All posts by Anthony

2010 Hurricane Season Approaching

With Summer soon approaching, Mother Nature’s activity will be in full swing across the US. Blazing hot temperatures, ridiculous humidity, swaths of thunderstorms on a daily basis, severe weather outbreaks, and now… hurricanes! The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30 (The Eastern Pacific season is already underway, that one runs from May 15 – November 15), and pre-season forecasts are predicting an above average season. Dr William Gray, one of the leading hurricane season forecasters, and his team at Colorado State University are currently predicting 15 named storms, 8 becoming hurricanes, and 4 of those becoming major hurricanes (achieving Category 3, 4, or 5 intensity). Normally, the CSU team is relatively close in the grand scheme of things with their seasonal forecasts, and is hoping to redeem themselves after being off last year. Their 2009 forecast had numbers of 14, 7, 3 initially, but amended it downwards to 12, 6, 2 in April 2009; Even then it didn’t pan out too well when the season finished with a below-average 9, 3, 2. Given the historical accuracy of Gray’s forecasts, I’m apt to lean towards their predictions, as opposed to NOAA’s forecast put out just a couple of days ago, where they predict 14-23 named storms, 8-14 hurricanes, and 3-7 major hurricanes. 14-23 named storms?! Really?! Why don’t they just issue forecasts of “Sunny with high temperatures of 72-94 degrees” while they’re at it?

In any event, all it takes is one storm to cause countless damage to a populated area, or set a region back many years in infrastructure. Having lived in North Carolina from 1995-1997, and living through Hurricane’s Bertha and Fran I can be the first to tell you that these storms are no joke and should be prepared for carefully and seriously. But never fear, us here at Victoria Weather will keep you informed of any impending storms coming close to the US!

Jacksonville, North Carolina to Jackson, Mississippi

We travel from one namesake to another as we go off on a 2-day trip through the Deep South. Whoever could have sponsored this journey? Randy? Peter? Michael? Maybe we’ll find out at the finish of our 852 mile trip.

DAY ONE
We start off the trip on a cloudy note, as some east-northeasterly flow over the region continues to keep some patchy morning fog and low status clouds over the Carolinas. During the morning the clouds will lift up and the fog will dissipate, we don’t expect to see much sun throughout the day as broken clouds will linger throughout much of the region. Scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms will dot the region as well, which will also be aided by an area of low pressure that’s pushing closer to the Carolina coastline from the waters of the Atlantic. Expect thundershowers to be waning as we pull into Atlanta, GA for the night.

DAY TWO
It should be a somewhat less cloudy morning as we continue our westward trek, aided by a general high pressure and an upper ridge not to far off to the north. Breaks in the clouds for sun to sneak through will become more numerous as the morning progresses. However, it won’t be totally devoid of activity, as some afternoon showers and a few isolated thunderstorms are expected to pop up as we trek into through Alabama. It should be easier to dodge them today than yesterday, however, and be a fairly uneventful afternoon as we finish our drive into MS towards Jackson.

Delmarva Shower

High pressure to the north has kept a steady sort of onshore flow over the Mid-Atlantic states. Some afternoon instability had ignited some scattered showers near Dover. They missed on Saturday, but did drop about a tenth of an inch on Sunday as they had a few bouts of light sprinkles though. Temperatures overall were pretty steady, with the Weather Channel taking home the top spot.

Saturday: High 73, Low 60.
Sunday: 0.08″ of rain in periodic showers. High 69, Low 62.
Forecast grade: A

Little Rock, Arkansas

At 6:53PM EDT, the temperature at Little Rock, AR was 83 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. Today has been a relatively quiet day over the area as an area of low pressure lingers over the Central Plains. A stationary front extends eastward towards the Ohio Valley and trails a cold front down into the Central Plains, which is where the focus of more strong and severe thunderstorms have developed late this afternoon. This puts Little Rock is sort of a No Man’s Land as much of this energy has been riding up and around a ridge of high pressure that continues to camp out over the Southeastern U.S. Other than a deck of high clouds that are getting blown off the storms to the west, central Arkansas had a fairly pleasant, albeit humid, day today. Thursday looks to be nearly a repeat of today, with very little eastward progress of the cold front happening throughout the day. However, the ridge of high pressure will be breaking down tomorrow, allowing for the front to start shifting towards Little Rock in the late evening. While I’m tempted to hold off on the precip getting into the area until early Friday morning, some scattered activity could make it in during the late evening hours. Friday will be a far more soggy day, with the front sagging right over the region, and becoming a focus of showers and thunderstorms throughout the day, some becoming strong to severe at times. Not like the South needs any more severe weather after the last couple of weeks or anything.

Thursday: Dry for most of the day, but 20% chance of a thundershower late in the evening. High 86, Low 68.
Friday: Showers and thunderstorms expected, some possibly strong. High 78, Low 67.

