All posts by Ryan

Midland, Texas

It’s a very Texas day here, and tomorrow will be no different as we road trip to Killeen. Hopefully this forecast goes better than our jaunt to Laredo.

At 1153AM, CT, Midland was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 75 degrees. An area of high pressure over the center of the country had worked it’s way south into West Texas.
A weak spin in the lower levels of the atmosphere over the southern Gulf of Mexico will organize itself into a very rainy system south of the Mexican border. This developing system will organize flow so as to rob moisture of a trough in the northern Rockies that would otherwise be the perfect type of system to inject some stormy weather for the area. Instead, expect sunny, dry weather for Midland for the beginning of the week.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 93, Low 62
Monday – Sun continues High 95, Low 68

TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly sunny. Hot. High 96, Low 64
Monday – Sunshine High 97, Low 69

AW: Tomorrow – Bright and sunny High 93, Low 64
Monday – Bright and sunny High 93, Low 68

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 93, Low 57
Monday – Sunny, High 94, Low 67

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, Hgh 93, Low 60
Monday – Sunny, High 94, Low 66

I think those low temperatures are probably going to be the deciding factor in this one. I’m really surprised at the disparity. The satellite shows some dominant high pressure for the center of the country. Beautiful, but a little chilly.


I had mentioned the pressing area of cool high pressure and the threat for increasing clouds in Laredo, but I discounted the threat for rain. I was a fool! The rain did come, much to the chagrin of ourselves and Accuweather, but even more surprisingly, temperatures about 12 degrees cooler than expected came into town, thanks to those clouds on Friday. The Weather Service was the closest, though not great on this one.

The Week Ahead: 9/5/10-9/11/10

Football season is upon us, and we are moving into that cool fall weather. Forecasts will get a bit more challenging.

Sunday: Road Trip from Midland Texas to Killeen, Texas
Monday: Forecast for Provo, Utah
Wednesday: Forecast from Madera, California to Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Friday: Forecast in Montgomery, Alabama

Earl and Forecaster of the Month

We’re doing a quick combo post. Let’s get the important information out of the way first: Tropical Storm Earl has weakened significantly from his peak, but will continue to slide past southern New England and may still bring very strong winds to the Cape area and the islands of Massachusetts. In fact, Martha’s Vineyard is reporting 31kt winds at this time (about 35mph). A bullet was dodged, in how much Earl weekend, but we’re not entirely out of the woods yet. By Saturday evening, however, it looks like Earl will by sidling into Nova Scotia, leaving the rest of the world to breath a sigh of relief.
Well, now that we have that out of the way, and Earl is heading for Canada, I can tell you who gained the top spot for the month of August. IT was, as it has been all year, The Weather Channel, though it came down to the final forecast. They wouldn’t have won the top spot had they not dominated the Des Moines forecast, so thank you Des Moines.

Altoona, Pennsylvania

I feel like whenever I come to forecast for Altoona, I’m running way behind schedule (2AM is certainly behind). Today’ it’s a product of my schedule, and not laze like it usually is.

At 253AM, ET, Altoona was reporting a temperature of 64 degrees with clear skies. Ahead of a front moving into the Mid-Atlantic, western Pennsylvania was unusually clear of fog. Altoona finds itself in a precarious position early this Friday morning, as Hurricane Earl sits off the Outer Banks of North Carolina and a low over the Great Lakes is introducing a fall-like cold front into the region.
The front will steadily march eastward towards Altoona through the day today, arriving in the late afternoon or early evening. After that, the rainy conditions will continue for much of the overnight into Saturday. Earl will merge with this low and surface pressure will drop, increasing a northwesterly wind for Altoona, serving to help temperatures drop precipitously to begin the weekend.
Today – Rain in the afternoon and evening, High 87, Low 61
Tomorrow – Morning rain and much cooler temperatures High 66, Low 54

TWC: Today – A few isolated thunderstorms developing this afternoon under partly cloudy skies. High 84, Low 63
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies with gusty winds High 61, Low 51

AW: Today – Partly sunny and very warm High 88, Low 60
Tomorrow -Windy and cooler with intervals of clouds and sunshine High 66, Low 51

NWS: Today – A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Partly cloudy High 89, Low 64
Tomorrow – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 67, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, a chance of showers in the afternoons, High 82, Low 63
Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 64, Low 53

Accuweather, keeping Altoona dry. I will say… huh. Satellite shows that Accuweather might be mistaken.

