All posts by Ryan

IBM introducing crucial weather technology

One of the biggest issues with meteorology and weather forecasting is the lack of information. It seems like you have be bombarded with weather on the 8s or storm updates, and that is certainly true, there simply isn’t enough tangible information for meteorologists the world over.

The information shortage doesn’t come from meteorologists to consumer, but rather in what is taken in through observations. There are vast tracts of the western United States where there simply aren’t any observation points, and the weather and model guidance has a big empty, which looms larger as forecasts are cobbled together.

Now take those issues in the United States and extrapolate those in other places, particularly well populated (though more diffusely so) places like Africa or Asia, where there are many people with many weather dependent industries (agriculture in particular)  that have much fewer observations, and as a result, less model or forecast reliability.

IBM is creating software to turn smartphones into their own observation points, specifically calculating barometric pressure innately. It will help not only get a picture of the current weather, but also twill provide needed intake guidance for modeling, which IBM, in conjunction with UCAR, will also undertake.

This will provide a challenge to the more traditional model system, in which models are run by intergovernmental services, but the scope and recent advances in computing power by IBM give this new initiative promise. The association with UCAR is encouraging as well, because it will have a good basis in science.

The increased technological reach is now going to be thoughtfully leveraged by a non-atmospheric science entity. It’s  definitely a positive look towards the future, when environmental concerns will likely need technological solutions.

Humbled

The forecasts were so good to start the year in Lima, but it was not to be the case in Pueblo. I think we were all riding high after the forecast for Ohio, and looking at a couple of days of high pressure, it seemed like we could coast through the forecast. We were informed pretty early that this would not be the cast. The morning low on Monday was 36, no less than 5 degrees warmer than anyone had in the forecast. Compounding matters was the fact that, upon clearing, temperatures plummeted to 18, at least 4 degrees colder than what anyone had envisioned. The high temperatures were fine though! Accuweather snuck ever so slightly above the carnage and got their first win of 2019.
Actuals: Monday – High 58, Low 36
Tuesday – High 47, Low 18

Grade: C-D

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Let’s see about the weather in northeastern Pennsylvania tonight. It’s been warm and wet for the last several weeks. Will it continue?

At 1254AM, ET, Scranton was reporting a temperature of 29 degrees with overcast skies. Flurries were falling as nearby as Allentown, but the swath of heavy snow is pressing to the east and out of eastern Pennsylvania. A vast area of low pressure lies over the southern part of Hudson Bay, and the heavy snow represents the leading edge of the disturbance.
The upper level trough parenting this low will generate an undercutting surface low over the Great Lakes throughout the day Tuesday. This refocused feature will accelerate and swing through New England on Wednesday, but Tuesday does appear as though it will be filled with light snow and blustery winds.
Tomorrow – Rain snow mix, increasingly windy, High 43, Low 26
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy, with an early mix, with temperatures dropping through the day, High 37, Low 29

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower.  High 45, Low 29
Wednesday – Cloudy skies. Windy during the morning (morning rain). High 42, Low 30

AW: Tomorrow – Milder; considerable cloudiness, then times of clouds and sun, a shower in the area late in the day High 46, Low 31
Wednesday – Cloudy, windy; a few stray afternoon snowflakes High 42, Low 29

NWS: Tomorrow – A slight chance of showers before 11am, then a chance of showers after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, High 45, Low 28
Wednesday – A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, High 39, Low 26

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. A slight chance of rain showers and freezing rain in the morning, then a chance of rain showers in the afternoon. High 42, Low 26
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers, High 41, Low 30

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with scattered showers, High 46, Low 30
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy with chance of light wintry mix, High 41, Low 35

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 46, Low 28
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High 44, Low 29

I’m not sure we’re going to see temperatures spike quite as warm as many outlets seem to think on Tuesday. Too many clouds, too much terrain. I’m always wrong in the mountains. Here is a look at the radar, with a whole lot of rain headed for the coast.

Starting 2019 strong

The first forecast of the year was for Lima, Ohio, which was getting winged by a strong spring like system that was sliding from the Lower Mississippi Valley towards New England. Lima ducked any wet weather, all while hitting temperatures that were nearly perfectly forecast by Victoria-Weather. In fact, they were perfectly forecast on Saturday. It was a solid start to the new year.
Actuals: Saturday, High 48, Low 30
Sunday – High 43, Low 33

Grade: A-C

Hectic weather paying dividends

It’s been pretty rainy along the west coast so far in 2019, with heavy snow in the western mountain ranges, from the Rockies to the Sierras. The heaviest round is likely to come Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and will overwhelm travel along the coast, and will perhaps lead to flash flooding and mudslides, especially in areas that have recently seen wildfires.

