Under the influence

Alberto was about parallel with Spartanburg when we compiled a forecast for the Carolina city on Tuesday, and the storm moved north towards the Great Lakes during the verification period. Over the course of that period, Alberto still exerted his influence along the Atlantic coast, training a great deal of rain fall, especially on the eastern exposures of the Appalachians. In Spartanburg, it rained about half an inch over the two day period, but more sun peeked between the clouds on Thursday to bring temperatures up a few degrees. The Weather Channel had a very good forecast and won the day.
Actuals: Wednesday – .28″ of the rain, High 82, Low 69
Thursday – .25″ of rain, High 86, Low 68

Grade: A-C

Rapid City, South Dakota

South Dakota may be contending with some rough weather before the night is through. But then what will come for the beginning of the weekend? That’s the mystery, isn’t it?

At 652PM, MT, Rapid City was reporting a temperature of 75 degrees with clear skies. Strong thunderstorms were erupting on a well defined warm front, running from south of Sheridan Wyoming to north of Mobridge. There was a severe thunderstorm likely producing large hail north of Hulett, in the far northeast corner of Wyoming. A short wave trough pivoting through the northern High Plains will initially bring a surge of clear, if hot and sticky air through overnight into the early afternoon tomorrow.
A cold front arriving on the area at the back end of the same system has the potential to touch off a few thunderstorms in and around the Rapid City area tomorrow evening, but the greater threat will be in the center of the state. Heavy rain and thunderstorms will press east through the Dakotas, while the Black Hills and Rapid City get an infusion of cooler, dryer air Friday night, leading to a quite pleasant day on Saturday.
Tomorrow – Warm and stuffy, with thunderstorms possible in the afternoon. High 85, Low 60
Saturday – Mostly sunny, much more pleasant. High 74, Low 52

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. High 87, Low 64
Saturday – Mainly sunny.  High 75, Low 54

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny; very warm High 86, Low 61
Saturday – Plenty of sun; breezy, pleasant High 74, Low 51

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny (late thunderstorms) High 87, Low 63
Saturday – Sunny, High 73, Low 53

WB: Tomorrow – Breezy, Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Some thunderstorms may be severe. High 82, Low 65
Saturday – Breezy. Mostly sunny. High 71, Low 53

WN: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with isolated storms, High 87, Low 63
Saturday – Mostly sunny, High 73, Low 53

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy until afternoon. High 85, Low 63
Saturday – Partly cloudy until morning and breezy in the morning. High 76, Low 56

That’s a pretty significant cool down for the weekend! Enjoy it, South Dakota. Here is the radar, showing the strong storm in northeast Wyoming.

Peoria, Illinois to Spartanburg, South Carolina

Are you ready to press for one long day of driving? That’s what we’re in for, headed southeast from northern Illinois to the upstate of South Carolina. The route will cover 739 miles at a pace of 65mph, slowed in large part to the course through Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, and Knoxville. There aren’t many stretches of unpopulated regions, and those stretches that are will be through the high terrain of the Smokey Mountains. We will have a travel companion – Tropical Storm Alberto. So let’s see if he will make the drive terribly uncomfortable.

When we get going, the center of whatever is left of Alberto will be centered near Evansville, Indiana, but will be fully dissipated into a system moving through the Plains. All that rain pulled in by Alberto needs to go somewhere, though, and without the organizing pull of a tropical feature, it will instead go everywhere. Scattered showers and storms are expected across the extend of our route, but the heaviest activity will be between Indianapolis and Louisville, thanks to the now diminished Alberto. There might be a few more robust downpours during the final stages of our trip, thanks to flow off the Atlantic attempting to climb the Smokey Mountains. You know, I said it was going to be a long drive, but all this rain is only going to make it seem longer. Hopefully there is a good time awaiting in Spartanburg.

Spartanburg, South Carolina

We head to Spartanburg during a sensitive time for the community. Area newspeople Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer were killed when reporting on the recent heavy rains in the area when a tree fell on the vehicle they were traveling in.  Hopefully, the families and the area can find comfort and healing.

At 835PM, ET, Spartanburg was reporting a temperature of 72 degrees with thunderstorms. Tropical Storm Alberto now lies centered over western Tennessee, and a feeding band of showers and storms is draped right over Spartanburg, though there was clearing as near as the Greenville area.
Alberto is going to continue to track mostly northward,  which will unfortunately leave the Carolina Upstate well within the intake track of the storm. A subtropical feature moving through the Plains will intercept Alberto around Michigan, but that will only work to enhance the moisture intake by Thursday evening. Expect rainy days and stormy nights for the next couple of days.
Wednesday – Scattered showers and storms, High 83, Low 71
Thursday – Scattered showers and storms, High 85, Low 70

TWC: Tomorrow – Scattered thunderstorms in the morning becoming more widespread in the afternoon. High 80, Low 69
Thursday – Scattered thunderstorms in the morning, then mainly cloudy during the afternoon with thunderstorms likely. High 84, Low 68

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, a couple of showers and a heavy thunderstorm, mainly later; humid Higgh 80, Low 70
Thursday – Cloudy most of the time, a couple of showers and a thunderstorm, mainly later; humid High 83, Low 69

NWS: Tomorrow – A chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 2pm and 3pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely after 3pm. Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, cloudy High 81, Low 71
Thursday – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 3pm. Mostly cloudy High 85, Low 70

WB: Tomorrow – Cloudy. Patchy fog in the morning. A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. High 79, Low 71
Thursday – Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. High 82, Low 71

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with light showers likely. High 81, Low 71
Thursday – Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms likely, High 85, Low 70

FIO: Tomorrow – Rain until morning, starting again overnight. High 82, Low 68
Thursday – Light rain starting in the morning, continuing until afternoon. High 82, Low 66

The weather looks rainy and stormy, I’m sorry to report. The region is under a flash flood watch because of the persistent rain, Take a look at the radar, and you can see that band of rain directly over Spartanburg.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Hope everybody had a pleasant Memorial Day today! Off to the Great Lakes to see how they’ll start off the shortened workweek.

