All posts by Ryan

The Week Ahead 12/12/10-12/18/10

We’re taking two trips to Ohio this week, including visiting an old friend, Columbus, Ohio.

Sunday – Road Trip from Williamsport, Pennsylvania to Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Wednesday – Columbus, Ohio
Thursday – Shreveport, Louisiana
Friday – Sandusky, Ohio
Saturday – Road Trip from Sandusky to Rome, Georgia

Cleveland, Tennessee

We have been to Cleveland, Tennessee before, and we know that they are really close to Chattanooga and don’t have their own reporting station. Oh well.

At 1253PM, ET, the Chattanooga Valley was seeing temperatures in the mid-40s with partly cloudy skies. The area was in the last reaches of an area of Arctic high pressure, and with a strong developing system in the central Plains, Cleveland looked to be preparing for a spike in temperatures tomorrow. A cold front will develop with this system, so warm air will not be long lived.
The warm air generated by the system will be tapped into by the cold front plowing into the Cleveland area. Late Saturday into Sunday morning, heavy rain and some embedded thunderstorms will plow through Cleveland, dropping up to an inch of rain on the city, leading to the threat for flash flooding. At the onset of the stormy weather, don’t be surprised to see some strong straight line winds. During the day Sunday, temperatures may drop enough that there will be a chance for some flurries on Sunday afternoon.
Tomorrow – Sunny and warmer, with rain and some thunder late, High 56, Low 29
Sunday – Rain in the early AM, turning to snow in the afternoon, High 34, Low 24

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy skies early. A few showers developing later in the day High 53, Low 29
Sunday – Snow showers possible.(rain early), High 41, low 30

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with afternoon showers High 53, Low 28
Sunday – Windy and colder with periods of snow, 1-3″; watch for a rapid freeze up in the afternoon High 43, Low 21

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after 4pm. Mostly cloudy High 54, Low 26
Sunday – A 50 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy (snow late) High 40, Low 25

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. A slight chance of rain showers early in the afternoon. A chance of rain showers late in the afternoon. High 54, Low 27
Sunday – Mostly cloudy. Rain showers likely in the morning… Then rain showers likely and a chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Brisk…colder. High 41, Low 35

Problems abound with this forecast. You have the issues with Sunday definitely being a non standard day and TWC/WB not having hourly temps that far out yet, and don’t worry, the NWS has a 90% chance of rain overnight Saturday into Sunday. Satellite is eerily quiet, given what’s coming.

Afternoon clouds put a damper on temperatures

Our forecast of Pensacola was mostly correct except for one forecast high, the one on Wednesday. A developing low over the Gulf of Mexico was not anticipated to bring any rainfall to the Florida Panhandle, and it didn’t. Unfortunately, it did swing a thick deck of clouds northward through the daylight hours, which meant high temperature forecasts ended up off by almost 10 degrees. The top forecast went to the Weather Service.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 43, Low 32
Thursday – High 53, Low 37

Grade: C

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

A massive system is setting up for the eastern third of the county, but will it sneak far enough south to bring Myrtle Beach problems? Let’s find out!

At 1215AM, ET, Myrtle Beach was reporting clear skies with an unusually cold temperature of 28 degrees. Arctic high pressure was in charge across the eastern United States, especially in the southeast, which was away from the influence of a clipper jetting through the Great Lakes.
An area of near surface low pressure will develop off the Carolina coast by tomorrow afternoon. Tapping into the Gulfstream, it will bring a few showers and ceilings from Wilmington south to Charleston, leaving Myrtle Veach to feel the impact of the shower activity. A strong and what will be inevitably crippling system for the Great Lakes will swing a cold front south towards the Southeast, and will draw in even more moisture inland, though the cold front will not arrive along the coast until after the forecast period.
Tomorrow – Chance of rain late, High 52, Low 26
Saturday – Scattered showers, High 55, Low 41

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy High 55, Low 28
Saturday – Morning showers. High 57, Low 39

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny and pleasant High 56, Low 25
Saturday – Rather cloudy with a passing shower High 60, Low 37

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny High 54, Low 26
Saturday – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 59, Low 37

WB Tomorrow – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 54, Low 35
Saturday – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 59, Low 39

That is not a typo for Weatherbug. Looks like they are having some issues tonight. Satellite is fairly quiet.

