All posts by Ryan

Sunny south Florida

Our forecast for Naples called for some typically active Floridian weather. Fortunately for them, all the thunderstorms that Florida saw the past two days went up inland, away from Naples and then continued to drift off towards Orlando and Lake Okeechobee. Florida thunderstorms are always tough to pinpoint, but it’s never a good idea to beat against them, regardless of what today’s verification suggests. The top forecast went to Weatherbug.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 79, Low 64
Wednesday – High 78, Low 69

Grade: A

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is located in southern Africa, landlocked west of Mozambique. As it happens, they are also north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and experience a tropical climate. The heat and humidity are tempered by their elevation, which is predominantly high plateau. Their rainy and dry season correlate with our winter and summer, respectively, as the ITCZ pivots north and south during the year. Every once in a while, the western parts of the country get a little bit cooler as a cold front associated with a low over the south Atlantic will actually break the heat in their winter.
Zimbabwe has a meteorological services division, however their site is flagged by the internet as being an attack site, so so much for that.

Naples, Florida to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Our trip will take a little under three days as we traverse the suddenly active Southeast. If anything, we’ll be headed the 1404 miles to a somewhat less humid area in Oklahoma City. Perhaps we’re just interested in shipping oranges to Oklahoma. Anyways, we’ll be able to cover 506 miles on the first two day at 63.3mph. So let’s box up those oranges!

DAY ONE

A weak band of showers is still moistening the Florida Peninsula, but it’s on it’s way out of town. We’ll likely see some red skies as we wake up, but only partly cloudy skies when we take off. We will be problem free all the way through Florida and then on to Georgia, where we will hop off the main road. Our day will end in Richland, Georgia, which I am sure is a beautiful town south of Columbus.

DAY TWO
The drive will be easy again on Thursday, but not quite as pleasant as the drive on Wednesday. There will be a chance for some showers and thunderstorms as we approach the Memphis area. Call it Holly Springs, Mississippi where we run into some wet weather, which will take us through the Memphis metro. We’ll likely be out of it, however, by the time we reach Forrest City, Arkansas. Let’s not push our luck though, and call it a day in Carlisle, which is east of Little Rock.

DAY THREE
If, and that’s only an if, we see a thunderstorm on Friday, it will likely be between Little Rock and Fort Smith, and there is a decent enough chance that we should be wary that the storms will be strong. It’s a well wooded stretch of road through Arkansas, so we probably won’t get too much warning when a squall line is coming, not as much as we would in the Plains, so be sure to stay tuned to local radio and not the iPod until we make our way to Sallisaw, where we should be out of the woods all the way to Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A late night forecast for OKC, and we are in the midst of tornado season. How fun!

At 1052PM, CT, Oklahoma City was reporting cloudy skies and a temperature of 55 degrees. A perturbed jet over the Gulf and northern Mexico as generated several somewhat weak disturbances that have swung from the high plains to the Gulf and into the Atlantic. Currently, the next wave is developing over the Oklahoma Panhandle and is generating thunderstorms over northern Texas.
The southerly jet is expected to shift off east, taking support from the thunderstorms over the southern Plains, however this will be motivated by a developing closed upper low over the Rockies. A stationary to warm front will develop through Kansas, indicative of the warm, moist air moving into the Oklahoma City area over the next two days. Showers will not be widespread, but they will be possible in the afternoon each day, with stronger thunderstorms becoming a concern late on Thursday.
Tomorrow – Partly to mostly cloudy, with passing showers and thunderstorm, High 71, Low 51
Thursday – Partly to mostly cloudy, with isolated severe storms before midnight, High 76, Low 59

TWC: Tomorrow – A few showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 71, Low 54
Thursday – Partly cloudy with a stray thunderstorm. High 76, Low 60

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm around High 74, low 53
Thursday – Mostly cloudy and breezy; an afternoon shower or thunderstorm High 78, Low 60

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy high 70, Low 52
Thursday – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 75, Low 59

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with chance of thunderstorms High 73, Low 53
Thursday – Mostly cloudy with chance of thunderstorms High 77, Low 59

A look at the satellite shows the looming nastiness over the Rockies.

What will the volcano in Iceland mean for us?

