I’m back

OK, I’m back from vacation, and we are up for a regular schedule again. I think for the rest of the week, we’ll go with the tail end of last weeks schedule, starting today (I’ll post a forecast for Lancaster tonight). Right now, I thought i would mention the results of Halloween’s forecast for Fayetteville, Arkansas. I don’t remember much about it, but I do know that temperatures ended up warmer than was forecast, probably because rain didn’t find it’s way into town as most expected. Victoria-Weather and The Weather Channel ended up with the top forecast. How about that for not even remembering it.
Actuals: November 1st – High 73, Low 46
November 2nd – Rain reported, not measured, High 62, Low 48

Grade: C

Active Coasts, Central Reprieve

After the historic low pressure system in the Upper Midwest a couple weeks ago and the persistent rains from a slow-moving low pressure system along the Gulf Coast region last week, the Central US is enjoying a bout of pretty quiet weather right now as massive high pressure from the Southern US to the Northeast is keeping the area high and dry, and quite chilly as well. Freeze warnings were pretty widespread over eastern sections of the country as the first strong push of lows in the 20s plowed into the TN Valley and the Southern Appalachians, which also brought a few inches of snow to the higher elevations of the Smoky Mountains in the last 48 hours. Most of the country between the Rockies and the Appalachians should be dry through Monday.
The coasts, however, are not as lucky. A strong trough of low pressure is digging into the Western US, with a strong cold front expected to bully its’ way through the West Coast. Portions of the Sierra Nevada are in Winter Storm Warnings as 18-24″ of the white stuff are expected through the end of the day Sunday. Portions of the Northern Rockies look to get a few inches themselves Sunday night into Monday. On the other side of the country, an area of low pressure is expected to develop off the New England coast Sunday afternoon and push over the region overnight into Monday, bringing plentiful rains of upwards of 1-1.50″ in areas possibly. More proof that Mother Nature is quickly switching into winter mode, something I’m sure some of our readers wish would stay away for just a bit longer.

Off The Grid: Snowmass Lake, Colorado

In our second edition of Off The Grid we will be traveling deep into the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Located about 12 miles southwest of Aspen, CO, tower some of Colorado’s most picturesque mountains: the Maroon Bells.

Appropriately named for the maroon coloring of the mud rock they are composed of, the Maroon Bells are sought by vacationers and adventures from all around the world. Lying within this sub-range of the Elk Mountains is also one of Colorado’s most pristine lakes: Snowmass Lake.

Snowmass Lake sits at the base of 14,092ft Snowmass Mountain, at about 11,000ft. Its alpine waters are primarily fed by the massive snowfield that resides on the eastern slope of Snowmass Mountain, which is usually present into July.
Getting to Snowmass Lake is no walk in the park however. After about a 20 minute drive southwest of Aspen, one must gear up for a 7.5 mile trek to the lake that gains over 2,800ft in 4 miles. Certainly not for the faint at heart, the trek takes an average of 6-8 hours to complete one way, assuming good weather. It is difficult for even the advanced hikers to make a day-trip into the lake and out the same day, making this location truly Off The Grid.

While admittedly late in the season, some hearty backpackers no doubt will be making their way out to the lake this week and weekend. And they chose a great week/weekend to do it! A ridge of high pressure continues to bring dry conditions across much of the western United States, which is expected to carry into the weekend as well. Along with this high pressure temperatures are expected to run above normal through the weekend, which should melt much of the snow that has fallen around Snowmass Lake by the weekend. Winds will remain rather weak out of the north over the next couple of days, but will likely be variable at times, begin that Snowmass Lake is surrounded by mountains. Winds will shift from northerly to westerly late next week, but should remain weak into Saturday with high pressure overhead. By midday Saturday winds may increase out of the west to 5-10 mph, but should remain suppressed greatly by Snowmass Mountain to the west. A weak disturbance may bring a few high clouds to the area Saturday night into Sunday; otherwise, expect mostly sunny skies into the weekend.

Wednesday: Sunny. High 45, Low 21 .
Thursday: Sunny. High 46, Low 20.

