It’s looking like summer

The southeast is generally very active with showers and thunderstorms through the summer. Its never a severe outbreak or anything, just a few cells that develop because of the heat and moisture of the area. This was apparently the case over the past couple of days, though there was a weak upper trough helping to perhaps expand the coverage. It was hit or miss in western North Carolina and Hickory, where the showers missed on Saturday and hit for a quarter inch of new rain on Sunday. Congrats to the Weather Service and Weatherbug for forecasting the fog on Saturday. Too bad they were 4th and 5th in the standings, however, with VicWx and TWC tying for the top spot.
Actuals: Saturday – High 84, Low 62
Sunday – .25″ of rain, High 81, Low 62

Grade: B

Another look at that Oklahoma tornado outbreak

I just wanted to share a couple of radar stills from the tornado outbreak of last Monday. The come courtesy of Plymouth State University’s NEXRAD archive. The first shows the cell that passed through Norman. The hook is muddled somewhat by the toads and county lines, but it is still there. Other local radars, such as the one housed by Oklahoma University, have better angles on the storm, but aren’t publicly available yet.

The second comes about an hour earlier, and is a of a storm near Wakita (if you have heard of Wakita, this might be why). It has perhaps the most pronounced hook of any storm that day.

I have nothing to add, really. It’s 6 days in the past, and this was a very well documented, well warned system among people that are used to such weather. Really, I just wanted to link to these, because they are definitely images that make a full blooded meteorologist say “whoa”.

Dreary, but not too dreary

Providence was unfortunate enough to see some cloudy, drizzly skies the past couple of days, but there was enough sun that broke out yesterday that temperatures climbed about 5 degrees higher than anyone expected. The fact that they saw rain on each of the two days of the forecast period, however, gave Victoria-Weather the top forecast for the largest city in the smallest state.
Actuals: Friday – .08 inches of rain, High 65, Low 49
Saturday – .01 inches of rain, High 73, Low 55

Grade: B

Lexington, Kentucky

Headed to the Bluegrass State for our Saturday afternoon forecast. Will they get a blue sky forecast?

At 454PM, ET, Lexington was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 78 degrees. A stalled boundary that lied east-west lay between Berea and London and was triggering some strong to severe thunderstorms along I-75, including one passing as close as through Richmond, though the heaviest activity was being seen further south, from Corbin to points southwest. Dew points along the boundary were pooling and a couple degrees higher, though it was apparent that the front was acting as a barrier between moisture regimes, as sites along the Ohio River were much drier than those along the Tennessee border.
The strong jet will shift out of the country, taking with it any remnant of the cold front that had swept through and keeping the country in a very quiet regime at the upper levels. There is a weak wave with almost no flow through it over the Rockies that will slowly drift into the Tennessee Valley. At the surface, there will be little to no reflection, however it’s influence in upper levels of the atmosphere will be enough to generate fairly widespread thunderstorms throughout Kentucky each of the next two days, however the heaviest rains will come early on Monday.
Tomorrow – Isolated showers and thunderstorms, High 73, Low 59
Monday – Showers and storms more widespread, High 74, Low 62

TWC: Tomorrow – Showers and scattered thunderstorms High 74, Low 59
Monday – Morning showers, possibly a rumble of thunder High 73, Low 62

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm around High 78, Low 59
Monday – Mostly cloudy and breezy with showers and thunderstorms High 77, Low 61

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, High 73, Low 58
Monday – Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy High 72, Low 60

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers and thunderstorms until midday…then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. High 75, Low 58
Monday – Showers likely and chance of thunderstorms. High 74, Low 60

I don’t know what kind of dream world Accuweather is off in, but it must be warm. Here is the radar, looking deliciously summer like.

No cool down

While most of the cold front running through the eastern and central United States set up in a line type pattern, they were more of an assortment of clusters in Arkansas, and mostly avoided Little Rock. They only saw a trace of with the activity in the state yesterday, though there were scattered wind and hail reports across much of Arkansas. The biggest issue with these forecasts, however, was that the fact that the front hung well north of Little Rock on Friday. Temperatures didn’t drop off at all like everyone anticipated, but rather the stout southerly flow meant temperatures actually climbed a few degrees. The high temperatures Friday were about 10 degrees off as a result. The Weather Channel eventually got the victory.
Actuals: Thursday – High 86, Low 70
Friday -Trace of rain, High 89, Low 68

Grade: C

The Week Ahead: 5/18/10-5/22/10

That big x across the country tells us there are a couple of cross country road trips this week. We’re all over the map!

Monday – Oxnard, California; Road trip: Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Oxnard
Tuesday – Great Falls, Montana
Wednesday – Road Trip: Great Falls to Fayetteville, Arkansas
Friday – Dover, Delaware
Saturday – Davenport, Iowa

Providence, Rhode Island to Hickory, North Carolina

Late night planning for our day and a half road trip from New England to North Carolina. It cover 821 miles at the snails pace of 59.5mph, which will get us 476 miles on the first day, leaving the rest for a shorter second day. Let’s pick up stakes and drive through some megaplexes, OK?

