Category Archives: Story

Where will there be week one rain?

The NFL season starts in earnest tomorrow afternoon. What are the potential weather trouble spots? Here are a couple sites to keep an eye on. The good news is, there are only a few sites to really be wary of, particularly as it comes to rain and thunderstorms, as only a system swinging through Ontario will really bring inclement weather to any part of the country. Some games to take a look at if you want to see players fight the elements:
Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants (1pm)
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (1pm)
Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1pm)
Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles (4pm) – This game looks especially rainy
And then the Monday special, the Baltimore Ravens at the New York Jets late Monday.
Enjoy the season, and the rest o the country, enjoy the weather!

Tornado clips Dallas

From CNN, we get this video of a weak little tornado scooting through Dallas as Tropical Storm Hermine made her way through the city. On top of providing a lot of rain to the south central US, the rotation incumbent upon a tropical system often provides a few of these little tornadoes. This time, one happened to touch down in south Dallas. Fortunately, damage was kept to a minimum, and frankly, it looks like a lot of those cars didn’t even notice it was there. Still, a cool video.

Name Game

Well the ’10 Hurricane Season has picked up in a hurry the last couple of weeks with the conveyor belt of Danielle, Earl, Fiona, and the short-lived Gaston, and Hermine which is weakening over Texas currently. As per the typical 6-year cycle, the next name would be Ivan. However, since Ivan back in 2004 became the 10th most intense system ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin before smashing into Gulf Shores, AL as a Category 3, Ivan was retired and replaced with Igor. Somehow I think if Igor lurches along the coastline at 3mph, there’s going to be a lot of “Yes maaaaaaaaaaaster” jokes floating about.

Typically, tropical storm names are used that reflect the various parts the of the world they affect. Names in the Atlantic Basin borrow from Europe, North and Central America; Western Pacific typhoons borrow from Indonesia, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and so on. That being said, wouldn’t it be somewhat interesting if the NHC, in an attempt started dispersing names to the highest corporate bigger? Imagine “Hurricane Igor, sponsored by Target”, or “Tropical Storm Ralph Lauren”. Ridiculous I know, but how about they had to donate $1 million to affected regions should the storm make landfall somewhere as well? That would be some good press to have. There would have to be discretion though, as “Hurricane 2000 Flushes” would lead to incomplete weather reports across the nation, as anchors and forecasters would be too busy laughing to finish their segments. In the meantime, we await you Igor!

Earl and Forecaster of the Month

We’re doing a quick combo post. Let’s get the important information out of the way first: Tropical Storm Earl has weakened significantly from his peak, but will continue to slide past southern New England and may still bring very strong winds to the Cape area and the islands of Massachusetts. In fact, Martha’s Vineyard is reporting 31kt winds at this time (about 35mph). A bullet was dodged, in how much Earl weekend, but we’re not entirely out of the woods yet. By Saturday evening, however, it looks like Earl will by sidling into Nova Scotia, leaving the rest of the world to breath a sigh of relief.
Well, now that we have that out of the way, and Earl is heading for Canada, I can tell you who gained the top spot for the month of August. IT was, as it has been all year, The Weather Channel, though it came down to the final forecast. They wouldn’t have won the top spot had they not dominated the Des Moines forecast, so thank you Des Moines.

East Coast watching Earl


Hurricane Earl passed by Puerto Rico yesterday, remaining north of the island, but still making his presence felt. San Juan, on the north side of the island reported gusts as high as 40mph yesterday afternoon as Earl began veer off to the north, where he will strafe the Bahamas today.
Domestically, the concern is, of course, whether or not Earl will make land fall in the continental United States. At this time, it doesn’t appear he will make a direct landfall, but he will certainly come close enough to cause problems to the Outer Banks of North Carolina by Thursday, then more impactfully, from Long Island to Cape Cod on Friday. Winds of up to 60mph will be possible over eastern Long Island, perhaps slightly stronger by Nantucket, Martha’s Vinyard and Cape Cod Friday evening.
Last night, the forecast models took a giant step to the west with Earl’s plotted track. This morning, the track forecasts reverted to the east, which is great news for the east coast, even though it doesn’t get them fully out of the woods, and those 60mph winds are still possible. Expect the next update to the forecast track from the Hurricane center to take Earl further east, with a landfall near Halifax, Nova Scotia, rather than the southern end of the Province.
This isn’t a doom or gloom situation for the area, because Earl is moving very quickly, and only one bad day of miserable weather is expected for many sites along the east coast, and fortunately, there shouldn’t be a landfall with Earl as a major hurricane.

