Feels like Fall

Well, it did in Allentown the past couple of days. The variation in temperature was only 5 degrees for the entire 48 hour period thanks to the thick layer of clouds that buffered the area, and the temperatures never climbed above 54 or dropped below 49. The average temperature everyone had in their forecasts all ended up in the same neighborhood, but the highs and lows weren’t too good for anyone. Accuweather ended up with the top forecast for Allentown.
Actuals: Monday – .27 inches of rain, High 53, Low 49
Tuesday – .02 inches of rain, High 54, Low 49

Grade: C

Latvia

Latvia is a small country in Eastern Europe, situated on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea and is 1 of 3 countries comprising the Baltic States (Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south are the other two). The Gulf of Riga juts into the midsection of the country on the north side as well, making for a significant marine influence on the nation. Despite its’ high latitude, nearly equivalent to that of Juneau, Alaska, it keeps a relatively mild climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream pushing into the North Atlantic, which keeps much of the European Continent on the warmer side during the winter months. Average temps in the winter are between 20-28 degrees and in the mid to upper 60s during the summer. Being near bodies of water such as that, cloudy and foggy days are fairly commonplace. 25-30″ of precipitation falls around the country annually, and topography is minimal across the nation, with the highest point only reaching 331 meters.
The Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Agency is the governing body for weather forecasts in Latvia.  The main site is in Latvian, but luckily there’s a small link in the upper right (EN) that translates it to English!  The main weather page has some links to see what the current conditions are for major cities around the country, as well as forecasts for the next couple of days. Just because it’s in English doesn’t mean you get to escape the Metric system, so brush up on your conversions so you don’t look stupid when you’re complaining about how crazy cold it is there in July when it says it’s 24 degrees.

Winston-Salem, NC to Fayetteville, AR

Today’s road trip is a relatively short one, compared to the recent coast to coast excursions we’ve encountered. So away we go! This trip will cover a modest 979 miles.

DAY ONE

A beautiful day for a road trip! After the recent storm system that’s been moving through the TN Valley and exiting the Mid-Atlantic, high pressure is building into the area, clearing out the cruddy low clouds leftover from the showers and thunderstorms traversing the area today. Winds will be on the light side for most of the trip, especially once we get west of the Appalachians and into eastern sections of TN. The initial part of the trip might see a little bit of wind from downsloping conditions, but nothing too big to worry about. Be sure to bring the sunglasses, you’ll need them as we continue westward into Nashville, our stop for the 1st day.

DAY TWO

A large storm system is starting to take shape over the Northern and Central Plains, deepening as it exits the Rockies. Strong low-level flow is expected out ahead of this developing system, which means some increasing low clouds throughout the day. Winds should be fairly light in Nashville as we head out in the morning with the high pressure ridge just to the east and pulling away. However, once we make our way to Memphis and westward into Arkansas, southwest winds will become gusty along with some scattered low clouds as the low-level flow increases. No showers are expected though as we push through Little Rock and northwestward towards Fayetteville, those should be reserved for the area along the front over the Southern Plains.

This is the type of thing you don’t want to see out your window

More from the deadly tornado that cut Mississippi in half on Saturday. CNN has a video of the looming EF4 tornado that eventually devastated Yazoo City and a large swath of Mississippi. It ended up having a path of almost 100 miles, at times wider than a mile and a half. Fortunately, a twister of this duration and intensity is rare, but is the reason meteorologists so intently monitor the weather, and why storm chasers are so important. Naturally, Victoria-Weather extends our condolences to those who lost friends and loved ones in last weekends storms.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

We’re headed out east to Allentown again with today’s forecast. For some reason, the Victoria-Weather Scheduletron 3000 likes to latch on to some cities over and over again for a couple of months. Allentown appears to be one of those cities early in 2010.

At 451PM, ET, Allentown was reporting cloudy skies and a temperature of 50 degrees. An east wind was indicative of the strong area of low pressure still found to the southwest of Allentown. The upper level low that has been the cause of so many problems over the center of the country of late is now centered south of the Great Lakes, extending an occluded front through Pennsylvania, where the fronts split at the occlusion point. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for western Pennsylvania, and Allentown happens to currently sit to the north of the warm front. In the warm sector, isolated thunderstorms are cropping up over Maryland’s Eastern Shore and parts of Delaware, all shifting to the northeast.
The jet aiding in the sustenance of the low will steer the system in a more typically winterlike pattern. The low will lose a lot of it’s organization and intensity and will stall over New England over the next two days. Overcast skies will continue for most of the next two days. Tomorrow will certainly see some rain for most of the day, though most of the day will be dry on Tuesday.
Tomorrow – Rain likely, High 59, Low 48
Tuesday – Early morning showers, then clearing slightly, High 57, Low 42 (Non Standard)

