All posts by Ryan

The Gambia

The Gambia is the smallest mainland country in Africa, and as such has a fairly simply defined climate. The nation follows the route of the Gambia River inland into Senegal, hence it’s name. It is north of the Equator but within the Tropics and is subject to the seasonal motion of the ITCZ. The capital, Banjul, can go without rain for the winter, spring and most of the fall, only to have it rain non stop during the summer. It’s a low lying nation as well, as it is in a river valley, and there is no relief from the tormenting heat, aside from the fact that humidity is not an issue during the winter months.
The Department of Water Resources “carries out meteorological functions”, however their staff, as described by the UK Met Office consists of only 1 meteorologist and 5 meteorological officers, two of whom are out of the country and one is on sick leave. There are also 42 meteorological technicians, whatever that entails. Needless to say, the Gambians do not have a website.

East Coast watching Earl


Hurricane Earl passed by Puerto Rico yesterday, remaining north of the island, but still making his presence felt. San Juan, on the north side of the island reported gusts as high as 40mph yesterday afternoon as Earl began veer off to the north, where he will strafe the Bahamas today.
Domestically, the concern is, of course, whether or not Earl will make land fall in the continental United States. At this time, it doesn’t appear he will make a direct landfall, but he will certainly come close enough to cause problems to the Outer Banks of North Carolina by Thursday, then more impactfully, from Long Island to Cape Cod on Friday. Winds of up to 60mph will be possible over eastern Long Island, perhaps slightly stronger by Nantucket, Martha’s Vinyard and Cape Cod Friday evening.
Last night, the forecast models took a giant step to the west with Earl’s plotted track. This morning, the track forecasts reverted to the east, which is great news for the east coast, even though it doesn’t get them fully out of the woods, and those 60mph winds are still possible. Expect the next update to the forecast track from the Hurricane center to take Earl further east, with a landfall near Halifax, Nova Scotia, rather than the southern end of the Province.
This isn’t a doom or gloom situation for the area, because Earl is moving very quickly, and only one bad day of miserable weather is expected for many sites along the east coast, and fortunately, there shouldn’t be a landfall with Earl as a major hurricane.

Miles above everyone else

The question in Des Moines was whether or not clouds would accompany a strong southerly flow associated with a strong low in the Dakotas. The clouds didn’t come, as it turned out, and only one provider foresaw a sunny day with temperatures in the 90s. As usual, that was the Weather Channel, who outclassed everyone by at least 10 degrees.
Actuals: Sunday – High 92, Low 67
Monday – High 90, Low 72

Grade: A

Eugene, Oregon

After so many summery forecasts, well, now we end up with this in Oregon. Sorry, folks.

At 959AM, PT, Eugene was reporting low clouds, rain and a temperature of 53 degrees. A band of showers was seen spanning from the coast near Florence to Eugene and inland to the Cascades west of Bend. More isolated activity was seen south to the California border. A weak low level low has shifted ashore from the western Pacific and is the source of the rain being seen here and further inland.
The overall pattern aloft is of a stout ridge in the east and a sharp trough over the Rockies, along which the weak Oregonian low is riding. The jet streak providing the support for the wet weather will break down due to it’s stagnation and the moisture in Eugene will languish tomorrow. A stronger jet moving along the Alaska Panhandle will usher in deeper low pressure by midweek, however the mean jet will be just north of Eugene. Expect some warming temperatures on Wednesday, but continued clouds and a threat for rain.
Tomorrow – Dreary with rain, High 71, Low 46
Wednesday – Rain again likely, particularly in the afternoon, High 74, Low 53

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy with a few showers. High 70, Low 46
Wednesday – A few morning showers. High 73, Low 54

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny High 74, Low 47
Wednesday – Some sun with a passing shower High 76, Low 53

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy High 70, Low 51
Wednesday -A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 76, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, a slight chance of showers in the morning, then a slight chance of rain in the afternoon, High 70, Low 51
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy in the morning, then partly sunny. Slight chance of showers, High 76, Low 52

It appears that Accuweather is forecasting for some other Euguene that the rest of us were not aware of. Here is the drizzly radar.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Off to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.

