All posts by Ryan

Malawi

Time for another trip aroun the world, one we haven’t taken for a while. This trip takes us to Malawi, which is found in southern Africa, riding the northwestern border with Mozambique. On the eastern border of the country is Lake Malawi, an enormous body of water that lies in the southern reaches of Africa’s Rift Valley. Malawi lies in the tropics and generally contends with rainy and dry season that other tropical nations do. This means they have their wettest weather from November to April (they are in the southern Hemisphere, but barely) and dry off in the other months. Being a tropical nation, Malawi can be very warm, but the fact that it is on a giant lake means humidity can deter actual temperatures from rising to levels they otherwise would, and the Great Rift Valley is, well, a valley. This means it is surrounded by highlands, which also allay some of the temperatures. In fact, some of the highlands in the north of the country can see winter lows dipping into the 40s.
Malawi has good relations with the Western World, and it’s good standing has perhaps helped Malawi Meteorological Services develop and maintain themselves. Their site is clean and efficient with weather forecasts on the primary page, both a discussion and a graphical forecast by region. Not only do they provide current weather forecasts, but they have brief articles on various topics that might be of interest to a readerm and they express them in layman’s terms, something I myself certainly have trouble with. There is also information on how to become a meteorologist, which is a very thorough on the path to becoming a meteorologist. While the MMS may not have as much current weather data on their site (it is a small country, after all) they are more informative on the field of meteorology than almost all of their peers.

Bellingham, Washington

This is about as far to the northwest as one can go and remain in the continental US. Bellingham is closer to Vancouver than Seattle.

AT 653AM, PT, Bellingham was reporting cloudy skies with a temperature of 50 degrees. Temperatures were buoyed overnight by the deck of clouds spanning the Puget Sound area, preventing any of the surface warmth from escaping. Drizzle was being reported across the area, particularly across the Sound on the Olympic Peninsula, and in the Cascades near Mount Baker.
A mess of low pressure over the northern Rockies has generated widespread mountain snow and valley rain for the northwestern quarter of the US. The jet is strong and undulating through the Gulf of Alaska. The jet will track over the Bellingham area even as the low over Montana shifts east, meaning moisture will continue to stream off the Pacific and into the area. By tomorrow evening, another strong system riding the jet will send it’s cold front slamming into western Washington. Heavy rain, gusty winds and fog will continue into Thursday as the low follows a similar track towards northern Montana. The strongest winds will come with the low itself, when it arrives on Thursday evening.
Tomorrow – Heavy rain and wind, High 47, Low 41
Thursday – Rain, with wind picking up, High 44, Low 38

TWC: Tomorrow – Windy with rain likely High 46, Low 42
Thursday – Rain, High 45, Low 37

AW: Tomorrow – Breezy with rain High 47, Low 39
Thursday – Rain (snow late) High 43, Low 34

NWS: Tomorrow – Rain. High 47, Low 40
Thursday – Rain High 44, Low 37

WB: Tomorrow – Windy, rain. High 47, Low 42
Thursday – Rain Likely, High 44, Low 37

Looks like a particularly nasty couple of days for northwestern Washington. The NWS’s lows were non standard, and oh yeah, here is the radar.

October Forecaster of the Month

Yes, I know we are halfway through the month of November, but I still haven’t mentioned who won the October Forecaster of the Month award. It was a contentious race, right down to the end. The last forecast tipped the balance in the favor of The Weather Channel, who narrowly edged us for the top spot in October.

Hope the gas bill is paid

Forecasts of lows in the mid-20s were chilly enough, but on Saturday in Bismarck, clear overnight skies led to radiative cooling that was more effective than anticipated. The low on Saturday morning was 17 degrees, something almost nobody saw coming.A trace of some sort of precipitation came late Sunday, I assume it was snow because it has been snowing in Bismarck all day today. Victoria-Weather had the top forecast, thought it wasn’t terribly well executed, especially since the we were off by 11 degrees in total on the Day 1 of the forecast. Oh well, we’ll take it and do better next time.
Actuals: Saturday – High 34, Low 17
Sunday – Trace of precip, High 45, Low 24

Grade C

Lansing, Michigan to Sioux Falls, South Dakota

After I took my nice, relaxing road trip out to the west coast, here is a nice, relaxing road trip through the upper Midwest. It will take a day and a half to cover 819 miles. We’ll keep a pace of 64.2mph, thanks in large part to our time spent on I-80. Our pace will allow us to notch 514 miles on Monday, leaving a short little drive on Tuesday.

