All posts by Anthony

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.

Latvia

Latvia is a small country in Eastern Europe, situated on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea and is 1 of 3 countries comprising the Baltic States (Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south are the other two). The Gulf of Riga juts into the midsection of the country on the north side as well, making for a significant marine influence on the nation. Despite its’ high latitude, nearly equivalent to that of Juneau, Alaska, it keeps a relatively mild climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream pushing into the North Atlantic, which keeps much of the European Continent on the warmer side during the winter months. Average temps in the winter are between 20-28 degrees and in the mid to upper 60s during the summer. Being near bodies of water such as that, cloudy and foggy days are fairly commonplace. 25-30″ of precipitation falls around the country annually, and topography is minimal across the nation, with the highest point only reaching 331 meters.
The Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Agency is the governing body for weather forecasts in Latvia.  The main site is in Latvian, but luckily there’s a small link in the upper right (EN) that translates it to English!  The main weather page has some links to see what the current conditions are for major cities around the country, as well as forecasts for the next couple of days. Just because it’s in English doesn’t mean you get to escape the Metric system, so brush up on your conversions so you don’t look stupid when you’re complaining about how crazy cold it is there in July when it says it’s 24 degrees.

The “Weather” Channel

The other day, The Weather Channel had a nice little clip talking about the New Madrid Fault Zone, which is an active earthquake zone in the Mid-Mississippi Valley region. Most of the earthquakes are too small to be felt, with perhaps 1 a year being noticeable to most people. Check out the video here: New Madrid Fault Zone.  Overall, it is pretty informative, a very large quake nowadays would devastate Memphis and cause damage to St. Louis, Evansville, Louisville, and even Cincinnati. The main reason an earthquake here would so damaging is because the ground under the region is mostly loose silt and soft earth, whereas a large earthquake in say, Los Angeles, would be less ranging b/c of the mountain ranges and mostly rocky base throughout the region. While a powerful earthquake, especially the ones of 1811-1812 that reversed the flow of the Mississippi for roughly 3 days and was even felt in New York City, is unlikely anytime soon, retrofitting buildings isn’t such a bad idea.

However, WTF does this have to do with weather!!?!  Last time I checked, there aren’t Earthquakes on the Eights or Seismic Stories on the programming, so why bother even reporting about this? Granted, more people probably know somebody who’s a meteorologist than seismologist or geologist, but for some reason being a meteorologist is layman’s terms for “all-knowing scientist”. While “The Geology Channel” doesn’t quite have that ring to it, perhaps TWC should stick to what’s going on above the ground rather than below it. Then again, if there’s anything going on in the Atlanta area, you wouldn’t be hearing about your own weather anyways.

Naples, Florida

At 12:53pm EDT, the temperature in Naples, Florida was 75 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. A lingering cold/stationary front that’s been found over the Florida Peninsula and along the Gulf Coast has slowly been weakening the last couple of days, but there will still be a decent amount of instability over the region. An ill-defined disturbance over the Lower MS Valley will slowly trek eastward through the Deep South over the next couple of days, enhancing some of the thunderstorm activity farther north over Florida. Tuesday should see a fair amount of activity over the northern 2/3rds of the state especially when the sea breezes converge over the interior part of the state, but Naples could see a few scattered showers still make it down their way. Wednesday sees that aforementioned area of low pressure become a bit better defined towards the Carolinas, giving them a good chance of some stronger thunderstorms during the day. A weak area of high pressure looks to build back over Florida and into the Central Gulf behind this system and keep southern Florida mostly on the dry side, but there will still be a few scattered showers popping up during the afternoon. Overall it should be a good couple of days for beach goers, but Tuesday will definitely be the day to keep an eye on the sky for more scattered activity.

Tuesday: 50% chance of scattered showers/thunderstorm. High 80, Low 62.
Wednesday. 20% chance of a scattered shower, maybe an isolated thunderstorm. High 79, Low 65.

