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.

Altoona, Pennsylvania

I feel like whenever I come to forecast for Altoona, I’m running way behind schedule (2AM is certainly behind). Today’ it’s a product of my schedule, and not laze like it usually is.

At 253AM, ET, Altoona was reporting a temperature of 64 degrees with clear skies. Ahead of a front moving into the Mid-Atlantic, western Pennsylvania was unusually clear of fog. Altoona finds itself in a precarious position early this Friday morning, as Hurricane Earl sits off the Outer Banks of North Carolina and a low over the Great Lakes is introducing a fall-like cold front into the region.
The front will steadily march eastward towards Altoona through the day today, arriving in the late afternoon or early evening. After that, the rainy conditions will continue for much of the overnight into Saturday. Earl will merge with this low and surface pressure will drop, increasing a northwesterly wind for Altoona, serving to help temperatures drop precipitously to begin the weekend.
Today – Rain in the afternoon and evening, High 87, Low 61
Tomorrow – Morning rain and much cooler temperatures High 66, Low 54

TWC: Today – A few isolated thunderstorms developing this afternoon under partly cloudy skies. High 84, Low 63
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies with gusty winds High 61, Low 51

AW: Today – Partly sunny and very warm High 88, Low 60
Tomorrow -Windy and cooler with intervals of clouds and sunshine High 66, Low 51

NWS: Today – A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Partly cloudy High 89, Low 64
Tomorrow – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 67, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, a chance of showers in the afternoons, High 82, Low 63
Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 64, Low 53

Accuweather, keeping Altoona dry. I will say… huh. Satellite shows that Accuweather might be mistaken.

Good for you, Optimists

Things looked bleak in Eugene. Most forecast a continued drear for the home of the University of Oregon, but it didn’t turn out so bad! There was no rain through the forecast period and temperatures climbed into the 70s each of the two days in question. Accuweather was the most optimistic of the monitored forecasters, and ended up with the top forecast.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 70, Low 50
Wednesday – High 76, Low 59

Grade: C

Rapid City, South Dakota to Laredo, Texas

We’re taking a road trip, well aware of the the hurricane out east. It’s probably a good idea that we’re making the trip through the high plains, then, from Rapid City to far southern Texas. It will be a 1388 mile journey that will take almost three days, thanks to a lot of time spent off the interstates. In fact, almost none of the drive will be on an interstate and all of it will be through corn or wheat fields. Our off freeway driving will mean we will drive at a rate of 62.6mph, and will cover a paltry 500.6 miles a day. It’s beautiful in it’s stark emptiness out there. You have to believe me.


Another deep trough in the Northern Plains is spinning up trouble tonight for the Dakotas and High Plains. We won’t entirely wait it out by the time we are ready to leave tomorrow morning, and there is a chance for some showers and isolated thunderstorms over southwestern South Dakota that will linger as we leave Rapid City. Expect some showers to remain with us as we slide into Nebraska and to remain an issue as far south as Chadron (though the chance will go way down before we even reach Nebraska). Expect some breezy conditions and seasonably cool temperatures as we make our way into eastern Colorado and beautiful Wiley, between Kit Carson and Lamar.

Our drive on Friday will actually take us through some real cities, like Amarillo and Lubbock as we make our way into western Texas. It will continue to be a dry, easy driving day as we drive the high plains. We’ll be on our way to Sterling City, which is between Big Spring and San Angelo, our destination for the night when we will see our first hint of clouds or rain.

The cloudy, intermittently dreary weather will probably continue for most of southern Texas. It’s a possibility that we will stay dry the whole drive, but we may see a little splash of rain, particularly around Del Rio and Eagle Pass. Just enough to force the windows closed in the hot stuffy weather. We’ll arrive in Laredo with cloudy skies and hot temperatures surrounding us like a blanket.

Laredo, Texas

Way down in southern Texas, right on the Rio Grande for today’s forecast. Did you know that Laredo is the largest city in America without a bookstore? Something to be proud of.

