All posts by Anthony

Snow chills out forecast

When doing the forecast for La Crosse, it appeared that early morning snow showers would give way to rain during the afternoon as temperatures warmed up. They did switch over later on, but the temperatures never did warm up. A chilly high of 40 on Saturday destroyed most of the forecasts, with Weatherbug taking the top honors.

Friday: .12″ of rain. High 46, Low 36.
Saturday: .36″ of rain and melted precip (0.8″ of snow). High 40, Low 32.
Forecast Grade: C

Kansas City, Missouri to Corvallis, Oregon

Today we embark on a lengthy, 1873-mile road trip from Kansas City, Missouri to Corvallis, Oregon. One of my friends recently moved from Corvallis back to the Twin Cities, and is competing in the Boston Marathon. Will the weather along this route be as pleasant and it will be in the Northeast? Away we go!

DAY ONE

A large low pressure system will be shifting over the Western US over the next 24 hours, creating quite the unsettled weather pattern for our trek. A stationary front is expected to be parked north of Kansas City Monday morning, from Nebraska eastward to the Ohio Valley. It’ll probably be a cloudy start to the day as we head northward out of KC towards Nebraska City, then start heading west on I-80 once we make it to Lincoln. Once we make it to central Nebraska, the low pressure will stretch from Wyoming to western Kansas, and is expected to start kicking up heavier rain showers and thunderstorms over the High Plains. A wet and possibly stormy end to the day is on top as we pull into Sidney, Nebraska, our stop for the first night.

DAY TWO

Lingering rains are expected for the start of the day as we start off westward towards Wyoming. Low, gloomy clouds are anticipated with upslope flow over the High Plains, so we shouldn’t have to worry too much about the sun today. Precip will start to scatter out some as we pass Cheyenne and continue into the mountains of Southern WY, but with colder air being sucked in behind it, there’s a chance we could see some snow showers during portions of the afternoon as we chug past Reliance and Green River and continue into northern Utah. Our biggest worry is if the precip will be out of Utah before we get there, since we could possibly see some significant snow showers over the mountains east of Salt Lake City during the late afternoon/early evening hours. It looks like most of it should be dwindling down by that point, but will definitely have to keep and eye on it. We finish the day in Ogden, just north of Salt Lake City.

DAY THREE

A somewhat more pleasant start to this shorter day as we make our way northward out of Utah into southern Idaho. Clouds are still expected as the overall boundary continues to sit over the region, but should be dry during the morning hours. Another impulse of low pressure is pushing near the West Coast, and is expected to push moisture out ahead of it as we get onto I-86 in the southern valley of Idaho and continue towards Boise. A few light rain showers are possible as we continue northwestward, but should remain on the light side as we pass into Oregon and finish the day in Baker City.

DAY FOUR

As luck would have it, most of the precip with yesterday’s low pressure system will have passed east of us during the overnight, so while it’ll be yet another cloudy start, only a few lingering rain showers are expected as we continue along I-84 towards Portland. Clouds will clear out some as we push into the afternoon and as we turn southward out of Portland to Corvallis, the weather should be fairly pleasant and rain-free, a terrific end to our trip through the mountains!

La Crosse, Wisconsin

With flooding along the Mississippi a constant concern this time of year, Mother Natures is trying to throw one last shot of a wintry mix over the region. Just how much of it will hit this riverside city?

At 4:53PM CDT, the temperature in La Crosse, WI was 41 degrees under overcast skies. A strong area of low pressure over the Central Plains trails a cold front down into Texas, and is kicking up some rather nasty thunderstorms this afternoon, with a few reports of tornadoes already streaming in. An inverted trough off to the north of the low extends all the way up into the Western Dakotas, and is the focus of some heavier snows over the next couple of days. This low is expected to trek eastward towards St. Louis over the next 24-36 hours, then turn towards the northeast and beeline towards Michigan. A few light showers have pushed north of the system today over the Upper Midwest, but nothing heavy. All of the heavier precip is expected to linger over SD/NE tonight into tomorrow morning, but will start to pick up over southwestern WI Friday night into Saturday morning. Most of this is expected to be rain through the late evening and early overnight hours, but with temperatures dropping towards the freezing mark Saturday morning as colder air continues to get pulled in from the west, there’s a slight chance that some snow showers could mix in with the rain as daylight comes around Saturday morning. In any event, the snow won’t stick around for long if it does come to fruition, and change back over to lighter rain showers through Saturday afternoon, before drying out Saturday evening as the system pulls away. Some rain showers on Friday night could be moderate at times, and winds behind the system on Saturday could be quite blustery. In other words, certainly not a great way to kick off this weekend.

