All posts by Ryan

A sad Father’s Day for northwestern Minnesota

Statistics are still being parsed, but it appears a tornado outbreak on that day was the most prolific in the history of the state. The towns of Wadena, Mentor, Algora and Kiester will never be the same. Several other towns were struck, though Wadena, a regionally important city of about 4500 was devastated, and there were deaths in Mentor, Algora and near Kiester.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune had an excellent piece on this Father’s Day about Wes Michaels, the man who lost his life in Mentor, which is in the northwestern corner of Minnesota, who died protecting his daughter at the gas station he owned.
The article is poignant and sad, however his death underscored a danger highlighted by these storms. Weather services across three states, the Dakotas and Minnesota, did an excellent job giving people proper warning. The city of Wadena, for example, had 36 minutes between the time the sirens went off and the tornado sweeping into town. Michaels was watching The Weather Channel (reportedly a favorite of his) and actually had time to drive to the gas station to ensure the safety of his daughter and customers, ushering them into the freezer.
This is the problem that was exposed by the storms. The three deaths that occurred were because of unsafe places of refuge. The other two were killed when their mobile homes were tossed. The safest place to endure such weather is always below ground. Wes Michaels couldn’t get there, but found the next safest place, and there were 4 other people in that freezer that are alive to thank him for that.
Hopefully we won’t have to hear any more tragedies like this on this Father’s Day, however there is a dangerous situation setting up again today, this time through South Dakota and Nebraska, with most of the states under the gun. Here’s hoping YOU have a happy Father’s Day, no matter what the weather may be.

As hot as expected

El Paso lies west of the dry line, as Anthony mentioned on Thursday. They get nothing but scalding heat, a good toasty dry heat almost every day through the summer. The past two days were no different, with the highs dancing about 100, and the lows not cooling off enough for a northerner to sleep, that’s for sure. Victoria Weather and the Weather Channel tied atop the leaderboard.
Actuals: Friday, High 103, Low 68
Saturday, High 102, Low 76

Grade: B

The Week Ahead 6/20/10 – 6/26/10

This is a strange looking map. We’re staying off the coasts, unless you count Lake Erie, and we’re heading to places like Idaho and New Mexico. Odd.

Monday – Elmira, New York
Wednesday – Road Trip from Toledo, Ohio to Rochester, Minnesota.
Thursday – Lewiston, Idaho
Friday – Las Cruces, New Mexico
Saturday – Cleveland, Ohio

El Paso, Texas to Lawton, Oklahoma

Just a one day journey today, headed to Lawton, perhaps the only site that you can get to in one day from El Paso. It’s a 655mile drive that will actually take us about 9 1/2 hours. IF you do the math, that’s a 68.5mph average, telling you all you need to know about the terrain we will be covering.

The drive will be extremely warm, with temperatures in the neighborhood of 100 degrees in El Paso and not much cooler through west Texas. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 90s all the way through the drive. The dry line will set itself up along the Texas/New Mexico border, but its associated storms won’t go up until around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and by that time we’ll be between Abilene and Wichita Falls, well away from any inclement weather. Hot and dry will be the name of this long, steamy drive.

The Marine Layer

The cold water off the Pacific Coast often leads to some early morning low clouds and fog. If conditions are just right, that drear can last well into the day. On particularly aggressive days, it can find it’s way across San Francisco Bay into Oakland. It did not during our forecast period, and the range of temperatures was wider for the duration of the period. Highs were warmer, lows were cooler and most of us were thrown. Accuweather correctly predicted the sunny weather and had a good forecast.
Actuals: Wednesday, High 75, Low 49
Thursday -High 73, Low 51

Grade: A

Cote d’Ivoire

Cote d’Ivoire is also known as the Ivory Coast in English, and lies in West Africa north of the Gulf of Guinea. As with many countries in that part of the world, Cote d’Ivoire is a hot and humid nation, owing more to its position near the equator than to it’s position along the Atlantic. The southern part of the country is rainier, as it finds itself in the ITCZ for a greater part of the year. The rainy season is in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months.
Cote d’Ivoire, a home of recent unrest, doesn’t have a website for their Direction de la Météorologie Nationale, the governing body for weather in that fin African nation. This may, of course, be the last time we feature a country whose national soccer team played in the World Cup on the same day, so savor this moment.

