I hope you aren’t relying on the SPC

As it turns out, the Storm Prediction Center’s website isn’t quite functioning correctly. Note the current warning map put forth by the National Weather Service.

The reddish area in southwestern Minnesota is a severe thunderstorm watch. If you look at the current watches page from the SPC, you see this:

If the issue was with the SPC itself, Scott Air Force Base would issue the various products put forth by the SPC, but the fact that they aren’t showing up at all suggests issues with the website instead. The good news is the information is getting out there, the watches are scrolling across TV screens in Minnesota and they are showing up on the NWS page. The issue is for hardcore meteorology enthusiasts like us who have the SPC pae bookmarked.

Autumn on it’s way

The forecast for Grand Forks was notable for one good reason. Low temperatures were supposed to dip to the low 40s, a downright autumnal feel. They did just that, but summer had a last gasp. getting temperatures up to the mid 80s on Tuesday. Victoria-Weather was the warmest forecaster on Tuesday, and carried through to the end result, where we were the tops in Grand Forks.
Actuals: Tuesday – Trace of precip, High 84, Low 43
Wednesday – .03 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 71, Low 49

Grade: B

Ames, Iowa to Anniston, Alabama

It’s an alliterative road trip to take us to the end of the week from soggy Ames to humid Anniston. We’ll take almost 2 full days to cover the 922 miles that we we want to cover. The route will allow us to cover 63mph, and about 506 miles on the first day. It’s going to be damp at beginning and end. How about the middle?

DAY ONE

The only issue we should have on our first day will be leaving Ames. With the recent flooding the town has seen there is a possibility that some roads could still be underwater, making travel a bit sticky as we try to get out of town. The route will take us along a lot of Iowa state highways, which will introduce us to quite a few fun small towns before we are ultimately surprised to come across Saint Louis. The day will end without incident in Goreville, Illinois in the far southern part of the state.

DAY TWO
For the most part, the second day of driving, Friday won’t be too bad either. Sure, when we cross into Alabama, we could start seeing some thunderstorms, but that will only be the last hour or two of the entire drive, so we shouldn’t complain. Expect some thunderstorms in and around Anniston upon arrival.

Anniston, Alabama

Anniston finds itself conveniently located between Birmingham and Atlanta, and as far I know, has nothing to do with Jennifer.

At 853PM, CT, Anniston was reporting a temperature of 82 degrees with mostly clear skies. The area was quiet for now, but a fairly well defined cold front through Kentucky was generating widespread showers and thunderstorms just north of Anniston, and would likely be a focal point for thunderstorms along and south of the boundary through the day tomorrow.
The next two days will see the boundary to the north stall. This will have negligible impact on Anniston, as thunderstorm activity will continue as it has all summer, generally cropping up in the afternoon and diminishing after nightfall. The convection will be somewhat more widespread to the north, however, though it won’t influence the overall forecast in Anniston.
Tomorrow – Thunderstorms, High 91, Low 76
Friday – Thunderstorms continue, High 91, Low 75

TWC: Tomorrow – Variable clouds with thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon. Humid. High 91. Low 75
Friday – Scattered thunderstorms. High 95, Low 74

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm High 89, Low 75
Friday – Variable clouds with showers and thunderstorms High 93, Low 75

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy High 91, Low 75
Friday – Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy High 90, Low 73

WB: Tomorrow – Thunderstorms likely, High 91, Low 75
Friday – Thunderstorms likely, High 90, Low 74

Pretty even forecasts across the board. I love it when there is just one degree difference between the weather Service and Weatherbug. The satellite looks a lot busier than it probably is.

Nonsense

On Wednesday morning, a thunderstorm erupted over Amarillo in the mid morning amid cloudy skies. The sun never came out with showers and storms in the area for the entire day, which led temperatures to remain a lot cooler than anticipated. The nearest anyone got to the correct high was The Weather Channel, and they were 11 degrees too warm. The daily high on Monday in Amarillo was a paltry 77 degrees. Things bounced back to 89 on Tuesday, but that bizarre looking number on Monday really stuck out. The Weather Channel, more for their near perfection on the other verifying times, ended up with the top forecast.
Actuals: Monday – .24 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 77, Low 65
Tuesday – .31 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 89, Low 66

Grade C

Palau

Palau is one of the youngest nations in the world. It is an island cluster southeast of the Philippines. It gained it’s independence from the United States in 1994, but continues to freely associate with the United States, relying on our fine country for military protection, among other things. The country is a tropical nation that sees rain all year, never truly escaping the ITCZ. The good news is that the country is too close to the equator to ever really be under the threat of any tropical storms or typhoons.The largest island, Babeldaob, is mountainous and sees more rain than the surrounding, mostly coral islands.
As the United States is entrusted with the protection of the island nation, the US also provides Palau with any weather information they may seek.

Grand Forks, North Dakota to Ames Iowa

Today’s trip will cover exactly 8 hours. Right on the nose. How about that. It’s a 528 mile journey, so if you do the math, that means we’ll average about 66mph, thanks to driving that will exclusively cover interstates. Let’s just hope that Ames isn’t underwater when we arrive. For once, Grand Forks isn’t.