DAY ONE

An occluded front will sweep out of New England by the time we leave, allowing an unexpectedly dry day as we leave town. We shouldn’t have any issues, actually, as we make our way south out of town and through the New York area. We’ll pass south through Harrisburg and south into Middletown, Virginia with few issues. There could be some chunky looking clouds as we end the day, but we’ll end up problem free.

DAY TWO
As we continue south into Virginia and eventually into North Carolina, the threat for thunderstorms will increase as the day goes on. By Roanoke, we’ll be dodging showers and storms. Nothing strong in terms of hail or wind, and storms won’t last much longer than 15 minutes at a time since we’ll be driving through them, but we may have to concern ourselves with heavy rain and some frequent lightning as we hone in on Hickory, but as long as we have some good Aquatreads, I think we’ll be OK.

Hickory, North Carolina

Ah Hickory, one of the finest towns named after wood out there.

At 353PM, ET, Hickory was reporting a temperature of 87 degrees with clear skies and a climbing dew point in the low 60s. A jet ridge was arcing through the east, with plenty of hot, humid air building underneath it. At the surface, the jet arc is representative of a warm and cold front, with the cold front parked just west of the Appalachians, with severe thunderstorms firing through much of central Tennessee, thanks to the sharp contrast in airmasses, but with little vorticity, meaning a low threat for tornadoes.
The jet is rather longwaved, and there is almost nothing behind it. Rather than sweep through the Carolinas, the system is expected simply to get shredded and disappear in terms of a surface based system. Expect hot weather to continue, though low level eddies will generate a few afternoon thunderstorms for most of the American Southeast, including Hickory and western North Carolina.
Tomorrow – Isolated afternoon thunderstorms, otherwise hot and humid, High 84, Low 66
Sunday – Isolated afternoon thunder, a degree or two cooler, High 81, Low 62

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with afternoon showers or thunderstorms. high 84, Low 64
Sunday – A few thunderstorms possible. High 81, Low 63

AW: Tomorrow – Sun and clouds with a shower or thunderstorm around, mainly later; very warm High 86, Low 64
Sunday – Times of clouds and sun with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm High 83, Low 60

NWS: Tomorrow – A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3pm. Patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, partly cloudy High 86, Low 64
Sunday – A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Mostly cloudy High 80, Low 63

WB: Tomorrow – Patchy fog in the morning. Mostly sunny in the morning… Then partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 87, Low 67
Sunday – Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 81, Low 61

Accuweather’s sounds less like a forecast than a recipe. Couple of showers and a thunderstorm. Here is the infrared satellite, colorized for your amusement. The higher tops, which mean thunderstorms, are the more expressively colored, such as those over Tennessee.

Awash in shoddy forecasts

The first round of rain in Muncie really set the tone for the past two days. The rain came pouring down early in the late morning on Wednesday. The rain totaled over an inch and kept things cool for the entire day, capping the high 10 degrees off from the forecasts. The cooler day time temperature meant a cooler overnight low as well the next day, so Thursday’s low was about ten degrees off. The Weather Channel had the best forecast in Muncie, but it wasn’t a particularly good one.
Actuals: Wednesday – 1.04 inches of rain High 60, Low 51
Thursday – Trace of rain, High 82, Low 50

Grade: C

Providence, Rhode Island

Little Rhodey is our destination today. It’s a small state, but this is a big forecast! Ok that was bad.

At 751PM, ET, Providence was reporting a temperature of 64 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. A warm front, that has become mostly stationary, lie through the Mid Atlantic, aiding in the generation of the clouds seen in the area. The system generating these boundaries is formed by a jet coupling that is actually at the apex of a ridge, and will likely be deteriorating over the next several hours.
The system will dissipated and occlude as it shifts into New England, leaving the moisture associated with it stagnant and abandoned. Low clouds and light showers will be the story for the next two days in Rhode Island, after the showers associated with the warm front arrive in the early afternoon. Expect only light showers, but continually cloudy skies to begin the weekend.
Tomorrow – Occasional showers, High 64, Low 50
Saturday – Cloudy with drizzle, High 68, Low 55

TWC: Tomorrow- Cloudy with occasional showers. High 62, Low 49
Saturday – A few clouds High 69, Low 53

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm around, High 64, Low 47
Saturday – Partly sunny and breezy High 68, Low 51

NWS: Tomorrow – A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 1pm. Cloudy High 61, Low 49
Saturday – Mostly sunny, High 71, Low 54

WB: Tomorrow – Cloudy. A chance of showers High 61, Low 50
Saturday – Mostly sunny High 69, Low 54

A look at the satellite shows the dying system in the Great Lakes.

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