TWC: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 80, Low 64.
Wednesday: 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms. High 77, Low 66.

AW: Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms. High 80, Low 61.
Wednesday: Isolated shower/thundershower possible. High 78, Low 65.

NWS: Tuesday: 20% chance of showers. High 79, Low 64.
Wednesday: 20% chance of showers. High 79, Low 65.

WB: Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. High 79, Low 64.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 79, Low 66.

Some moderate showers are found well off to the north of Naples and off over the Gulf. Some more of these might draw closer tomorrow.

Bridgeport, Connecticut

At 1:54pm EDT, the temperature at Bridgeport, CT was 58 degrees under fair skies. A strong cold front approaching from the west is going to bring some showers and thunderstorms to southern New England during the early morning hours on Friday. Most of the heavy stuff should have pushed off to the east by the time noon rolls around, but some lingering showers directly along the front could still threaten the region. By early evening though, the front will have blown through, with some spotty low clouds trailing behind it. A trough looks to swing through portions of the Northeast and New England on Saturday, but downslope winds should keep clouds at a minimum.

Friday: Morning rain/thunderstorms, drying out in afternoon. High 59, Low 43.
Saturday: Sunny, few clouds. High 58, Low 38.

TWC: Friday: Thunderstorms turning to showers. High 61, Low 48.
Saturday. Sunny and cooler. High 58, Low 40.

AW: Friday: AM rain, becoming cooler. High 58, Low 46.
Saturday: Partly sunny and breeze. High 59, Low 41.

NWS: Friday: Storms until noontime, then couple of showers before clearing. High 64, Low 46.
Saturday: Sunny and cooler. High 60, Low 40.

WB: Friday: 50% chance of rain. High 64, Low 46.
Saturday: Sunny. High 60, Low 40.

Here we see the cold front off to the west bearing down on New England. After it moves through, however, it should be a fairly enjoyable weekend!

Record Warmth

I mentioned in Salisbury‘s forecast that they had a chance at some record warmth for both days. Well, they tied it on Tuesday, the 88 matching what they got back in 1929. They nearly matched the feat on Wednesday as well, when they fell just 1 degree short of the record for that date. TWC narrowly edged out VicWx for the top spot, albeit everybody was a good amount off in the temperatures as it’s a little difficult to predict two straight days of near-record warmth.

Thursday: High 88 (T-1929 record), Low 56.
Friday: High 88, Low 67.

Forecast grade: D

Salisbury, Maryland to San Jose, California

For the 2nd straight time, we have a ridiculously long road trip to embark on, from sea to shining sea (so to speak). This one covers 2,959 miles. Hope you brought enough snacks.

DAY ONE
The high pressure ridge over the Eastern US will make for some near record warmth over the Northeast as we make out way past Baltimore and through Hagerstown, PA. Clouds will be on the increase as we make our way past Pittsburgh as low pressure over the Southern Great Lakes will push a vigorous cold front eastward. Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected over the Mid-MS Valley and into the Ohio Valley later in the day. Luckily, we’ll escape much of this activity until we make it to Cleveland, our 1st stop. Gusty winds are expected later on in the day as we make our way through the Appalachians. Some scattered showers are possible ahead of the front late in the evening, with some thunderstorms possible late at night as the front makes its way through OH.

DAY TWO
The cold front will be moving through Cleveland right around when we wake up, which could make for some interesting traffic as rain and some thunderstorms are expected during the morning rush hour. Once the front moves through, however, precip should trail off pretty quickly and gusty winds switch around from the northwest. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler today thanks to the new air mass spilling in from the Upper Midwest, and those gusty winds won’t be helping matters much either. In any event, rain showers should tail off by late morning as we make our way out of Indiana into northern Illinois. Quiet conditions should greet us for the rest of the day through Iowa City, IA, our stop for day 2.

