Lewiston, Idaho

Apologies for the late night. I’ll try to get things out earlier in the future, you know, so I can go to bed.

At 1156PM, MT, Lewiston was reporting a temperature of 69 degrees with clear skies. An area of weak low pressure aloft dominated the southwest, and an exit region of that trough had itself established over the High Plains and Front Range of Montana. Lewiston found itself safely behind the wet weather, though not in the most stable of environments.
The pattern will be slow to change, as a strong jet pattern is not in the offing. The little change that does come however, will be in the form of improving weather. Flow moving across the Rockies into low pressure over Montana will keep things partly to mostly cloudy tomorrow, however expect sunnier skies and a degree or two more warmth in town for the coming days.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy, High 80, Low 59
Saturday – Mostly Sunny, High 82, Low 57

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. High 79, Low 60
Saturday – Sunshine High 82, Low 56

AW: Tomorrow – Clouds and sunshine High 76, Low 59
Saturday – Mostly sunny High 81, Low 54

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny High 81, Low 63
Saturday – Sunny, High 82, Low 57

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny. High 69, Low 58
Saturday – Sunny High 72, Low 51

Weatherbug’s text definitely doesn’t match the numbers they have displayed. I wonder what’s going on there. They say, for example, high on Friday’s will be low 70s, and upper 70s on Sunday, then they put those numbers up. Odd. Here is the satellite, showing a quiet Idaho chimney

Problems with the low

Elmira was a tricky forecast for a few people. There was a thunderstorm in town on Tuesday, and some spotty showers on Wednesday, but the real issue for the Weather Service and Weatherbug were lows. Tuesday, temperatures stayed warmer overnight than expected, while the opposite situation came to be on Wednesday. Actually, the lows were only different by 4 degrees, but the forecast lows from the NWS and Weatherbug were different by 15 degrees. Victoria Weather, with our more baseline forecast had the top spot in Elmira.
Actuals: Tuesday – .19 inches of rain in a thunderstorm, High 79, Low 60
Wednesday – .03 inches of rain, High 87, Low 64

Grade: B

Toledo, Ohio to Rochester, Minnesota

This is going to strain our friendship, I think, this drive from Ohio to Minnesota. It will be just shy of 10 hours, which is under out threshold for one day’s driving We will definitely need some stretching when we are done with our 593 miles in the car. It’s going to be an interstate laden drive, buy the time in Chicago will slow us down and we’ll cover the distance at a pace of 60.3. Let’s make our way to the Mayo clinic.

It’s been an active week or so for the northern tier, but a squall line moving through northern Indiana, when it arrives in Toledo, will signal the beginning of the end of the stormy, nasty period for at least a day or two. Fortunately, one of those days will be the one we will be in the car. After Toledo shakes off some morning sprinkles, we will be on our way through some warm but not terribly oppressive weather as we inch through Chicago and eventually roll through Wisconsin, other areas that have been recently raked by severe weather. Actually, both Toledo and Rochester have seen their share of rough weather over the past couple of months. Let’s just keep driving and avoid the gawker slow down at people picking up the pieces after their rough weather.

And our 2010 Captain Obvious Award Goes to…

As meteorologists, we always look at what other people are forecasting for various things: tornado outbreaks, an upcoming blizzard, intense heat wave, etc. One of those would also be the upcoming Hurricane season! The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season officially started on June 1, and it’s been a quiet start so far. One tropical wave is moving through the Caribbean south of Hispaniola, but is having a tough time doing much of anything. In an earlier post, we mentioned that various forecasters were forecasting an above average hurricane season, with something around 14 named storms. Other outlets went slightly higher with 15-17. One of them, however, not only takes the cake with his recent updated forecast, but also the way he displays the information.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2010 Captain Obvious Award goes to Joe Bastardi of Accuweather! If you wish to check out his newly updated 2010 Hurricane Outlook and refresh yourself, click on the link. Also, it will give you an idea of why he wins the Captain Obvious Award. First, he INCREASES his outlook for the season from 16-18 to 18-21! Only 3 seasons have had 18 or more named storms (that I can remember anyways), so to predict such a prolific season is pretty tough to put out there. What is most annoying, however, is how the graphics and data he says which he emphasizes as critical information… isn’t very ground-breaking in the least.

First, look at the Threat Zones graphic. The area of Biggest Threat goes from Louisiana to the Outer Banks of NC. Now lets take a look at the climotological best tracks for storms in the months of September and October, typically 2 of the most active months of the season.

So, the area of Biggest Threat… is the normal area that’s under the gun. Every. Single. Year. If I didn’t know fancy graphics didn’t exist back in the 60s you could use that same graphic for the season Hurricane Camille roared ashore. Making a fancy image showing information that is normal doesn’t make it any more informational, just grabs peoples attention and scares them. Then again, to everybody from New Orleans to Miami to Myrtle Beach, I’m pretty sure they know the danger they’re in each year.

Second, the line “Bastardi predicts the heart of this season’s storms will occur between Aug. 15 and Oct. 15”. Now, let’s look the seasonal average for tropical activity during the season…

So he predicts the heart of the tropical season to be… directly when the season normally peaks. Way to go out there on a limb Joe. The 1933 Hurricane Season peaked at the same time (2nd most active on record). The 2005 Hurricane Season peaked at the same time (most active on record). Even the way overforecasted 2009 Hurricane Season peaked at the same time. Him telling us that time frame is of crucial importance, isn’t any different than any other year, active or not.

