In like a Lion

Birmingham was getting ready for a line of thunderstorms as we put our forecast together last Wednesday. After the line went through, temperatures were cooler and it was dry to end February. Things took a turn on Friday, when the next round of wet weather moved into town. This round brought about .8″ of rain, a not insignificant amount, and certainly a bad sign for the weekend. If one believes in omens, this must also mean that the month of March will be out like a lamb in Birmingham, so that’s a good sign, right? Victoria-Weather easily won the forecast.
Actuals: Thursday: High 50, Low 37
Friday: .81″ of rain, High 51, Low 45

Grade: A-D

Huntsville, Alabama

Happy Sunday, thank you for joining us for our second Alabama forecast in a week. I think this might be less interesting than Birmingham a few days ago.

At 953PM, CT, Huntsville was reporting a temperature of 60 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. Dew points mirrored the temperature, and a bit of overcast and fog was settling in over the southern part of the state, likely to encroach on Huntsville overnight as well.
Parallel troughs are leading to deeply occluded surface low pressure, the first headed towards Hudson Bay, and a developing low along the lingering boundary over the central Plains. This feature is leading to the return flow and ambient moisture throughout Alabama. Monday will be a fairly humid da for early March. There will be a threat for a rogue sprinkle, but the real threat for rain is coming early on Tuesday. A vorticity maximum analyzed by most models is seen emerging around New Orleans and headed east through southern Alabama on Tuesday. This should limit the capacity for thunderstorms or particularly heavy rain in Huntsville, though the day is still liable to be fairly dreary.
Tomorrow – Fog early, then mostly cloudy with some isolated showers, High 75, Low 58
Tuesday – Scattered showers and overcast, High 66, Low 58

TWC: Tomorrow – Areas of patchy fog early. Mostly cloudy skies. High 75, Low 59
Tuesday – Showers and thundershowers in the morning, then cloudy with rain likely in the afternoon. High 66, Low 60

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy and very warm with a shower in places High 75, Low 57
Tuesday – Cloudy and not as warm with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm High 67, Low 58

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Partly sunny, High 74, Low 59
Tuesday – A chance of showers, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 7am High 69, Low 59

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy in the morning, then partly cloudy with a chance of showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, High 73, Low 59
Tuesday – Showers likely and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the morning then showers and a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, High 67, Low 58

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with scattered showers and isolated storms, High 74, Low 59
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy with showers and chance of storms, High 68, Low 59

CLI: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 73, Low 54
Tuesday – Drizzle, High 66, Low 55

I’m impressed by the outlets leaving rain out tomorrow. They could certainly be right, but I was too chicken to leave it fully out. I worry for Clime’s low temperature forecast. Check out the satellite, with fog really starting to slip into the bayous along the coast.

Soggy conditions for NorCal

Our forecast for Merced anticipated yet another round of wet weather coming into the West Coast. Unlike previous iterations of the relentless storms pounding the Pacific Coast this year, the emphasis of this storm was on the Sierra Nevada, where blizzard conditions shut down the region. Still, it was a healthy storm for Merced, where nearly an inch of rain fell in town on Friday. Despite all the headwinds against us as a community of forecast outlets (A large system moving into the west coast, with undulating terrain leading to unique microclimates), the numbers ended up pretty good for everyone, including a three way tie atop the leaderboard, from The Weather Channel, Weather Service and Weatherbug.
Actuals: Thursday – .02 inches of rain, High 66, Low 43
Friday – .97 inches of rain, high 59, Low 52

Grade: A – C

February Forecaster of the Month

We’re through the warmest meteorological summer in recorded history for a lot of the Great Lakes region and surrounding areas. Among the many challenges of historic weather is finding meteorologists with a willingness to stake their opinion on a forecast that hasn’t ever verified before. For this historic February to cap an historic winter, it was Accuweather that was able to brave the difficult forecasts, and was the forecaster of the month.

OutletForecast Wins (year)
The Weather Channel3.83
National Weather Service0.83

Birmingham, Alabama

Should we try to get kind of crazy today? Let’s try to get two forecasts in in one day!

At 1053AM, CT, Birmingham was reporting a temperature of 73 degrees with light rain. The rain was popping up on radar a few miles ahead of more significant weather. Thunderstorms will be moving into Birmingham within the hour, and are presently lined up from north of Warrior to north of Aliceville, and will bring primarily a threat of some gusty winds, rain and thunder.
A healthy cold pool will chase the front out of town, leaving a cool afternoon in northern Alabama, followed by a crisp morning tomorrow. The jet structure is bifurcated right now, so despite a strong ridge to the north, Texas will be a ripe environment for cyclogenesis late this week. A much weaker feature than either the storm that is going to sweep through momentarily, or the strong system preparing to slam the west coast will develop in Texas and slide into Alabama on Friday morning, bringing a few showers and storms to Alabama’s largest city.
Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and chilly, increasing clouds late, High 52, Low 37
Friday – Scattered showers, cloudy, High 52, Low 47

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy skies, slight chance of a rain shower, High 55, Low 36
Friday – Cloudy with periods of rain, high 54, Low 45

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy and cooler High 53, low 36
Friday – Periods of rain and a thunderstorm High 54, low 46

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 54, low 34
Friday – Showers and possibly a thunderstorm High 53, Low 45

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 55, Low 39
Friday – Showers, a slight chance of a thunderstorm in the morning, then a chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon, High 53, low 49

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly Cloudy, High 56, Low 35
Friday – Mostly cloudy with showers and chance of storms, High 53, Low 45

CLI: Tomorrow – Light rain showers, High 59, Low 33
Friday – Rain showers, High 56, Low 45

We see a lot of towns in Alabama, but we don’t often touch on Birmingham. While we are here, we are getting some active weather, though! Radar shows this line of thunderstorms on the door steps.


