Sunny south Florida

Our forecast for Naples called for some typically active Floridian weather. Fortunately for them, all the thunderstorms that Florida saw the past two days went up inland, away from Naples and then continued to drift off towards Orlando and Lake Okeechobee. Florida thunderstorms are always tough to pinpoint, but it’s never a good idea to beat against them, regardless of what today’s verification suggests. The top forecast went to Weatherbug.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 79, Low 64
Wednesday – High 78, Low 69

Grade: A

The “Weather” Channel

The other day, The Weather Channel had a nice little clip talking about the New Madrid Fault Zone, which is an active earthquake zone in the Mid-Mississippi Valley region. Most of the earthquakes are too small to be felt, with perhaps 1 a year being noticeable to most people. Check out the video here: New Madrid Fault Zone.  Overall, it is pretty informative, a very large quake nowadays would devastate Memphis and cause damage to St. Louis, Evansville, Louisville, and even Cincinnati. The main reason an earthquake here would so damaging is because the ground under the region is mostly loose silt and soft earth, whereas a large earthquake in say, Los Angeles, would be less ranging b/c of the mountain ranges and mostly rocky base throughout the region. While a powerful earthquake, especially the ones of 1811-1812 that reversed the flow of the Mississippi for roughly 3 days and was even felt in New York City, is unlikely anytime soon, retrofitting buildings isn’t such a bad idea.

However, WTF does this have to do with weather!!?!  Last time I checked, there aren’t Earthquakes on the Eights or Seismic Stories on the programming, so why bother even reporting about this? Granted, more people probably know somebody who’s a meteorologist than seismologist or geologist, but for some reason being a meteorologist is layman’s terms for “all-knowing scientist”. While “The Geology Channel” doesn’t quite have that ring to it, perhaps TWC should stick to what’s going on above the ground rather than below it. Then again, if there’s anything going on in the Atlanta area, you wouldn’t be hearing about your own weather anyways.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is located in southern Africa, landlocked west of Mozambique. As it happens, they are also north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and experience a tropical climate. The heat and humidity are tempered by their elevation, which is predominantly high plateau. Their rainy and dry season correlate with our winter and summer, respectively, as the ITCZ pivots north and south during the year. Every once in a while, the western parts of the country get a little bit cooler as a cold front associated with a low over the south Atlantic will actually break the heat in their winter.
Zimbabwe has a meteorological services division, however their site is flagged by the internet as being an attack site, so so much for that.

Naples, Florida to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Our trip will take a little under three days as we traverse the suddenly active Southeast. If anything, we’ll be headed the 1404 miles to a somewhat less humid area in Oklahoma City. Perhaps we’re just interested in shipping oranges to Oklahoma. Anyways, we’ll be able to cover 506 miles on the first two day at 63.3mph. So let’s box up those oranges!

DAY ONE

A weak band of showers is still moistening the Florida Peninsula, but it’s on it’s way out of town. We’ll likely see some red skies as we wake up, but only partly cloudy skies when we take off. We will be problem free all the way through Florida and then on to Georgia, where we will hop off the main road. Our day will end in Richland, Georgia, which I am sure is a beautiful town south of Columbus.

DAY TWO
The drive will be easy again on Thursday, but not quite as pleasant as the drive on Wednesday. There will be a chance for some showers and thunderstorms as we approach the Memphis area. Call it Holly Springs, Mississippi where we run into some wet weather, which will take us through the Memphis metro. We’ll likely be out of it, however, by the time we reach Forrest City, Arkansas. Let’s not push our luck though, and call it a day in Carlisle, which is east of Little Rock.

DAY THREE
If, and that’s only an if, we see a thunderstorm on Friday, it will likely be between Little Rock and Fort Smith, and there is a decent enough chance that we should be wary that the storms will be strong. It’s a well wooded stretch of road through Arkansas, so we probably won’t get too much warning when a squall line is coming, not as much as we would in the Plains, so be sure to stay tuned to local radio and not the iPod until we make our way to Sallisaw, where we should be out of the woods all the way to Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A late night forecast for OKC, and we are in the midst of tornado season. How fun!

At 1052PM, CT, Oklahoma City was reporting cloudy skies and a temperature of 55 degrees. A perturbed jet over the Gulf and northern Mexico as generated several somewhat weak disturbances that have swung from the high plains to the Gulf and into the Atlantic. Currently, the next wave is developing over the Oklahoma Panhandle and is generating thunderstorms over northern Texas.
The southerly jet is expected to shift off east, taking support from the thunderstorms over the southern Plains, however this will be motivated by a developing closed upper low over the Rockies. A stationary to warm front will develop through Kansas, indicative of the warm, moist air moving into the Oklahoma City area over the next two days. Showers will not be widespread, but they will be possible in the afternoon each day, with stronger thunderstorms becoming a concern late on Thursday.
Tomorrow – Partly to mostly cloudy, with passing showers and thunderstorm, High 71, Low 51
Thursday – Partly to mostly cloudy, with isolated severe storms before midnight, High 76, Low 59

TWC: Tomorrow – A few showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 71, Low 54
Thursday – Partly cloudy with a stray thunderstorm. High 76, Low 60

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm around High 74, low 53
Thursday – Mostly cloudy and breezy; an afternoon shower or thunderstorm High 78, Low 60

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy high 70, Low 52
Thursday – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 75, Low 59

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with chance of thunderstorms High 73, Low 53
Thursday – Mostly cloudy with chance of thunderstorms High 77, Low 59

A look at the satellite shows the looming nastiness over the Rockies.