At 356PM, CT, Laredo was reporting a temperature of 102 with partly cloudy skies. Laredo was still in the summer time pattern, mostly avoiding any wet weather thanks to their inland nature and their southern position away from any advancing systems in the Plains. Generally speaking, Laredo only has to worry about tropical systems in he late summer, and whether or not they can push inland. Seeing as Earl, Fiona and Gaston are all presently taking a an East Coast track, Laredo appears to be safe from rain for the next couple of days.
Thunderstorms are ongoing along the Texas coast, from Brownsville to Beaumont, however the only impact on Laredo will likely be a brief respite in the searing heat should some high clouds blow west into the Rio Grande Valley, though that appears unlikely. A deep high pressure will push into the southern Plains and the southern edge will provide a trigger point through Texas that may actually bring some increased clouds to Laredo on Friday.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy and hot, High 103, Low 79
Friday – Increased clouds, still warm, High 100, Low 77

TWC: Tomorrow – Scattered clouds with the possibility of an isolated thunderstorm developing during the afternoon. Hot High 101, Low 78
Friday – Thunderstorms developing in the afternoon High 99, Low 77

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 102, Low 79
Friday – Very warm with sunshine and patchy clouds High 100, Low 78

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny and hot High 102, Low 80
Friday – 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny and hot, High 100, Low 79

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, High 102, Low 80
Friday – Partly cloudy in the morning, becoming mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 101, Low 79

A look at the satellite shows Earl really well, as well as those storms along the Texas coast.

Nothing good ever comes out of New Mexico

I can’t remember the last time someone nailed a forecast in new Mexico. The best forecasts there (in Santa Fe) this go around were from Accuweather and the Weather Service who were off by 7 degrees at least once in their forecast. Temperatures were warmer than expected, and an isolated thunderstorm on Monday through Victoria Weather off the scent. Why must you be so difficult, New Mexico?
Actuals: Monday – .03 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 84, Low 59
Tuesday – High 87, Low 53

Grade: D

The Gambia

The Gambia is the smallest mainland country in Africa, and as such has a fairly simply defined climate. The nation follows the route of the Gambia River inland into Senegal, hence it’s name. It is north of the Equator but within the Tropics and is subject to the seasonal motion of the ITCZ. The capital, Banjul, can go without rain for the winter, spring and most of the fall, only to have it rain non stop during the summer. It’s a low lying nation as well, as it is in a river valley, and there is no relief from the tormenting heat, aside from the fact that humidity is not an issue during the winter months.
The Department of Water Resources “carries out meteorological functions”, however their staff, as described by the UK Met Office consists of only 1 meteorologist and 5 meteorological officers, two of whom are out of the country and one is on sick leave. There are also 42 meteorological technicians, whatever that entails. Needless to say, the Gambians do not have a website.

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.

Miles above everyone else

The question in Des Moines was whether or not clouds would accompany a strong southerly flow associated with a strong low in the Dakotas. The clouds didn’t come, as it turned out, and only one provider foresaw a sunny day with temperatures in the 90s. As usual, that was the Weather Channel, who outclassed everyone by at least 10 degrees.
Actuals: Sunday – High 92, Low 67
Monday – High 90, Low 72

Grade: A

Eugene, Oregon

After so many summery forecasts, well, now we end up with this in Oregon. Sorry, folks.

At 959AM, PT, Eugene was reporting low clouds, rain and a temperature of 53 degrees. A band of showers was seen spanning from the coast near Florence to Eugene and inland to the Cascades west of Bend. More isolated activity was seen south to the California border. A weak low level low has shifted ashore from the western Pacific and is the source of the rain being seen here and further inland.
The overall pattern aloft is of a stout ridge in the east and a sharp trough over the Rockies, along which the weak Oregonian low is riding. The jet streak providing the support for the wet weather will break down due to it’s stagnation and the moisture in Eugene will languish tomorrow. A stronger jet moving along the Alaska Panhandle will usher in deeper low pressure by midweek, however the mean jet will be just north of Eugene. Expect some warming temperatures on Wednesday, but continued clouds and a threat for rain.
Tomorrow – Dreary with rain, High 71, Low 46
Wednesday – Rain again likely, particularly in the afternoon, High 74, Low 53

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy with a few showers. High 70, Low 46
Wednesday – A few morning showers. High 73, Low 54

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny High 74, Low 47
Wednesday – Some sun with a passing shower High 76, Low 53

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy High 70, Low 51
Wednesday -A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 76, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, a slight chance of showers in the morning, then a slight chance of rain in the afternoon, High 70, Low 51
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy in the morning, then partly sunny. Slight chance of showers, High 76, Low 52

It appears that Accuweather is forecasting for some other Euguene that the rest of us were not aware of. Here is the drizzly radar.

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