Category Archives: Story

The 2010 Forecaster of the Year!

With our verifications, we keep track of who had the best forecasts for the month, and then tally up the months for our individual forecasters. Typically, Victoria-Weather does well in these evaluations. We were the top forecaster for the month of December, and the 2nd best for the year in 2010. The award for forecaster of the year, however, goes someplace else. Congratulations to our 2010 Forecaster of the Year, The Weather Channel.

Thank you again for your readership in 2010, I can only hope that you continue to stay with us through 2011. Perhaps this year we will reclaim our throne as forecaster of the year!

When Snow is Relative

Minneapolis has the most snowfall before New Year’s since 1991. Central Park just got socked with their 4th largest single storm total in recorded history. Places in the Sierra Nevada have racked up over 10-15 FEET of snow over the last couple of weeks with intense storms hitting the West Coast. Today, however, the biggest weather story to a majority of my friends and family… was the ONE inch that Valencia, California received today.

Valencia is part of the Santa Clarita Valley, the furthest north valley before you hit the High Desert portion of the state, or the Central Valley. Just north of the Valley, the Grapevine is hit by a few good snowstorms, which is the high point of where Interstate 5 is as it connects the SCV to the Central Valley. However, snow levels rarely fall low enough for snow to make it to the valley floor, as it’s around 1300-1800 feet above sea level. Today’s upper level low pushing over the region dropped snow levels down all the way to 1500 feet, meaning some of my family and a slew of friends spammed their respective social networks with pictures of tiny snowmen, snow-covered lawns, snow angels on their sidewalks. While it wasn’t the first time it’s snowed there in forever, I saw it snow there once myself while living there, it was the first time in 22 years that they got a measureable snowfall. An awesome way for some lucky Californians to bring in the new year! In a related story, milk supplies are running low, bread is scarce, and gas is shooting up to $4 a gallon. Oh wait, that’s normal for them…

Note the palm tree trunk in the background. Happy 2011 everybody!

Every car in North Dakota involved in accident

Gigantaur, as I am now calling the system that has pushed out of the Rockies and into the central Plains, is bringing rain from the Twin Cities southward and even thunderstorms from western Kansas to the Texas Panhandle is decidedly Springlike for much of the country. One area of the country where blizzard like conditions still persist is in eastern North Dakota, where the slick roads and white out conditions are leading to road closures and, well, this, from KVLV:

The busy winter continues

Over the past couple of days when looking at forecasts, I have been surprised and a little excited at an upper level shortwave that was forecast to dig into the western US rapidly and plow into the center if the country. just the speed that the system was forecast to move really impressed me, especially the way it ate at what seemed like a solid ridge over the center of the country.
Well, the system is now in the Rockies, and there are winter weather warnings from Montana to the Mexican border, all in conjunction with this system. The strength and amount of air moved with this system will mean that Canadian air will find it’s way all the way to Las Vegas where they may actually see some snow flurries to cap off the end of the storm. More rain is coming to California, a place where they don’t need it, and feet of snow will fall to high elevations from the Rockies to the Sierras.
Of course, with all the cold air being sucked south into the Great Basin, on the eastern edge of the storm, you can only imagine the amount of unseasonably warm air filtering to the eastern two thirds of the country. The forecast for New Years Day in Pittsburgh, where they want to play outdoor hockey, is for highs in the 50s. In the Twin Cities, where they have seen a record month for December snow, they will see two days of rain.
The storm is an impressive one and will certainly make weather quite interesting for the next week or so, with wildly changing temperatures and precipitation of pretty much any type you can imagine. It will be fun. Stay tuned.

Massive blizzard heading up the eastern Seaboard

A strong system still gathering energy is off the Outer Banks of North Carolina right now, and is wrapping moisture into the Mid Atlantic. Heavy snow is just picking up from Philadelphia to Cape Cod, and has been coming south of there for a while now. The system has been expected to clip the Boston area for a while now, but in the past 48 hours, the models, accurately as it turns out, have been bringing the system west without bringing in too much warm air which may have turned precipitation to rain.
This is pretty much the worst case scenario. Winds will be hitting the 50-70kt range from Philadelphia to Boston for a stretch of the busiest travel times of the year, in addition to a foot to a foot and a half of snow in some locations. Expect to hear tales of woe for travelers stuck at the major airports this holiday season and treacherous roadways along the coast.
The winds associated with this storm recall blizzards on the Plains, but the heavy, wet snow is decidedly east coast. If there is any relief from the system, it is in the fact that the storm will move out of the area relatively quickly. Still, below is the HPC forecast map for 12″ or greater for the coming 24 hours. Be safe out there.

