Category Archives: Story

Bret, a potential friend usher in a quick start to the topical season

June 1st was the official start of the north Atlantic hurricane season, but usually, the season really gets going in the late season. There are a few ways that we can get tropical cyclones to develop out in the Atlantic this time of year, however.

  1. They stay in the warmest waters, near the equator or
  2. They churn up in the Gulf of Mexico, aided by subtropical forces.

Well, here’s the way it looks tonight, according to the NHC satellite overlay.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 is the most immediate threat to the US mainland, and regardless of the associated winds and rotation with it, it will bring the potential for isolated tornadoes and copious rain along the Gulf Coast. Guidance at this point has the center of circulation making landfall within about 100 miles of Lake Charles, Louisiana, with some targeting Houston, and some pointed towards Lafayette. Here is a good average spaghetti plot.

The storm will nearly certainly strengthen, but fortunately, a hurricane is not expected from 3, which will likely end up being Cindy.

The greatest concern with this system is going to be the rainfall, particularly that falling on the eastern flank of the storm. Think places like New Orleans and east towards Pensacola. Flooding rains are likely.

Bret, by every definition, will be a stronger storm. It’s so strong it has no time for a second t. The greatest impact Bret will impart will be to northeastern Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, all coming as the storm passes overhead within the next few hours.

Despite the early orgnization and  name, Bret will likely not even match 3  in the early stages, at least in terms of intensity.

Bret will continue to move into warmer waters off the Central American coast, and will need to be monitored as June turns towards July.

The Tropics have picked up early this season, however the activity isn’t completely unusual, and hasn’t yet proven to be exceptionally dangerous compared to other weather that has impacted the region in the past. The best thing to do, as always, is to remain vigilant and continue to keep a close eye on the Caribbean.

Hurricane Season Teases

Hurricane season for the Atlantic basin started a couple weeks ago, and all-in-all, it looked like quiet days were expected. That’s exactly how it’s panned out so far, but it looked like something interesting was getting stirred up around the Yucatan Peninsula! The 00 and 06Z GFS model runs indicated a low pressure system spinning up in the Bay of Campeche in about 6-8 days and meandering its way towards the Texas/Mexico border. Something to keep an eye on!

Then… the 12Z and 18Z model runs came through. Expectations were had! Instead, almost nothing of note is found there anymore. A bit of a surface trough still lingers in the region with clusters of possible convection festering nearby, but nothing like the earlier runs indicating a B-named storm getting spun up. The only area of note is waaaay out in the Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands. Usually we don’t get too excited about storms that far out in June/July since the upper level patterns don’t typically favor development that far east. August/September is usually when we gander that far out. But until then, we’ll continue to wait.

Storms roll through the Twin Cities: VIDEO

A derecho plowed through the northern Plains and western Great Lakes today, taking aim at the Twin Cities metro area. As luck would have it, I had an appointment on the south side of Minneapolis this morning, so as my wife drove from the southern suburbs, I captured a few videos.
First, here we are driving north along I-35W in the south metro, looking at the looming storm to the west. Note the lightning already evident, along with a very ominous shade of green underneath the leading darker clouds. That green hue is owed to ice crystals in the clouds refracting sunlight as it filters through.

As we continue north, the leading gust front passed over us on 35 as we reached the Bloomington area. Keep in mind, as ominous as the clouds were, we actually ended up passing through one of the safer portions of the storm. Significant damage was seen in the north metro, and a copious amount of hail was received in the west metro, but we didn’t see either in our drive.

The storm was closing in! If nothing else, the system brought a whole lot of rain. Here, we continue through south Minneapolis, fully inundated by the storm. Nearly all traffic had pulled to the side of the road, but we pressed on.

The storm was a good example of a long-lived derecho event, starting in South Dakota and running all the way to northern Michigan by the end of the day, leaving a swath of damage along the way. Look at how nasty these videos look, and realize that we didn’t even get the worst of it, for the length of our 15 mile drive. This is the problem with derechoes: They cover a lot of ground and affect a lot more people than a typical supercell or squalls.
Still, it looked pretty cool, right?

May Forecaster of the Month

It felt like my forecasting presence was limited this month, but we actually had 12 forecasts for the Month of May. That is a pretty solid month’s work, so there is no doubt that our forecaster of the month earned their title, especially given how dominant they were. Accuweather crushed everyone on their way to the crown for he month of May, and secured a tie with Victoria-Weather for the annual total.

