Category Archives: Story

Eclipse forecast update

Tomorrow is a big day for weather people. Of course, we aren’t astronomers or anything like that, but what other day in our lifetime will the entire country be going outside to look to the sky, save, perhaps, for the 4th of July?

Anthony already touched upon the forecast for the eclipse, but I put together this map, with the modeled cloud cover, in which I crudely drew the path of the eclipse’s region of totality.

As you can see, the middle of the country looks to be the most suspect for being able to see the eclipse. Anywhere from Scottsbluff, Nebraska to Paducah, Kentucky might be problematic for eclipse enthusiasts. Through the Rockies and west to the Oregon Coast, if there is no fog, there should be good viewing, likewise for the stretch from Nashville to Charleston.

Of course, the entirety of the eclipse will last for 2 hours, so even in areas with the threat for clouds, there is a good chance for some peeks at this natural phenomenon in progress. And keep in mind, that even if you aren’t seeing a total eclipse, you will see most of an eclipse. Unless, of course, you live in the Upper Mississippi Valley or interior New England, in which case you may not be so lucky.

For those that can see it, enjoy it!

Total Eclipse Forecast First Look

Well, as you’ve no doubt have heard, the Great American Eclipse is just a few days away! On Monday, millions of people from Oregon to South Carolina will be looking skyward as the sun disappears for a couple of minutes in what could probably the most well-documented total eclipse in history. Outside of being summoned to a last minute jury duty, there isn’t much that could ruin this once-in-a-lifetime celestial event! That is unless… it’s CLOUDY. The horrors! Yours truly is going to take his chances and head down to Kansas City the night before and try and then trek just northeastward on Monday morning to get into the path of totality. But will the weather comply? Will I get to see the big event or will some midday clouds obscure it? Here’s an early peek at the GFS model for 1-4pm CDT on Monday

The Upper Midwest looks to be getting widespread rain showers and thunderstorms, so even though the path of totality is well south of there, it’s not optimistic that they’ll get to see any part of the eclipse at all. Afternoon thunderstorm activity developing in the Deep South and FL Peninsula could obscure their portions of the partial eclipse in those areas. In my planned area of attack, there’s some isolated shower activity possible, but as far as cloud cover goes, odds could be higher of some mid- to high-level clouds. Here’s hoping they clear out!

Keep an eye on AL99

Erica swept from Florida and northeast along the coast last week, bringing a tremendous amount of rain over Florida and up along the east coast. We are getting towards the active part of the hurricane, and it looked like there were a couple of features in Erica’s wake that bore watching. The first disturbance is wasting itself in the ITCZ off the South American Coast. The second, feature, presently out by Cabo Verde off the west coast of Africa, is a bit more interesting.

It’s still more than a week and a half from being of serious concern for the Continental US, but initial forecasts suggest that it is something that could have a direct impact on the US Mainland.

There is a lot of time between now and then. The furthest point on this spaghetti plot is 10 days out. The fact that this feature will track over a great deal of open ocean suggests plenty of time for intensification, and there is a definite chance we could be talking about a landfalling hurricane somewhere in Florida later this month.

July forecaster of the Month

It always seems like a slow month here, but once again, we pumped out 12 forecasts, which isn’t bad. Also not bad, the competition. There was a tie at the top, with a half a point separating those two from third place, The Weather Channel. It came down to the very end, but Victoria-Weather was able to catch up to the National Weather Service, and we will both end up having to share this trophy.

A dose of autumn in August

Usually in the summer, we see a lot of thunderstorm activity over the Plains, and the eastern Seaboard, but for the beginning of August, we can look forward to an alternative forecast, at least for a few days. The CPC is forecasting temperatures to be below normal, perhaps substantially so in the southern Plains

Don’t get too excited over this chilly spell, and for the time of year, it will be chilly, the forecast for the region for the month of August is for slightly warmer than normal temperatures. Given the fact that a big chunk of the middle of the country is going to experience a chill early in the month, you can only imagine what kind of a warm up the country is in for (relative to average) later in the month.

