure in the north Pacific will move into the Pacific Northwest, and a light onshore flow might encourage morning fog on Wednesday, while temperatures may remain a little on the cool side.
Tomorrow – Sunny skies, High 72, Low 41
Wednesday – Morning fog and a touch cooler, High 68, Low 43

TWC: Tomorrow – Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds.  High 72, Low 42
Wednesday – Cloudy skies. High 67, Low 47

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny High 70, Low 41
Wednesday – Times of clouds and sun High 67, Low 44

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny,  High 75, Low 46
Wednesday – Partly sunny High 67, Low 47

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 68, Low 44
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy High 63, Low 47

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 72, Low 46
Wednesday – Partly cloudy, High 67, Low 47

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy until night.High 74, Low 59
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 72, Low 62

Forecast.IO has a lo temperature that is nearly as warm as the high temperatures most other outlets have on Wednesday. Interesting gambit. Here is a satellite showing the north Pacific. You can see the big whirl that will drive the onshore flow into Santa Barbara later in the week.

Here comes spring

I will say that a lot of the early part of the year has been marked by one thing: A complete and utter disaster on the forecasting front. There have been many universally poor grades, and the forecast that was issued for Ames last week was no different. The good news is, the forecast went awry because it was significantly warmer than expected, and completely dry. It hit 60 degrees on Tuesday, so I think most residents of Ames will be ok with this type of a forecast bust. Weatherbug can claim a victory this time around.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 60, Low 31
Wednesday – High 52, Low 31

Grade D

Coming soon….

You know, I don’t know how it happened, but in the next few days, we’re going to be doing all sorts of video forecasts. Hope you like ‘em!

Santa Barbara, California

Road Trip from  Salinas, California to Salisbury, Maryland

Road trip from Salisbury to Dayton, Ohio

Carson City, Nevada

Kokomo, Indiana

I’ve been through Kokomo and I know several people who were born and raised in that part of Indiana. While it is a fairly typical Midwestern town, I can assure you it is not as nice as the one the Beach Boys sang about.

At 1156PM, ET, Kokomo was reporting a temperature of 43 degrees with clear skies, though there is a smattering of light rain in northwest Indiana.  While high pressure dominates the east, and a low amplitude ridge is allowing for some stability, the jet is vigorous through the Ohio Valley, and portends to disturbed pattern. A weak inverted trough is attached to a very small disturbance in Arkansas, getting ready to move through Tennessee and Kentucky overnight tonight.
By Wednesday night, a surface are of low pressure will develop over central Missouri, with the heavy rain conjoined to the present disturbance in Arkansas distending and running from Chattanooga to northern Arkansas and southwest to the Dallas area. The leading edge of the upper level trough will generate light moisture north of the primary precipitation that night before an occluded low develops over northern Illinois. The new orientation of low will mean an explosion of precipitation across northern Indiana. Expect Thursday to be quite rainy throughout much of the morning, with some isolated thunderstorms in the area. There is some disagreement on when precipitation will cut off, but it should dry out and be a bit cooler by mid afternoon.
Tomorrow – Isolated showers, becoming more widely scattered late, High 55, Low 44
Thursday – Rain and thunder with a bit of wet snow mixing in towards the end, then clearin and cooler, High 49, Low 32

TWC: Tomorrow – Rain showers early with overcast skies later in the day High 55, Low 45
Thursday – Windy…showers and thundershowers in the morning, then variable clouds in the afternoon with more showers possible. High 50, Low 34

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, mild and damp (PM Showers) High 56, Low 47
Thursday – Breezy with periods of rain; mild in the morning High 53, Low 34

NWS: Tomorrow – Rain likely, mainly between 7am and 10am. Cloudy,  High 54, Low 45
Thursday – Rain and possibly a thunderstorm. High 52, Low 33

WB: Tomorrow – Cloudy, Rain likely until midday then chance of rain in the afternoon, High 53, Low 47
Thursday – Breezy cloudy. Rain and slight chance of thunderstorms until midday, then chance of rain in the afternoon. High 49, Low 34

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with light rain likely, High 54, Low 45
Thursday – Mostly cloudy with rain, High 52, low 46

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy starting overnight. High 55, Low 42
Thursday – Rain starting overnight, continuing until afternoon, and windy starting in the afternoon. High 55, Low 35

Anyone avaliable did the non standard day for Thursday, with cold air moving in on the heels of the system moving through Indiana mid-week. Here comes a splash of ran, a little ahead of schedule:

Weather Wayback… Cold means something different in August

Shortly after the eclipse, Anthony put together a forecast for Canton, Ohio in what can only be described as “unseasonably cool” conditions, thanks to an advancing front. Sure, it was nearly 80 on August 23rd, but by golly, that cold front came in and knocked it down to only 74 on the 24th, which is appalling when you have grown accustomed to the 80s and 90s. Right now, it sounds pretty nice. Accuweather won that forecast way back in August.
Actuals: August 23rd, High 79, Low 58
August 24th – .14 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 74, Low 52

Grade: B-C

Ames, Iowa

A return to forecasting clearly too long in the making… my regular model page is not functional, so I need to go old school with this forecast. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like a terrible forecast.

