All posts by Ryan

Grand Forks, North Dakota

It’s been a long stretch for residents of Grand Forks, along the Red River bordering Minnesota. Flooding seems to be a seasonal affair and lately the entire area has been raked by strong and severe thunderstorms. That seems to be at it’s end at long last. Let’s see if it lasts.

At 1253PM, CT, Grand Forks was reporting a temperature of 66 degrees and clear skies with gusty west-northwest winds. A broad area of low pressure over Ontario was reminiscent of a typically autumnal pattern and was pumping in the cool crisp air to much of the Upper Midwest and keeping things decidedly stable.
A steady northwesterly breeze is likely to persist thanks to the strong area of low pressure and it’s associated dominant jet pattern which will keep things cool for the next 24-36 hours. An undercutting jet will develop south of North Dakota by the end of the day tomorrow, which will aid in the generation of a weak wave that will ripple along the Canadian border by Wednesday morning. Some light showers will be possible Wednesday morning followed by some reinforcing cool air during the day as the weaker low gets absorbed by the stronger system to the north.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy (Late PM rain), High 80, Low 41
Wednesday – Morning showers, then becoming mostly cloudy, High 72, Low 50

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 78, Low 44
Wednesday – Isolated thunderstorms. High 76, Low 53

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny and breezy (rain after 9) High 76, Low 42
Wednesday – Times of clouds and sun with a shower or thunderstorm around High 74, Low 46

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny (rain after 7pm) High 76, Low 44
Wednesday – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 74, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Partly Sunny, High 76, Low 44
Wednesday – Partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 74, Low 52

I almost went with Weatherbug and said no rain in Grand Forks for Tuesday night, but I eventually relented. I should note that one model is putting Grand Forks at a low of 38 night tonight. That’s awful. Here is the clear skies radar.

Excuse me while I eat my crow

I made fun of Accuweather during the forecast for their seemingly ostentatious prediction of a high of 97 on Sunday in Chattanooga. Color me surprised when I saw that the high temperature actually did reach 97 ahead of a weak cold front that didn’t produce any wet weather for the Chattanooga area. Of course, there was a bit of rain with the isolated storms on Saturday. Really, nothing went quite as expected over the weekend for most of us, but Accuweather did come away with the top forecast.
Actuals: Saturday – Trace of rain, High 92, Low 77
Sunday – High 97, Low 76

Grade: B

Morgantown, West Virginia to Amarillo, Texas

Today we embark on a 1,378 mile road trip from Morgantown, WV to Amarillo, TX. We’ll be taking it easy though, making the trip in three days at a fairly comfortable pace in covering roughly 460 miles a day. And away we go!

DAY ONE

We head out of Morgantown northwards towards Pittsburgh, but we’ll make a west on I-70 before we reach the metropolis. A cold front pushing through the region will fire most of its activity off towards the east during the afternoon hours. There is a slight chance of a lingering shower along it during the morning hours as we continue westward, but things will dry and clear out as we continue our way westward into OH. Good weather should greet us for the rest of the day as we push into Indiana, finishing up at Terre-Haute, which is near the IL border.

DAY TWO

Weak high pressure over the area will make for a fairly nice morning with some patchy light fog perhaps breaking up shortly after sunrise. We continue our jaunt down I-70 towards St. Louis. The cold front that moved through the region the previous day will keep the main concentration of shower and storm activity off towards the south over the TN and Lower MS Valleys. A weak disturbance along the tail end of a boundary lifting back over the Central Plains will sprout scattered shower and thunderstorm activity over much of the Plains states. We’ll be pulling into Joplin, MO, found near the KS/OK border by the late-afternoon hours while the skies cloud up. Some showers and thunderstorms are possible late evening into the overnight hours, hopefully they don’t keep us awake. We only have one more day to go!

DAY THREE

A few straggling showers are possible over the Ozarks during the morning hours as the disturbance shifts northeast and dissipates overnight. The tail end of the cold front continues to camp out over the TN and Lower MS Valleys, keeping the diurnal thunderstorm activity south of our route. Models have been spinning up an area of low pressure along the Gulf Coast and by Wednesday, it could possibly develop into a tropical system as it shifts westward towards LA and far eastern TX. This focus of moisture southeast of our route will keep precip activity fairly isolated as we make our way past Tulsa and Oklahoma City and onto I-40 towards the TX Panhandle. Most of the afternoon and evening activity will be found over the Four Corners region as monsoonal thunderstorms ignite once again over the Rockies. A couple stray thunderstorms might find their way down towards Amarillo by early evening, but we should beat them to the city.

Amarillo, Texas

At 1053pm CDT, the temperature in Amarillo, TX is 79 degrees under fair skies. A few thunderstorms rumbled near the area earlier today as a stationary front sits north of the region. Monsoonal moisture will continue pushing over the Four Corners region While the tail end of the stationary boundary continues to sit over the Red River Valley. However, the front looks to break up as southerly flow increases over the High Plains late Monday into Tuesday and the strong high pressure to the north weaken and shift eastward. This will push additional thunderstorm activity into portions of the High Plains to the Central and even Northern Plains on Tuesday. Thunderstorms will probably be more concentrated in the Panhandle regions of OK/TX on Monday than Tuesday, but both will see chances of wet weather and even a shot of a strong to severe storm traverse the countryside. Tuesday will see a slight uptick in temperatures and humidity as well.

