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Ames, Iowa

There is a terrifying storm organizing in the southeast, prepared to move up the eastern Seaboard. We will discuss it throughout the next couple of days in the forum, so stop in for updates. Our forecast today takes us to a much more hospitable location. What do the next two days hold?

At 1053AM, CT, Ames was reporting a temperature of 17 degrees with mostly sunny skies. The area saw snow overnight and into the morning, and the band was still seen on radar, from Marshalltown to Des Moines and points southeastward, but safely out of Ames for the day.
Ames is within a sharp upper level trough, and at its base lies the crippling winter storm rising out of the Gulf of Mexico. Flow through the western leg of the trough is fairly weak, but a laminar jet leading into the trough is strong, giving rise to another clipper emerging out of the Canadian Rockies. It will sweep through the Upper Midwest overnight tonight sending a quick burst of cold air into Iowa, with the boundary stalling just south of town. This shouldn’t generate much if any snow in Ames, as most Gulf moisture is still being drawn towards the tremendous coastal winter storm, and temperatures are going to be near freezing. As noted, however, the boundary will stall in southern Iowa. As the more impressive system lifts northeast, the Gulf will open up, and the chances for snow will increase again over Iowa, however by this point, heavy precipitation is very unlikely.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 33, Low 15
Friday – Mostly cloudy with a stray flake possible early, High 17, Low 7

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly Sunny High 38, Low 15
Friday – AM Snow Showers High 22, Low 17

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy and windy High 36, Low 13
Friday – Colder with intervals of clouds and sunshine High 19, Low 3

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny (late snow), High 37, Low 17
Friday – Partly sunny (early snow) High 22, Low 12

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny (late snow) High 37, Low 17
Friday – Mostly cloudy in the morning then becoming mostly sunny. High 22, Low 16

WN: Tomorrow – Scattered Snow Showers High 37, Low 18
Friday – Partly Cloudy High 21, Low 16

I don’t think it will be too bad in Ames. The warm up is leading to model projections of a little bit of ice mixing in, but that is clearly not the common opinion among forecasters. Here is the radar showing snow skipping out of town.

Morgantown, West Virginia

Today we head off to West Virginia, to see what the city of Morgantown has in store for it. Can they finally evade a winter storm for once?!

At 1253am EST, the temperature at Morgantown, WV was 32 degrees under overcast skies. The Eastern US has been pummeled by storm after storm in the last couple of weeks, and the next couple of days won’t be any different. Another storm is looking to blow through the Mid-Atlantic, and Morgantown looks to be in line for a couple inches of snow as it shifts on through. Some higher amounts are expected further off to the east, over the mountains and also in the DC/Baltimore area. It’s going to be a quick-hitting storm though, as precip should wind down during midday and give people a chance to shovel out their driveways before the sun sets. Afterwards, it’ll be a relative calm Tuesday night and most of Wednesday as high pressure briefly moves through. There is a slight chance of some very light snow activity late Wednesday night into Thursday morning as a system passes off to the north, but shouldn’t lead to anything accumulating.

Tuesday: Morning snow, trailing off by 1pm. High 32, Low 19.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, some possible flurry activity in late evening. High 27, Low 15.

TWC: Tuesday: Snow showers, totals less than 1 inch. High 29, Low 21.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 29, Low 17.

AW: Tuesday: Colder, snow in the morning. Snowfall total of 1-2 inches. High 31, Low 20.
Wednesday: Clouds and sun with flurries. High 30, Low 16.

NWS: Tuesday: Snow, mainly before 2pm. 1-3 inches possible. High 30, Low 19.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 28, Low 14.

WB: Tuesday: Snow, 1-3 inches expected. High 29, Low 21.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 28, Low 15.

Here we see the precip starting to approach the Morgantown area. From IL to OH that’s snow, further south that’s rain. Gonna be a messy day!


Drizzle Levels Playing Field

Clouds and some light dizzle fell on Lawton midday Wednesday, keeping the temperatures in the mid 70s through the mid-afternoon hours. The clouds finally broke and allowed the temperature to spike up into the mid 80s before cooling off for the night. Thursday was largely uneventful, allowing temperatures to rocket up into the mid 90’s. This all lead to a 3-way tie between VW, NWS, and Weatherbug.

Wednesday: Trace of precip in midday drizzle. High 84, Low 67.
Thursday: High 94, Low 71.
Forecast Grade: B

Lawton, Oklahoma to Dayton, Ohio

Today, we undertake a 2-day, 940-mile trip through America’s Heartland. Let’s see what the rest of the workweek has in store for this trip!