At 1253PM CT, Ames was reporting a temperature of 48 degrees with clear skies, a far cry from a weekend beset with rain and snow. High pressure is stretched out from the Midwest to the Southeast, allowing the region to dry out for a brief period.
A strong southwest to northeast jet runs just south of Iowa, and doesn’t show signs of moving in the next 48 hours. A perturbation along the flow will kick off showers and storms around the Ozarks, kicking a now familiar inverted trough north into the Mid Mississippi Valely on Wednesday. Fortunately by this point, temperatures should be warm enough that widespread condensation, and thereby widespread precipitation, are not likely.
Tomorrow – mostly sunny, High 51, low 32
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy, isolated showers High 40, Low 28

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies during the morning hours will become overcast in the afternoon. High 53, Low 33
Wednesday – Cloudy early with showers for the afternoon hours. Thunder possible. High 45, Low 29

AW: Tomorrow – Some sun, then turning cloudy and mild High 51, Low 31
Wednesday – A bit of freezing drizzle in the morning; mostly cloudy; watch for icy spots High 44, low 30

NWS: Tomorrow – Patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, partly sunny,High 51, Low 31
Wednesday – A 40 percent chance of rain after noon. Mostly cloudy, High 41, Low 30

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny until late afternoon then becoming mostly cloudy
Wednesday  – Mostly cloudy. A 50 percent chance of light rain in the afternoon. Colder, High 44, Low 31

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 51, Low 31
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy with rain, High 41, Low 30

FIO: Tomorrow – Foggy starting in the evening, continuing until night. High 46, Low 32
Wednesday – Foggy starting overnight, continuing until morning. High 35, Low 31

Wow, The Weather Channel even calling for a little thunder. . I’ll believe that when I see it. Here it? Anyways, here is the national satellite, as the Ames area is pretty quiet.


An outbreak looms

Unseasonably warm temperatures have embraced the Eastern United States. While many people are undoubtedly basking in the warm sunshine, there are probably a few people out there thinking “this isn’t quite right!” One of those people is Mother Nature, who is preparing a dose of reality over the weekend.

A broad upper level trough in the northern Plains is starting to move incrementally eastward, and over the weekend, there is going to be a bit of a repetitive pattern at the surface, with a low developing in the southern Plains and shifting towards the Great Lakes. The first such system has already developed and is halfway through it’s course, with some showers and storms in the mid-Mississippi Valley and snow in the Upper Midwest.

As soon as Saturday morning, the next area of low pressure will crop up around the Oklahoma Panhandle and start moving to the east northeast. This version will have a little bit more upper level support, which means more cold air pulled in from the north and more moisture drawn in from the Gulf of Mexico. Given the warmth that is seated in the east and southeast, that’s a recipe for, you guessed it – severe weather.

This is an outlook for day 3, or Saturday, featuring a very large “slight risk” though I suspect by the time Friday morning rolls around, there will be a red “moderate risk” from about Memphis to Shreveport.

The central low pressure is in the colder part of the system, and the tornado threat won’t be extreme, but strong straight line winds seem like a sure thing.

This is going to be the first wide spread severe event of the year, and it is the always underrated squall line variety. While tornadoes cause a great deal of devastation, they often do so in isolated locations. Squall lines like the one expected this weekend touch a lot more lives, even if they don’t necessarily produce the destruction a twister would.

Oh, and on the northwest end of this feature? We’ll be looking at a late season snow storm for the Upper Midwest, with some locations looking forward to a foot of snow over the weekend, on top of the 3-6″ they are seeing tonight with the first wave.

Not much cold to the front

The motivating factor for a lot of the forecasts for El Paso was a cold front expected to sink south through Texas on Monday morning. It was just the sad tail that was projected to be south of El Paso, and is it turned out, that sad little tail was unable to bring much cold air south. Actually, it brought no cold air south. There was no drop in high temperature on Monday vs. Sunday, thanks to a lack of air mass change and some clouds overnight, which predictably kept the lows fairly warm. Accuweather dropped the best forecast on us, though it was pretty close all things considered.
Actuals: Sunday – High 70, low 45
Monday – High 70, low 54

Grade: B-D