TWC: ** No Forecast Available. **

AW: ** No Forecast Available. **

NWS: ** No Forecast Available. **

WB: ** No Forecast Available. **




View Snowmass Lake From Maroon-Snowmass TH in a larger map

OTG Rating: >>6<<The Maroon Bells are heavily trafficked by hiking standards, primarily due to its close proximity to the tourist trap that is Aspen, CO. Thus, it can be tough to find true solitude. Maroon-Snowmass Trailhead is typically busy even during the week, but once one treks past Crater Lake the hiker density greatly decreases from about 30 hikers per mile to about 7 hikers per mile. Even so, the number of people camping at Snowmass Lake can be high even during the week.

Note: The ‘OTG Rating’ is based on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being completely Off The Grid and 1 being within a major city or otherwise Grid Locked.

Fayetteville, Arkansas to Blacksburg, Virginia

One day before I go on my road trip, it’s time for a forecast for another fictional trip, from the Ozarks to the Appalachians. This trip is about two days in the car and we’ll roll up 944 miles on the odometer. We’ll be able to cover 64.5 miles per hour, indicative of some solid interstate travel. Our first day we will cover 516 miles, leaving the rest for Wednesday.

DAY ONE


The rain will begin picking up in the Ozarks tonight and last through the morning. This almost always leads to fog in northwestern Arkansas along 540, some of which could last right through noon as we leave. The heaviest of the rain will stay south of our route through Arkansas, but after we clear Memphis and begin our drive towards Nashville, we will stay much clearer, though some clouds may obscure the sun a bit. Our day will end on the west side of Nashville.

DAY TWO
There is a decent enough chance that soe showers will filter their way into Tennessee overnight, and leave us in for another drizzly day as we push eastward. The fog we experienced at the outset will return when we hit the Smokies and the Appalachians. The drizzly conditions should leave us behind after we finally get into Virginia and begin working our way into Blacksburg. There will be a chance for some overcast conditions in Blacksburg, but hopefully it means no sunburn.

Blacksburg, Virginia

Our forecast is for the western reaches of Virginia and the Appalachians. Of course, tomorrow, I’ll be headed through the Rockies, so… I don’t know, symmetry or something.

At 1140AM, ET, Blacksburg was reporting a temperature of 46 degrees with clear skies. They were about 5 degrees off from nearby sites, though that was largely due to topography, as their skies have been clear for most of the morning. High pressure dominates the region, though a pair of jet troughs moving in from the west will bring somewhat more unsettled weather by midweek.
A sharp upper trough will swing into the Gulf of Mexico and begin to generate widespread rain and thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast. The moisture will struggle to work very far north, however, as another jet over the northern tier of states will begin to trough over the Great Lakes, allowing steering flow to redirect Gulf moisture towards the Carolinas and out of Blacksburg. Long story short, expect a fairly decent couple of days for Blacksburg.
Tomorrow- Partly to mostly cloudy, High 54, Low 30
Wednesday – Increasing clouds, High 56, Low 31

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. High 54, Low 33
Wednesday – Chance of showers High 54, Low 34

AW: Tomorrow – Partial sunshine High 54, Low 30
Wednesday – Sun and areas of high clouds in the morning followed by clouds and occasional sunshine High 57, Low 28

NWS: Partly sunny, High 52, Low 32
Wednesday – A chance of rain after 2pm. Cloudy, High 50, Low 36

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, High 52, Low 32
Wednesday – A chance of showers in the afternoon, High 52, Low 36

It will be an interesting day weatherwise on Wednesday, seeing exactly what can come that far north.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Off to the Ozarks, just in time for trick or treating. Feel free to read this while waiting for the kids to return with their candy.