At 1053pm EDT, the temperature at Grand Rapids, MI was 79 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. It was another scorcher today across the region with the high hitting 94 while other areas in the Upper Midwest hit the upper 90s to 100 in MSP. High pressure sitting over southern Hudson Bay nosed over the Great Lakes, keeping the region dry for much of the day before activity ignited over MN/WI, but kept Lower MI dry. This area of high pressure is going to shift off over Quebec tomorrow, allowing the area of low pressure sitting over the Dakotas to push eastward, kicking up the moisture over the region. While the Grand Rapids area should avoid much of the convection expected to ignite off over WI and over northern IN/OH. Wednesday will see a much higher chance of rain moving into the area, but that has little to do with low pressure from the west. In fact, it has more to do with low pressure lifting up from the south, the remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto! Alberto’s remnant low looks to lift north along the MS River throughout the day tomorrow before moving over the Great Lakes late Wednesday, bringing widespread rain showers with it.

Tuesday: Increasing clouds during the afternoon. High 91, Low 67.
Wednesday: Rain showers becoming more widespread throughout the day. High 84, Low 66.

TWC: Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 92, Low 68.
Wednesday: Afternoon thunderstorms. High 87, Low 68.

AW: Tuesday: Mostly sunny, hot. High 91, Low 68.
Wednesday: Cloudy, not as humid, couple of evening showers. High 83, Low 69.

NWS: Tuesday: Mostly sunny then scattered thunderstorms. High 92, Low 68.
Wednesday: Chance of showers then showers likely. High 82, Low 68.

WB: Tuesday: Chance of thunderstorms. High 89, Low 68.
Wednesday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. High 82, Low 69.

WN: Tuesday: Site down.
Wednesday: Site down.

FIO: Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 87, Low 67.
Wednesday: Rain starting in afternoon. High 79, Low 65.

The weather over Lower Michigan is pretty quiet tonight, however we can see the clusters of thunderstorms popping off over MN and WI. Conditions will slowly become more active over the next couple of days.

An update Alberto update

The model tracks are beginning to reach a consensus on the coming course of Tropical — sorry, SUBtropical — Storm Alberto. The timing and intensity still look to be in line – arriving late Monday, and bringing with it more rain than anything, as it won’t strengthen past “modest tropical storm” intensity.

The trac has been refined, with landfall now expected to be in the Destin, Florida area. Fortunately, and despite States of Emergency from Mississippi to the Florida Panhandle, Alberto looks like a storm that will come and go fairly quickly. Tropical Storms possess many dangers, much like Alberto will, but this isn’t the type of storm that is going to require an evacuation or anything like that. Stay indoors and venture out only if absolutely necessary.

One interesting thing about the storm is what he will do after making landfall. I’ve noted that Alberto is going to continue moving fairly quickly after landfalling. Usually, this means a curl back to the east, but in this instance, Alberto is forecast to move due north before merging with a subtropical wave over Michigan by Thursday morning. Not very often you get tropical features in the Great Lakes!

Peak heat for Sunday

There is a heat wave gripping the eastern two thirds of the country. Given that the 90s are going to last for most everywhere east of the Rockies through Memorial Day, we can accurately call it a heat wave. It will break by Tuesday, thanks to an advancing system from the northern Rockies, and Alberto, from the Gulf of Mexico, but in the meantime, Sunday looks to be the hottest day of the three. Take a look at the NWS forecast highs for Sunday.

It’s going to be a little drier through southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, which is why it will actually be a bit warmer. It won’t feel any better in St. Louis, where it’s 93, than Minneapolis at 97, I can tell you that much.

Weather Wayback… what was up in Washington?

When I looked back at an October forecast for Bremerton, opposite Seattle on Puget Sound, I was struck by one thing: The monotony of the temperature forecasts. No forecaster strayed more than a degree for their forecast high from day to day, and the biggest change in the low temperature forecast for any forecaster was 2 degrees. Across the board, including all highs and lows, both for Sunday and Monday, the range in temperatures was a high of 61-64 to a low of 41-45. Wouldn’t you know it, then, that literally every forecast was busted on day one, Sunday the 15th, when the high was 60 and the low 35. Monday cooperated, as well it should have, given the uniformity of the forecasts.  Victoria-Weather had the top forecast for the day.
Actuals: Sunday, October 15th – High 60, Low 35
Monday, October 16th – High 62, Low 41

Grade: C

“Subtropical” storm Alberto is a thing

We were considering a potential, albeit weak, storm moving into the Gulf and eventually ashore over the holiday weekend, and now that storm has a name: Alberto.  For some reason, this storm, formed in the tropics, is called a “subtropical” storm. Perhaps because it has formed outside of the official hurricane season, which starts next Friday. Weird decision.

Other things that have changed since we last spoke:

The storm is now expected further west than where it was earlier. Expect a landfall late Monday between Lafayette, Louisiana and Pensacola. (The NAM, not included in this spaghetti plot, carries Alberto further west, towards Lafayette)

Also, as you might imagine, since we already have a named storm, the intensity will be a bit stronger than our initial thought of a marginal tropical storm.

Alberto’s primary concern remains heavy rain, but he will also be pulled out of the picture fairly quickly. It’s an unfortunate way to spend the weekend, but I think the region will get through it soggy but otherwise unscathed.

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