Weather Wayback…. Summer approaches

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Arkansas, especially in the spring and summer, I think a hot, sticky, verdant land, that is as physically beautiful as it is uncomfortable. Well, for a northerner, anyways. In the middle of May, at least in Jonesboro, it wasn’t quite that sultry. It helped that a cold front, beset with a great deal of spring rains, had just swept through the region, dropping a couple of inches of rain late in the week, leaving the weekend of the 13th and 14th much more tolerable. Temperatures were in the 70s and dew points were reasonable, sitting in the low 60s. It was Accuweather that claimed the top forecast, while there was a tight cluster just behind them, way back in mid-May.
Actuals: Saturday – May 13th – High 78, Low 55
Sunday – May 14th, High 80, Low 53

Grade: A-B

Wichita, Kansas to Kingston, New York

Today we embark on a 1,448-mile road trip from the heartland of the country into the scenic Northeast US. It’s starting to get to the point of year where leaves are changing a bit, will the weather cooperate with us so we can enjoy the scenery?

Aerial of the Downtown Skyline of Wichita, Kansas with the Arkansas River and the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in the Foreground

DAY ONE

We head northeastward out of Wichita towards Kansas City under partly cloudy skies. An area of low pressure is intensifying out over the Central Plains in western Nebraska/Kansas, causing a stronger southerly flow to develop over the region. It’ll be a bit breezy as we make our way into Missouri, but winds should settle down a bit as we head past Columbia and into St. Louis. High pressure found over the Eastern Great Lakes extends its reach down into the OH and TN Valleys, so conditions over southern IL will be mostly pleasant and make for an easy end to the day in Effingham, IL.

DAY TWO

High pressure continue to stand stout over the Eastern Great Lakes, which should make for a fairly quiet weather day today. We’ll head east out of Effingham through Indianapolis to Columbus and northeastward until we finish the day in Youngstown, OH, barely a stone’s throw from the PA border.

DAY THREE

Once again, high pressure is found over the area to start the day, but will break down some as the day progresses. Some scattered afternoon thunderstorms are expected to develop over Central PA, which could cause us to slow down a bit as we head eastward on I-80 through much of PA. Some lingering activity could still be found around Scranton by the late-afternoon hours, but activity should trail off the further east we push, and a somewhat quiet end to the trip is expected as we wind our way into Kingston, NY.

Sacramento, California

Today we take a trip to the West Coast where we visit the capital of the most populous state in the country. It’s been sweltering there lately, will they finally see a cooldown?

At 905pm PDT, the temperature at Sacramento, CA was 72 degrees under fair skies. The Western US has been baking lately as an upper ridge sat over the region, sending the area shooting well into the 100s. Luckily for them, an upper low shifted into the area and cooled down things a bit, relatively, and brought in some shower activity to the Central Valley as well. Thunderstorms in the San Antonio area the other night brought about some spectacular images. Over the next couple of days, this upper low will begin an eastward shift, moving over Central CA and eventually over NV before dissipating. With the focus of precip being off to the north and east of the area already, dry weather is expected over the next couple of days, and decreasing temps.

Wednesday: Clouds clearing by afternoon. High 82, Low 65.
Thursday: Mostly clear. High 80, Low 61.

TWC: Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 83, Low 64.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 81, Low 60.

AW: Wednesday: Periods of clouds and sun. High 82, Low 62.
Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 78, Low 59.

NWS: Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 84, Low 63.
Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 79, Low 60.

WB: Wednesday: Chance of morning storms. High 81, Low 65.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 77, Low 62.

WN: Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 84, Low 63.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 79, Low 61.

FIO: Wednesday: Clear throughout the day. High 84, Low 66.
Thursday: Partly cloudy starting overnight, continuing until afternoon. High 82, Low 61.

Here we see a healthy amount of cloud cover northeast of Sacramento, but it’s moving mainly away from the region as an upper low continues to sit offshore. This feature will move eastward over the next couple days, pushing precip off over the Great Basin.

Jonesboro, Arkansas to Gulfport, Mississippi

Let’s take a quick little jaunt southeast towards the Gulf Coast. Fortunately, it looks like we are safe from the specter of tropical storms for a while, at least, after a very rough stretch. Our drive will only be about 7 hours, covering 436 miles, and all of it will be on interstate, mostly through Mississippi. Memphis might slow us down, but traffic isn’t that bad in Mississippi. Maybe speed limits are lower, because out average pace will be 63.5mph.

 

The weather doesn’t actually get taken into consideration for our pace forecasts in the intro here, but it certainly will slow down. As Irma fades, she will rock back to the west. Rain will be falling over eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi in a steady, uninterrupted manner. We’ll need the wipers at least until Jackson, but potentially, there may be a stray shower all the way to Hattiesburg. The nature of tropical systems is that the wet weather will dry out very quickly, so Gulfport may have some high surf, but it will be sunny and warm when reach the coast.

Irma Takes Aim on Florida, Jose Brings Double Whammy

I’m sure you might be on a bit of Irma overload from this site and everywhere else out there, but this storm is truly a major news story and will cause billions upon billions of dollars in damage by the time the weekend is out. Irma underwent an Eyewall Replacement Cycle earlier this morning, temporarily weakening it down to 140mph winds, however, it’s gotten its act together over the last 3-6 hours and intensified back to a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 160mph. Right now, Irma is making yet another landfall as a Category 5 storm, this time over Central Cuba. Irma is expected to kind of ride along the coastline as it finally starts its’ shift to the northwest over the next 12-24 hours and eventually shift back out fully over water in the very warm waters of the Florida Straits. At that point, it will make a sharp turn towards the north and make landfall over far southern Florida, with the main area of impact now looking like it will be somewhere between Everglades City and Ft. Myers after it rolls over the Florida Keys. It’s expected to be a strong Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds around 140-160mph and gusts nearing 200mph in spots.