At 353PM, CT, Fayetteville was reporting sunny skies and a temperature of 78 degrees. A few consecutive days of sunny weather have led to warming temperatures as October turned to November, and above average weather will welcome the new month. A high pressure bullseye was centered over the northern Plains, and the healthy pressure gradient at the back edge was generating some clouds and even a scattered shower in the Missouri Valley.
A combination of jets will dictate the coming weather for Fayetteville for the next 54 hours or so. A weak ridge aloft presently lies over the American Southeast, cutting off any moist inflow to a stronger, sharper trough that is going to have to work to tap into Gulf moisture. When it does, however, find the Gulf after it pushes southeast to Texas, showers and thunderstorms will explode across Louisiana and Arkansas, including in Fayetteville on Tuesday morning. No doubt most of the rain will be southeast of the Ozarks, but there is a good chance for morning rain in Northwest Arkansas, followed by clearing and more high pressure.
Tomorrow – Sunny, increasing clouds late, High 67, Low 45
Monday – Rain in the morning, clearing by afternoon. cooler. High 59, Low 46

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies early. A few showers developing later in the day. High 69, Low 44
Tuesday – Chance of afternoon showers. High 61, Low 45

AW: Tomorrow – Clouds and occasional sunshine High 67, Low 42
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy (AM t-storms) High 63, low 42

NWS: Tomorrow – A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny High 67, Low 42
Tuesday – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, High 60, Low 44

WB: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy, a 20% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, High 67, Low 44
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 55, Low 44

A rather chilly forecast from Weatherbug. Lets’ see how it all goes. Couldn’t be more pleasant in Fayetteville right now, however.

The Sun does its job

After a blustery, miserable middle of the week, the sun began to shine to begin the weekend in Chicago. As Anthony said, the verifying point for this forecast was O’Hare, and at the airport, temperatures climbed 13 degrees Friday to Saturday, mostly on the back of sunny skies that finally found the Great Lakes. The weather service ended up with the top forecast, correctly inferring the drastic warm-up.
Actuals: Friday, High 50, Low 31
Saturday – High 63, Low 42

Grade: B

Janesville, Wisconsin to Raleigh, North Carolina

Road trips headed east are a lot easier, in their way, than those headed west, because if there IS any weather, more than likely it will stay with you for the length of your travels. Our trip starting on Halloween, spooky though that is, will cover 973 days and last 2 days. We’ll be able to cover 61 miles per hour, slowed by the distance traveled through higher elevation and on non interstate roads. This will mean the first day will end after 489 miles. Let’s get our haunting haul away.

DAY ONE

An upper level trough is still sort of lagging through the Great Lakes, and a brisk northwesterly wind will give us a little bit of a tail through Chicago, which will be goo on the gas mileage and doubtless give way to a few “Windy City” quips. As morning turns to afternoon and we turn towards the southeast, wind will die down, and we’ll be left with clear sailing right on through to the Lexington, Kentucky area, more specifically Wyandotte, on the east side of town.

DAY TWO
The winds will be westerly in the Carolina plains, which may lead to a bit of a cooling trend in Raleigh, but will certainly lead to some dry weather for most of our drive. Some fog could linger in West Virginia through the morning, even into the early afternoon, but we will drive out of it and be on our way towards Raleigh in no time. Sunny skies are expected in Tobacco Road.

I can at least guarantee it was dry

The issue with Cleveland, Tennessee, for our purposes anyways, is that the city is served by Chattanooga’s airport, so it’s impossible to say what the actual temperatures were, but the air was clear with high pressure building into eastern Tennessee. I can at least guarantee that. If we WERE verifying against Chattanooga, then the Weather Service would have had the top score, but as it is, we don’t really know for sure who had the best forecast.
Actuals in Chattanooga: Thursday – High 75, Low 53
Friday – High 65, Low 42.

The Week Ahead 10/31/10-11/6/10

This is definitely a tentative schedule, taking us into November. I will be heading out of town for a few days on Tuesday, but a lot of the days will be spent on the road, and there isn’t a heck of a lot to do in a hotel in North Platte, so there will be posts from me. Just don’t be surprised if one of these days falls through the cracks on my end.

Sunday – Fayetteville, Arkansas
Monday – Blacksburg, Virginia
Wednesday – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Thursday – Asheville, North Carolina
Friday – Bismarck, North Dakota

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