Naples, Florida

At 12:53pm EDT, the temperature in Naples, Florida was 75 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. A lingering cold/stationary front that’s been found over the Florida Peninsula and along the Gulf Coast has slowly been weakening the last couple of days, but there will still be a decent amount of instability over the region. An ill-defined disturbance over the Lower MS Valley will slowly trek eastward through the Deep South over the next couple of days, enhancing some of the thunderstorm activity farther north over Florida. Tuesday should see a fair amount of activity over the northern 2/3rds of the state especially when the sea breezes converge over the interior part of the state, but Naples could see a few scattered showers still make it down their way. Wednesday sees that aforementioned area of low pressure become a bit better defined towards the Carolinas, giving them a good chance of some stronger thunderstorms during the day. A weak area of high pressure looks to build back over Florida and into the Central Gulf behind this system and keep southern Florida mostly on the dry side, but there will still be a few scattered showers popping up during the afternoon. Overall it should be a good couple of days for beach goers, but Tuesday will definitely be the day to keep an eye on the sky for more scattered activity.

Tuesday: 50% chance of scattered showers/thunderstorm. High 80, Low 62.
Wednesday. 20% chance of a scattered shower, maybe an isolated thunderstorm. High 79, Low 65.

TWC: Tuesday: Mostly sunny. High 80, Low 64.
Wednesday: 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms. High 77, Low 66.

AW: Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms. High 80, Low 61.
Wednesday: Isolated shower/thundershower possible. High 78, Low 65.

NWS: Tuesday: 20% chance of showers. High 79, Low 64.
Wednesday: 20% chance of showers. High 79, Low 65.

WB: Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. High 79, Low 64.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 79, Low 66.

Some moderate showers are found well off to the north of Naples and off over the Gulf. Some more of these might draw closer tomorrow.

What will the volcano in Iceland mean for us?

Back in the early 90s, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, ejecting 10 billion metric tons of magma and 20 million tons of sulfuric acid into the atmosphere. Not only was the system devastating to Luzon, the island where the eruption occurred, but it affected the entire planet for about a 12 month period. The hemispheric average temperature was down an entire degree Fahrenheit after the eruption, thanks to the concentration of ash in the atmosphere, reflecting the suns radiation. This is a dramatic drop in temperature. Consider, that’s the same temperature change that is being discussed in regards to global warming. Even then, the degree change is somewhat misleading, as the lowest temperature change would be over the Pacific, where there are fewer recording stations, and the change in temperature would not have a dramatic impact.
Now, in 2010, we are poised for a similar event. The Eyjafjallajokull (and that’s the last time I’m typing that) volcano in Iceland hasn’t put out as much ash, or sent it as high in the atmosphere as Pinatubo did, but the Icelandic volcano has a history of longer eruptions. That said, the global temperature drop will likely be imperceptible when taken on a large scale. That said, this stands to have a greater impact on more people than Pinatubo did. Remember, that Pinatubo’s most dense ash was over the Pacific. Iceland’s ash will end up over Europe, as it already is. Even as the ash clears up at flight levels and air travel picks up again, temperatures for the summer and perhaps even into the window are going to be down in Europe. Here in the United States, it is extremely unlikely we see any temperature changes, unless the volcano somehow becomes more explosive. Even then, we won’t see a substantial drop in temperature stateside as we did with Pinatubo, as the ash would have to wrap its way all the way around the globe.

It got a little chilly

It’s been unseasonably warm for the past few weeks for most of the eastern part of the country. That all changed about three days ago. For anyone who tells you that they think it just felt cool because of how warm it was, the Weather Channel has a map to tell you that you are mistaken. In the upper Ohio Valley, temperatures were 15 degrees below normal in 15, which put them in prime temperature range for some snow. Which there was in western PA, as well as northeast through New England. So, yes, we did get a little bit cooler, and it wasn’t just you.

Like day and night

The temperature in Jefferson City fell off a little bit form Wednesday to Thursday. After a balmy 84 degree day on Wednesday, a cold front and it’s associated clouds arrived on Thursday, preventing temperatures from even reaching 70. The Weather Channel and Weatherbug most accurately foresaw this dramatic turn for the worst (if you like hot weather), and ended up with the top forecasts.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 84, Low 54
Thursday – .05 inches of rain, High 68, Low 53

Grade: B

The Week Ahead: 4/18/10-4/24/10

We drew a rhombus with our road trips this week!

Monday – Naples, Florida
Tuesday – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Road Trip: Naples to Oklahoma City
Thursday – Johnson City, Tennessee; Road Trip: Ames, Iowa to Johnson City

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