Category Archives: Story

More treat than trick

I’m sure that having Halloween on a weekend only serves to gear kids up even more than a typical year would. Today, there were probably all manner of classroom parties, and through the weekend there were no doubt a last minute preparations to the costumes. This time of year, a look at the forecast is probably a good idea, just before those last alterations are made.
In 1991, when I was a wee lad of 8, I went trick or treating as a robot. A robot in snowpants. Minnesotans still talk about the great Halloween blizzard of 1991 in reverent tones. For someone my age, the snow was up to my knees by the time I went trick or treating, especially when we tried to cut through the snowbanks left by freshly shoveled walks. In the end, we got about 20 inches of snow in one pop from this system, the greatest single storm accumulation ever at Twin Cities International Airport. It was hard moving my little robot legs.
We had another problem 9 years after that. I was too old to go trick or treating, but I wanted to try to spook some kids that were still out. I got myself in a jacket and pulled it over my head, stuffed in available sleeve of opening with newspaper and sat next to a pumpkin. I was now some sort headless ghoul. I sat lifeless until trick or treaters came, and I spooked them. Good fun. Except it was 70 degrees outside, record warmth, and wearing a jacket and stuffing it with newspaper was dreadfully warm.
Fortunately, however, this year looks to have none of the same hindrances to a good time 1991 and 2000 featured, for most of the country. Expect temperatures to be seasonably cool nationwide, with scant precipitation, unless you know where to look. Where do you look? Interior New England could see a little rain or even snow in higher elevations, potentially melting any wicked witches. In the Pacific Northwest, a cold front crashing ashore could create a damp, dark environment appropriate for ghouls and goblins, but the rain may be coming down a little too hard in eastern Washington and Oregon or northern Idaho to make trick or treating very enjoyable for the kids (or the parents, for that matter) There is also a chance for a flurry in the Black Hills. Everyone else? Enjoy the night, as the weather looks good. Save a candy bar for me!
In case you were wondering, as the Victoria-Weather costume party, new guy Allan is going as a mountain climber, I will be a Line Echo Wave Pattern and Anthony? He’s Justin Bieber.

No pressure at all

Well, there is a little. The system continuing to develop over the northern Plains is going to continue to lose pressure to that it’s barometric reading will eventually be equivalent to that of a category 1 or 2 hurricane. Given the friction at the surface, wind speeds will be held in check, and 100mph winds will not be a possibility (unless some conditions come together over Lake Superior. This is a similar situation as the one that saw the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald), however remarkably gusty winds, on the order of 70mph in some areas of Minnesota, will certainly be a possibility.
There is another difference between a hurricane of this intensity and a storm moving through the Plains. Hurricanes are known as “warm-core” while this storm is “cold-core” which, for our purposes, means it is pulling in cold air from the northwest. A storm of this intensity will be pulling in some dramatically colder air into the western flank. There are actually blizzard warnings out for North Dakota thanks to the forecast winds and the likelihood of rain changing to snow with the introduction of the cold air.
Of course, with such a dramatic clashing of airmasses, there will be the threat for very strong thunderstorms on the other end of the storm. There is a high risk for severe weather along the storms cold front, with the high risk running from around Detroit to Evansville, Indiana. There have already been tornadoes reported embedded within a line racing through the Ohio Valley. Frankly though, tornadoes in a line like the one racing through the Ohio Valley aren’t really the big story, as the line will be so broad and far reaching that even those not in a tornado warning thould take shelter while the storm makes it’s way through your area.
I don’t know what to say for residents of North Dakota, though, except for that it might be all melted by the time Halloween rolls around.

Tornado strikes in Argentina

As we have tried to emphasize several times here Victoria-Weather, tornadoes can strike any continent, depending on where they have a properly dynamic clashing of airmasses. It so happens that the heart of the United States is the perfect combination of those cool, dry and warm, moist air masses. They do occur elsewhere, but are typically less dramatic.
One of those areas is central South America. Cooler, drier air comes off the Andes mountains, but the narrow continent means that there is a good supply of moisture to be had almost everywhere. A low moving up the eastern coast of South America allowed these airmasses to clash, and in one of the storms, a tornado developed near Pozo Del Tigre, in northern Argentina. Looking at pictures on Google Maps of Pozo del Tigre, it certainly doesn’t look like a particularly wealthy community, so the strength of the tornado probably wasn’t great, despite having killed 14 people. In this regard, we are lucky in the United States that our structures are more well built to withstand such potentially destructive weather.

Snow for Maine?

This is one of those times that I doubt the models. Well, I doubtED the models, but late day runs have come to believe what I believe. Upstate Maine is in for some snow tonight. Earlier model runs called for temperatures with lows in the upper 30s. As of right now, the GFS model is calling for a low of 32 in Caribou, Maine, which is, I think, more likely. Why? Well, take a look at the current observations for Southern Quebec and Maine.