TWC: Tomorrow – Showers early becoming a steady light rain later in the day. Thunder possible. High 58, low 46
Tuesday – A few morning showers., High 61, Low 45

AW: Tomorrow – Rain High 56, Low 47
Tuesday – A blend of sunshine and clouds with a couple of showers, mainly early; breezy High 59, Low 44

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers. High 57, low 46
Tuesday – A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy High 59, Low 44

WB: Tomorrow – Showers. High 57, Low 45
Tuesday – Mostly cloudy in the morning…then becoming partly sunny. High 59, Low 42

A look at the radar shows the thunderstorms entering from the south.

Catching the nasty weather

Johnson City didn’t see quite as much rain as we had called for, but between the two days of our forecast period they did receive over a half an inch of rain, which isn’t peanuts. Like Oklahoma City, the previous city in our forecast repertoire, Johnson City managed to avoid the severe weather, however, which is of course good news, considering the destruction off to their southeast. Weatherbug, who wrote a novel for their forecast, had the top forecast in Johnson City.
Actuals: Friday – .17 inches of rain High 76, Low 46
Saturday – .42 inches of rain, some in thunderstorms, High 77, Low 57

Grade: B

Severe weather steps it up

Yesterday, I highlighted the risk for severe weather in the Lower Mississippi Valley, and we did see widespread severe storms, especially along a line from north central Arkansas to eastern Texas. Most of this was because of wind, as the front rocketed east at 60mph, with thunderstorm gusts compounding the situation.
A merging of the cold and warm front (cold fronts move faster than warm fronts) happens at something called an occlusion, which is representative of the surface low, which works its way down the cold front and introduces an element of turning in the atmosphere that can turn those straight line wind events into widespread tornado outbreaks, as happened today (and the SPC correctly labeled a “high risk” day). A large wedge tornado was on the ground for 200 miles from northeastern Louisiana and across the state of Mississippi before finally lifting.
The long lived twister killed 10, with most of the hardest hit communities were near Vicksburg, Yazoo City and Holmes County. Another tornado dropped near Meridian, and the active pattern has also led to strong thunderstorms in and around Saint Louis, where funnel clouds were also reported. The energy associated with the storm system is still present, and will allow the continued development of strong thunderstorms overnight. Even now there are severe and tornado warnings in the Birmingham area, and any residents of the southeast should be aware that overnight, deadly tornadoes are a distinct possibility.

The Week Ahead 4/25/10-5/1/25

A pretty standard week coming up. With the spring thunderstorm season underway, we should have plenty to talk about!

Sunday – Allentown, Pennsylvania
Tuesday – Road Trip: Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Fayetteville, Arkansas
Friday – Bangor, Maine
Saturday – Kingsport, Tennessee; Road Trip: Bangor to Kingsport

Severe storms raking the Lower Mississippi Valley

A strong system is coming out of the Rockies is generating the southerly flow we expect out of a good Spring severe outbreak. The system doesn’t have the typical vorticity of a massive tornado outbreak, however the storm is strong enough and there is enough potential energy that the storm prediction center has put out a moderate risk for severe weather in the lower Mississippi Valley. It’s projected for where the front will intersect with the strongest inflow from the Gulf will intersect the boundary, which actually isn’t entraining a lot of cool air. Here is a look at where the SPC is most concerned.

The threat is enough for tornadoes that the region, from Nebraska to Missouri and south into Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi that tornado watches are littered about the area. Only a few tornadoes have been reported so far today, a far cry from yesterday when the low over the High Plains generated dozens of mercifully remote twisters. Today, the storms will likely be more of a wind and hail threat for the south central US than tornado, but the threat is enough that residents should be wary. We’ll see how this moderate risk forecast verifies tomorrow.

Dodging the severe weather

It’s been a rough couple of days for the southern US in terms of severe weather. In Oklahoma City, however, they got lucky. It didn’t rain or storm in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, and they avoided any severe storms yesterday. Temperatures were down, which may have prevented the genesis of strong storms in their immediate area, but the bigger deal was that storms developed further west than anticipated and began to die out overnight. Accuweather and The Weather Channel had the top forecasts for the better than expected weather.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 75, Low 57
Thursday – .17 inches of rain, High 75, Low 61

Grade: C

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