Monday: Scattered thunderstorms during afternoon and evening, a couple strong storms possible. High 90, Low 66.
Tuesday: Isolated thunderstorms. High 92, Low 67.

TWC: Monday: Scattered thunderstorms. High 88, Low 66.
Tuesday: Isolated thunderstorms possible. High 89, Low 65.

AW: Monday: Some sun with thunderstorms expected. High 91, Low 67.
Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms over region. High 91, Low 66.

NWS: Monday: Some scattered thunderstorms. High 89. Low 67.
Tuesday: Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 92, Low 66.

WB: Monday: 30% chance of shower/thunderstorm activity. High 89, Low 67.
Tuesday: Early AM showers. High 92, Low 66. (Hmmm numbers look familiar)

Some of our friendly neighborhood thunderstorm activity continues to camp out over NM this evening. Tomorrow will see this activity push closer to the city, but will it make a direct hit?

The Week Ahead: 8/15/10-8/21/10

We are featuring a trio cities that begin with A this week. I guess that’s your “Sesame Street” moment. Also, it’s time for another look at the local blogs of a city, which is highlighted in orange on our map.The city is Sacramento, so if you know of any good weather blogs in Sac-to, let us know!

Sunday – Amarillo, Texas; Road Trip from Morgantown, West Virginia to Amarillo
Monday – Grand Forks, North Dakota
Tuesday – Road Trip from Grand Forks to Ames, Iowa
Wednesday – Anniston, Alabama; Road Trip from Ames to Anniston

Chattanooga, Tennessee

We’re keeping it in the southeast this early afternoon with a trip to eastern Tennessee.

At 1253PM, ET, Chattanooga was reporting a temperature of 93 degrees with clear skies. The remnants of TD 5 continued to spin idly over southern Mississippi, which was cutting off much of the moisture that would typically be expected for the area this time of year. There were still isolated cells over north Georgia, but most of the area was free of thunderstorms.
The weak remnants of 5 will continue to reside over the eastern Gulf Coast for the next several days. Expect the system to keep most of the heavy weather away from Chattanooga for the next 48 hours, however an encroaching cold front from the west will introduce the threat from wet weather Sunday, while a lingering boundary that has seemingly not left since March may bring a very isolated storm Saturday afternoon. All in all, by the standards of the southeast, expect fairly tranquil conditions.
Tomorrow – Very isolated storms, High 95, Low 75
Sunday – Storms becoming more scattered, High 91, Low 75

TWC: Tomorrow – Variable clouds with scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly in the afternoon. Humid High 89, Low 76
Sunday – A few thunderstorms possible High 90, Low 75

AW: Tomorrow – Very warm with periods of sun; a couple of afternoon showers and a thunderstorm High 94, Low 75
Sunday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine, hot and humid with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm High 97, Low 75

NWS: Tomorrow – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny and ho High 95, Low 76
Sunday – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy and ho High 94, Low 74

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny with a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 95, Low 76
Sunday – Mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 94, Low 74

Who needs models? Certainly not Accuweather! Let’s jack that temperature all the way up to 97! Here is the satellite, showing the most inclement weather down there along the Gulf Coast.

Springfield, Missouri to Jackson, Mississippi

It’s another delightfully brief road trip that will take us through the Lower Mississippi Valley on Friday. It will take roughly 8 hours to get from southwestern Missouri to western Mississippi, and will see about 494 miles tick off the odometer. If we’re driving a hybrid, that’s one tank of gas! We’ll be making the drive at about 61mph, if you were curious.


It’s just a nasty, unstable pattern for much of the country. There is heat and humidity everywhere, with weak little thermal troughs rippling through an indefinite pattern, touching off thunderstorms in a seemingly crazed, aimless pattern over almost all the country east of the Rockies. One such trough will continue to bring wet weather from southern Missouri to about Nashville. I suspect we will see a thunderstorm or two as we begin the drive, particularly until we reach the Arkansas border near West Plains. We should be drier but incredibly warm through Arkansas, with the rain from the tropical system in the Gulf potentially reaching as far north as Memphis, but we should be dry until we get to about the Kosciusko exit on I-55. It will probably be quite rainy in Jackson when we get to town.

Jackson, Mississippi

Our theme of a Southeast week continues as we head off to the state capital of the State of Mississippi, Jackson.