DAY THREE
Alas, it’s a quiet day for us as we continue our tour of I-80. High pressure ridge has developed over the Central US as the lingering end of a cold/stationary front is found parked over the Dakotas. An area of low pressure attempts to weakly form along the front in the Northern Rockies, but will otherwise remain fairly benign. Some high clouds will greet us as we pull into Ogallala, NE for the end of the day.

DAY FOUR
An area of low pressure will develop over the High Central Plains during the day today as we’re making our way westward into southern Wyoming. The lingering cold/stationary front over the Northern Rockies will pretty much camp out where it is, however some increased shower activity will kick up over the Dakotas and northern WY. Some of these wandering showers might wet the windshield as we travel through southwestern WY, but will wind down during the late evening as the sun sets for the day. Some thickening clouds will be expected as we pull into Salt Lake City for the night.

DAY FIVE
An upper-level trough will be digging into the West Coast, spreading showers throughout the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. Luckily, most of these showers should stay off to the north of I-80 as we continue our westward push out of SLC and into the high deserts of northern NV. Sunglasses probably won’t be needed today as clouds will continue to stream over the region ahead of the advancing trough, but shower and isolated thunderstorm activity should be mainly found over Oregon and Idaho throughout the day. Conditions should be nice as we pull into Reno, NV, our stop for the day. We’re almost there!

DAY SIX
As broad low pressure continues to develop over the Northern Rockies into the Northern Plains, a cutoff area of low pressure will have swung well off the CA coastline before making an easterly turn towards Baja California. The main impulse of energy over the Pacific Northwest will shift into the Northern Rockies, and inbetween these 2 systems, a brief ridge of high pressure looks to develop over Central CA into Southwest OR. This couldn’t be timed any better, since it’ll keep the rest of our trip through the Rockies, through Sacramento, and into the Bay Area, finally arriving at our final destination! After two long trips like this, I think the family is going to not mind about those airline fees and just fly.

Sunshine State Holds True

The Gainesville forecast had plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. Some dense fog develops early Thursday morning and burned off shortly after sunrise, but kept morning low a couple degrees higher than most people had. All told, VicWx and TWC finished in a tie for 1st. AW didn’t live up to their moniker, once again, and brought up the rear. Apologies for the delay in the verification, there was a glitch in the system. No worries, it’s been fixed!

Thursday: High 84, Low 47.
Friday: High 85, Low 48.

Forecast Grade: A

Salisbury, Maryland

Our string of East Coast forecasts continues. This time we visit one of the hometowns of one of my friends, will she continue to experience the unseasonably warm weather they’ve been having there lately?

At 5:54PM EDT, the temperature was 79 degrees under fair skies. A few high clouds were found overhead as a frontal boundary over the Ohio Valley is lifting northward into the Great Lakes. Remember that large high pressure ridge over the eastern US that’s dominated the last few forecasts? Yup, it’ll keep things nice and toasty here too. The high today was 82 degrees, a new record high (old record: 80 in 1985). The next couple of days have an outside shot of cracking it as well, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it. Some fog is expected during the early morning hours Tuesday and burn off not too long after sunrise, but should keep temperatures a couple degrees higher for lows tonight. Otherwise a run at a possible record is in store tomorrow (88 in 1929), less so on Wednesday since the record is 89. If you’re wondering, the average high is about 64 degrees.

Tuesday: Some morning fog, few AM clouds, then sunny. High 84, Low 54.
Wednesday: Sunny. High 84, Low 59.

TWC: Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 82, Low 57.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 83, Low 62.

AW: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 82, Low 50.
Wednesday: Sunny. High 85, Low 58.

NWS: Tuesday: AM fog, afternoon sun. High 85, Low 51.
Wednesday: Sunny. High 85, Low 58.

WB: Tuesday: Sunny. High 83, Low 51.
Wednesday: Sunny. High 84, Low 58.

Some clouds off to the west will lift north into the Northeast for tomorrow. Meanwhile, all that nothingness over the Southeast will move over the Mid-Atlantic tomorrow.