It’ll be a quiet start to the day as we head northeast out of Lawton towards Oklahoma City. For most of the morning, it should be mostly sunny with just some high clouds when we make our way past Tulsa. As we make our way past Joplin and towards Springfield, we can expect it to cloud up a little more as a couple of scattered showers/thunderstorms develop along a weak boundary setting up from Kansas to Tennessee. We’ll eventually end our night in St. Louis after dodging a couple showers in the evening, but should be mainly dry.


A cloudy start is expected to the day as southerly flow continues over the Mid-MS Valley, with perhaps a few isolated showers lingering around from the previous night. Most of the activity from the developing system in the Central US will remain west of St. Louis through mid-day, giving us a bit of a break as we head eastward through southern Illinois and past Indianapolis. Conditions will continue to improve as we push eastward into western Ohio to finish our trip at Dayton!


Central Oklahoma under the gun again

As I’ve noted, we remain in a very active pattern for severe weather in the Plains thanks to a surface trough that keeps regenerating over the Plains. It has shifted slightly east, and a wave has developed along the leading cold frontal boundary to add a little bit of vorticity, rotational energy, to the Southern Plains. The SPC has responded by placing the moderate risk outlook area right over central Oklahoma. Perhaps more worrisome is that the outlook is particularly for strong tornadoes, as evidence by the hatched area on the map.
The energy instability brought about by the southerly flow and the deep trough will be tapped into by an advancing, slightly rotating air mass. This will probably be a long day for parts of Oklahoma far too soon, when emotions and nerves are still too frayed.

Billings, Montana

We’re off to Montana today, a location that doesn’t quite realize it is April.

At 253PM, MT, Billings was reporting a temperature of 21 degrees with snow and very low visibilities. A wave moving out of the northern Rockies was generating a deep area if low pressure. High pressure being drawn down the Rockies was providing enough cold air to provide the mid spring burst of winter weather.
The pattern for the next two days will be high amplitude as the deep trough swings through the Plains. A general ridge will move into reinforce the high pressure at the surface after the snow finally ends tomorrow morning. Expect somce breezy conditions and a fairly immediate cessation of snow showers across Billings by noon tomorrow, giving way to a chilly but dry Wednesday
Tomorrow – Snow early, then clearing, High 29, Low 14
Wednesday – Mostly sunny, and a bit warmer High 48, Low 18

TWC: Tomorrow – Mostly Cloudy (snow thru 4am) High 30, Low 15
Wednesday – Sunny High 45, Low 18

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy High 34, Low 15
Wednesday – Warmer with periods of clouds and sunshine High 53, Low 19

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of snow before noon. Mostly cloudy, High 33, Low 15
Wednesday – Mostly sunny, High 45, Low 18

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny. A 20 percent chance of snow in the morning. High 35, Low 14
Wednesday – Mostly sunny High 44, Low 19

It looks like things are looking up in Billings by mid week. How far up is the biggest question for them. Still a pretty messy radar.


Small Craft Advisories

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am in Baltimore for the weekend. Today, we took one of Baltimore’s famous water taxis through the Inner Harbor and out to Fells Point and Fort McHenry. One thing that I noticed via a subscription weather service was that much of the Chesapeake, including the Patapsco River, which we were following, was under a small craft advisory.
That led me to a simple question. What is a small craft advisory? What are the qualifications for it? It’s not something that we have to deal with in the Upper Midwest all that frequently, and it is result dependent rather than weather dependent. Here is what the NWS has to say about small craft advisories:
” An advisory issued by coastal and Great Lakes Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) for areas included in the Coastal Waters Forecast or Nearshore Marine Forecast (NSH) products. Thresholds governing the issuance of small craft advisories are specific to geographic areas. A Small Craft Advisory may also be issued when sea or lake ice exists that could be hazardous to small boats. There is no precise definition of a small craft. Any vessel that may be adversely affected by Small Craft Advisory criteria should be considered a small craft. Other considerations include the experience of the vessel operator, and the type, overall size, and sea worthiness of the vessel. There is no legal definition of “small craft”. The Small Craft Advisory is an advisory in Coastal Waters and Nearshore forecasts for sustained winds, frequent gusts, or sea/wave conditions, exceeding defined thresholds specific to geographic areas. A Small Craft Advisory may also be issued when sea or lake ice exists that could be hazardous to small boats.”

That’s a mouth full. Essentially, what they are saying is that it is that there are weather conditions that are potentially disruptive to seafaring craft, but only smaller boats. It leaves a lot to the listener to decide what action to take. Additionally, different parts of the country have different criteria for the issueance of sad advisories. In the east and around the Chesapeake, the advisories are as follows:
“Sustained winds or frequent gusts ranging between 25 and 33 knots (except 20 to 25 knots, lower threshold area dependent, to 33 knots for harbors, bays, etc.) and/or seas or waves 5 to 7 feet and greater, area dependent.”

