All posts by Ryan

Storms will stretch the length of the Plains

Spring systems moving through the northern Plains have been dangling cold fronts and touching off severe storms in the central and southern Plains for a few weeks now. The bulk of the deadly tornadoes have occurred from the Mississippi Valley eastward, but by and large, they have been from the Ohio River south. As May ends and June approaches, the onus will begin to shift north.

For the next two days, there is at least a marginal threat for severe weather as far north as the Dakotas and Minnesota.

The threat isn’t from a particularly extraordinary system, but rather a fairly minor area of low pressure. The change is that there is much more warmth filtering north than there was a few weeks ago, had a similar system passed by.  The base level is more unstable, and less is required to touch storms off.

Wind and hail will be the greatest threat throughout the region, but don’t be surprised to see an isolated tornado along the Minnesota-Iowa border. Gusty winds will be more likely on Tuesday, when the threat will again stretch the length of the Plains.

Great Expectations

With a system passing just south of the Fargo area during the middle week, there was great anticipation for a momentous warm up across the area when it departed. Temperatures proceeded to plummet overnight into Wednesday morning as clear skies and a bit of a cooler flow filtered into the region. That was the fatal flaw in the forecast. The high on Wednesday didn’t recover to match the expected highs, ensuring that there wasn’t a really good forecast to be had. I’m not going to say everything was all bad from a forecasting standpoint, however, as meteorologists and the weather recovered nicely, with a high of 70. WeatherNation was solid on Thursday, and ultimately had the privilege of claiming victory for the whole day.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 63, Low 41
Wednesday – High 70, Low 43

Grade: C-D

Visalia, California

Good morning! It’s getting warm everywhere, but in California, it never really gets that cold anyway.

At 756AM, PT, Visalia was reporting a temperature of 53 degrees with clear skies. An area of low pressure in the Pacific Northwest was inducing a westerly flow across California, transporting cooler Pacific air into the Valley, but keeping skies clear.
A look at the satellite suggests the ongoing trend for the next couple of days. Clear skies will persist at the lower terrain, mid level flow will generate some clouds in the Sierras. The upper level trough will break down, through flow will continue to bring moisture into the Sierras. Expect a few showers in the mountains, but Visalia will continue to be free and clear.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 72, Low 46
Monday – Partly cloudy, High 71, Low 47

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunshine and some clouds. High 74, Low 46
Monday – Mainly sunny. High 74, Low 48

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and cool High 73, Low 46
Monday – Mostly sunny and cool High 74, Low 47

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 73, Low 48
Monday – Sunny – High 73, Low 49

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 72, Low 47
Monday – Mostly sunny, High 72. Low 47

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 73, Low 48
Monday – Partly cloudy, High 73, Low 48

FIO: Tomorrow – Clear throughout the day. High 78, Low 45
Monday – Clear throughout the day. High 78, Low 45

So FIO is going a little on the warm side, I guess. here is a look at the satellite, showing those high clouds over the Sierras I had mentioned.


There aren’t any beaches to speak of in Bremerton. Shoreline, definitely, but probably not anything you would traditionally call a beach. The weather was nice enough that if there were beaches, many Seattle area residents would have been at them on Tuesday and Wednesday. Ahead of a spit of rain coming from the Gulf of Alaska, temperatures were near 70 with mostly sunny skies during the day. Rain inched in just before Wednesday turned to Thursday, which was earlier than expected, throwing off everyone’s forecast. Accuweather was the best around, and earned victory.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 71, Low 41
Wednesday – Rain reported, not measured, High 69, Low 46

Grade C-D

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

We’re going on another forecasting adventure today, taking a trip to southeastern Pennsylvania. This is Amish country, which is important because with the rain on the way, horseback is going to be an efficient way to travel.

At 1253PM, ET, Lancaster was reporting light rain with overcast skies and a temperature of 53 degrees. Eastern Pennsylvania lies at the tail of a cold front extending from the Atlantic and the forward edge of a warm front eminating from the southern Plains, and that convergence is producing a great deal of rain, with the bulk of it closer to Wilkes-Barre and dwindling shower activity in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The feature in the plains will organize as it moves towards the Ohio Valley, and early on Friday there will be a respite from the shower activity.As the feature approches, however, showers will build back into the Lancaster area Friday evening. An inverted trough will develop on the northwestern flank of the feature, extending over eastern Pennsylvania and staying put, effectively ruining Saturday thanks to a cool, persistent rain.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a bit of drizzle, High 59, Low 47
Saturday – Rain throughout the day, High 54, Low 44

TWC: Tomorrow -Cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 58, Low 47
Saturday – Rain, High 52, Low 47

AW: Tomorrow -Considerable cloudiness with a shower High 58, Low 47
Saturday – Breezy with periods of rain High 53, Low 47

NWS: Tomorrow – A chance of light rain, mainly after 10am. Cloudy High 58, Low 48
Saturday – Rain, High 55, Low 48

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 58, Low 50
Saturday – Rain. Rain may be heavy at times in the afternoon, High 53, low 50

WN: Tomorrow – Cloudy with patchy light drizzle, High 57, low 48
Saturday – Cloudy with rain, High 55, Low 48

FIO: Tomorrow A chance of light rain, mainly after 10am. Cloudy High 61, Low 47
Saturday – Rain until evening.High 53, Low 48

Well, that’s gross. Here is the radar from this afternoon, showing that the weekend isn’t really much worse than it is today.