Oakland, California

Heading to the Bay Area for today’s forecast that should, hopefully, be rather easy.

At 353PM, PT, Oakland was seeing clear skies and a temperature of 62 degrees. The static, laminar pattern that has been seen for the past several is finally breaking down, and a sharp jet trough is diffing into the Pacific Northwest. A cold front is dangling through Great Basin and is generating a few clouds north of Santa Rosa.
The boundary will sweep out of the state early tonight, and the westerly flow is likely to continue in Oakland. This may mean some fog and low clouds in San Francisco, but Oakland will see predominantly sunny and warm conditions.
Tomorrow – Early morning fog, then sunny, High 71, Low 50
Thursday – Sunny, High 71, Low 52

TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly sunny. High 76, Low 53
Thursday – More sun than clouds. High 75, Low 53

AW: Tomorrow – Bright sunshine High 73, Low 49
Thursday – Mostly sunny, breezy and pleasant High 70, Low 51

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 69, Low 52
Thursday – Mostly cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing High 70, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Clear in the morning then sunny High 74, Low 52
Thursday – Patchy low clouds in the morning then sunny High 74, Low 54

A look at the satellite clearly helps us find that front, but it’s pretty quiet otherwise for NorCal.

The NWS’ far reaching, surprising scope

Since it’s Sunday, and I have pretty much discussed the two longstanding patterns across the United States, the continued pattern of showers and thunderstorms across the northern tier, and that mid level low that has dropped so much rain from San Antonio to the Ozarks (something that has been far more tragic than I’ve mentioned to date. Massive flooding events are so tragic, but nobody pays attention to them because they aren’t as dramatic as, say a tornado, for example). Since I have covered the weather, like I said, I thought I would direct you to this quiz on Sporcle: can you name the National Weather Service’s event warnings?
The Weather Service issues warnings that aren’t just for weather, since they have the best access to the government’s warning system. There were a lot of complaints in the comments because many didn’t understand that it was only for “warnings” and not advisories (such as dense fog).
If you want a more complete look at all the warnings that you could receive from the NWS, check out their FAQ page. Let’s just say I’m happy that I’ve never been under a Nuclear Power Plant Warning.

The stagnant pattern bears results

Lately, we have had a fairly constant pattern, with a west to east jet drifting across the northern part of country, with the occasional undulation rippling along it, generating weak areas of low pressure that have trekked east. For the most part, they have kicked up some streaks of showers and thunderstorms along weak cold fronts, and most of all have produced steady rainfall for the northern tier of states.
The map above is the comparison to average rainfall for the month to date. As you can see, most all regions for the northern states are at or above average for rain so far. South of the line, they haven’t seen their standard rain, because there hasn’t been the systems with enough energy to sweep boundaries that far south. Nebraska has been especially wet with large thunderstorms as the surface lows have tried to organize right on top of them. This map is a pretty good indicator of the unchanging pattern.
Additionally, check out that nice dark blue streak through east Texas into Arkansas. That is the infamous blob that brought about a foot of rain to some spots. Too bad that rain couldn’t be distributed to other parts of the country.

The Week Ahead 6/13/10-6/19/10

We’re looking at a very west heavy week. The furthest east we go is Little Rock on a road trip. Not often something like this happens.

Monday – Road trip from Pocatello, Idaho to Little Rock, Arkansas
Tuesday – Oakland, California
Thursday – El Paso, Texas
Friday – Road Trip, El Paso, Texas to Lawton, Oklahoma
Saturday – Visalia, California