Today in Baltimore, the wind thresholds were met, but the waves were not. I’m happy to report me, my family and girlfriend are safe and sound, despite traveling the high seas in the midst of the advisory.

Buffalo, New York

In the Twin Cities today, it was just so cold it kept snowing even with clear skies. In Buffalo, the snow is much more easily explained. And theirs accumulates.

At 429PM, ET, Buffalo was reporting a temperature of 28 degrees with snow. A series of weak waves was passing through the Great Lakes as a more general dome of Arctic high pressure has seeped into the eastern 2/3rds of the country, driving stronger systems away from most of the country.
One such weak clipper is moving into the western Great Lakes, inducing a southwesterly flow, which is bringing fairly heavy snow to Buffalo off of Lake Erie. This snow will continue through the night and most of the day tomorrow as the low moves into New England. Later in the day, winds will shift to northerly, and light snow will be the result of flow over Lake Ontario. The next wave will develop over the upper Midwest as the initial low moves to the Canadian Maritimes. This system will be even weaker, which means the threat for snow is lessened, as flow may not be enough to carry the moisture into town. Still, expect a few inches of accumulation in Buffalo between now and Saturday.
Tomorrow – Snow likely, especially in the morning, High 32, Low 24
Saturday – Lighter snow expected, but still possible, High 34, Low 26

TWC: Tomorrow – Few Snow Showers / Wind High 28, Low 24
Saturday – Flurries High 28, Low 26

AW: Tomorrow – Clouds breaking for some sun with a couple of snow showers; windy High 30, Low 23
Saturday – Times of clouds and sun (flurries snow) High 32, Low 25

NWS: Tomorrow – A chance of snow showers before 8am, then areas of snow showers and freezing drizzle. Partly sunny, High 31, Low 28
Saturday – A chance of snow showers and freezing drizzle, mainly before noon. Partly sunny High 30, Low 26

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers. High 32, Low 26
Saturday – Partly sunny with a slight chance of snow showers. High 30, Low 24

Hmm, the Weather Service is calling for freezing drizzle. Not buying it. Clouds are low in western New York, so it doesn’t look to impressive on radar, but it’s snowing to beat the band. Poor band.


Storm comes in warm

The weather news today has been about the foot of snow seen from Iowa to southern Wisconsin. That system started around the 4 Corners, though, and we dealt with it in our forecast for Farmington. The total snow in the area was cut into by the fact that it mixed with some rain as the storm moved through. Plenty of cold air came on late, however, as the low on Thursday morning was only 1 degree! Brrr! I forgot to enter Accuweather’s Thursday forecast, somehow, so of the outlets that I acted properly with, The Weather Channel had the top forecast.
Actuals: Wednesday – .16 inches of mixed precipitation, High 39, Low 15
Thursday – High 27, Low 1

Grade: C

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence is just waiting for Sandy, to see what she will do there. The heaviest impact will be south of Providence, but that doesn’t mean Rhode Island shouldn’t be concerned.

At 1251PM, ET, Providence was reporting a temperature of 55 degrees with overcast skies and a stiff northeast breeze gusting to 25mph. There was also rain being reported, though it was, at the time, fairly light. Rain and wind will continue to pick up through the day, but fortunately, Rhode Island should avoid the storm surge that will be a problem further to the west.
Winds and rain will be the greatest Monday evening as Sandy makes a dive towards New Jersey. The heaviest rain, again, will be well south of Rhode Island, but winds of up to 50mph are certainly not out of the question in Providence. Rain will be in the 1-3″ range through Tuesday, with Tuesday a much more tolerable day, as winds abate to the 30mph range.
Tomorrow – Heavy rain, strong, damaging winds, High 63, Low 51
Tuesday – Lighter rain, still breezy, high 69, Low 58

TWC: Tomorrow – Rain / Wind High 61, Low 51
Thursday – Showers / Wind High 65, Low 58

AW: Tomorrow – Heavy rain and strong winds from Hurricane Sandy; winds will be locally damaging High 63, Low 52
Thursday – Some rain and wind from Tropical Rainstorm Sandy; winds will be locally damaging High 67, Low 59

NWS: Tomorrow -Showers. Patchy fog High 60, Low 50
Thursday – Showers. Patchy fog before 10am. High 63, Low 55

WB: Tomorrow – Showers. Patchy fog High 60, Low 52
Thursday – Showers. Patchy fog. High 63, Low 55

The hurricane will be bad, but it won’t be terrible in Rhode Island I do enjoy The Weather Service and Weatherbug… masters of understatement. Can you find the hurricane?