Category Archives: Story

Wicked Weekend Winter Wonderland

As we head into mid-January, Old Man Winter usually grabs hold over much of the US. Arctic outbreaks, nasty blizzards, and sometimes crippling ice storms can hit the country. Thanks to a rather boring pattern, however, 2019 hasn’t been too bad. Here at Victoria Weather HQ, we’ve only gotten a trace of snow this month and looks to be dry for the next week, all this in a month where we average nearly a foot of snow. There’s a good snowstorm setting up for this weekend, but sadly it won’t be anywhere around here.

Low pressure is developing over the Southern Plains and thanks to a strong high pressure area sitting over the Northern US, this storm will move mainly due east over the next 48-72 hours. There’s enough cold air sitting over the Mid-MS River Valley that as it shifts towards the TN Valley by Saturday, snow will spread over KS into MO. A Winter Storm Warning is out for Central/Eastern MO, with St. Louis looking at 6-9″ from this storm by the time it winds down Saturday night. Meanwhile, here in the Twin Cities, dry conditions and temperatures in the mid 30s are expected through Monday. Come back snow! We miss you!

IBM introducing crucial weather technology

One of the biggest issues with meteorology and weather forecasting is the lack of information. It seems like you have be bombarded with weather on the 8s or storm updates, and that is certainly true, there simply isn’t enough tangible information for meteorologists the world over.

The information shortage doesn’t come from meteorologists to consumer, but rather in what is taken in through observations. There are vast tracts of the western United States where there simply aren’t any observation points, and the weather and model guidance has a big empty, which looms larger as forecasts are cobbled together.

Now take those issues in the United States and extrapolate those in other places, particularly well populated (though more diffusely so) places like Africa or Asia, where there are many people with many weather dependent industries (agriculture in particular)  that have much fewer observations, and as a result, less model or forecast reliability.

IBM is creating software to turn smartphones into their own observation points, specifically calculating barometric pressure innately. It will help not only get a picture of the current weather, but also twill provide needed intake guidance for modeling, which IBM, in conjunction with UCAR, will also undertake.

This will provide a challenge to the more traditional model system, in which models are run by intergovernmental services, but the scope and recent advances in computing power by IBM give this new initiative promise. The association with UCAR is encouraging as well, because it will have a good basis in science.

The increased technological reach is now going to be thoughtfully leveraged by a non-atmospheric science entity. It’s  definitely a positive look towards the future, when environmental concerns will likely need technological solutions.

Hectic weather paying dividends

It’s been pretty rainy along the west coast so far in 2019, with heavy snow in the western mountain ranges, from the Rockies to the Sierras. The heaviest round is likely to come Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and will overwhelm travel along the coast, and will perhaps lead to flash flooding and mudslides, especially in areas that have recently seen wildfires.

The payoff will come in the spring. In addition to the rain, which is already alleviating the persistent drought that has been seen in southern California, but the successive rounds of wet weather this month, and the forecast for a wet late winter suggest that the drought relief will be more widespread than just San Diego County. 

A huge part of the relief is going to come in spring when the mountain snows melt and fill rivers and streams that feed agriculture, particularly in California. 

These rain clouds are definitely the kind that come with a silver lining. 

Forecaster of the Year

We’re on to 2019, but there is one last bit of 2018’s business to consider: The forecaster of the year award! Some years, there is some competition as the year comes to a close, but 2018 was not one of them. Strong, steady work throughout the year meant that The Weather Channel locked things up for themselves back in autumn. Congratulations to The Weather Channel, and thank you for spending another year with Victoria-Weather!

Frigid Start to 2019

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you all enjoyed a great time bringing in the new year last night, whether it be at a crazy party or just laying low at home. To those who stumbled outside into the world this morning to get back home, like yours truly, you were met by something other than blinding sunlight… some bonechilling cold. Strong high pressure took over much of the Central US while a quick moving low pressure system shifted through the Northeast/New England last night, bringing plenty of rain to Times Square as the ball dropped. Much of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest saw sub-zero temperatures and wind chills that plunged well below -30, even to -50 in some spots! Right now, Sub-zero temperatures are found throughout the northern 2/3 of MN and far northern WI, with temperatures already down to -21 at Hibbing, MN. Single-digit temperatures are found all the way down to western KS with sub-zero temps found over eastern CO down into NM. Temperatures will be on the rebound by Thursday, but Wednesday morning will still bring a chill to the lungs as people head out for the 1st work day of the year

New Years Eve Weather Headaches

New Years Eve is upon us! As we get ready to celebrate various festivities to ring in 2019, no doubt people will be hitting the roads to get to parties or bars or wherever else they choose to enjoy watching the ball in Times Square drop. Will the weather cooperate in party-goers getting to their destination though?

