All posts by Ryan

Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Oxnard, California

No better way to start a week than by planning a road trip that covers the whole thing. It’s going to be a 5 day trip headed out west covering 2703 miles. We’ll get there at a clip of 65.8mph, which will be good for about 527 miles a day for the first 4 days. We have a bit of driving in our future, so lets be on our way!


The first day of our trip looks like it will be the only truly unpleasant day of the trip. It will be dreary with rain for most of the day, though I wouldn’t anticipate really heavy rain. It will be enough that the windows will likely need to be closed, but it shouldn’t slow the trip. Our drive will end in Lisbon, Indiana, east of Indianapolis, with not much hope for seeing the sun on Tuesday.

Upon waking up, it will still be a bit dreary in Indiana, and will be a little gray until we cross into Illinois, when things will rapidly clear up. Driving through Saint Louis will be a treat weatherwise, with sun shining and temperatures climbing. A warm front type system is going to be developing over southwestern Missouri, and we will run into some showers and storms around the Lebanon, Missouri area with about an hour left in the day. We’ll end up in Halltown, just past Springfield.

The little system in the central Plains will spin itself up in place, bringing heavy overnight rain to Missouri, including Halltown. Make sure everything is closed up tight overnight. When we leave Thursday morning, we will be engaged in the shower activity. We’ll begin to clear out by the time we reach Tulsa, but the threat for some rain all the way to the Texas border will continue. Driving the the Panhandle, through Amarillo, however, it will get dusty and dry. The day will end about 20 miles from New Mexico, in Adrian, Texas.

The dry weather will continue through New Mexico and Arizona, as one would expect. It will be a bit cooler in the mountains, but the drive will be warm and sunswept. We’ll end in Parks, Arizona, between Flagstaff and Williams.

No rain as we approach California, but a trough over the west will drive winds up, and we’ll have to worry about some gusty conditions all the way from Needles to the Coast. Driving through the desert, it may get a little dusty if the wind picks up, but the rain they are seeing to day could keep it down a bit. I wouldn’t count on it. We’ll arrive on the coast with partly to mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s.

Oxnard, California

Out west we go to Oxnard, which is along the coast north of Los Angeles, lying along the Pacific Ocean.

At 951AM, PT, Oxnard was reporting a temperature of 57 degrees with cloudy skies. A weak surface system was sweeping into the coast, bringing about it an onshore flow with clouds and drizzle covering most of the California coast. A simple pattern aloft was going to become more complicated over the next few days, to the benefit of Oxnard.
A seasonably strong jet streak lay along the coast and would curl inland to form a trough. Meanwhile, a secondary, undercutting trough is expected to rapidly develop over the Pacific Northwest, cutting off the instability and upper level support found further to the south, causing it to become short waved and rapidly advancing to the east. This will mean a more stable, quiet pattern in Oxnard after the dreary morning they are seeing today.
Tomorrow – Showers through the afternoon, High 66, Low 51
Wednesday – Sunny, High 66, Low 51

TWC: Tomorrow – A shower or two possible early with partly cloudy skies in the afternoon. High 63, Low 53
Wednesday – More sun than clouds. High 63, Low 52

AW: Tomorrow – Areas of drizzle in the morning; otherwise, mostly cloudy High 66, Low 52
Wednesday – Areas of low clouds early, then mostly sunny High 67, Low 52

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of showers before 11am. Mostly cloudy High 62, Low 52
Wednesday – Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly sunny High 66, Low 49

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers in the morning…becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon. High 63, Low 53
Wednesday – Mostly sunny except for patchy morning low clouds and fog. High 67, Low 50

A nice look at the satellite shows that in fact, it isn’t always sunny in Southern California.

It’s looking like summer

The southeast is generally very active with showers and thunderstorms through the summer. Its never a severe outbreak or anything, just a few cells that develop because of the heat and moisture of the area. This was apparently the case over the past couple of days, though there was a weak upper trough helping to perhaps expand the coverage. It was hit or miss in western North Carolina and Hickory, where the showers missed on Saturday and hit for a quarter inch of new rain on Sunday. Congrats to the Weather Service and Weatherbug for forecasting the fog on Saturday. Too bad they were 4th and 5th in the standings, however, with VicWx and TWC tying for the top spot.
Actuals: Saturday – High 84, Low 62
Sunday – .25″ of rain, High 81, Low 62

Grade: B

Another look at that Oklahoma tornado outbreak

I just wanted to share a couple of radar stills from the tornado outbreak of last Monday. The come courtesy of Plymouth State University’s NEXRAD archive. The first shows the cell that passed through Norman. The hook is muddled somewhat by the toads and county lines, but it is still there. Other local radars, such as the one housed by Oklahoma University, have better angles on the storm, but aren’t publicly available yet.

The second comes about an hour earlier, and is a of a storm near Wakita (if you have heard of Wakita, this might be why). It has perhaps the most pronounced hook of any storm that day.

I have nothing to add, really. It’s 6 days in the past, and this was a very well documented, well warned system among people that are used to such weather. Really, I just wanted to link to these, because they are definitely images that make a full blooded meteorologist say “whoa”.

Dreary, but not too dreary

Providence was unfortunate enough to see some cloudy, drizzly skies the past couple of days, but there was enough sun that broke out yesterday that temperatures climbed about 5 degrees higher than anyone expected. The fact that they saw rain on each of the two days of the forecast period, however, gave Victoria-Weather the top forecast for the largest city in the smallest state.
Actuals: Friday – .08 inches of rain, High 65, Low 49
Saturday – .01 inches of rain, High 73, Low 55

Grade: B

Lexington, Kentucky

Headed to the Bluegrass State for our Saturday afternoon forecast. Will they get a blue sky forecast?

