Another Chantal to forget

Tropical Storm names recycle every 6 years, unless they are retired. The powers that be update their lists every once in a great while, but Chantal has been a part of the lists since 1983, a solid 36 years, and six total cycles. Once, in 1989, a Chantal emerged in the Gulf and began dissipating as she hit the Texas Coast. That was the last time we have seen a Chantal of any significance.

2003’s Chantal was as close as we’ve come to remembering any Chantals, with $5mm of damage to the coastline of Belize. All told, given the scope of damage a hurricane can introduce, that’s pretty much coming away Scot free.

But it’s still more than most Chantals can say, including the one that just formed in the way north Atlantic over the last 48 hours. Check out the current satellite imagery of the storm.

Not only is Chantal disorganized, but the closest island is Newfoundland. This Chantal is going to be just as uneventful as previous iterations.

After a busy couple of years, not only is Chantal harmlessly out to sea, she is also the first storm in months. Granted, we are approaching the peak of the season, but there isn’t any development looming quite yet. With any luck, this entire hurricane season is one big Chantal.

Colorado sees it’s largest hailstone ever

Last night, massive supercells cropped up in the eastern plains of Colorado. A few tornadoes were reported, though there isn’t much population to really see much of a threat. The hail was more widespread, however, and it was gigantic.

Take a look at the tweeted imge of Colorado’s new largest recorded ahi slone.

The crazy part is that pattern didn’t change much, if at all. Tennis balls fell on the same location the very next night!

Hail stones are caused by strong updrafts, which cause droplets to accrete more and more ice and causes it to become heavier and heavier. The hail stone falls to earth when its weight causes the downward gravitational force to exceed the updraft force. Storms in eastern Colorado have had such intense updrafts so as a half a pound of ice could be suspended. These storms were fueled by the clash of dry air from the west intersecting the heat and humidity in the High Plains.

You can read more about the hail at the Denver Post.

Some good news this summer

After several consecutive years of drier than normal conditions, and severe drought and water shortages across California, a robust winter and a long spring have nearly reversed the trend, save for a slightly dry patch over the San Diego area.

Additionally, it doesn’t appear as though the drought will return even late this summer. A break is just what all concerned parties need this summer. Hopefully, it will persist next year as well.

PDS Severe Thunderstorm watch issued for northern Kansas

A watch is issued when a dangerous situation is possible, but a PDS, or “particularly dangerous situation” watch indicates a level of certainty for high end severe weather that should give residents within the bounds of a watch pause. The SPC has issued a PDS Severe thunderstorm watch for Northern Kansas and parts of southern Nebraska, including Lincoln.

Usually, PDS watches are for tornadoes, when supercells are expected to produce large, long lived tornadoes. In the case of this severe watch, that massive line bearing down on Hill City, and ultimately posing a threat for Concordia before dawn, the ongoing threat will be extremely violent straight line winds.

The text of the watch includes a threat for winds of 85mph or greater, while there have already been reports of gusts to 80mph as the squall exited Colorado. This storm is going to rage overnight, which means it will likely take many people off guard. Unlike tornadoes which usually bring sirens, but ultimately pick and choose their way across the countryside, this storm will not trigger warning sirens in every county, despite the risks, and will likely impact more residents. The PDS attribution should make all emergency personnel in the area take notice and be ready to respond as necessary.

It’s going to be a noisy night.

Tropical season is underway in the Pacific

At the time of the GIF The Weather Channel tweeted out, Super Typhoon Lekima was a category 4 storm, doing a quick two-step around Tarama Island southwest of Okinawa. Lekima was one of two typhoons spinning in the region at the time, but fortunately, Lekima was ultimately the only one that made its way to the mainland, striking south of Shanghai.

Krosa ultimately flamed out, but Lekima did lead to 30 deaths, most of which came in a landslide in the populous and hilly Chinese coastal regions. The remnants of the storm are still moving up the coast, and though it no longer maintains the same levels of intensity, the heavy rains are going to continue to bring problems to many communities.