Pensacola, Florida to Syracuse, New York

Are you ready for a nice little surprise road trip? It’s going to be a chilly drive, even from Florida where it is unusually cool right now. The distance will be 1293 miles and will take us 2 and a half days. We will be fairly methodical in this drive, and will average only 62.3mph, which will mean that we can cover only about 499 miles a day. Let’s head out now, ahead of a storm that is going to explode over the center of the country this weekend.

High pressure and remarkably cool air will be the name of the game on Thursday as we begin our jaunt northward. Temperatures will be below freezing for most locations along our route overnight tonight, but sunny skies will warm things back up into the 30s and 40s. There won’t be any precipitation, and as I said, it should be sunny, so the drive will actually be quite comfortable, despite below average temperatures.

The drive through the mountains of Appalachia will be pleasant, especially given the season, which can often be a bear. The snow will not be falling, and the sun will shine, so we should have no problems. Clouds will begin to filter into Pennsylvania by evening, but we should stop driving near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania long before any snow starts.

Any flurry activity that they do see in Shippensburg will come overnight Friday. The clipper system that will be the culprit for snow in New York. It is going to move very quickly, though, and snow will already have ceased as we drive through New York. An ominous, explosively developing system over the Mississippi Valley will lurk west of our route allowing us to get to Syracuse unscathed.

Syracuse, New York

As you can see, this is not an Off the Grid. Unfortunately the series is no more. Instead, we will continue with a forecast for Syracuse today and a road trip from Pensacola to Syracuse. So let’s forecast.

At 1154AM, ET, Syracuse was reporting snow, fog and a temperature of 21 degrees. Streams of snow were banding off of Lake Ontario through Syracuse and south towards Ithaca and Binghamton. This is all associated with a broad area of low pressure over the Maritimes of Canada which is directing northwesterly flow over the still comparably warm Great Lakes.
This snowy flow is expected to continue through most of the day tomorrow when some ridging will be able to work it to a southerly flow or perhaps no overriding flow at all, which will cut off the flurry activity on Friday. Southerly flow will surely pick up eventually over Syracuse, as a fairly strong clipper will develop over the Great Lakes and begin drifting east. Some snow will likely pick up again late in the day for Syracuse, though it will by based on the synoptics of the system, rather than the lakes, which should allay snow fall totals early in the weekend.
Tomorrow – Snow continues, High 24, Low 14
Friday – Clearing early, with snow returning in the evening, High 30, Low 10

TWC: Tomorrow – Intermittent snow showers, especially early. Cold. High 22, Low 16
Friday – Chance of a few snow showers. High 32, Low 8

AW: Tomorrow – A couple of morning snow showers; otherwise, cold with clouds giving way to some sun High 22, Low 11
Friday – Cloudy with some snow with little or no accumulation High 33, Low 9

NWS: Tomorrow – Snow showers, mainly before 8am. High 23, Low 18
Friday – A chance of snow after 10am. Cloudy, High 30, Low 13

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with snow showers in the morning…then partly sunny with scattered snow showers in the afternoon. Additional snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. High 23, Low 19
Friday – Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of snow High 32, Low 14

The models are in disagreement on the temperatures, but almost everybody had the same thinking on the highs, trending towards warmer guidance. Here is a look at the radar and the flurries across the area.