DAY ONE

Much of the upper Midwest made news this weekend for the big time snow totals, which came earlier in the season than is typically expected. Well, I am happy to inform you that this isn’t the expectation for this little adventure. As soon as we get to I-80 in the Chicagoland area, we should start to see some sunny skies as we pass through Illinois. Sunset comes early, so the sun will be in our eyes until the Quad Cities, then it will simply be beyond the horizon from then on. By the end of the day, a few clouds could start filtering back in. It shouldn’t be a terrible drive.

DAY TWO
A little pulse of moisture will pass along the Iowa/Minnesota border as we sleep, and some of those clouds will remain in place as we drive towards Omaha, then north into Sioux Falls. Still, there shouldn’t be anything by way of disruptive weather, though don’t count out the chance for a decorative snowflake or two as we approach our destination.

Last gasp of high pressure

In a couple days, Asheville will turn into a rainy, sopping mess. For the past couple of days, however, they have been a delightful, autumnal wonderland. Temperatures even peaked at 80 on Friday. Hard to argue with weather like that. V-W and Accuweather tied atop the leaderboard.
Actuals: Friday – High 70, Low 33
Saturday – High 68, Low 30

Grade: A

The Week Ahead 11/14/10-11/20/10

So we’re into the middle of November, and we will be criss-crossing the country with a boatload of road trips.

Sunday – Road Trip from Lansing, Michigan to Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Tuesday – Bellingham, Washington
Wednesday – Road Trip from Bellingham to Lafayette, Indiana
Thursday – Road Trip from Lafayette to Reading, Pennsylavania
Saturday – Charleston, South Carolina; Road Trip from Rome, Georgia to Charleston

Bismarck, North Dakota

I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be our first truly wintry forecast of the season. How does THAT make you feel?

At 1052AM, CT, Bismarck was reporting sunny skies and a temperature of 39 degrees. They found themselves in the wake of a cold front that is getting new life from a developing low over Oklahoma. Along the cold front, which is gradually turning into a warm front, or even an inverted trough, a large shield of clouds looked to back its way into North Dakota.
The deep but fairly weak upper trough will instigate a northward motion from the low developing in Oklahoma. The system isn’t strong enough to advect it’s cold air, so it will have to use the temperatures in place already, which will likely mean a mix of rain and snow over Minnesota. Were this February, this would likely mean a dusting for Bismarck as well, but it will likely just mean an increase in clouds until late on Sunday, when a strong system over western Canada may begin to introduce some flurries to southern North Dakota.
Tomorrow – Increasing clouds, High 37, Low 25
Sunday -Mostly cloudy, with a flurry before midnight, High 41, Low 22

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. High 43, Low 25
Sunday – Mix of sun and clouds. High 45, Low 23

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 42, Low 20
Sunday – Partly sunny (late flurries) High 44, Low 18

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny high 41, Low 23
Sunday – Partly sunny High 39, Low 23

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 41, Low 21
Sunday – Partly sunny, High 40, Low 22

Temperatures are all over the place, and it will probably be dependent on what happens with the clouds. They are pretty evident on the satellite.

Asheville, North Carolina

Time for our first post vacation early in the day forecast. I don’t think that’s a big deal to anyone, not even me.

At 154PM, ET, Asheville was reporting a temperature of 62 degrees with clear skies. High pressure dominated the east coast, allowing unseasonably warm temperatures to filter into the Southeast and even into the Carolina mountains.
An upper vortex was still dominating the central Plains and was too long waved to really advance on it’s own. A reinforcing jet over the Pacific Northwest will inch into the Rockies and begin to develop the next surface low over the mid-Mississippi Valley by Saturday. It appears, however, that the low will not be able to begin it’s eastward march by the end of the forecast period, and Asheville will enjoy another pair of nice, warm days.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 68, Low 32
Saturday – Partly cloudy, High 68, Low 32

TWC: Tomorrow – A mainly sunny sky. High 66, Low 39
Saturday – Mainly sunny. High 67, Low 35

AW: Tomorrow – Sunny and pleasant High 68 Low 33
Saturday – Nice with plenty of sunshine High 69, Low 32

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 69, Low 33
Saturday – Sunny High 69, Low 34

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 69, Low 33
Saturday – Sunny, High 69, Low 34

A look at the satellite shows that all the clouds are off shore.