Hurricane Season Begins Anew

The start of June means two things. One, it’s the official start of Meteorological Summer! Astronomical Summer starts on the Summer Solstice, (June 21), but Meteorological Summer denotes the hottest 3 months of the year, June-August. Soon we’ll get to freak out about heat waves instead of blizzards!

Two, it’s the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season! It runs from June 1 – November 30th, but storms can develop and get a name outside of that time frame. We’ve already had one named storm back in mid-April, Arlene. It stayed a weak tropical storm and just kinda festered in the mid-Atlantic, doing a complete loop before fizzling out. The current projections for the 2017 Atlantic season have 14 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2-3 major hurricanes developing this season (the long-term averages are 12, 6, and 3). There’s nothing out on the horizon right now in the Atlantic, so we can expect a quiet start. The eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 – November 15, and has already seen a couple of named storms this season. In fact, Tropical Storm Beatriz made landfall earlier today over south-central Mexico, but was mainly *just* a rainfall nuisance. Hopefully the rest of the season will be just as quiet for beachfront communities!

Saturday’s severe arc

There was a moderate risk for severe weather, with the fear of some tornadic supercells showing up, particularly around southern Missouri. As it worked out, the tornado threat never emerged as a real tornado reality, with only 2 tornadoes really materializing through the day.

Looking at the severe reports, however, a clear pattern definitely developed. 

West of Missouri and Arkansas, there were initially supercells that, while the didn’t produce tornadoes, had the updraft strength to create very large hail. My cursory look through the storm reports notes there were some softball sized stones in Oklahoma. Then, there was the fan of severe wind reports, blossoming from Missouri east towards the southern Appalachians.

One can tell, just by looking at where the severe weather set up, and what kind of severe weather occurred, what the synoptic pattern looked like. Low pressure at the surface tracked from western Oklahoma to northern Missouri, with the warm sector of severe weather building through Texas and eastern Oklahoma. A warm front tracked from the Ozarks to north Georgia, and oscillated to the north, with bands of thunderstorms racing just to the north of the boundary.

There is still a severe threat this afternoon, but it is not a continuous swath as it was yesterday. Strong thunderstorms have already popped up in the Great Lakes, and the threat for severe storms will develop later today around the Texas.

Tornado drops in Ohio

Earlier this evening, a rogue cell ahead of a large swath of rain showers dropped a tornado east of Dayton, and moved back to the northwest (!) to the north of Dayton. We had thunderstorms in the forecast, but not tornadoes!

The cell didn’t look very impressive on radar.

The system featured quite a bit of rotation, and the center of low pressure was not far from Dayton, and there was enough shear to produce this one tornadic cell. Indeed, there was a tornado out of that little cell, and given its location near populated areas, it was captured on film. Here is a picture of it from WLWT


VIa WLWT and Jessica Dunn

Stronger cells and stronger tornadoes were also an issue from Georgia to the Carolinas, including this twister in North Carolina.

No changes coming

It’s been a chilly, rainy week across the middle of the country. It’s also been getting warmer and warmer out west as summer bears down on the Pacific Coast. I wanted to see if there is going to be a respite in the near future.

Well, no.

Most of the country will continue to be clobbered by rain as the upper level pattern remains relentless. There will continue to be areas of low pressure developing from the central and southern Plains to the southeast, asbroad upper level troughing simply refuses to leave. Towards the beginning of June, the stronger jet components will diminish, but troughing at the upper levels will continue.

Oh, and you know what upper level troughing means.

Cold, right in the middle of the country. And then, in the west it will remain warm, exasperating snow melt in that area. One area that benefits overall is the East Coast, which will enjoy southerly flow through most of the next two weeks.

Most of the country has too much water

Almost every region of the country has some sort of advisory for flooding, be it river flooding or flash flooding or something. 

Much f the country, particularly those parts in the Appalachians down towards the central Gulf Coast, and spots from the Ozarks to the western Great Lakes are all under flood advisories. These are all due to all the rain these areas have seen. Watch out along the coast, because this rain is still coming.

It looks pretty dry out west, doesn’t it? What’s going on there? Well, this is a carryover from a snowy winter, and now that spring temperatures are on the rise, there is rapid snow melt, leading to the engorging of mountain streams and rivers.

If you see a flooded roadway, especially one you aren’t otherwise familiar with, don’t try t traverse it. That is the deadliest mistake most often made in flood situations.