The Ukraine is one of the larger entities that broke away from the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago, and is found on the northern shore of the Black Sea in eastern Europe. Since it is further east, away from the Atlantic, the interior of the Ukraine can see a wide range of temperatures, from quite warm in the summer to much cooler in the winter. The southern coast and the Crimean peninsula are moderated by that very same Black Sea. Still, the Baltic is a greater source for moisture than the Black sea, and the northern part of the country sees more precipitation annually than the southern half, especially in the winter when systems rarely climb out of the Mediterranean. In the winter, moisture filters better into the southern half of the country, but it manifests itself more typically as a very dense fog that covers much of the Crimean peninsula and interior parts of the country.
The Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center is the governing body for weather in the Ukraine. I graciously linked you to the English version of the site, which is full of surprises. They have an archive for various sites across the country in the “weather in the past” section that you can find data all the way back to 2002. Also, if you look at the top of their site, it states that they are from “the Chernobyl Catastrophy [sic]”, which is an interesting statement that I am trying to find the meaning too. The satellite, too, is perhaps the best in eastern Europe, but doesn’t appear to work well on the English version of the site. I am struggling to find a good background on the service, however, but I do know they put out a great product.

Pensacola, Florida

Ah the sunny Florida coast. The perfect thing to take my mind off the fact that it’s 10 degrees here in Minneapolis.

At 953AM, ET, Pensacola was reporting an unusually chilly 39 degrees with clear skies. Freezing temperatures lurked just inland overnight, and there were frost and freeze watches and warnings across the state of Florida in response to the cold weather. There was an area of high pressure that was allowing cold air to shuttle in from the Midwest, but a jet undercutting the mean ridge will spell some changes for the region over the next couple of days.
The developing low that will be associated with this trough will bring rain primarily to the Texas Coast and especially across the Gulf of Mexico. This will mean a change in wind flow around Pensacola and an end to the cold snap. Of course, cold high pressure will still dominate the rest of the country, and when the system shifts into the Florida Peninsula, northerly flow will return and colder, drier air will find it’s way back into Pensacola late in the week.
Tomorrow – Sunny and cool, High 52, Low 31
Thursday – Partly cloudy, High 55, Low 26

TWC: Tomorrow – A few showers early with mostly cloudy conditions later in the day. High 52, Low 31
Thursday – Sunny High 58, Low 28

AW: Tomorrow – Remaining cool with times of clouds and sun High 51, low 30
Thursday – Bright and sunny High 55, Low 28

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 51, Low 34
Thursday – Sunny High 55, Low 27

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 51, Low 31
Thursday – Sunny, High 57, Low 29

Good clustering from all of our forecasters. That’s what you like to see, as it gives one higher confidence.

Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland

We’re looking at a short little trip through Appalachia today. It’s going to take us only an hour and a half to make this journey, covering 71 miles. If you were curious, that’s only 49mph. Lots of side roads and mountains. Off we go.

An area of low pressure over the Maritimes of Canada has swept a front off the coast and is kicking up quite a bit of activity just because of a continued stout westerly flow. Over the Atlantic, cold wind is blowing over warm water, which is kicking up some shower activity simply due to the temperature dichotomy. Of course, US 220 doesn’t drive in the Atlantic, but it will experience some of the flurry activity associated with forced ascent by the Appalachians. As we hit the various slopes in and around Johnstown and Windber, there will be a chance for some snow, but the good news is, Cumberland looks to be dry,so the last hour of the 90 minute journey should be just fine.

Unisys has ended the weather

This is the current surface map from Unisys. You’ll note the sharp clearing line south of about Philadelphia to Minneapolis, and then to Medford, Oregon. You’ll also note the distinct lack of isobars, meaning there shouldn’t be any wind anywhere, and no change in pressure, which makes sense with those two highs registering at 1037mb. Then there is the very long, rangy cold front through Florida that is, of course, not touching of any clouds for it’s length. Also, note the stationary front along the front range of the Rockies, which tells us two things. The mountains and the plains have different temperatures, and the mountains aren’t moving. So, legit analysis, I suppose.
Other than that, this seems like a pretty solid map.