At 1153AM, PT, Santa Fe was reporting a temperature of 75 degrees with clear skies. The daily monsoon hasn’t yet become active, and a trough over southern New Mexico may slow down the convection, however a strong, developing low over the northern Rockies will probably induce enough southerly flow to overcome the trough’s influence.
The low will shift off to the northeast into Ontario over the forecast period, though a trough will continue to run ahead of the primary cold front in the Upper Midwest. It will act to prevent the thunderstorm activity from filtering out of southern New Mexico, keeping Santa Fe pleasant and dry for the beginning of the week.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 79, Low 54
Tuesday – Sunny, High 82, Low 53

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms possible High 77, Low 52
Tuesday – Mostly sunny. High 80, Low 50

AW: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a shower or thunderstorm around; breezy High 80, Low 52
Tuesday – Partly sunny with a thunderstorm in the afternoon High 83, Low 52

NWS: Tomorrow – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 78, Low 52
Tuesday – Mostly sunny, High 82, Low 53

WB: Tomorrow – Partly Cloudy with a chance of showers and thudnerstorms, High 66, Low 51
Tuesday – Partly cloudy, High 69, Low 51

Uh oh, some problems with Weatherbug’s numerical output. Satellite? Quiet

Everybody’s perfect

At one point in the forecast period, every single one of the forecasters had a perfect verification, be it a high or a low. at some point in the forecast for Syracuse. That said, there were some pretty good forecasts on this occasion, with Victoria-Weather and Accuweather getting a tie on top.
Actuals: Friday – High 73, Low 52
Saturday -High 81, Low 52

Grade: A

Des Moines, Iowa

Oh boy, high pressure!

At 1154AM, CT, Des Moines was reporting a temperature of 84 degrees with clear skies. A very well defined ridge existed in the eastern United States, while at the back edge of the ridge, a slow moving boundary fed off the northerly flow created by the anticyclonic flow.
A deep trough over the west will try to push east towards the ridge, but it is expected to hold up to the pressure of the advancing trough. A stronger southerly flow will be induced by the pressure gradient between the two systems, so expect some blustery but warm days for Des Moines.
Tomorrow – Sunny and breezy, High 88, Low 63
Monday – Increasingly cloudy, High 86, Low 68

TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly sunny. Hot. High 91, Low 66
Monday – A few clouds. High 89, Low 71

AW – Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and breezy High 86, Low 63
Monday – Mostly sunny, breezy and humid High 88, Low 69

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 88, Low 63
Monday – Mostly sunny High 89, Low 66

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, Breezy, High 88, Low 63
Monday – Mostly sunny, High 89, Low 67

That’s going to be tough on Monday. Will it cloud up, or will the warm advection dominate? It will be interesting to see.

The Week Ahead: 8/29/10-9/04/10

We’re spending a lot of time this week in a lot of places not often investigated by us, thanks to our random scheduling mechanism.

Sunday – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Monday – Eugene, Oregon
Wednesday – Laredo, Texas; Road Trip from Rapid City, South Daota to Laredo
Thursday – Altoona, Pennsylvania
Saturday – Midland, Texas

Everybody loves a parade

The beginning of September is the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic, and late August is the ramp up to it. Presently, as you can see by the satellite overlay seen above, we have a train of tropical systems lined up over the north Atlantic. Fortunately at this point, they all appear to have no interest in inflicting any damage upon the United States.
For systems that form as they are coming off the western shores of Africa, there is too much forcing to the north in most cases to the systems to be of major concern for US mainland interests. Hurricane Danielle will be entirely a fish storm (no direct land impact expected) while Tropical Storm Earl, soon to be a hurricane will pose some threat to the Northern Antilles, and may bring some destruction the way of Bermuda. The next wave, which will soon be Tropical Storm Fiona, is still a mystery, but if I had to guess at this point, she will likely follow the path of her older sister Danielle.
If ever there was a location you wanted a stagnant, training pattern, it was with tropical systems in the Atlantic. Thus far, 5 years after the hellacious 2005 season (this is the 5th anniversary of Katrina’s landfall) the United States has been blessed by a merciful Atlantic.

High pressure, high quality

The weather in Knoxville was graciously dominated by high pressure the past two days. this meant sunny skies, and somewhat cool air, but that was thanks to elevation more than any real climactic shift. The forecast was easily handled by Accuweather.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 86, Low 65
Thursday – High 89, Low 64

Grade: A