Snow in Wyoming?

If there was any snow in Wyoming yesterday into this morning, it would have fallen in the highest terrain, without any real observations. I haven’t seen any news reports about this snow as of yet, so it may not have verified, but it is still very unusual to even see a forecast for snow anywhere in the Lower 48 for July!

The system that would have brought the necessary moisture to the region has already shifted into the Plains.

Wet Wednesday

It’s been quite the busy day over the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains today, as a slew of activity has been centered around a stationary front found from the ND/SD border southeastward into northern IL. Earlier this morning, a cluster of cells emerged from Central/Eastern SD and barreled eastward over southern MN. It expanded into a rather violent MCS as it shifted into far northern IA and eventually into Northern IL, leaving a trail of wind damage in its wake as reports of 50-65mph were plentiful. Eventually the storm petered out some over northern IN, but a second line developed earlier this evening over southern MN into western WI. This line didn’t really become severe throughout the night, but the slow-moving, training motion of the storms dumped heavy here in the Southern Twin Cities metro area. Several reports of 1-2″/hr have come in, with storm totals of 3-5″ causing flooding issues here into western WI. Thursday should be a bit quieter around here, but the focus will shift eastward into the Central/Eastern Great Lakes region, which will be nice because we need to dry out some up here!

MLB’s commitment to safety

Two nights ago, thunderstorms moved into the Twin Cities as the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees were wrapping up the first game of their series. They got the game in safely, although with rain at the end. It was a good forecast, and everyone was happy. Except this one guy, who was transparently shilling for his event safety summit.

Kevin Kloesel is a very bright man, and is well versed in the science of meteorology, but in this regard, he stepped over the line. It is clearly part of a petty campaign because MLB is a large organization that does not participate in his particular event, but in truth, Major League Baseball takes every precaution when it comes to fan and player safety.

Full disclosure, I worked with a company that was contracted to provide weather information to the League and individually to several teams, all of whom took great care to be in constant communication with the meteorologist charged with providing excellent forecasts for a point and in the shortest of time frames.

Basically, MLB gets the best forecasts that are available from very good meteorologists. And while it is the umpires that make the decision, they are usually on the calls with meteorologists, if they are remote, or will converse face to face with meteorologists on the scene, which is the case in Minnesota, where the Twins have a meteorologist on staff.  I reached out to that meteorologist, and he confirmed that umpires were in constant contact with him throughout the day, and he confirmed that they had a window to finish the game, which they did, safely.

The problem I have, therefore, is with Kloesel’s assertion that MLB disregards public safety, when I can say, with certainty, that they do not. If he believes that they are putting people in danger, that is an implicit distrust in the forecasters who are on the scene, providing the forecasts. I’m not OK with that.

Just for fun, here is a tweet that Kloesel made this evening, a few minutes after the tarp was pulled on the Southside of Chicago.

I can confirm that the White Sox are among the teams that have meteorologists under contract. Kevin Kloesel’s zeal for his event safety seminars has missed its mark, and his opinions are clearly poorly researched, and his aggressive tweets have the effect of undermining good forecasters.

Fernanda Strolls Along

While the Atlantic Basin is pretty quiet as far as tropical systems go, the Eastern Pacific is seeing a powerful storm churn westward. Hurricane Fernanda is moseying along at 12mph just north of due west, and expected to go west-northwest over the next several days. Luckily for anybody really concerned, it doesn’t look like it’s going to affect land anytime soon as it’s still thousands of miles away from affecting Hawaii. Fernanda is a powerful yet compact Category 4 hurricane right now, with top sustained winds of 145mph. Hurricane winds only extend out about 30 miles from the eye, and tropical storm force winds another 40 miles past that. Some minor strengthening is possible today which could move it into Category 5 range, but the only thing it’ll be affecting is schools of fish. Here we see the very compact nature of this hurricane and its’ eye as well. Very picturesque, and luckily, very much benign to most of civilization.