All posts by Ryan

The fickle monsoon

As suspected, the weather in Salt Lake City was largely dictated by a typically monsoonal flow. A HOT monsoonal flow. There was an unexpected splash of rain on Monday that threw off some precipitation forecasts and knocked the high down a few degrees. Dry air allowed the low temperature to register a full 10 degrees cooler than some had forecast on Tuesday. Salt Lake was a typically difficult mountain forecast that the Weather Service came in on top with, solely because they were the only ones to even hit at rain on Monday.
Actuals – Monday – trace or rain, High 96, Low 70
Tuesday – Thunderstorms reported but not measured, High 94, Low 64

Grade: C


Our trip around the world takes us to the Caribbean, not very far from today’s forecast in the grand scheme of things. Barbados is north of Venezuela and separated from the rest of the Lesser Antilles by a few hundred miles, as the island sits east of St. Lucia. It’s position means that it is often the first site to see hurricanes marching from the coast of Africa into the Caribbean. Their rainy season lasts for the latter half of the year, essentially through the hurricane season when tropical waves are marching across the Atlantic. The hurricanes typically aren’t fully developed when they arrive in Barbados, but it’s a good benchmark, seeing what they may do when they arrive at other populated areas of North America.
This beacon out in the middle of the sea alerting the continent to potential hurricanes does have a weather service, Barbados Meteorological Services, though presently their site isn’t functioning properly at present.

Naples, Florida

Ah Naples, my home away from home. (I wish)

At 353PM, ET, Naples was reporting a temperature of 91 degrees, despite an onshore flow, and partly cloudy skies, perhaps reflective of the flow. There was very little activity to speak of over the entirety of the Peninsula, and the Gulf and Caribbean were surprisingly quiet as well. There was a convergence of winds north of Naples that may eventually touch off some convection.
With no real tropical forcing anywhere in the Caribbean or locations being monitored for development, there doesn’t seem to be much to separate the next two days from any other by the standards of Naples. A weak high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico will generate a northerly flow through most of the Florida Peninsula, which will keep things quieter than is typically expected for the next couple of days.
Tomorrow – Isolated afternoon storms, High 92, Low 78
Thursday – Chance of some storms in the afternoon, High 91, Low 77

TWC: Tomorrow – Sun and clouds mixed with a slight chance of thunderstorms during the afternoon. High 92, Low 78
Thursday – Isolated thunderstorms. High 93, Low 78

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny with a shower or thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 92, Low 78
Thursday – Mostly sunny with an afternoon and evening thunderstorm High 90, Low 77

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Partly cloudy, High 93, low 79
Thursday – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Partly cloudy High 94, Low 79

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 88, Low 78
Thursday – Partly Sunny with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 89, Low 79

It should be noted that the text in Weatherbug’s forecast doesn’t match the numbers. I don’t know what happened. Also, since I started this forecast, a storm went up quickly inland from Naples, as I sort of prognosticated. Here is the unusually serene Caribbean satellite.

The Gulf catches a break

We will still have to wait to see what a tropical storm or hurricane will do to the Gulf oil spill. Tropical Storm Bonnie developed over the Bahamas before making landfall in Miami-Dade county in Florida. It moved quickly over the Florida Peninsula, almost entirely unnoticed by most Floridians. It was simply a rainy system that brought a little bit of rain to south Florida and ALMOST knocked Jim Cantore’s hat off.
The fear, then, was that it would track over the oil spill, intensifying the whole to once again become a tropical storm before crashing into New Orleans. It was going to be interesting to see how such a system would affect the slick.
Well, that never happened. Bonnie moved through Florida very quickly, which was part of the reason it’s mark there was so mitigated. She continues to move quickly, which is preventing her from accumulating energy. Additionally, an unfavorable shear environment aloft is hampering the further strengthening of the system, even though Bonnie is over the warm Gulf waters. The result is that the system is now not expected to strengthen much beyond it’s current state. Winds are about 30mph, which isn’t an uncommon wind speed over the Gulf of Mexico even without a tropical system to contend with.
This is a huge break for residents of the Gulf of Mexico. Bonnie will merely be an inconvenience, rather than a disaster.

Showing no fear

I had made a comment about forecasting for Billings that inferred that such a forecast would be difficult. Oh, how wrong I was. Well, that is if you ask The Weather Channel, who had 0 problem with executing a nearly flawless forecast. There was a dash of rain on Friday that threw everything off a bit, but otherwise, it was like they had no idea they were forecasting for the High Plains.
Actuals: Thursday – Trace of rain, High 84, Low 54
Friday – .01 inches of precip, High 79, Low 60

Grade: B

The Week Ahead: 7/25/10-7/31/10

We’re looking ahead to a busy week with nation-wide coverage.

Sunday – Salt Lake City, Utah
Monday – Gainesville, Florida; Road Trip from Salt Lake City to Gainesville
Tuesday – Naples, Florida
Wednesday – Road Trip from Naples to Kingston, New York
Friday – Reno, Nevada
Saturday – Fort Wayne, Indiana

Clarksville, Tennessee

We’re on the last train to Clarksville with today’s forecast for the city off to the northwest of Nashville. They sure like their ‘villes in Tennessee, don’t they?

