All posts by Ryan

Weather Wayback… Iowa is fun for everyone

Anthony’s third in a trio of forecasts back at the beginning of February and end of January was for Iowa City. The weather was typical for early February, if a little bit warmer than normal, as temperatures were close to 30 by Thursday, February 3rd. This was due to sunny skies during the day, which also meant chilly temperatures under clear skies overnight. There was a three way draw atop the leaderboard, as Victoria-Weather had a nearly flawless forecast on February 2nd, while Accuweather and the National Weather Service caught up on the third. It was close all the way around, with the top three only 4 degrees better than the last place outlets.
Actuals: Wednesday, February 2nd – High 24, Low 14
Thursday, February 3rd – High 30, Low 13

Grade: B

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Let’s take a look at the Florida Panhandle tonight. Most of the country will be experiencing warmer weather this week, but if you were in Fort Walton Beach, you would have that kind of weather all the time.

At 958PM, CT, Fort Walton Beach was reporting a temperature of 69 degrees with clear skies. Dew points were very near the temperature, and in the areas around Choctawhatchee Bay, that usually means overnight fog, and that seems like a good bet tonight along the Gulf Coast.
A broad area of high pressure is expected to emerge across the eastern third of the US through the end of the week. In the short term, the synoptic scale activity will remain in eastern Canada, with the Florida Panhandle remaining under the influence of a languid pool of Gulf moisture and lazy afternoon sunshine.
Tomorrow – Morning fog, then sunny, High 78,Low 62
Thursday – Mostly sunny, with a bit of early haze, High 79, Low 61

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy High 80, Low 62
Thursday – Mainly sunny. High 80, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – Partial sunshine HIgh 78, Low 63
Thursday – Partly sunny and nice High 79, Low 63

NWS: Tomorrow – Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, partly sunny,High 76, Low 62
Thursday – Sunny, High 78, Low 62

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny. Patchy fog in the morning, High 76, Low 62
Thursday – Sunny, High 77, Low 63

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

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy until evening. High 79, Low 64
Thursday – Partly cloudy in the morning. High 83, Low 62

Here is a look at the satellite imagery for the southeast. There is a bit of moisture tied to a wave moving through the eastern Great Lakes moving through Alabama, but nothing threatening Fort Walton Beach.

Weather Wayback… back when there was still winter

At the beginning of February, Anthony took a look at Kalamazoo as a weak area of low pressure was moving from Michigan towards the eastern Great Lakes. Behind the feature, westerly winds meant persistent flurry activity in our forecast city. The thing is, the fetch was under high pressure, so the ceilings weren’t terribly thick, so temperatures were able to vary. Accuweather, who scored points for the best temperature forecasts tied with the National Weather Service, who accurately forecast snow on both the first and second of February, but in general, this wasn’t a top forecast for anyone.
Actuals: Wednesday, February 1st – .06 inches of precip, falling as snow, High 37, Low 25
Thursday, February 2nd – Trace of snow, High 25, Low 11

Grade: C-D

Iowa City, Iowa to Phoenix, Arizona

Two road trips in one day today. This one will see us take a southwesterly voyage, where as the other, later tonight, well, that will be southwesterly as well. Our drive will cover 1514 miles and will last for nearly 3 complete days. At this pace, our average speed will be 64.6mph. The third day will be slightly shorter, but in general, we will cover about 516.5 miles per full day of travel. It’s snowing in Minnesota today, so a trip down to Phoenix from nearby Iowa City certainly doesn’t sound so bad right now.

DAY ONE (Tuesday)