Friday: Few light rain showers early, returning late evening and increasing in intensity. High 51, Low 36.
Saturday: Rain showers through early morning, possibly mixing with a light snow shower, trailing off by late afternoon. High 48, Low 35.

TWC: Friday: Rain showers early, returning late. High 53, Low 38.
Saturday: Possible snow shower early, otherwise rain showers trailing off after noon. High 51, Low 36.

AW: Friday: Afternoon rain showers. High 47, Low 36.
Saturday: Morning rain, then cloudy, windy for afternoon. High 52, Low 35.

NWS: Friday: Rain showers in morning. High 52, Low 34.
Saturday: Rain in morning, increasing in afternoon. High 46, Low 35.

WB: Friday: Rain in afternoon/evening. High 50, Low 33.
Saturday: Possible rain/snow shower in morning, then rain in afternoon. Windy. High 45, Low 33.

A few bands of higher clouds are flowing over the Upper Midwest, despite a deck of overcast skies entrenched underneath. In the far lower left, you can see some of the intense thunderstorms over Nebraska and Kansas marked by the bubbly-looking nature of the cloud tops.

Tax Day Snowstorm?

There’s that dirty 4-letter S-word that almost NOBODY wants to hear at this point of the year. April is in full-swing. People have been tasting some morsels of warm weather. Severe weather has been breaking out in most of the Eastern half of the US over the last couple of weeks. However, the possibility of something sinister is creeping into the end of people’s 5-day forecasts over the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. That’s right, SNOW! A large system set to push over the Western US in the next couple of days then press onwards over the Plains. Colder air is expected to get pulled down over the northern tier of the Plains as the low draws up Gulf moisture late Wednesday into Thursday. As we push into Friday, this system has the chance to make a whole mess of things from the Eastern Dakotas to the Great Lakes. The GFS model has been fairly consistent over the last few days of producing a winter storm over the Northern Plains, wavering it slighting north and south from run to run. Granted, this is still 3-4 days out and once the system makes it onshore, we’ll be able to accumulate significantly more data and figure out what this all has in store for us. But, just for entertainment purposes, and also to make everybody from Sioux City to Mason City to Minneapolis to Green Bay FREAK OUT, here’s the computer output for snowfall from the noon run earlier today. So remember that shovel you packed away in the attic when it hit 80 degrees this weekend? Better track it down, just in case.

Libya

This week we investigate the climate and meteorological happenings of a country that’s been all over the news in the last month, Libya. The civil unrest there has been plastered all over the internet and news stations, but one thing you haven’t seen in all of those reports… is rain. Libya is over 90% desert, despite bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and holds a rather impressive distinction. On September 13, 1922, the temperature at Al ‘Aziziyah, a small town southwest of Tripoli in the far northwestern part of the country, reached a scorching 136deg F (57.8C), currently recognized as the official world record for hottest surface temperature ever recorded in a natural setting (although this record is not without controversy). Several years, or even decades in some cases, can pass without some areas of the Libyan Desert seeing precipitation. Without a doubt, Libya is one of the most arid countries on Earth.

The Libyan National Meteorological Centre is the nation’s governing body, but the site in non-operational. Hopefully the unrest there settles down soon.