Good for you, Optimists

Things looked bleak in Eugene. Most forecast a continued drear for the home of the University of Oregon, but it didn’t turn out so bad! There was no rain through the forecast period and temperatures climbed into the 70s each of the two days in question. Accuweather was the most optimistic of the monitored forecasters, and ended up with the top forecast.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 70, Low 50
Wednesday – High 76, Low 59

Grade: C

Rapid City, South Dakota to Laredo, Texas

We’re taking a road trip, well aware of the the hurricane out east. It’s probably a good idea that we’re making the trip through the high plains, then, from Rapid City to far southern Texas. It will be a 1388 mile journey that will take almost three days, thanks to a lot of time spent off the interstates. In fact, almost none of the drive will be on an interstate and all of it will be through corn or wheat fields. Our off freeway driving will mean we will drive at a rate of 62.6mph, and will cover a paltry 500.6 miles a day. It’s beautiful in it’s stark emptiness out there. You have to believe me.


Another deep trough in the Northern Plains is spinning up trouble tonight for the Dakotas and High Plains. We won’t entirely wait it out by the time we are ready to leave tomorrow morning, and there is a chance for some showers and isolated thunderstorms over southwestern South Dakota that will linger as we leave Rapid City. Expect some showers to remain with us as we slide into Nebraska and to remain an issue as far south as Chadron (though the chance will go way down before we even reach Nebraska). Expect some breezy conditions and seasonably cool temperatures as we make our way into eastern Colorado and beautiful Wiley, between Kit Carson and Lamar.

Our drive on Friday will actually take us through some real cities, like Amarillo and Lubbock as we make our way into western Texas. It will continue to be a dry, easy driving day as we drive the high plains. We’ll be on our way to Sterling City, which is between Big Spring and San Angelo, our destination for the night when we will see our first hint of clouds or rain.

The cloudy, intermittently dreary weather will probably continue for most of southern Texas. It’s a possibility that we will stay dry the whole drive, but we may see a little splash of rain, particularly around Del Rio and Eagle Pass. Just enough to force the windows closed in the hot stuffy weather. We’ll arrive in Laredo with cloudy skies and hot temperatures surrounding us like a blanket.

Laredo, Texas

Way down in southern Texas, right on the Rio Grande for today’s forecast. Did you know that Laredo is the largest city in America without a bookstore? Something to be proud of.

At 356PM, CT, Laredo was reporting a temperature of 102 with partly cloudy skies. Laredo was still in the summer time pattern, mostly avoiding any wet weather thanks to their inland nature and their southern position away from any advancing systems in the Plains. Generally speaking, Laredo only has to worry about tropical systems in he late summer, and whether or not they can push inland. Seeing as Earl, Fiona and Gaston are all presently taking a an East Coast track, Laredo appears to be safe from rain for the next couple of days.
Thunderstorms are ongoing along the Texas coast, from Brownsville to Beaumont, however the only impact on Laredo will likely be a brief respite in the searing heat should some high clouds blow west into the Rio Grande Valley, though that appears unlikely. A deep high pressure will push into the southern Plains and the southern edge will provide a trigger point through Texas that may actually bring some increased clouds to Laredo on Friday.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy and hot, High 103, Low 79
Friday – Increased clouds, still warm, High 100, Low 77

TWC: Tomorrow – Scattered clouds with the possibility of an isolated thunderstorm developing during the afternoon. Hot High 101, Low 78
Friday – Thunderstorms developing in the afternoon High 99, Low 77

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 102, Low 79
Friday – Very warm with sunshine and patchy clouds High 100, Low 78

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and hot High 102, Low 80
Friday – 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny and hot, High 100, Low 79

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 102, Low 80
Friday – Partly cloudy in the morning, becoming mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 101, Low 79

A look at the satellite shows Earl really well, as well as those storms along the Texas coast.

Nothing good ever comes out of New Mexico

I can’t remember the last time someone nailed a forecast in new Mexico. The best forecasts there (in Santa Fe) this go around were from Accuweather and the Weather Service who were off by 7 degrees at least once in their forecast. Temperatures were warmer than expected, and an isolated thunderstorm on Monday through Victoria Weather off the scent. Why must you be so difficult, New Mexico?
Actuals: Monday – .03 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 84, Low 59
Tuesday – High 87, Low 53

Grade: D

The Gambia

The Gambia is the smallest mainland country in Africa, and as such has a fairly simply defined climate. The nation follows the route of the Gambia River inland into Senegal, hence it’s name. It is north of the Equator but within the Tropics and is subject to the seasonal motion of the ITCZ. The capital, Banjul, can go without rain for the winter, spring and most of the fall, only to have it rain non stop during the summer. It’s a low lying nation as well, as it is in a river valley, and there is no relief from the tormenting heat, aside from the fact that humidity is not an issue during the winter months.
The Department of Water Resources “carries out meteorological functions”, however their staff, as described by the UK Met Office consists of only 1 meteorologist and 5 meteorological officers, two of whom are out of the country and one is on sick leave. There are also 42 meteorological technicians, whatever that entails. Needless to say, the Gambians do not have a website.