Looking at the convergent winds, the front looks like it is along the Maine/New Brunswick border right now. Note how in eastern Maine, the temperatures have already dropped to below 40, and are at 37 in Quebec City. The back end of the low is still working with a lot of moisture, note the light rain north of Quebec. But it’s only 1030, so those temperatures will only be compelled to drop futher. If that moisture lingers, and Caribou (and Houlton, for that matter) see some clear skies soon to help temperatures drop more rapidly ahead of a trailing band of precip, they certainly could see some snow before sunrise tomorrow.

Beware the SuperTyphoon

Recent news from the Philippines is not good. Supertyphoon Megi plowed into the island nation and is poised to make a similar impact on China by Saturday. Given the enormous strength of the storm, the numbers are actually somewhat heartening, if still very sad. Megi has killed 19 and left a quarter of a million homeless. Expect the numbers to climb as reports continue to roll in, however when you realize how strong a typhoon must be to be considered a supertyphoon, you begin to realize how lucky the Philippines really are, if you want to say that.
Megi is among the strongest Pacific typhoons of all time, in terms of central pressure. To be classified as a supertyphoon, Megi needed sustained winds of at least 132mph, which would make it a strong category 4 hurricane. Megi’s highest speeds were estimated at 145mph for 10 minutes and 190mph for 1 minute. This is stronger than Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Andrew, which made their landfall in the United States, a nation with infinitely better infrastructure, but has caused fewer fatalities than both of them. The storm made it’s landfall on the most populous of the Philippine islands, though it did so in a part that was less populated than the rest. No matter what the explanation, Filipinos should count their blessings.

Introducing Allan Persons

I have exciting news on behalf of Victoria-Weather and The Weather Blog. Starting this Tuesday, Anthony and I will welcome a new writer to the fold, Allan Persons. He is a meteorologist like myself and Anthony, and like Anthony, he is a graduate of St. Cloud State University here in Minnesota.
Allan has a special interest in hiking and mountain climbing, having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania earlier this year. He will bring his expertise in that arena to his forecasts, which will focus on the needs of the every day outdoorsman.
So, please, welcome Allan to the fold, I have every confidence that he will do a great job!

What A Difference A Year Makes

Lately the country has been in an overall stagnant pattern, with much of the activity being deflected up into Canada as strong high pressure took hold over much of the Eastern and Central US. That’s given way over the last couple days as a cutoff low pressure system has been very slowly making its way over the Southern Plains to the Lower MS River Valley kicking up some thunderstorm activity over the region. Here in the Upper Midwest, we’ve been enjoying some very warm weather over the last few days. Yesterday, Minneapolis notched exactly 80 degrees, the 4th consecutive day we hit that here in the Twin Cities. What’s more impressive, is that our September only cracked 80 once (on the 20th). Last year, on this date, Minneapolis was experiencing it’s 1st significant snowfall of the season (2.5″) on the only day of the month where we didn’t make it to at least 40 degrees, topping out at a chilly 36. In fact, only 3 days in October 2009 did MSP hit 60 or higher. So, far, only 2 of the 12 days HAVEN’T hit 60 degrees. What will October 2011 bring for us? Hmmm, perhaps we should worry about the rest of this month first.

September Forecaster of the Month

It’s not often that we take a whopping 9 days to get into the forecaster of the month, but as they say, good things come to those who wait. Boy, has Accuweather waited a long time, since April. This is the first time since May that the Weather Channel didn’t win the award, and TWC ended up with a pretty bad month, truth be told. anyways, congrats to Accuweather, good effort and all that.

Making the Quota

Earlier this year, we had a couple of posts talking about the upcoming 2010 Hurricane Season, with predictions all over the place, covering 12-23 named storms (just a small range there). There have been plenty of strong hurricanes this season, with 5 major hurricanes on the tally so far. However, there have been a few storms that have left us scratching our heads, wondering what the NHC was thinking. Tropical Depression Two was active for about 24 hours before moving over land in northeastern Mexico, Tropical Depression Five meandered around the northeastern Golf of Mexico for a day or so as it meandered over land during then too before dissipating. Gaston developed into a tropical storm and dissipated all pretty much within a day. And most recently, in a very bizarre story, Tropical Storm Nicole apparently had tropical storm strength for all of FOUR HOURS before dissipating and getting absorbed into a larger system that’s dumping tons of rain on the East Coast. Seriously now, four HOURS? I didn’t know that was possible. Is this a season of odd timing and coincidences, or is the NHC trying to pad their stats? We’ll find out soon enough, only 2 months left to go in the season!