Southeast Gets Rocked

Yesterday was a great setup for an outbreak of severe weather over the Southeast US. A strong cold front, coupled with plentiful moisture and a powerful jet stream in the region, made for multiple lines of severe thunderstorms rolling through the region. This threat had been well-advertised over the last few days, so nobody was REALLY surprised when long lines of powerful thunderstorms started traversing the area. However, what was extremely noticeable was the sheer number of severe reports that came into the NWS. There was a smattering of reports of tornadoes, mainly from Western Kentucky to southern Alabama, but the number of strong/damaging wind reports cracked the 1,000 mark! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that many reports in a single day. Sadly, a report out of Jackson, GA indicated that 2 children perished when a tree fell on a house. Also, 1 adult died (along with 2 additional injuries) near Gresston, GA when a mobile home was destroyed. In a more peculiar situation, a man in Kentucky was injured when he was struck by a tree branch while mowing his lawn. When there’s a severe storm drawing near, why would you still be outside, let alone mowing your lawn?! Check out this image of all the severe reports yesterday, each blue dot indicated a severe/damaging wind report.

Quite the Warmup

Most of the competition had Johnson City warming up a significant amount on Sunday after being caught in clouds and a couple light showers for Saturday. VW, however, had the biggest warmup out of anybody, which propelled us to victory yet again, despite our gamble of keeping the area try on Saturday. Darn morning showers.

Saturday: 0.02 in early morning rain showers. High 59, Low 36.
Sunday: Much warmer. High 74, Low 31.
Forecast Grade: B

April Fool’s Storm

The large storm delivered as promised over New England, dropping several inches of snow over the higher elevation mountains. In Worcester, they racked up almost 4 inches, followed by a calmer and drier (and warmer!) Saturday. A few rain showers fell on Saturday, to which everybody either called for flurries or nothing at all! Oops. After all was said and done, my forecast came through with top honors. Good way to kick off the month!

Friday: 3.8″ in snow (0.38″ of liquid precip, a perfect 10:1 ratio. Peculiar). High 38, Low 29.
Saturday: Trace of rain. High 47, Low 33.
Forecast grade: B

Lake Charles, Louisiana

We finish up the weekend wandering down towards the Gulf Coast where a very potent system is making its way eastward from the Central Plains. Will they manage to stay in the clear or kick off the week with some fireworks courtesy of Mother Nature?

At 7:53PM CDT, the temperature in Lake Charles is 76 degrees under overcast skies. A cold front that’s making its way through the Central US is kicking up severe weather from southern WI down to eastern KS. High pressure has been controlling the weather over the Gulf Coast and Southeast US over the last few days, but is shifting out over the Atlantic to make way for this potent cold front. For Monday, this strong trough will continue to dig eastward, and with strong flow associated with this system, along with shear in the upper levels, strong thunderstorms are very much a possibility during the afternoon hours. By evening, the cold front should blow through western LA and temperatures will plummet as Monday’s low will be non-standard. Tuesday will be a complete 180 from Monday’s possible wild ride, as high pressure builds in behind the strong cold front. Temperatures will be up to 10 degrees cooler, but bright sunny skies will greet us all day! So beware of some nasty weather tomorrow, but Tuesday, free and clear for all outdoor activities!

Monday: Scattered afternoon thunderstorms, some possibly severe. High 79, Low 53
Tuesday: Clear and sunny. High 70, Low 46.

TWC: Monday: Scattered strong thunderstorms. High 80, Low 57.
Tuesday: Sunny. High 71, Low 48.

AW: Monday: Windy with strong thunderstorms possible. High 74, Low 55.
Tuesday: Bright sunshine. High 77, Low 52.

NWS: Monday: Chance of thunderstorms. High 78, Low 45.
Tuesday: Sunny. High 69, Low 48.

WB: Monday: Chance of thunderstorms. High 79, Low 54.
Tuesday: Sunny. High 73, Low 47.

Obviously there is some discourse in what tomorrow’s low is going to be, should be a fun day to observe! Here we see the strong thunderstorms ongoing over Missouri and Kansas, with the Gulf Coast mostly clear. This action will be sliding southward tomorrow however.