All posts by Ryan

Some fun storm reports

Yesterday, there was some severe weather in the Front Range, Upper Midwest and in Florida. Nothing that was so bad that it led to death or injury, so I feel I can make light of some of the reports. For example, they had some hail western Texas.

2055 200 1 SE LARIAT PARMER TX 3432 10289 WINDSHIELD BUSTED OUT (LUB)

It done got busted out! The first number, by the way, is the time, the second is the size of the hail, in hundredths of an inch (so that is 2 inch diameter hail) followed by the location, including latitude and longitude. That in mind, check out the size of this hail:

2053 375 2 NW PROGRESS BAILEY TX 3430 10283 (LUB)

That’ll wake you up. Almost 4 inches in diameter! That’s about the size of a softball!

In new Mexico, of course, they aren’t as familiar with sports, so they compare their hail size to other objects:

0120 200 8 N BUCKEYE LEA NM 3292 10350 HEN EGG HAIL REPORTED 8 MILES NORTH OF BUCKEYE ON SH 238. (MAF)

This is why people have garages, hail up to 4 inches in diameter. It looks like an active day again in the High Plains, so there will be many more hail reports today, I’m sure. And it’s only May! Several more months of thunder to deal with, no doubt.

Grenada

Many people have only heard about Grenada because of the US invasion of the tiny island nation in the Lesser Antilles. Though I have no personal experience with the island, I have no reason to believe it isn’t a tropical paradise. The island, like most in the Lessers is at the mercy of the ITCZ and trade winds. It is wetter in the summer and fall months when the ITCZ and the trades bring a nearly constant threat for showers and thunderstorms. The winter is actually rather dry in Grenada, as they don’t have any systems to move through, and the temperatures all around are quite similar since they are parked in the middle of a warm ocean. Grenada is far enough south that most hurricanes stay to their north, and Ivan was the first hurricane they had seen in almost 50 years. Grenada has no national weather service.

Jackson, Mississippi to Atlantic City, New Jersey

Or drive today will take us to the gambling haven of Atlantic City from the.. something haven of Mississippi. It’s a 2 1/2 day journey covering 1168 miles. Our first two days will cover 495 miles at the slow pace of less than 62mph. Lots of urban driving. Let’s collect our chips and hit the road!

DAY ONE

It’s going to be a hot one tomorrow. Our air conditioner will be cranked up to full blast, which is fine, because the windows will need to be closed when it rains. After we find our way through Mississippi and are in Alabama, the heat of the day will start kicking up scattered showers and thunderstorms that will follow us right on into Knoxville, Tennessee, our destination for day 1. Nothing will be severe, per se, but some downpours will be heavy enough to make us need the lights and both hands on the wheel.

DAY TWO
Expect a similar drive on Thursday as we had on Wednesday, with thunderstorms ramping up in the afternoon, after we have been on the road for a few hours. The day will take us through Virginia and into Maryland, and the rain will become a more pressing concern after we pass the Roanoke area. Our drive will end in Cooksville, Maryland, west of Baltimore.

DAY THREE
Just a short little trip over to the Jersey Coast and Atlantic City. It will still be rather unstable over the mid Atlantic, but the cooler Atlantic may keep things from going up right over Atlantic City. The drive in will be rainy, with a weak front finally closing in on the area, but we will spend the rest of the day in a casino, so does it truly matter?

A first taste of summer

It’s only late May, but the banks of the Mississippi in Iowa have already seen the temperatures climb to the lower 90s, like in Davenport the past couple of days. Thunderstorms, as I predicted, remained out of Davenport, and the city merely saw a couple days of hot, humid air. Victoria-Weather had the top forecast.
Actuals: Sunday – High 90, Low 71
Monday – High 92, Low 69

Grade: A

A meteorologist can never win

Yesterday it rained here in Minneapolis, and it wasn’t exactly expected to happen. All afternoon, I had people telling me what a bunch of liars meteorologists are, since we collectively botched the forecast. And we did, I’m not denying that.
At least, though, I’m not one of those TV meteorologists who has to deal with complaints when they actually are giving important and up to date weather information. This lady just doesn’t care about that storm.

Minneapolis looks like a market where meteorologists will be receiving more complaints tonight, as a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for just north of town. I’m not lying.

Davenport, Iowa

Off to the Quad Cities for this likely to be warm forecast. Enjoy.

