All posts by Ryan

The Week Ahead 3/21/10-3/27/10

We will have a predilection with the southeast this week, as we spend three forecasts in Florida or Georgia. We’ll also have a few road trips crisscross the nation, and according to the blue line on the map, one trip that will take us right over the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday – Columbus, Georgia
Monday – Gainesville, Florida; Road Trip from Columbus to Gainesville
Wednesday – Santa Cruz, California; Road Trip from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Santa Cruz
Thursday – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Friday – Naples, Florida
Saturday – Road Trip from Naples to Beaumont, Texas

Hope you enjoyed it

Most of the country has been enjoying some great weather the past few days. There have been 60s and 70s across most of the country lately, melting the snow and thawing things out for a nation that has been cold and snowy for months. It’s been great.

As you can see by The Weather Channel’s temperature map, things are about to change for almost everyone. That’s a 30 degree drop on either side of the cold front from Chicago to Minneapolis, and 25 degrees as far south as Oklahoma City to Amarillo. Those of you that have enjoyed this Springtime resurgence, I’m sad to say we will be reverting to a bit of winter for a few days.

Richmond, Virginia

It’s a sad day in Richmond, where the hometown Richmond Spiders lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Bummer dudes.

At 1254AM, ET, Richmond was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 46 degrees. Richmond found itself between two systems, one a weak area of low pressure of the coast that was bringing rain and thunderstorms over the coast, and another, stronger developing low over the central plains that projected to develop further as it emerged into the Great Lakes.
The low off the coach will break apart as the jet shifts off the coast, however a sharp upper trough will emerge into the Great Lakes region to amplify the wet weather over the center of the country. In the next couple of days, the developing low over the Plains will begin to generate southerly flow for the Atlantic Coast, inevitably leading to a warming trend for Richmond.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 71, Low 42
Saturday – Sunny, High 73 Low 44

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny skies. High 75, Low 40
Saturday – Mainly sunny. High 79, Low 41

AW: Tomorrow – Warm with plenty of sunshine High 73, Low 39
Saturday – Mostly sunny and pleasantly warm High 75, Low 43

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 73, Low 42
Saturday – Sunny, High 76, low 43

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny. High 73, Low 42
Saturday – Sunny. High 76, Low 44

Apologies for this coming so late. I’ll try to do better tomorrow. Enjoy some satellite imagery of a quiet night in Richmond.

California Dreamin’

It wasn’t the best of forecasts in Fresno, bt you really couldn’t make any complaints about the weather. Temperatures hung out in the upper 70s with only a few passing clouds. The Weather Channel had a narrow victory overall, but there was a three way tie for last (though not too far behind) for Accuweather, the Weather Service and Weatherbug.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 78, Low 47
Wednesday – High 78, Low 49

Grade: B

Allentown, Pennsylvania to Montgomery, Alabama

Our late week drive is going to be a two day trip south to Alabama. It’s a 961 mile journey that we will cover at a rate of almost 63mph. We’ll net ourselves 503 miles on the first day and finish it off on day two. It looks like we will be having a pretty enjoyable drive, so let’s bundle up and head on out!

DAY ONE

Another area of low pressure is developing over the southeast, preparing to shift jut off the coast. We won’t see any rain or anything out of this system, but moisture wrapping around the circulation will likely interact with the Appalachians and produce some clouds almost as soon as we pass into Virginia. They will stay with us right on until we reach Bristol, along the Virginia/Tennessee line.

DAY TWO
As we sleep in Bristol, the low off the coast will pull away from the coast and allow some clearing to find it’s way into eastern Tennessee/western Virginia. Clouds will be reluctant to depart because of our position in the hill country, but as we hit flatter land south of Chattanooga, we’ll be able to enjoy some sunny, warm conditions. We’ll see them all the way to Montgomery.

Albania

Our trip around the world takes us to the Balkan Peninsula, not far from last week’s destination of Romania. Albania is to the north-northwest of Greece and across the Adriatic from Italy. Of all the countries we have looked at, Albania is the most similar to California. They are at a similar temperature, as the Pacific near California is cool for it’s latitude, while Adriatic is a bit warmer. Much like California, there is a coastal plain with highlands on the interior. The coast is fairly dry, then, with the higher elevation inland leading to rising air and a much wetter interior than what is seen on the coast. Also like California, Albania sees most it’s rain in the winter. Where it is wet, Albania is one of the wettest regions of the continent, but it’s position backing a large peninsula makes it one of the cooler Mediterranean climates out there.
The Hydrometeorological Institute of Albania is bureau affiliated with the World Meteorological Organization, however they do not have a website.