A smattering of showers and good forecasts

The forecast in Blacksburg was a tale of two seasons. First, there was the threat for frost on Monday morning, though it was not realized and temperatures only dipped to 38. Tuesday brought a slow moving warm front with rain falling through the day, though only a quarter inch fell in town. And the warm front had to wait to bring it’s raised temperatures, as the clouds brought cooler highs than they saw on Monday. The warmer Monday lows, an the dreary Tuesday were good news for a handful of outlets. Victoria-Weather was steady across the board, Accuweather slipped on the Tuesday high, while stumbled with Tuesday’s low. All three drew level atop the leaderboard for the day.
Actuals: Monday – High 62, Low 38
Tuesday – .25 inches of rain, High 56, Low 39

Grade: B-C

Fargo, North Dakota

Let’s keep up our good run of posting with a look to the Dakotas for a forecast.

At 953PM, CT, Fargo was reporting a temperature of 59 degrees with clear skies.  A weak disturbance at the northern periphery of a stronger low in the Front Range was producing light rain over south central North Dakota, but it will carry well south of Fargo, which will enjoy clear skies overnight, with a few passing high clouds.
The trough responsible for the rain and storms in the southern Plains will shift to the east, leaving an upper level pattern vacuum. This will be filled by surface high pressure in the Dakotas, which will be supplemented by a developing ridge that won’t move into the area until late on Thursday.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 66, Low 48
Thursday – Sunny, High 67, Low 41

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. High 66, Low 48
Thursday – A mainly sunny sky. High 58, Low 40

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sun High 68, Low 48
Thursday – Periods of clouds and sunshine High 67, Low 39

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 68, Low 49
Thursday – Sunny, High 69, Low 41

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny in the morning then clearing. High 67, Low 49
Thursday – Sunny, High 67, Low 40

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 68, Low 48
Thursday – Mostly sunny, High 70, Low 41

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy until afternoon. High 72, Low 50
Thursday – Clear throughout the day. High 70, Low 42

Here is a look at the satellite, showing some high clouds in North Dakota. Radar shows a lot more rain than is actually falling in North Dakota, which is why you get this and not the radar.  It’s misleading!

Bremerton, Washington

Our forecast this evening takes us west of Seattle across the Puget Sound to Bremerton.

At 856, PM, PT, Bremerton was reporting a temperature of 56 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. The bulk of Western Washington was experiencing a little bit of cloudiness simply because it say in a valley, and wind was flowing off the Sound. Aloft, high pressure was parked over the region.
There is an area of low pressure churning in the Gulf of Alaska west of Vancouver Island. The upper level support for the feature will be slow to pivot to the southeast, and as a result, the surface system will be left mostly stationary until late Wednesday. The threat for rain will increase on the Olympic Peninsula, but the high terrain of the Peninsula will slow rain until early Thursday morning.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy early and late, with some sun through the middle of the day. High 68 Low 40
Wednesday – Increasing clouds late, High 70, Low 42

TWC: Tomorrow – Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds High 68, Low 44
Wednesday – Mostly sunny skies High 72, Low 47

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 69, Low 42
Wednesday – Periods of clouds and sun High 72, Low 46

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 66, Low 47
Wednesday – Mostly sunny, High 70, Low 49

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 67, Low 45
Wednesday – Mostly sunny, High 70, Low 47

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 66, Low 46
Wednesday – Partly cloudy, High 70, Low 48

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy starting in the morning. High 71, Low 45
Wednesday -Partly cloudy until night. High 76, Low 51

That isn’t what you think of when you think of Washington. Here is a look at the satellite, which doesn’t have much going on, until you get off shore.

A desert freeze

Not all deserts are hot. That’s one thing that you learn early on in meteorology school. A desert is simply an area that doesn’t get a lot of precipitation. Antarctica is a desert. Northern Arizona is at a much higher elevation than the sweltering heat of Phoenix, but they too are in a desert. Flagstaff, for example, saw no rain on the 3rd and 4th of this month, and in fact, temperatures dipped below freezing on the morning of the 2nd (last Tuesday). Still a desert! Accuweather stepped up and had the top forecast for Flagstaff.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 72, Low 30
Wednesday – High 72, Low 35

Grade: B-D