At 552PM, CT, Davenport was reporting a temperature of 80 degrees with clear skies. A warm front that has developed through the morning has lifted through the Quad Cities, and Davenport was several degrees warmer than a few sites just off to the northeast of the city. The system is dong an excellent job drawing hot, humid air in from the south, and the temperature dichotomy should make for some interesting weather tomorrow and Monday, though most of it will stay northwest of Davenport.
An unseasonably strong jet trough over the Rockies is generating the area of low pressure in the Dakotas that is drawing the hot air north into Davenport. A ridge in the east is the stronger system, however, and is doing an excellent job of blocking any systems that will attempt to shift east. As a result, the jet will operate as a conveyor belt, with the next system setting up over Nebraska and following a similar track through the Dakotas. The result for Davenport will be even more warm air imported from the south.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy and warm, High 90, Low 68
Monday – Continued warm with partly to mostly cloudy skies, High 91, Low 70

TWC: Tomorrow – Intervals of clouds and sunshine. A stray thunderstorm is possible. High 89, Low 68
Monday – Slight chance of a thunderstorm High 92, Low 69

AW: Tomorrow – Breezy, very warm and more humid with some sun; an afternoon shower or thunderstorm in the area High 89, Low 65
Monday – Breezy, hot and humid with times of clouds and sun; an afternoon thunderstorm in parts of the area High 93, Low 66

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Partly cloud High 89, Low 66
Monday – Mostly sunny High 90, Low 69

WB: Tomorrow -Mostly sunny. A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon High 89, Low 66
Monday – Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms High 90, low 69

Everyone else is calling for thunderstorms, but if they form, I think they will be on the other side of the Mississippi, and if they do develop, they won’t be terribly organized. Here is the satellite. There is a tornado watch in eastern South Dakota.

The Week Ahead, 5/23/10-5/29/10

We’re sneaking up on June with this week. Where does the time go? We have no city forecasts this week, but we do have a few road trips!

Monday – Road Trip from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Jackson, Mississippi
Tuesday – Road Trip from Jackson to Atlantic City, New Jersey
Thursday – Road Trip from Portland, Maine to Elmira, New York.

Dover, Delaware

Off to America’s first state, and the capital Dover for the weekend forecast. I think it’s going to be a mildly interesting forecast.

At 1255PM, ET, Dover was already reporting a temperature of 82 degrees with partly cloudy skies. A weak surface low was feeding off of some fairly widespread instability in the center of the country, triggering showers and thunderstorms for most of the Ohio Valley and importing the clouds seen in Delaware.
The weak wave aloft feeding the weak circulation at the surface has certainly hung around much longer than was initially forecast, but it’s influence will continue to wane with a strong trough over the northwest moving into Upper Midwest. Still, the remnant moisture of the weak surface system will work it’s way into the Mid-Atlantic, bringing the threat for some murky skies and passing showers for the extent of the weekend.
Tomorrow – Increasing clouds, chance of drizzle, High 71, Low 61
Sunday – Isolated showers, cloudy, High 70, Low 60

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy skies (PM rain) High 72, Low 60
Sunday – Scattered thunderstorms possible High 70, Low 61

AW: Tomorrow – Not as warm with sun and clouds (PM Rain) High 72, Low 59
Sunday – Variable cloudiness with a couple of showers High 71, Low 58

NWS: Tomorrow – A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, High 74, Low 60
Sunday – A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 8am High 72, Low 59

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny (PM rain) High 74, Low 60
Sunday – Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. High 72, Low 59

That shower activity in the center of the country looks quite impressive on satellite. There are some weather watches with thunderstorms in Indiana and Georgia with this guy as well.

Quite a disparity

We forecast in the mountains of eastern Montana, and as anyone can tell you, it’s a challenging place to forecast for. It was for 4 of our forecasters on Tuesday when we put together the forecast for Great Falls. Victoria-Weather’s was the only forecast to call for a cool down after the rain on Thursday, and it paid off, as the low on Thursday came late and dipped to 35. This bugs me, because I actually brought our low up when seeing that the meteorological consensus was that the front wouldn’t carry as much cold air behind it. This is why your mom tells you to believe in yourself. Even after all of that, however, VW had a much better forecast than everyone else.
Actuals: Wednesday – .08″ of rain High 71, Low 51
Thursday – .06″ of rain, High 59, Low 35

Grade: B

From the comments…

I have definitely been remiss in mentioning the coolest comment I think I’ve ever received. If you’ll recall, about a week and a half ago, we featured Tonga on our country profile. In response, Mr. ‘Ofa Fa’anunu responded in the comments, providing some details on the Tongan Meteorological Service:

Just like to add that all 6 of our meteorological stations are manual (operated by humans) and are located at the 6 airports in Tonga. 65% of our work is towards aviation and the rest to public forecasts, Marine forecasts and climate. The Tonga Met Service is also responsible for tsunami warnings and for Coast Radio Surveillance. Weather Observations and reporting in Tonga started in 1929 although data is only available from 1944. There 28 staff. 6 Forecasters, 3 Climate Officers, 6 Coast Radio Operators and 13 Meteorological Observers. The Head Office is located at Fua’amotu International Airport on the main island of Tongatapu.

(see http://www.met.gov.to for further information)

keep up good work!!
best regards
‘Ofa Fa’anunu
Director Tonga Met Services

That’s right. Mr. Fa’anunu is the director of the TMS! You can certainly take his words to heart. Recently, he was also elected Vice President of the WMO Southwest Pacific Region, so not only is he willing to share his knowledge with our website and you readers, he is well respected among the leaders of our meteorological community. Thank you for your contribution, Mr. Fa’anunu, and best wishes to Tonga!