The payoff will come in the spring. In addition to the rain, which is already alleviating the persistent drought that has been seen in southern California, but the successive rounds of wet weather this month, and the forecast for a wet late winter suggest that the drought relief will be more widespread than just San Diego County. 

A huge part of the relief is going to come in spring when the mountain snows melt and fill rivers and streams that feed agriculture, particularly in California. 

These rain clouds are definitely the kind that come with a silver lining. 

Pueblo, Colorado

Time for a swing to the High Plains to see what, exactly, we can expect in Pueblo.

At 253PM, MT, Pueblo was reporting a temperature of 61 degrees with clear skies. A trough was developing in the lee of the Rockies, but the inflow had already developed as far to the east as the Mississippi Valley, with a broad dry slot indicative of a mature cyclone already set up over the High Plains.
A broad but low amplitude trough over the Pacific Northwest is responsible for the development in the Canadian Prairies and inducing the lee troughing over eastern Colorado. It will continue to progress to the east, with some mountain snows continuing in the Colorado Rockies through tomorrow. The wave will move into the Plains by Tuesday morning, with the mountain snow ending west of Pueblo, and warmer air beginning with a stiff westerly downslope.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 62, Low 25
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 48, Low 23

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny skies, High 58, Low 28
Tuesday – Mainly sunny. High 49, Low 23

AW: Tomorrow – Plenty of sunshine; breezy High 58, Low 28
Tuesday – Mostly sunny High 48, Low 23

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 57, Low 27
Tuesday – Sunny High 48, Low 22

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny High 54, Low 31
Tuesday – Sunny High 45, Low 27

WN: Tomorrow – Sunny High 61, Low 26
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 50, Low 24

FIO: Tomorrow – Windy starting in the morning, continuing until evening. High 56, Low 28
Tuesday – Partly cloudy until morning. High 49, Low 25

Since the system I referenced throughout the forecast is based in  Canada,  so I used the Environment Canada satellite image. Pretty sweet, huh?

Starting in San Diego

The first verification of the new year is actually for the last forecast of the old year. Thanks to a cranky baby, I worked on the forecast in the very wee hours of New Year’s Eve, but fortunately, the forecast was for San Diego which is, under most circumstances, a softball forecast. Indeed, that was the case for the first couple of days this year (though things are surely a bit more challenging for forecasters tonight), and the Weather Service and Weatherbug snatched top notch forecasts for the chilly but dry couple of days in the town that calls itself America’s Finest City. 
Actuals: Tuesday, High 61, Low 45
Wednesday – High 62, Low 41

Grade A – C

Coming soon…

As we really sink our teeth into the new year, we’re going to really sink our teeth into many forecasts.

Scranton, Pennsylvania

San Luis Obispo, Califonia

Corpus Christi, Texas

Lawrence, Kansas
Road trip from Corpus Christi to Lawence

Waco, Texas

Lima, Ohio

It’s Friday, it’s time for the weekend, and it’s time for my first forecast of the year! We’re going to Lima, Ohio, a nice Midwestern spot for the first stop of the year.

At 1253AM, ET, Lima was reporting a temperature of 42 degrees with sunny skies. Most of the state of Ohio was in the embrace of warm high pressure, however a large system in the southeast could be seen in the southeastern US, with the northern reach of clouds brushing the Ohio River. The system is expected to continue towards New England through the night tonight, but there is consensus that the precipitation will not extend northeast to Lima.; 
An overriding ridge will become the predominant feature aloft, further reinforcing the warm up in Lima over the weekend and bringing out a vast dome of high pressure, stretching from the Gulf to Canada. It’s going to be a sunny weekend in Lima, with unseasonably warm temperatures, with a little bit of morning fog possible if there is anything on the ground available to be evaporated.
Tomorrow – Early clouds, becoming sunny, High 48, Low 30
Sunday – Sunny, High 44, Low 32

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny skies.High 46, Low 29
Sunday – Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 37, Low 30

AW: Tomorow – Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 45, Low 30
Sunday – Partly sunny High 40, Low 31

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 47, Low 30
Sunday – Partly sunny, High 40, Low 32

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 44, Low 31
Sunday – Partly cloudy, High 39, Low 33

WN: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy, High 47, Low 30
Sunday – Partly cloudy, High 40, Low 32

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy overnight. High 46, Low 31
Sunday – Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 40, Low 30

Here is a look at the current satellite (about 10 hours after the original forecast) showing just how close those clouds are coming to Lima tonight. Nothing to really worry about though!

Forecaster of the Year

We’re on to 2019, but there is one last bit of 2018’s business to consider: The forecaster of the year award! Some years, there is some competition as the year comes to a close, but 2018 was not one of them. Strong, steady work throughout the year meant that The Weather Channel locked things up for themselves back in autumn. Congratulations to The Weather Channel, and thank you for spending another year with Victoria-Weather!