TWC: Thursday: 20% chance of showers. High 87, Low 70.
Friday: 60% chance of storms. High 79, Low 68.

AW: Thursday: 80% chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 85, Low 70.
Friday: 60% chance of rain and thunderstorms through the day. High 80, Low 66.

NWS: Thursday: 20% chance of evening rain and/or thunderstorms. High 84, Low 70.
Friday: 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 79, Low 65.

WB: Thursday: 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 84, Low 70.
Friday: 40% chance of storms. High 80, Low 66.

We can see some impressive storms blow up off to the northwest and west of Little Rock, as evidenced by the popcorn like pops to some of those clouds, which are actually overshooting tops. Those occur when the updrafts in thunderstorms are so strong, they break into the stratosphere. In other words, those storms mean business.

Sunny Skies

With high pressure taking a strong hold over much of the Southeast to start the week off, the thunderstorms normally seen in abundance over the FL Peninsula have been taking a vacation. More specifically, that meant a couple of sunny and nearly cloudy free days for Port St. Lucie. Temperatures ticked upwards a couple of degrees Monday to Tuesday, with Weatherbug tying us here at Victoria Weather for the top spot.

Monday: High 84, Low 69.
Tuesday: High 87, Low 71.
Forecast grade: B

Omaha, Nebraska to Port St. Lucie, Florida

A 1552-mile trip from a land-locked state to the one with the 2nd most coastline in the country. Away we go!

DAY ONE
Well, it’s going to be a VERY interesting start to this trip. An area of low pressure is deepening and shifting into the Central Plains as Monday gets underway. Strong southerly flow out ahead of it combined with the increased pressure gradient will make for some very gusty southeast winds, to the tune of 30-40mph at times. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, a good swath of rain will push through Omaha during the morning hours. It’ll be a bit of slow going to start off the day as we push through the rain and the wind, but the most fun we’ll have during the day is outrunning the severe storms that are expected to develop over KS and OK before pushing eastward into MO. While we should be well ahead of the worst of the severe weather, there is still a decent chance of some strong thunderstorms out ahead of this activity during the afternoon hours as we push our way through central MO past St. Louis during the early evening hours. Better hope the windshield wipers are new, because they’re going to get a workout all the way to Mt. Vernon, our end to this rather ugly weather day. Or picturesque if you’re a family of storm chasers!

DAY TWO

Low pressure will have shifted towards the IA/MO border by the morning, with heavy rains shifting through central IL ahead of the frontal boundary. As we start our day heading towards southern IL and ultimately towards Nashville, it’ll be a slow beginning as the heavy rain and some thunderstorms shift through our path. Luckily, this won’t be too long lived as the front looks to shift off to the northeast by the late morning hours. We’re still going to be in the warm sector of these systems however, so with a good amount of instability in the region, scattered showers and storms will dot the TN Valley as we cruise through Nashville towards Chattanooga. Hopefully Nashville escapes these storms, as they’re still dealing with the devastating flooding that hit there last week. Storms should be on the downturn towards the evening hours, especially as we make our way past Atlanta and pull into Macon, the stop for Day Two.

DAY THREE

Finally! After two days of rather interesting weather, high pressure is controlling much of Florida and the Gulf Coast during midweek with a general east to west flow occurring over the state. There could be a couple of popcorn or seabreeze thundershowers over the central part of the FL Peninsula as we drive past Gainesville and Orlando during the afternoon and evening hours. A beautiful sunset should greet us upon our arrival into Port St. Lucie. With a couple extra days of good weather expected over the region, should be a great vacation for everybody along the sands of the Atlantic Ocean!

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Off to the Sunshine State today, where it looks like it should be in abundance to start the week!

At 653pm EDT, the temperature was 77 degrees under partly cloudy skies. Showers and thunderstorms were very much absent over the Florida Peninsula today, as a ridge of high pressure shifting over the region pretty much put the kibosh on any development. Not even the seabreeze, which almost acts like a mini-front and can ignite when the collide over the states’ interior, sparked anything today. Much of Florida will once again be under the influence of this high pressure for the next couple of days while a very large area of low pressure will make headlines in the central part of the country. Should the seabreeze kick up again during the next couple of days, any suspect storms should form off to the western half of the Peninsula, keeping Port St. Lucie on the dry side. Break out the sunscreen!

Monday: Mostly sunny, some afternoon clouds. High 83, Low 72.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 84, Low 70.

TWC: Monday: Sunny. High 83, Low 71.
Tuesday: Continued sunny. High 84, Low 74.

AW: Monday: Mostly sunny, breezy. High 81, Low 71.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy, continued breezy in afternoon. High 81, Low 69.

NWS: Monday: Mostly sunny. High 83, Low 74.
Tuesday: Sunny and windy. High 83, Low 71.