Merry Christmas to all!

Christmas is upon us! What does the holiday have in store for some more notable worldwide locations?

North Pole, Alaska – Very chilly, with partly cloudy skies. A high of -26!

Santa Claus, Indiana – Chance of flurries, with a high of 31

Christmas Island, Australia – Slight chance of thunderstorms with a high of 80

Rudolph, Ohio – Chance of snow, and a high of 29.

Bethlehem, Israel – Sunny, with a high of about 70 degrees.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

The Pineapple Express

Most of the country knows the Pineapple Express as a stoner movie starring Seth Rogen, but the meteorology community, as well as those in southern California understand the Pineapple Express to be something else. When the jet over the Pacific comes from near Hawaii (hence the pineapple) and is directed at the North American coast.
You can’t really call it the Pineapple Express without the jet being strong, and it’s strength is an important component in establishing a strong stationary or slow moving cold front along the jet. This boundary helps funnel moisture eastward from the warm waters off of Hawaii. The jagged mountains along the coast of the western US and Canada mean that when the Pineapple Express is active, the delivery point for the Express gets very, very wet.

The Express has been in full effect for a few days now, and will continue for a few more. Note the stationary front extending from a surface low over the Rockies. The low isn’t as impressive as the jet induced front. If there really is a surface low associated with this front, its the one over the Pacific, but the association at the surface just isn’t there. No matter, because this is the damage it has done up until this point:

In the Sierras of northern California, the snow was measured in feet. 9-13 feet. Areas in the foothills have received up to 10 inches of rain. The real startling rain total came in far southern California, where the LA Basin down to San Diego has seen 5 inches or more with the current episode of the Express. The good news is, the Express is getting derailed by some mid-Pacific ridging but that will stall the advance of the remnant moisture. So even though the Pineapple Express is nearly at it’s end, this is the forecast map of what can still be expected.

Potentially another 5 inches of rain or more through the 23rd. Watch out for mudslides!

Icy conditions blanket the country

Well, they do if you live east of the Rockies. Frost and freeze warnings are out through most of Florida, whereas further to the north, the temperatures are diving well below 0. The strong system that moved through the country over the weekend has brought south an enormous blob of Arctic air that was able to reach into the Caribbean. The dry conditions in association with the low have also led to clear skies over night, and the two factors are driving the temperatures down at night, even along the Gulf Coast. The Weather Channel has a map with the lows from this morning.

While the temperatures in the Upper Midwest are certainly the coldest, the most stunning are the 30s in Florida and 14 in Atlanta! The temperatures broke several low temperature records across the Southeast as the unusually strong system was able to drag all that cold air south.

Blizzard ravaging southern Minnesota

This was the image I got to look at when I woke up this morning in the Twin Cities metro. Snow continues to fall at an 1-2″ an hour rate over southern Minnesota, and snows are adding up to up to 11 inches, though the most recent measurements were given around 1015 this morning, and surely there are several locations with over a foot of snow. Adding to the misery, the winds are howling up to 35-40mph. Interstate 90 is closed across most of Minnesota, with the visibilities plummeting to 0, and triggering a ground stop at the airport in Minneapolis. Oh, and since I’ve been up, this is what that car looks like:

Unisys has ended the weather


This is the current surface map from Unisys. You’ll note the sharp clearing line south of about Philadelphia to Minneapolis, and then to Medford, Oregon. You’ll also note the distinct lack of isobars, meaning there shouldn’t be any wind anywhere, and no change in pressure, which makes sense with those two highs registering at 1037mb. Then there is the very long, rangy cold front through Florida that is, of course, not touching of any clouds for it’s length. Also, note the stationary front along the front range of the Rockies, which tells us two things. The mountains and the plains have different temperatures, and the mountains aren’t moving. So, legit analysis, I suppose.
Other than that, this seems like a pretty solid map.