Merced, California

We’ve had a few western forecasts of late, but if there was ever a year to spend a lot of forecasting energy in California, it’s this year.

At 653AM, PT, Merced was reporting a temperature of 40 degrees with clear skies. It was a chilly start to the day that will ultimately stay fairly clear and cool. Clouds will increase late in the day, however and give rise to a much more interesting day tomorrow. Presently, Merced is between two strands of a strong jet; a broad trough to the south, allowing cooler air to the region, and a wavier northern jet, which is ridged at this time, leading to the clear conditions seen in town today.
Of course, with the waves, this means a trough is on its way shortly. Strong low pressure is tied to this wave, moving out of the Gulf of Alaska, and it is expected to retain some of that strength through the day tomorrow. A cold front will arrive in the afternoon tomorrow, starting at least 36 hours of rain, heavy at times in Merced, and vigorous snow in the mountains, with blizzard warnings already out for the Sierras. It will be quite cool for residents of Merced, and by the time the system gets out of the way on Sunday, a snowflake or two could reach the central Valley and hit Merced on Sunday.
Tomorrow – Increasing clouds, with rain in the afternoon, High 63, Low 43
Friday – Rain, heavy at times, High 59, Low 50

TWC: Tomorrow РPartly cloudy skies during the morning hours will give way to occasional showers in the afternoon. High 66, Low 45
Friday РShowers early becoming a steady light rain later in the day. High 59, Low 50

AW: Tomorrow – Some sun, then clouds with a shower late in the afternoon; significant snow expected in the mountains; travel will be dangerous, if not impossible east High 65, Low 44
Friday – Cloudy with showers High 62, Low 50

NWS: Tomorrow – Rain likely after 4pm. Increasing clouds, High 65, Low 43
Friday – Rain, High 60, Low 50

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny in the morning then partly sunny with a 50 percent chance of rain in the afternoon, High 65, Low 43
Friday – Rain, High 60, Low 50

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with light rain likely, High 64, Low 45
Friday – Mostly cloudy with rain, High 59, Low 51

CLI: Tomorrow – Light rain showers, High 64, Low 45
Friday – Light rain showers, High 63, Low 48

It’s going to be regular nasty, not just California nasty with this system. Accuweather kind of expanded the radius of where Merced is, but they aren’t wrong. It might be downright impassable late this week in the Sierras. But look how nice thing look right now!

A little of both

There was a little bit of a debate for the forecast for Ocean City. Would the system moving through be quick and usher in colder air? Would it be slow and let some light rain linger into the weekend? Most outlets kind of hedged. The clouds would linger, and the cold air wouldn’t arrive. Instead, there was light precipitation early Saturday morning AND the cold air came in. Victoria-Weather went the cold route along with Weatherbug, while Accuweather was the only outlet that had rain on Saturday’s forecast, and everything worked out to a three way tie, with all others several points off. I should note, this is the one rare site where I do not use an NWS observation point, because the nearest is Atlantic City, another site we might forecast for, so I used the nearest site available from
Actuals: Friday – .22 inches of rain, High 48, Low 41
Saturday – .07 inches of rain, High 46, Low 30

Grade: B-C

Spring severe weather is around the corner

I know we’ve already had some rough weather, and I also realize we haven’t seen much winter, but we are now only a few days away from March, and by this point, it’s certainly not out of the question to start bracing ourselves for severe weather outbreaks. In fact, we could see one as soon as this afternoon.

Low pressure is going to tap into the historically warm temperatures in the middle of the country, with an assist from the still seasonably strong jet flowing through the middle of the country. This is a classic comma style severe weather profile. The line from the Cincinnati area to Cape Girardeau of Enhanced Risk will likely include hail and gusty winds, while the bubble in Chicago and Milwaukee looks like a prime spot for a few tornadoes. All parts of the severe weather zone, however, will be poised to receive some of those three categories of severe weather, including some super cells in the southeast as storms develop, and some hail producers in Chicagoland.

As noted above ,the jet is still very strong, especially in the middle of the country.

The jet is a proxy for the temperature gradient at the surface, so the trough, a strong one, moving in from the west is containing the impetus for the storms coming today. The jet will sink a little further south, allowing more seasonable air into the middle of the country, at least for a day or two.

After today’s outbreak, don’t be surprised if we wind up with more again soon, after temperatures climb through the eastern third of the country over the weekend. The jet will still be strong and wavy, which will allow for the fluctuation in temperature and the strong spring storms to bridge those gaps. It’s not unusual to see strong storms this time of year, (though today’s are maybe a bit further north than normal), and they are on their way.

A beautiful bounce back

It’s good to be in San Diego. Just a statement for always, but also specifically now, where last week, weather bounced back pretty nicely after significant rain caused problems for most of Southern California early last week. It continued a trend of flooding rain across the region to start 2024. It wasn’t quite the issue to end last week. After a chilly beginning on Thursday, temperatures started climbing and the sun came out, preventing even wispy morning fog. The Weather Channel turned out the top forecast, narrowly edging their oppoinents.
Actuals: Thursday – High 63, Low 51
Friday – High 73, Low 51

Grade: A- C