Everybody loves a parade

The beginning of September is the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic, and late August is the ramp up to it. Presently, as you can see by the satellite overlay seen above, we have a train of tropical systems lined up over the north Atlantic. Fortunately at this point, they all appear to have no interest in inflicting any damage upon the United States.
For systems that form as they are coming off the western shores of Africa, there is too much forcing to the north in most cases to the systems to be of major concern for US mainland interests. Hurricane Danielle will be entirely a fish storm (no direct land impact expected) while Tropical Storm Earl, soon to be a hurricane will pose some threat to the Northern Antilles, and may bring some destruction the way of Bermuda. The next wave, which will soon be Tropical Storm Fiona, is still a mystery, but if I had to guess at this point, she will likely follow the path of her older sister Danielle.
If ever there was a location you wanted a stagnant, training pattern, it was with tropical systems in the Atlantic. Thus far, 5 years after the hellacious 2005 season (this is the 5th anniversary of Katrina’s landfall) the United States has been blessed by a merciful Atlantic.

Video of a fire tornado in Brazil


That fairly nifty image (from Russia Today) is tornado borne of extremely hot air caused by the tornado. Dry weather in Sao Paulo (it hasn’t raised in about 3 months) as left the are extremely susceptible to wildfires, such as the one seen above.
These “fire tornadoes” are best explained by looking at the desert southwest in the summer. There is a seasonable area of low pressure called a “thermal low” caused by the extreme heat of mid summer in the desert that exists from about May to October. Imagine that with a stronger temperature gradient (with fire creating air temperatures of several hundred degrees) over a small area, and you get rapidly flowing wind towards the fire. Add to that that it was a gusty day, and voila, you end up with the fascinating scene you had in Sao Paulo, thanks to the area of localized low pressure which helped turn already gusty winds.

The New Tornado Alley

This year has been somewhat unusual. Thanks to a very stagnant pattern this summer across the United States, areas of low pressure have shown a tendency to track directly over the Northern Plains, but the systems have been unable to pull in a lot of cold air. This has meant an active year for the Dakotas and Minnesota, where the circulation of the lows has allowed for rotating thunderstorms which, of course, produce tornadoes. Since the area is staying hot in the absence of any cold air finding it’s way in behind the thunderstorms, it’s remained unstable, and tornadic thunderstorms quickly become a possibility again, week after week.
As it turns out, this has lead to an unusual happenstance. Minnesota has had more reports of tornadoes than any other state in the union so far in 2010. The thing that should be noted is that there will be another maximum for tornadoes in the fall down in Texas and Oklahoma, where their numbers will likely increase. Texas, for those that haven’t noticed, is a rather large state, and they will certainly match the numbers of Minnesota eventually, but it certainly is unusual that, at this point, such a northerly state has had some many reports.

I hope you aren’t relying on the SPC

As it turns out, the Storm Prediction Center’s website isn’t quite functioning correctly. Note the current warning map put forth by the National Weather Service.

The reddish area in southwestern Minnesota is a severe thunderstorm watch. If you look at the current watches page from the SPC, you see this:

If the issue was with the SPC itself, Scott Air Force Base would issue the various products put forth by the SPC, but the fact that they aren’t showing up at all suggests issues with the website instead. The good news is the information is getting out there, the watches are scrolling across TV screens in Minnesota and they are showing up on the NWS page. The issue is for hardcore meteorology enthusiasts like us who have the SPC pae bookmarked.

Heat Relief Imminent?

For the better part of the last 2 months, the Central and Southern U.S. has been sitting in Mother Nature’s pressure cooker. Seemingly endless streaks of Heat Advisories and Excessive Heat Warnings have plagued the country from Texas and Kansas eastward to portions of the Ohio Valley and the Deep South. My road trip to St. Louis last week was met with their first 100 degree reading in 2 years, along with a Heat Index well above 110, and topped it again the next day. They’ve also hit 98-100 degrees the last 5 days in a row. Up here in Minneapolis we just went through our longest heat wave of the summer, cracking 90 on 5 consecutive days and hitting our summer high of 96. Wichita, KS has been 100 or higher for 12 of the last 15 days including 3 days of 108 or higher. Tulsa, OK has seen the last 2 mornings in which the LOW temperature could only cool off to 84 degrees, only the 5th time on record that’s happened on consecutive days and should this mornings’ low of 86 hold up through midnight, it would mark the 2nd warmest low on record.
Thankfully, some relief is in the way for the start of next week. A large trough is looking to dig its way into the Central US and FINALLY give a bit of a reprieve to the region. Minneapolis could see high temperatures in the upper 70s for Monday and Tuesday, St. Louis looks to “chill” into the mid to upper-80s, and see humidity levels drop down to more tolerable levels as well across the region. Hopefully this will bring a bit of a break to people’s air conditioning bills, but enjoy it while it lasts since we’ll see some scorching temperatures yet this summer.