At 454PM, ET, Lexington was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 78 degrees. A stalled boundary that lied east-west lay between Berea and London and was triggering some strong to severe thunderstorms along I-75, including one passing as close as through Richmond, though the heaviest activity was being seen further south, from Corbin to points southwest. Dew points along the boundary were pooling and a couple degrees higher, though it was apparent that the front was acting as a barrier between moisture regimes, as sites along the Ohio River were much drier than those along the Tennessee border.
The strong jet will shift out of the country, taking with it any remnant of the cold front that had swept through and keeping the country in a very quiet regime at the upper levels. There is a weak wave with almost no flow through it over the Rockies that will slowly drift into the Tennessee Valley. At the surface, there will be little to no reflection, however it’s influence in upper levels of the atmosphere will be enough to generate fairly widespread thunderstorms throughout Kentucky each of the next two days, however the heaviest rains will come early on Monday.
Tomorrow – Isolated showers and thunderstorms, High 73, Low 59
Monday – Showers and storms more widespread, High 74, Low 62

TWC: Tomorrow – Showers and scattered thunderstorms High 74, Low 59
Monday – Morning showers, possibly a rumble of thunder High 73, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm around High 78, Low 59
Monday – Mostly cloudy and breezy with showers and thunderstorms High 77, Low 61

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, High 73, Low 58
Monday – Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy High 72, Low 60

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers and thunderstorms until midday…then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. High 75, Low 58
Monday – Showers likely and chance of thunderstorms. High 74, Low 60

I don’t know what kind of dream world Accuweather is off in, but it must be warm. Here is the radar, looking deliciously summer like.

No cool down

While most of the cold front running through the eastern and central United States set up in a line type pattern, they were more of an assortment of clusters in Arkansas, and mostly avoided Little Rock. They only saw a trace of with the activity in the state yesterday, though there were scattered wind and hail reports across much of Arkansas. The biggest issue with these forecasts, however, was that the fact that the front hung well north of Little Rock on Friday. Temperatures didn’t drop off at all like everyone anticipated, but rather the stout southerly flow meant temperatures actually climbed a few degrees. The high temperatures Friday were about 10 degrees off as a result. The Weather Channel eventually got the victory.
Actuals: Thursday – High 86, Low 70
Friday -Trace of rain, High 89, Low 68

Grade: C

The Week Ahead: 5/18/10-5/22/10

That big x across the country tells us there are a couple of cross country road trips this week. We’re all over the map!

Monday – Oxnard, California; Road trip: Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Oxnard
Tuesday – Great Falls, Montana
Wednesday – Road Trip: Great Falls to Fayetteville, Arkansas
Friday – Dover, Delaware
Saturday – Davenport, Iowa

Providence, Rhode Island to Hickory, North Carolina

Late night planning for our day and a half road trip from New England to North Carolina. It cover 821 miles at the snails pace of 59.5mph, which will get us 476 miles on the first day, leaving the rest for a shorter second day. Let’s pick up stakes and drive through some megaplexes, OK?


An occluded front will sweep out of New England by the time we leave, allowing an unexpectedly dry day as we leave town. We shouldn’t have any issues, actually, as we make our way south out of town and through the New York area. We’ll pass south through Harrisburg and south into Middletown, Virginia with few issues. There could be some chunky looking clouds as we end the day, but we’ll end up problem free.

As we continue south into Virginia and eventually into North Carolina, the threat for thunderstorms will increase as the day goes on. By Roanoke, we’ll be dodging showers and storms. Nothing strong in terms of hail or wind, and storms won’t last much longer than 15 minutes at a time since we’ll be driving through them, but we may have to concern ourselves with heavy rain and some frequent lightning as we hone in on Hickory, but as long as we have some good Aquatreads, I think we’ll be OK.

Hickory, North Carolina

Ah Hickory, one of the finest towns named after wood out there.

At 353PM, ET, Hickory was reporting a temperature of 87 degrees with clear skies and a climbing dew point in the low 60s. A jet ridge was arcing through the east, with plenty of hot, humid air building underneath it. At the surface, the jet arc is representative of a warm and cold front, with the cold front parked just west of the Appalachians, with severe thunderstorms firing through much of central Tennessee, thanks to the sharp contrast in airmasses, but with little vorticity, meaning a low threat for tornadoes.
The jet is rather longwaved, and there is almost nothing behind it. Rather than sweep through the Carolinas, the system is expected simply to get shredded and disappear in terms of a surface based system. Expect hot weather to continue, though low level eddies will generate a few afternoon thunderstorms for most of the American Southeast, including Hickory and western North Carolina.
Tomorrow – Isolated afternoon thunderstorms, otherwise hot and humid, High 84, Low 66
Sunday – Isolated afternoon thunder, a degree or two cooler, High 81, Low 62

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with afternoon showers or thunderstorms. high 84, Low 64
Sunday – A few thunderstorms possible. High 81, Low 63

AW: Tomorrow – Sun and clouds with a shower or thunderstorm around, mainly later; very warm High 86, Low 64
Sunday – Times of clouds and sun with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm High 83, Low 60

NWS: Tomorrow – A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3pm. Patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, partly cloudy High 86, Low 64
Sunday – A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Mostly cloudy High 80, Low 63

WB: Tomorrow – Patchy fog in the morning. Mostly sunny in the morning… Then partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 87, Low 67
Sunday – Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 81, Low 61

Accuweather’s sounds less like a forecast than a recipe. Couple of showers and a thunderstorm. Here is the infrared satellite, colorized for your amusement. The higher tops, which mean thunderstorms, are the more expressively colored, such as those over Tennessee.