The trip will get off to a somewhat rocky start with a cold front sweeping into northern Minnesota. Overnight, there could be a little bit of severe weather in eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota. The boundary isn’t moving terribly quickly, and we’ll be able to sink south of and shower or thunderstorm activity tomorrow after we have reached the Alexandria, Minnesota area. Since it’s still early in the morning, I don’t think we’re going to be in for any huge thunderstorms, just some nagging rain and thunder. South of the front, everything looks good. Look for the typically clear and warmer weather ahead of a front, which will envelope us all the way into Ames.

Grand Forks, North Dakota

It’s been a long stretch for residents of Grand Forks, along the Red River bordering Minnesota. Flooding seems to be a seasonal affair and lately the entire area has been raked by strong and severe thunderstorms. That seems to be at it’s end at long last. Let’s see if it lasts.

At 1253PM, CT, Grand Forks was reporting a temperature of 66 degrees and clear skies with gusty west-northwest winds. A broad area of low pressure over Ontario was reminiscent of a typically autumnal pattern and was pumping in the cool crisp air to much of the Upper Midwest and keeping things decidedly stable.
A steady northwesterly breeze is likely to persist thanks to the strong area of low pressure and it’s associated dominant jet pattern which will keep things cool for the next 24-36 hours. An undercutting jet will develop south of North Dakota by the end of the day tomorrow, which will aid in the generation of a weak wave that will ripple along the Canadian border by Wednesday morning. Some light showers will be possible Wednesday morning followed by some reinforcing cool air during the day as the weaker low gets absorbed by the stronger system to the north.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy (Late PM rain), High 80, Low 41
Wednesday – Morning showers, then becoming mostly cloudy, High 72, Low 50

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy skies. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 78, Low 44
Wednesday – Isolated thunderstorms. High 76, Low 53

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny and breezy (rain after 9) High 76, Low 42
Wednesday – Times of clouds and sun with a shower or thunderstorm around High 74, Low 46

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny (rain after 7pm) High 76, Low 44
Wednesday – A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 74, Low 52

WB: Tomorrow – Partly Sunny, High 76, Low 44
Wednesday – Partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, High 74, Low 52

I almost went with Weatherbug and said no rain in Grand Forks for Tuesday night, but I eventually relented. I should note that one model is putting Grand Forks at a low of 38 night tonight. That’s awful. Here is the clear skies radar.

Excuse me while I eat my crow

I made fun of Accuweather during the forecast for their seemingly ostentatious prediction of a high of 97 on Sunday in Chattanooga. Color me surprised when I saw that the high temperature actually did reach 97 ahead of a weak cold front that didn’t produce any wet weather for the Chattanooga area. Of course, there was a bit of rain with the isolated storms on Saturday. Really, nothing went quite as expected over the weekend for most of us, but Accuweather did come away with the top forecast.
Actuals: Saturday – Trace of rain, High 92, Low 77
Sunday – High 97, Low 76

Grade: B

Morgantown, West Virginia to Amarillo, Texas

Today we embark on a 1,378 mile road trip from Morgantown, WV to Amarillo, TX. We’ll be taking it easy though, making the trip in three days at a fairly comfortable pace in covering roughly 460 miles a day. And away we go!

DAY ONE

We head out of Morgantown northwards towards Pittsburgh, but we’ll make a west on I-70 before we reach the metropolis. A cold front pushing through the region will fire most of its activity off towards the east during the afternoon hours. There is a slight chance of a lingering shower along it during the morning hours as we continue westward, but things will dry and clear out as we continue our way westward into OH. Good weather should greet us for the rest of the day as we push into Indiana, finishing up at Terre-Haute, which is near the IL border.

DAY TWO

Weak high pressure over the area will make for a fairly nice morning with some patchy light fog perhaps breaking up shortly after sunrise. We continue our jaunt down I-70 towards St. Louis. The cold front that moved through the region the previous day will keep the main concentration of shower and storm activity off towards the south over the TN and Lower MS Valleys. A weak disturbance along the tail end of a boundary lifting back over the Central Plains will sprout scattered shower and thunderstorm activity over much of the Plains states. We’ll be pulling into Joplin, MO, found near the KS/OK border by the late-afternoon hours while the skies cloud up. Some showers and thunderstorms are possible late evening into the overnight hours, hopefully they don’t keep us awake. We only have one more day to go!

DAY THREE

A few straggling showers are possible over the Ozarks during the morning hours as the disturbance shifts northeast and dissipates overnight. The tail end of the cold front continues to camp out over the TN and Lower MS Valleys, keeping the diurnal thunderstorm activity south of our route. Models have been spinning up an area of low pressure along the Gulf Coast and by Wednesday, it could possibly develop into a tropical system as it shifts westward towards LA and far eastern TX. This focus of moisture southeast of our route will keep precip activity fairly isolated as we make our way past Tulsa and Oklahoma City and onto I-40 towards the TX Panhandle. Most of the afternoon and evening activity will be found over the Four Corners region as monsoonal thunderstorms ignite once again over the Rockies. A couple stray thunderstorms might find their way down towards Amarillo by early evening, but we should beat them to the city.

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