At 1152AM, CT, Clarksville was reporting a temperature of 91 degrees with clear skies. The entire region was in a heat advisory with heat indexes climbing to near triple digits as dew points were about 70 degrees. The entire southeast was under high pressure, and Tropical Storm Bonnie was closing flow to he north, keeping places rain free.
The upper level jet still rode well to the north of Tennessee. A trough at the back edge of the jet was trying to dip south, but it didn’t have much strength, and laminar flow will likely continue to dominate. What does this mean for Clarksville? Not much change. Continued hot and humid weather with no major storm systems are on their way. By Sunday afternoon, Bonnie’s influence will be mitigated and southerly flow off the Gulf will return, bringing with it some isolated showers and storms for central and eastern Tennessee.
Tomorrow – Sunny, hot and humid, High 98, Low 72
Sunday – Partly to mostly cloudy with some late showers and storms, High 96, Low 74

TWC: Tomorrow – A mainly sunny sky. Near record high temperatures. High 99, Low 73
Sunday – Partly cloudy, chance of a thunderstorm. High 96, Low 76

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, hot and humid High 101, low 70
Sunday – Partly sunny with a thunderstorm High 96, Low 73

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny and hot High 98, Low 73
Sunday – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, High 94, low 74

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 99, Low 73
Sunday – Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 94, Low 74

That is steamy. Looks like, as usual, Accuweather is going for the most sensational forecast possible. A look at the satellite shows how cloud free the southeast is. Rare to see this kind of clarity.

Sweaty St. Louis

St. Louis got under a warm front yesterday, causing temperatures to climb all the way to 96 with dew points well into the 70s. They had to pay their dues on Wednesday though, before those temperatures spiked to tropical levels. They saw three quarters of an inch of rain as that front passed through town on Wednesday and even then, temperatures were still in the Mid-90s. Such is summer in Saint Louis. Weatherbug had the top forecast in the STL.
Actuals: Wednesday – .74 inches of rain, High 94, Low 74
Thursday – High 96, Low 75

Grade: B

Jackson, Michigan

It was a stormy day today in southern Michigan. Will that continue again into the weekend?

At 1156PM, ET, Jackson was reporting clear skies with a temperature of 75 degrees. The clear skies would not last much longer as there was a healthy shied of rain just to the north and a supercell and an associated tornado warning just off to the southeast. The city was in a tornado watch as storms continue to rake Lower Michigan along a warm front that lay essentially across I-94. Expect storms to congeal somewhat and continue their eastward charge overnight
Yet another area of low pressure will develop over Nebraska and South Dakota overnight tonight and begin to move towards the low presently bringing the rough weather to the area tonight. The next system will track east-northeast into Lower Michigan by Saturday evening, bringing with it another severe thunderstorm risk, with tornadic storms another distinct possibility, as the triple point of the system will pass very near by. Fortunately, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning will be quieter, though the forecast period will be bookended by severe weather.
Tomorrow – Morning thunderstorms, becoming more isolated through the day. High 89, Low 73
Saturday – Thunderstorms again in the afternoon, High 89, Low 72

TWC: Tomorrow – Variable clouds and windy with thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 90, Low 73
Saturday – Windy with scattered thunderstorms High 88, Low 72

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a shower or thunderstorm around; very warm High 89, Low 68
Saturday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a thunderstorm in the area; can be strong late; breezy High 93, Low 73

NWS: Tomorrow – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy and hot, High 90, Low 76
Saturday – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 88, Low 72

WB: Tomorrow -Mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms, High 90, Low 75
Saturday – Partly sunny with a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 88, Low 72

First time I’ve mentioned a tornado warning in a forecast. That’s exciting. Here is the radar, showing how close the tornado warning was to Jackson.

Saint Louis, Missouri to Billings, Montana

We’re essentially headed west from the end of yesterday’s trip for our 2 and a half day trek from St. Louis to Billings. We’ll cover 1276 miles in total, and 538.9 a day. Lots of interstates and a whole lot of South Dakota means that our pace will be at 67.3mph. Pretty swift. Let’s be on our way.


A system is getting ready to explode over Siouxland, as it’s known, between Sioux Falls and Sioux City (South Dakota and Iowa, respectively). The associated warm front will be pushed north of Saint Louis, and the entirety of Missouri for that matter by the time we hit the road. Expect quality conditions for most of the day, only to see them dramatically deteriorate as we approach Omaha. Depending on how things go earlier in the day, things could be particularly nasty north of town with supercell thunderstorms just beginning to develop for the day between Omaha and Sioux City. We’ll be happy to end the day in North Sioux City, especially if the thunderstorms are still raging.

The general troughy pattern of the northern Plains will continue as we start our Friday drive. Showers and thunderstorms, though not as impressive as we will see Thursday, will crop up over northern South Dakota. Some of them could definitely sneak south to over I-90, our route for most of the day. Let’s again make it clear: Nothing as strong or severe as what we are expecting Thursday. The rain may even end by the time we reach Rapid City. We’ll keep soldiering on into Montana by the end of the day, and the town of Hammond in the far southeastern corner of the state.

No complaints on Saturday. It’s going to be beautiful, cool for the beginning of the day, warming up into the 80s by the time arrive in Billings. Hopefully won’t show up with hail damage (or as I call it, speed dimples)