There’s a significant low-pressure system developing over OK/TX and pushing into MO/AR by morning. It’s a fairly quick-moving system, shifting into S MI/IN by the mid-evening hours, trailing a cold front through the TN Valley to the MS River Delta which looks to kick up showers and thunderstorms over the Deep South. Some periods of heavy rain will shift through the OH Valley and Mid-Atlantic states, and into the Great Lakes late in the evening. By the time midnight rolls around, rain will be spreading into most of New England and could be fairly soggy in Times Square, so i hope NYE revelers will bring some raincoats and umbrella.

Over MN into the Dakotas and Central Rockies, a stripe of snow is expected to fall tomorrow, bringing 3-6″ in spots along with near whiteout conditions in the Eastern Dakotas/Western MN. Most of that activity should come to an end by the time midnight rolls around, but winds could still cause many issues on open country roads, so staying over at your party HQ would be a wise decision.

Twin Cities in for a messy day

It’s already started snowing across Minneapolis and St. Paul, with parts of the cities already reporting a few inches of accumulation. That doesn’t quite jive with the forecast accumulation graphic put together by the NWS.

Only 3 inches of snow for the Twin Cities? In fact, they will be extremely lucky to see that much snow by the time the storm is over. Take a look at the hourly precipitation forecast from the National Weather Service. 

As of writing, rain is right around the corner as warm air is sneaking north just west of the Twin Cities metro area. Rain will fall through the day on Thursday and cause the accumulated snow to melt. There is a very good threat for refreezing water on the roads by Friday morning after temperatures drop, and an additional inch or two of snow falls, giving Minnesota’s largest population center it’s only takeaway from the system.

That bright band northwest of Minneapolis isn’t going to be tempered by rain, however, and 10+ inches of accumulation are likely for central Minnesota. A drive northwest along I-94 will provide some interesting landscapes as 2018 winds to a close. 

East Coast Chaos?

Hope you have all your holiday shopping done with, or at least are close to it as we are just a week away from Christmas. This coming weekend promises to be one of the busiest of the year since Christmas Eve/Christmas are on Monday/Tuesday this year so everybody will be hitting the road and skies this weekend. Places in the East Coast though could see a storm system slow down their travels to grandmother’s house.

A mid-level disturbance is working through the Four Corners region right now, and will continue through the Southern Plains to the Gulf Coast. A strong trough is digging its way down over the Rockies and Plains Wednesday into Thursday, and as they link up over the Deep South Thursday into Friday, a powerful storm system looks to develop over the region. A strong cold front could swing through the FL Peninsula, bringing thunderstorms, some possibly severe. Plentiful rains look to spread up the Eastern Seaboard Friday into Saturday, which won’t help flooding issues after the soaking they got these last few days. Areas west of the Appalachians could see some significant snows as colder air gets sucked in on the backside of this season, but amounts and locations are hard to pin down currently. In any event, keep an eye on the forecast if you plan on traveling this weekend, and plan extra time to get to where you need to go.

Wet Week In Store

While the winter season usually brings thoughts of nothing but cold snaps and blizzards, storm systems can still bring plenty of rainfall during the month. An area of low pressure looks to push out over the Plains tomorrow and slowly push its way through the Southeast over the subsequent couple of days. No widespread severe weather is anticipated along the Gulf Coast or in the Southeast US, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a few scattered cells reached severe criteria. Places from the FL Panhandle to the Coastal Carolinas could be looking at 2-4 inches of rain by the time the system moves off the East Coast this weekend.

November forecaster of the month

November was particularly gloomy month. There was a barrage of wintry storms that battered the middle and eastern part of the country. There were devastating forest fires in the west and a subsequent soaker of a storm. The gloom was a little bit lighter for The Weather Channel, who coasted past everyone to claim the forecaster of the month title.