At 1054AM, CT, Jackson was already reporting a temperature of 91 with clear skies. The hot, clear air was aided by the fact that the remnants of Tropical Depression 5 was hanging just off the coast, directing mostly easterly flow in central Mississippi, causing a mixing of the atmosphere rather than conflicting airmasses generated by onshore flow.
The weather of the next several days will be dictated by what the dying system in the Gulf, which isn’t expected to move much as it spins itself out. Expect the system to keep Jackson dry for the rest of today and probably into tomorrow morning. Expect a trough over the northern Plains to open the Gulf up to souterly flow again. The lingering low pressure of 5 will also be drawn north, taking with it the copious rainfall leftover from the tropical system. Expect a nice day today then very rainy weather for the next two days.
Tomorrow – Very heavy rains, with flash flooding a concern, High 94, Low 78
Saturday – Rain and thunderstorms still likely, though less rain overall, High 95, Low 76

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Humid. High 92, Low 74
Saturday – A few thunderstorms possible. High 88, Low 74

AW: Tomorrow – Variably cloudy with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm High 98, Low 78
Saturday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm in the afternoon High 92, Low 77

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 1pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall High 93, Low 77
Saturday – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 1pm. Mostly cloudy High 92, Low 77

WB: Tomorrow – Chance of showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the morning, then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. Locally heavy rainfall possible in the afternoon, High 93, Low 77
Saturday – Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 92, Low 77

Those temperatures are really going to depend on the rain and how good the coverage of that is. In the meantime, here is a look at the radar, showing rain trying to push deeper into Mississippi.

Introducing the worst weather movie ever: Storm Cell


I happened to catch Storm Cell on TV a last weekend Sucker that I am for weather movies, I turned it on. It was probably the worst movie I have ever seen in my life, regardless of genre. But I thought I would introduce you, the readers, to this movie. In a way, it would be fun to rewatch this cinematic garbage if only to pick out the errors.
Back in 2008, the WE Network had a popular show entitled “Twister Sisters” on their airwaves that chronicled a real life pair of women who lead excursions into the Plains to hunt tornados. It was among the better tornado based reality shows out there, and the sisters got lucky, tracking a lot of tornadoes in front of the camera. Lifetime decided to get into the act, instead making a movie about a female storm chaser and replacing tornadoes and factual accuracy with familial angst and a love interest. It was a devastatingly terrible movie. Here are some of the hilariously incorrect scenes in the movie.
– Early in the movie, she takes a young interviewer out on a storm chase. She made the decision, after she opened her computer, it ran some calculations and came up with “tornado threat: WATCH”. Almost immediately after they departed, they come across a massive tornado. The storm chaser (her name was April, I believe) opened her computer which now said “tornado threat: WARNING”. Nice work, computer. She said some gibberish about lower inflow updraft jet winds or something.The storm eventually fell apart, which she thought was odd, and that there must be another tornado taking all the energy from the one they were watching. Totally. The chaser opened her computer again, and sure enough, there was another “tornado threat: WARNING” as told by her computer. “We have to call this in,” She said. “Don’t they have people to do that?” asked the anonymous passenger. “Yeah. Me,” stated the chaser quite boldly. If only the weather service had the same tornado threat software on their computer, perhaps we wouldn’t need chasers at all anymore.
– The tornado hit her daughters high school, so they decided it was time to take a vacation and went to visit storm chaser’s brother in Seattle. While watching the news, the weather report showed a warm front approaching Seattle from the west and a cold front from the east. Concerned (not that the local weatherman has no idea what he’s doing, of course) storm chaser April opens her computer and looks at a satellite image of Washington to see what looks like a hurricane bearing down on them. Increasingly concerned, she runs the tornado threat program. Tornado threat: WATCH! She puts it out of her mind though, because she’s on vacation. Later, her daughter comes in to check her e-mail and gets upset to see the program running. Mom says we weren’t here for work! Also, we’re bumped up to tornado threat: WARNING. Cut to a dock on the Puget Sound and a fisherman tying his boat up. DEAD. Tornado kills him. It wasn’t even raining. IF fact, the hole time, judging by the clothes the characters were wearing, it must have been cool and dank. There were a lot of jackets and trench coats. Perfect weather for tornadoes. Back to the brother’s house. The brother is a county sheriff, so he gets the call that there has been a tornado. Immediately, he confronts his sister, asking if she had anything to do with this. Stupid weather person, making weather happen near them. And let me just say, even if there were storms coming, there is no worse place to chase, I would imagine, than Seattle. Mountains, trees, lots of traffic. Of course, that’s only one of several logical inconsistencies with the movie.

I could only make it through about an hour of the movie. I can’t imagine there weren’t more later.

Watching out for Number 5

The low we were monitoring in the eastern Gulf at the time we issued the Tallahassee forecast has since been labeled Tropical Depression 5. There isn’t much chance that it will be a hurricane at any point in it’s life cycle, and there is even a chance that the system won’t even become a Tropical Storm. It is expected to stall over the Mississippi Delta, providing more problems for an area that certainly doesn’t need any. The system also showed a more northerly track than I had indicated in my forecast on Sunday, and they saw a thunderstorm in Tallahassee yesterday.In the end, Weatherbug and The Weather Channel ended up getting the top forecasts.
Actuals: Monday – High 96, Low 77
Tuesday – .38 inhes of rain, High 94, Low 78

Grade B