While Lekima was fierce and scarier still when in tandem with Krosa looming on the horizon, we are in a surprisingly calm period, given the time of the year. The Pacific is generally faster to start tropical season than the Atlantic (which remains remarkably dormant) but aside from Lekima and Krosa, there are no other named storms on the planet.

The Eastern Pacific looks next to give rise to another storm, as models seem to hint at something popping up in the next 10 days, but the Eastern Pacific is usually one of the safer places for tropical development, interception with land is rather difficult.

It’s still a month from the peak of the Atlantic season, and the Pacific Season can often come in waves, but through the middle of August, we look to be n a welcome pause this tropical season, especially in eastern China, where recovery is needed.

July Forecaster of the Month

Summer time in the forecasting world can be fairly sporadic, and won and lost on the margins, especially if you don’t take into account the tropical season, which has been, this year, fairly dormant. Those margins, though, can be pretty important, particularly in the energy sector, where temperature forecasting becomes crucial, and every degree matters. It may not seem as important to the lay person, but this win for Accuweather, is just as important as any other month.

OutletMonth wins
The Weather Channel0.75
National Weather Service0.33
OutletMonth winsyear wins
The Weather Channel0.7510.7
National Weather Service0.335.78

Barry looms over Louisiana

Barry formed sloppily over the northern Gulf of Mexico late in the week before he made landfall near Intracoastal City, in the south central part of the state. The forecast was for a weak hurricane, at some point, and it was, but Barry made his landfall as a tropical storm.

The traditional concerns with a hurricane – wind and storm surge, looked to be mitigated by the general disarray of the storm even as he approached the coast. Note that the center of the storm is actually on the far north side of this batch of clouds, taken on Friday.


There was no rain ahead of the storm either, but that has since changed. There is now a sizeable plume of heavy rain over eastern Louisiana, with more intense bands in central Mississippi.

Barry isn’t sluggish, like Harvey a couple years ago, nor does it possess an otherworldly amount of rainfall, and isn’t very blustery. In most years, Barry would pass through inconvenient but forgotten

This year, however, the Plains have been beset by a whole lot of rain after an active late spring snow season. The Mississippi River was already up as a result of the upstream backlog, and now, Barry’s downpours will overwork the lower River and Delta. Fortunatley, the storm surge was mild, and in better news, the city of New Orleans sounds confident of the changes they have made post-Katrina. Nevertherless, Barry will continue to provide a threat for flash flooding in low lying areas in tbe far southern part of the state. Of course, the entire area is a low lying area, so be vigilant if you are riding this out in the bayous.

A reminder: Thunderstorms are strong!

While strong synoptic scale systems, from Nor’Easters to Hurricanes are recognized for the sheer kinetic energy they possess over broad swaths of earth, it’s important to recognize that individual thunderstorms have an unbelievable amount of energy as well, and it’s all expressed faster and over a smaller area.

This video captures the flash flooding produced on Monday morning by a slow moving “every day” thunderstorm across the DC area. Even non-severe storms are capable of producing brisk winds, deadly lightning and as you can see, dangerous flash flooding, even if there aren’t any severe warnings (though this storm was waned for flash floods) and aen’t ultimately any severe reports.

June forecaster of the Month

For the first time as I can remember this year, an outlet thoroughly dominated the competition for a forecast period. The Weather Channel easily attained the top score this month, and they did it by winning or tying at the top spot on 4 of the month’s 6 rated forecasts. No stopping The Weather Channel, who now also takes the lead on forecasts wins for the year.

OutletMonth wins
The Weather Channel2.7
National Weather Service0.2
OutletMonth winsyear wins
The Weather Channel2.79.95
National Weather Service0.25.45

A hot weekend is on it’s way

Take a look at the high temperatures coming your way this weekend, middle America.

Now, this map, in my opinion, is a bit misleading, becaue we have been groomed tro believe that red is hot and yellow is merely warm. Look again, though, and see that yellow is 90. Triple digits will be possible as far north as central South Dakota tomorrow, even if the color scale is a touch muted.

This doesn’t take into account the humidity that will flow northward a long with the heat. Excessive Heat advisories are in place across the region this weekend, as far north as Minnesota thanks to heat indices expected to reach the 110s in some northern states. After a cool start, this will feel even hotter for local residents.