Back in the early 90s, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, ejecting 10 billion metric tons of magma and 20 million tons of sulfuric acid into the atmosphere. Not only was the system devastating to Luzon, the island where the eruption occurred, but it affected the entire planet for about a 12 month period. The hemispheric average temperature was down an entire degree Fahrenheit after the eruption, thanks to the concentration of ash in the atmosphere, reflecting the suns radiation. This is a dramatic drop in temperature. Consider, that’s the same temperature change that is being discussed in regards to global warming. Even then, the degree change is somewhat misleading, as the lowest temperature change would be over the Pacific, where there are fewer recording stations, and the change in temperature would not have a dramatic impact.
Now, in 2010, we are poised for a similar event. The Eyjafjallajokull (and that’s the last time I’m typing that) volcano in Iceland hasn’t put out as much ash, or sent it as high in the atmosphere as Pinatubo did, but the Icelandic volcano has a history of longer eruptions. That said, the global temperature drop will likely be imperceptible when taken on a large scale. That said, this stands to have a greater impact on more people than Pinatubo did. Remember, that Pinatubo’s most dense ash was over the Pacific. Iceland’s ash will end up over Europe, as it already is. Even as the ash clears up at flight levels and air travel picks up again, temperatures for the summer and perhaps even into the window are going to be down in Europe. Here in the United States, it is extremely unlikely we see any temperature changes, unless the volcano somehow becomes more explosive. Even then, we won’t see a substantial drop in temperature stateside as we did with Pinatubo, as the ash would have to wrap its way all the way around the globe.

It got a little chilly

It’s been unseasonably warm for the past few weeks for most of the eastern part of the country. That all changed about three days ago. For anyone who tells you that they think it just felt cool because of how warm it was, the Weather Channel has a map to tell you that you are mistaken. In the upper Ohio Valley, temperatures were 15 degrees below normal in 15, which put them in prime temperature range for some snow. Which there was in western PA, as well as northeast through New England. So, yes, we did get a little bit cooler, and it wasn’t just you.

Like day and night

The temperature in Jefferson City fell off a little bit form Wednesday to Thursday. After a balmy 84 degree day on Wednesday, a cold front and it’s associated clouds arrived on Thursday, preventing temperatures from even reaching 70. The Weather Channel and Weatherbug most accurately foresaw this dramatic turn for the worst (if you like hot weather), and ended up with the top forecasts.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 84, Low 54
Thursday – .05 inches of rain, High 68, Low 53

Grade: B

The Week Ahead: 4/18/10-4/24/10

We drew a rhombus with our road trips this week!

Monday – Naples, Florida
Tuesday – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Road Trip: Naples to Oklahoma City
Thursday – Johnson City, Tennessee; Road Trip: Ames, Iowa to Johnson City

This isn’t what I meant by meteorologist

The National Weather Service’s offices in the western Great Lakes have had to field calls lately about something else falling from the sky. Cameras everywhere captured this fireball over Wisconsin, northern Illinois and eastern Iowa the other night:

The initial reaction, I’m sure, was that this was lightning, surely a phenomenon for the Weather Service to investigate! Well, no. It was actually a meteor, falling from the heavens. Well, that’s a job for meteorologists, right?
Um, no. It’s a job for an astronomer. The “meteor” in meteorology relates to hydro meteors, aka rain drops. Even so, this was a pretty cool incident that many people in Wisconsin and surrounding areas caugh, many on tape. The consensus among people who know these things is that it was a meteoroid, perhaps part of an expected, the Gamma Virginids shower, though that appears unlikely because of the directionality.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to keep an eye on the weather, and not meteors, because I’m a meteorologist.

Jefferson City, Missouri to Gainesville, Georgia

We’re going to take a day and a half to sneak from Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri, to Gainesville, Georgia, the Chicken Capital of the World. The World! It’s a 683 mile drive, of which we will cover 483 miles on the first day. A lot of time spent off the main roads will mean a pokey 60mph pace. Well, let’s get pokin’ already!

DAY 1

Our first pokey day in the car will spend time in St. Louis and Nashville before terminating in Smyrna, Tennessee, which lies on the southeast side of Nashville. The drive should be all right, as a stationary front is wrapping from northern Illinois to Northern Missouri and southwest towards Oklahoma. South of this boundary, we’ll get to see some hot weather by afternoon, but we won’t have any other problems than that, especially if the rain stays along the front, north of our route, as it’s expected to.

DAY 2
All the moisture being trucked north from the Gulf is being brought north on the backside of a weak ridge in the southeast. That means all the showers and storms are going to develop over Texas and the southern Plains, and the front, as it sags south towards our route will dry up. Expect some clouds, though, and still warm weather as we arrive in Gainesville.