The entire southern half of Florida is under a Hurricane Warning, with the Northern FL Peninsula under a Hurricane Watch (which will no doubt be upgraded in due time as well), and Storm Surge Warnings are found everywhere from Tampa Bay around the peninsula to Melbourne. Another thing to take away from Irma is how WIDE it is. Of course the most wind-driven damage will be right in the powerful eyewall, but hurricane force winds stretch out 70-80 miles away from the eye. So while Miami/Ft. Lauderdale will escape the worst of it, they’ll still get hefty winds and some storm surge as well. Either way you slice it, South FL is going to get hit hard by a historically strong hurricane. Hopefully everybody who can has evacuated further north, or has boarded up as much as they can.

And as if that wasn’t enough Hurricane Jose is about to take aim on the Antigua/Barbuda area, which has already been devastated by Irma. Barbuda has been completely evacuated in advance of Jose, mainly because there’s almost nothing left on the island for residents to take shelter in. Hopefully it veers just off to the north so they can be spared the worst of a double hurricane whammy. With Irma at 160mph and Jose at 155mph, it’s a new record for strongest simultaneous hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. Certainly a season for the record books this season.

Lows Lead Forecasts Astray

The early morning showers dodged the area as expected in the Terre Haute area, and made for a dry couple of days. Low temperatures were a bit tricky, however, and made a couple of forecasts look a bit foolish. Those of us here at VW were fooled less than almost everybody else, as we tied with the Weather Channel for the victory.

Tuesday: High 74, Low 57.
Wednesday: High 68, Low 43.
Forecast Grade: B

Coming soon…

We have another hurricane headed our way this weekend, ready to take aim at Florida. While we cover that, here are a few of the forecasts that we will touch on as well

Manchester, New Hampshire

Anderson, South Carolina

Road Trip from Dothan, Alabama to Orlando, Florida

Hurricane Irma, and a brief note on forecaster of the month

At this point, it seems fairly likely that Hurricane Irma will make land fall in the United States. There is a chance that she will make first stop south of Homestead, Florida, near Key Largo before tracking up the coast towards Hilton Head along the Georgia South Carolina Border early next week. With a slight alteration to the track, especially if it follows this morning’s guidance, Irma will instead slide just off shore, maintaining some of her strength before slamming into the South Carolina coast between Hilton Head and Charleston. The Key Largo landfall scenario is the one put forth currently by the NHC.

Looking close, Irma is projected to make landfall near Key Largo by the Euro, and will slide just to the west of town, which is essentially a worst case scenario. Winds around the eye are the strongest in the front-right portion of the eye wall, relative to storm motion, which would be where Miami is, if Irma follows the Euro track. The GFS takes Irma just off the coast, which would be the best case for Miami and the coast of Florida, but might not be as good for the Carolina coast. A look at the spaghetti plot shows many of the tropical models side with the GFS.

To date, Irma has laid waste to low lying tropical islands like Barbuda and St. Martin. She will pass north of the Greater Antilles, which is great news for the populations there, but also means little threat of weakening. The Bahamas, one way or another, are in for some serious issues, ahead of the American impact.

Now, really quickly, I’ll just note that there was a tie at the top of the leaderboard in the month of August, with The Weather Channel finishing strong and drawing level with Accuweather.

 

Airing out

After a catastrophic week of rain in Houston from Hurricane Harvey, we’ve spent this week wondering how we can recover, and how we can help.  The good news was that Texas has been pretty dry lately. We’ve been keeping special tabs on Austin, which stayed away from some isolated thunderstorms in the area, but it was in the mid 90s both days of the weekend. It was hot, certainly, but as long as it’s not raining, I think Texans can accept that. The National Weather Service had the top forecast.
Actuals: Saturday – High 94, Low 69
Sunday – High 92, Low 70

Grade: A-C

Terre Haute, Indiana

While most of the country is keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma, and rightfully so, it’s still a few days away from possibly affecting mainland US. So in the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s happening in the Hoosier State.

At 1053pm EDT, the temperature at Terre Haute, IN was 76 degrees under overcast skies. It was quite the balmy day in Terre Haute today as it got into the 90s, but then the cold front finally swung through during the later evening hours, ushering in some much cooler air over the next couple of days. A decent line of thunderstorms worked its way through the area this evening as well, but luckily for Terre Haute they just missed off to the northeast. A couple of isolated showers are lingering behind the front but should avoid the Terre Haute area as they trek off towards the east-southeast. As high pressure builds in throughout the Midwest over the next couple days, rather cool and pleasant weather is anticipated over the region. Dry weather is expected to last throughout the week actually, so a nice start to Meteorological Fall looks to be in store!

Tuesday: Clouds decreasing through morning, mostly sunny by afternoon. High 75, Low 54.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 68, Low 47.

TWC: Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 76, Low 58.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 69, Low 47.

AW: Tuesday: Cooler with periods of sun, an isolated morning shower possible. High 76, Low 59.
Wednesday: Pleasantly cool with some sun. High 70, Low 47.

NWS: Tuesday: Slight chance of some early morning showers, then mostly sunny. High 74, Low 57.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 71, Low 49.

WB: Tuesday: Mostly sunny, chance of early morning storms. High 74, Low 58.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 67, Low 50.

WN: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 73, Low 59.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 72, Low 48.

FIO: Tuesday: Rain overnight, skies clearing by afternoon. High 73, Low 58.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy starting in the evening. High 68, Low 47.

A broken line of thunderstorms rumbled through the region earlier this evening as a cold front moved on through. The next few days will be much nicer however!

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