WB: Monday: Partly cloudy. High 82, Low 70.
Tuesday: Partly sunny. High 82, Low 71.

As you can see, no clouds of note to really speak of around the area, let alone precip. However, on a somewhat more interesting note, we can see the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream lift northward off the east side of the state and off towards the Carolina coastline. Behold the wonders of infrared technology!

Omaha, Nebraska

A forecast for the heartland of America. Will it be a lovely couple of days?

At 12:52 PM CDT, it was 50 degrees under mostly cloudy skies at Omaha. An area of high pressure is found off to the east of Omaha currently, keeping the weather today rather pleasant, with most of the clouds staying off to the east. Tonight into tomorrow morning should be fairly quiet as well as high pressure pushes off to the east. However, changes are in the air for the Central Plains the next couple of days! An area of low pressure will be developing over the Western U.S. tomorrow, deepening as Sunday continues. A strong southerly flow will kick up ahead of this system, increasing the clouds and also producing some rain showers throughout the region, but nothing that should be too terribly heavy. Southerly winds will continue to blow throughout the night into Monday morning, keeping temperatures a lil bit on the higher side at daybreak.  Low pressure will eject out into the Central Plains Monday morning, with rain spreading into Omaha during the morning as well. Some thunderstorms are possible with this initial surge as it pushes through, with some heavy rains possible. Since the low will pass either right overhead or slightly to the south, chances of severe thunderstorms will be on the low side for NE at this time, but far better for Kansas and farther southward. All told, it’s going to be a rather soggy start to the workweek for eastern Nebraska. Hope nobody gets a case of the Mondays!

Sunday: Cloudy, a few showers. High 60, Low 38.
Monday: Rain, possible thunderstorms. Windy most of the day. High 58, Low 48.

TWC: Sunday: 50% chance of rain showers. High 59, Low 39.
Monday: Rain and thunderstorms, windy as well. High 56, Low 47.

AW: Sunday: Cloudy with some rain showers, windy. High 59, Low 39.
Monday: Rain, possible thunderstorms. Over 1″ of rain possible. High 56, Low 45.

NWS: Sunday: 30% chance of showers. High 60, Low 35.
Monday: 70% chance of showers and thunderstorms. High 58, Low 44.

WB: Sunday: 30% chance of showers. High 60, Low 35.
Monday: Showers likely. High 58, Low 44.

Here the thicker low clouds are found off to the easy in Iowa, with some higher clouds farther south in OK and KS. By tomorrow, it’ll be far more cloudier over the fields of Nebraska.

Snowballs?… Snowballs?!!?

May is the time most people start to think of warm weather, sunshine, and the fun summer activities ahead. However, Mother Nature likes to sometime put a monkey wrench into our cheery outlooks. An area of low pressure is developing today over the Central Rockies and will push into the Central Plains by later this evening. A slew of moisture is streaming up from the Gulf ahead of it and will get wrapped around on the north side of it, and will result in some snowfall over the Northern Plains. In addition, as the low shifts eastward through Friday evening, another swath of snow looks to fall over northern MN and WI, with a couple inches possible. We’ve had a ludicrously warm spring we’ve had here in the Twin Cities, we haven’t had snow since February 23rd which led to our first ever snowless March and April on record, so this possible snowfall isn’t going to make people in Central MN and WI very pleased. Snowfall isn’t uncommon over the northern tier of states in early May, but after the warm spring this part of the country has had so far, it’s certainly not a welcome visitor.

Severe Season Is Upon Us

There isn’t any “official” start to the severe weather season, like the start of hurricane season is June 1, but it’s been a fairly quiet spring so far as far as severe weather outbreaks across the country. Outside of one outbreak over the Carolinas in late March, not much has happened. That changed in a hurry last week when many severe storms erupted ahead of a very strong occluded/cold front over the Southern Plains and Lower MS Valley over April 22-24. A couple days ahead of time the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a moderate risk for the region, and on the morning of April 24 the SPC issued a rare High Risk, the first one this year. This came to fruition when a supercell dropped a tornado in far northeastern LA then rolled into MS. By the time the tornado finally dissipated, it had tracked for an incredible 149+ miles, one of the longest on record. Sadly, 10 people perished from this storm in 3 separate cities as it inflicted EF4 damage in cities across the state. The NWS out of Jackson, MS has a nice write-up and summary of the outbreak. With another strong cold front looking to move through the Central US over the next couple of days, it always pays to be vigilant to weather forecasts and heed warnings when they are issued. We know it’s tempting to want to go outside and take pictures or even chase after these storms, but please leave that to the professionals and seek safe haven for yourself. While there are hundreds of storm chasers across the US documenting storms, relaying storm reports to the authorities, and hoping for each cell to drop a funnel cloud, they never want to hear about them hitting towns and causing fatalities, since human life is worth infinitely more than any picture is worth.