Fresno, California to Allentown, Pennsylvania

We’re looking right down the barrel of a daunting 6 day trip from the San Joaquin Valley to the Lehigh Valley that will cover 2823 miles. That last day will only be a few hours in the car, but the first 5 will cover 529 miles a day and we’ll put 66 miles behind us an hour It’s going to be a pretty extravagant trip, so lets get on the road before we change our mind.

DAY ONE

The good news is, our first day of travel will be uneventful. Driving from Fresno to anywhere almost always takes us through the desert, as it will on Wednesday. With an area of low pressure sliding into the northwest, high pressure wasn’t even in effect for the Mojave, so the drive to west of Ash Fork, Arizona, will be pretty boring, frankly.

DAY TWO
Our second day of travel will again be fairly dormant, headed from northern Arizona to northern New Mexico, and the city of Montoya. We’ll be able to traverse the extent of the mountains and get into some plains for our drive on Friday. Good for gas mileage, maybe not so good for scenery.

DAY THREE
A nice, Spring area of low pressure will be developing over the Northern Rockies by the time we hit Oklahoma on Friday. It will dangle a cold front into the High Plains by Friday afternoon and bear down on the state into the overnight. We won’t notice much change, aside from some warming temperatures and southerly wind during our travels, we won’t notice much change. While we spend the night in Adair, Oklahoma in the northeastern part of the state, we will likely notice the thunderstorms a bit more.

DAY FOUR
That darn cold front is going to set itself up right along I-44, which won’t e a problem for many people, except those taking I-44. That would be us, of course. Don’t be surprised to see showers and thunderstorms along the way from Adair into Missouri. The strongest storms and heaviest rain on Saturday will likely come between Sullivan and Saint Louis, Missouri. The final 2 1/2 or 3 hours across Illinois will be drier, and we’ll be out of all the rain by the time we reach Vandalia, Illinois. The destination will come a couple hours later in Terre Haute, Indiana.

DAY FIVE
For the most part, we will remain ahead of the system that will bisect the country on Sunday, evading a few prefrontal showers but likely having to deal with clouds the whole way. Showers will likely be at their most persistent from Terre Haute to Dayton, Ohio with lighter showers possible after that. The conclusion of our final full day will be on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the town of Breezewood.

DAY SIX
Finally, Monday we will have less than three hours to contend with the slick roadways of central and eastern Pennsylvania. And make no mistake, they will be wet. The system will finally catch up with us and begin to ascend to the north. The central circulation will be just east of Allentown, which means heavy rain will only get heavier as we head through the Appalachians into Allentown. The Lehigh Valley’s weather will be considerably wetter than that of the San Joaquin.

Unexpected sunshine

Sometimes when you check a verification, the forecast isn’t so good but you feel all right about that. Myrtle Beach is a perfect example. We all anticipated a cool beginning to the week in Myrtle Beach, but a healthy dose of sunshine warmed temperatures up, in some cases almost 10 degrees better than what had been in the forecast. The near 70 degree highs on Monday definitely threw a few people. in the end, the Weather Service had the best forecast, but I would venture to say the weather was even better than the forecasts.
Actuals: Sunday, High 63, Low 47
Monday – High 68, Low 46

Grade: C

The power of the sun

If you read the Columbus verification carefully, you’ll note that I mentioned that Friday’s high was 66. This took a dynamic system in the Gulf to import a boatload of warm air under a thick layer of clouds. Since the winds changed and they have remained cloudy, the Columbus area hasn’t reached 60 since. Much further to the northwest in Minneapolis (we cover Minneapolis like the Weather Channel covers Atlanta) the city that had been immersed in clouds broke out for most of the day. It was 65 in Minneapolis.
It’s not difficult meteorological theory to say that the sun makes things warmer, but through most of the winter at our latitude in northern Minnesota a clear sky wasn’t a guarantee of warmer air. Now with a better sun angle, no more snow pack and a lack of a bitter northerly wind, a sunny day can mean a spike in temperatures. I apologize to those in Columbus (and those in St. Louis who didn’t even see 50 on Sunday) for being cool and cloudy, but your plight helped illustrate a sure sign that Spring is on it’s way. And Spring IS on it’s way.

Midday thunder

I have been anticipating a rough forecast for somewhere for a while with the upper level low covering the eastern third of the country. There was too much room for a peek of sun to send temperatures skyrocketing, or the threat for constant rain to tamp temperatures down. For Columbus, it was a line of thunderstorms moving in on Friday before the heating of the day really got ramped up. All told, things weren’t as bad as they could have been, especially since V-W netted the victory.
Actuals: Friday – .59 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 66, Low 50
Saturday .04 inches of rain, High 54, Low 43

Grade: C