Serene Skies

The expected quiet weather in Lancaster didn’t disappoint, with some pleasant daytime highs, but a bit chillier Friday morning as high pressure ruled the region. The mostly sunny skies led to the NWS nabbing the top spot.

Thursday: High 57, Low 34.
Friday: High 62, Low 28.
Forecast Grade: A

The Week Ahead 11/14/10-11/20/10

So we’re into the middle of November, and we will be criss-crossing the country with a boatload of road trips.

Sunday – Road Trip from Lansing, Michigan to Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Tuesday – Bellingham, Washington
Wednesday – Road Trip from Bellingham to Lafayette, Indiana
Thursday – Road Trip from Lafayette to Reading, Pennsylavania
Saturday – Charleston, South Carolina; Road Trip from Rome, Georgia to Charleston

Bismarck, North Dakota

I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be our first truly wintry forecast of the season. How does THAT make you feel?

At 1052AM, CT, Bismarck was reporting sunny skies and a temperature of 39 degrees. They found themselves in the wake of a cold front that is getting new life from a developing low over Oklahoma. Along the cold front, which is gradually turning into a warm front, or even an inverted trough, a large shield of clouds looked to back its way into North Dakota.
The deep but fairly weak upper trough will instigate a northward motion from the low developing in Oklahoma. The system isn’t strong enough to advect it’s cold air, so it will have to use the temperatures in place already, which will likely mean a mix of rain and snow over Minnesota. Were this February, this would likely mean a dusting for Bismarck as well, but it will likely just mean an increase in clouds until late on Sunday, when a strong system over western Canada may begin to introduce some flurries to southern North Dakota.
Tomorrow – Increasing clouds, High 37, Low 25
Sunday -Mostly cloudy, with a flurry before midnight, High 41, Low 22

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. High 43, Low 25
Sunday – Mix of sun and clouds. High 45, Low 23

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny High 42, Low 20
Sunday – Partly sunny (late flurries) High 44, Low 18

NWS: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny high 41, Low 23
Sunday – Partly sunny High 39, Low 23

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 41, Low 21
Sunday – Partly sunny, High 40, Low 22

Temperatures are all over the place, and it will probably be dependent on what happens with the clouds. They are pretty evident on the satellite.

Asheville, North Carolina

Time for our first post vacation early in the day forecast. I don’t think that’s a big deal to anyone, not even me.

At 154PM, ET, Asheville was reporting a temperature of 62 degrees with clear skies. High pressure dominated the east coast, allowing unseasonably warm temperatures to filter into the Southeast and even into the Carolina mountains.
An upper vortex was still dominating the central Plains and was too long waved to really advance on it’s own. A reinforcing jet over the Pacific Northwest will inch into the Rockies and begin to develop the next surface low over the mid-Mississippi Valley by Saturday. It appears, however, that the low will not be able to begin it’s eastward march by the end of the forecast period, and Asheville will enjoy another pair of nice, warm days.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 68, Low 32
Saturday – Partly cloudy, High 68, Low 32

TWC: Tomorrow – A mainly sunny sky. High 66, Low 39
Saturday – Mainly sunny. High 67, Low 35

AW: Tomorrow – Sunny and pleasant High 68 Low 33
Saturday – Nice with plenty of sunshine High 69, Low 32

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 69, Low 33
Saturday – Sunny High 69, Low 34

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 69, Low 33
Saturday – Sunny, High 69, Low 34

A look at the satellite shows that all the clouds are off shore.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Ahh, here we are, back to forecasting. I spent the past week out west, so of course we’re going to the east coast to forecast.

At 1053PM, ET, Lancaster was reporting a temperature of 46 degrees with clear skies. A weak ridge of high pressure was covering the east coast, leaving the entire region clear of any clouds or fog, on top of the dearth of precipitation. A system in Canada is bringing a few showers to the Northern Plains, and the strength of the associated jet suggests it will not fade quickly.
The jet streak is a part of am almost circular pattern that doesn’t show much proclivity for an eastward progression. Expect the system over the plains to lift north to the east. The overall flow of the jet will continue to rip through the same path it rides along, but will not have the same jet strength. The continued vorticity through the Ohio Valley will create redeveloping systems along the river, however none of it will be able to creep far enough east to be of influence for Lancaster.
Tomorrow – Sunny, High 56, Low 35
Friday – Partly cloudy, High 57, Low 30

TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly sunny High 57, Low 35
Friday – Abundant sunshine. High 59, Low 31

AW: Tomorrow – Pleasant with sunshine against a deep blue sky High 55, Low 32
Friday – Sunny and nice High 60, Low 30

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny High 57, Low 24
Friday – Sunny High 61, Low 31

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 57, Low 34
Friday – Sunny, High 61, Low 32

So, sunny skies. It took me forever to write this… I’m not really back in the swing of things yet. Here is the satellite.

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.


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.

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.

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