A cold front is moving through the Mississippi Valley as we speak tonight. Flow aloft in support of the trough and behind it is fairly weak, and broadly ridging behind the initial front. What does this mean to the average traveler? It means sunny skies and light winds. We’ll make it through the most well populated part of our drive, and end up in Goddard, Kansas, just west of Wchita.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
Westerly flow and the mid-April time of year means we are in prime time for lee troughing and dry lines. Weak low pressure will indeed develop in eastern Colorado, with a dry line dangled south along the Texas/New Mexico border. We may see some storms touched off from Guymon, Oklahoma to Tucamcari, New Mexico, meaning that the Texas Panhandle will be a ripe environment for a few showers and thunderstorms. On either side of this area of thundertorms, we will be in pretty good shape. We won’t see a soul for miles at a time, but the weather will be most agreeable. The day will end in Clines Corners, New Mexico, which we will reach about an hour ahead of Alburquerque.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
Hot high pressure is sliding into the intermountain west, and will be in place by Thursday. It’s not a huge stretch that Arizona and New Mexico are dry and warm, but the set up is more reassurance that we are out of the woods in terms of thunderstorms. Phoenix will be warm and dry upon our arrival, which is pretty much what one looks forward to when they go to Phoenix.

Weather Wayback… Another time,, the same Longview

I have issued a forecast for Longview, Texas in the time since Anthony issued his own forecast on January 30th. Back at the end of January, it had become clear that Texas had already lost its taste for winter. Temperatures were in the mid to upper 70s for highs in the afternoon, and never got any cooler than the upper 40s. That’s unusual for the transition from January to February for almost everyone, so Longview needed the unwavering analytical mind of the Forecast.io robot to steer them right. Forecast.io did indeed have the best forecast, as their highs were a handful of degrees warmer than the human forecasters.
Actuals: Tuesday, January 31st – High 77, Low 48
Wednesday, February 1st – High 76, Low 56

Grade: B-C

April brings a break

Jacksonville, North Carolina had a healthy round of severe weather to contend with as March wound to a close. When April rolled around over the weekend, it was as if the climate had changed with the calendar. Temperatures were pleasant and skies were clear as surface high pressure built behind the late March storm. The bad news is, storms will be on their way back as this weekend ends. There was a three way tie at the top of the leaderboard, with Victoria-Weather, Accuweather and the Weather Service drawing level.
Actuals: Saturday – High 75, Low 53
Sunday – High 69, Low 52

Grade: A-C

Burlington, Vermont to Baton Rouge, Louisiana

This is an interesting trip, which will last us three days, but won’t cross the Mississippi at any point. We’re expecting some strong storms in the southern US tomorrow, in particular, so hopefully we won’t be arriving in a region ravaged by storms. Like I said, the trip will last 3 days, covering 1632 miles, which means each day will consist of 544 miles, driven at a pace of 68mph. I think this is an interesting route, let’s see if the weather matches it,


DAY ONE (Sunday)

The most scenic day of our drive will also be the one with the best weather. The route through the interior of New England, and then on through the Appalachians will be without weather troubles. The timing – the weekend – will mean we should have few traffic issues either. We will see parts of 6 states (!) before we call it a night in Clear Brook, Virginia.

DAY TWO (Monday)
The system I promised to bring us weather at some point along his trip will be there on Monday. A strong cold front will be rolling through eastern Tennessee as we arrive in the area. It’s unlikely that the strong thunderstorms will impact us too severely until we reach the Sweetwater, Tennessee area. Strong thunderstorms may linger through Chattanooga, though the fact is, the damage will likely already be done. The strongest storms will steer clear of the mountain range we will be skirting. We’ll stop in Wildwood, Georgia, just across the border from Chattanooga.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
Day three will remind us more of Sunday than Monday. The system that brings us inclement weather on Monday in Tennessee will move very quickly out of the picture, and we will cover Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana without much concern. Baton Rouge should be sunny and pleasant for our arrival.

Thunderstorms to take a swing at Houston tomorrow

After a bit of a break in the severe weather today (there will still be a few storms in west Texas today) tomorrow looks to be quite active from east Texas into far western Louisiana.

An upper level trough will swing through the southern Plains tomorrow, and the local access to the Gulf of Mexico and the abundant available energy, including a great amount of helicity, will lead to a threat of widespread severe weather. As you can see from the map above, the SPC has a hatched area, including Houston, College Station and surrounding areas. That means they suspect a threat for significant severe weather.

What does that mean? Significant severe weather can mean strong tornadoes, of EF2 or greater, or hail stones larger than an inch in diameter. I suspect both of those criteria will be met tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Be sure to pay attention to the weather. It’s a Sunday, so you really don’t have a good excuse not to be fully plugged in.