So for that, Mr. Bastardi wins the award for making a big deal out of weather phenomena that naturally occur in a certain timeline and normal paths on an annual basis. Oh, and for also predicting possibly the 2nd busiest season on record. If it does indeed happen, I’ll be the first to eat a slice of humble pie. Until then, we’ll let the Atlantic do the talking.

East Timor

Seems recently we’ve had a string of small countries being featured. Things… won’t be changing today.

East Timor is a small island nation about 400 miles northwest of Darwin, Australia, sharing the island on the west side with part of Indonesia. Laying at a whopping 9 degrees south, East Timor (or as it’s officially known as the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste) has a distinct tropical climate with wet and dry seasons. With a land area of under 5750 sq. miles, there isn’t a ton of room to move around, but does impressively have mountain peaks above 9,500 feet. The Northwestern quadrant of the island has the most mountainous region, while the southern coastline is predominately plains. With it’s proximity to the equator, East Timor actually avoids most tropical systems that spin their way towards Northern Australia, only getting a brief glance as they stroll by.
The Dirrec√£o Nacional Meteorologia e Geofisica is the governing meteorological body of East Timor, however, it seems they forgot to pay their internet access bill this month, and the site is non-operational at this point.

Asleep at the Switch

Apparently the reporting station in Visalia ran out of juice sometime on Sunday, or maybe the person there accidentally pulled the plug while watching everybody stumble their way down the Back 9 at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open and didn’t notice. In any event, no reports were logged from 6pm Sunday till darn near noon on Monday, save for 1 lonely report just before 7am, a morning low perhaps? If these numbers panned out, it’d have been a lil cooler than forecasts, but still a nice weekend.

Sunday: High 84?, Low 51
Monday: High 87, Low 59?

Elmira, New York

Our forecast today will be from Western New York, and what is becoming a recent favorite, Elmira. How will it go? Let’s find out.

At 1153AM, ET, Elmira was reporting a temperature of 77 degrees with clear skies. There were a few lingering clouds leftover from the early morning in the valleys to the east, but generally the state of New York was quiet. Overall, flow aloft was rather dormant as well, however with summer time heating in full affect, even the slightest ripple will be cause for thunderstorm concern.
One such lower level disturbance will shoot from the Upper Midwest through the Great Lakes and into western New York by tomorrow evening. A few afternoon and evening thunderstorms are certainly a possibility, however after this little bundle of energy arrives in town, it will languish without any upper level support, meaning Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with some drizzle in the area, however a developing system to the west will generate a substantial southerly flow, bringing with it some hot weather.
Tomorrow – Evening thunderstorms, High 82, Low 55
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy, with showers around, High 85, Low 63

TWC: Tomorrow – Partly to mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe High 83, Low 57
Wednesday – Scattered thunderstorms High 85, Low 66

AW: Tomorrow – Times of clouds and sun with a shower or thunderstorm around in the afternoon high 86, Low 50
Wednesday – Showers and a heavier t-storm; mostly cloudy and humid with the temperature near the record of 93 High 91, Low 63

NWS: Tomorrow – Scattered showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. Mostly cloudy High 85, Low 54
Wednesday – Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy High 84, Low 69

WB: Tomorrow – Partly sunny in the morning…then mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon High 86, Low 55
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy in the morning…then becoming partly sunny. Scattered showers and thunderstorms High 85, Low 70

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens on Wednesday. The model outputs are saying 90, which is what Accuweather (even MORE hurricanes!) is buying, but all the auxiliary data says that there isn’t a chance in heck they get quite that warm. We shall see. Below is a satellite littered with popcorn cumulus clouds.

A sad Father’s Day for northwestern Minnesota

Statistics are still being parsed, but it appears a tornado outbreak on that day was the most prolific in the history of the state. The towns of Wadena, Mentor, Algora and Kiester will never be the same. Several other towns were struck, though Wadena, a regionally important city of about 4500 was devastated, and there were deaths in Mentor, Algora and near Kiester.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune had an excellent piece on this Father’s Day about Wes Michaels, the man who lost his life in Mentor, which is in the northwestern corner of Minnesota, who died protecting his daughter at the gas station he owned.
The article is poignant and sad, however his death underscored a danger highlighted by these storms. Weather services across three states, the Dakotas and Minnesota, did an excellent job giving people proper warning. The city of Wadena, for example, had 36 minutes between the time the sirens went off and the tornado sweeping into town. Michaels was watching The Weather Channel (reportedly a favorite of his) and actually had time to drive to the gas station to ensure the safety of his daughter and customers, ushering them into the freezer.
This is the problem that was exposed by the storms. The three deaths that occurred were because of unsafe places of refuge. The other two were killed when their mobile homes were tossed. The safest place to endure such weather is always below ground. Wes Michaels couldn’t get there, but found the next safest place, and there were 4 other people in that freezer that are alive to thank him for that.
Hopefully we won’t have to hear any more tragedies like this on this Father’s Day, however there is a dangerous situation setting up again today, this time through South Dakota and Nebraska, with most of the states under the gun. Here’s hoping YOU have a happy Father’s Day, no matter what the weather may be.

As hot as expected

El Paso lies west of the dry line, as Anthony mentioned on Thursday. They get nothing but scalding heat, a good toasty dry heat almost every day through the summer. The past two days were no different, with the highs dancing about 100, and the lows not cooling off enough for a northerner to sleep, that’s for sure. Victoria Weather and the Weather Channel tied atop the leaderboard.
Actuals: Friday, High 103, Low 68
Saturday, High 102, Low 76

Grade: B

Visalia, California

Visalia, CA is found on the eastern side of CA’s Central Valley, nestled up against the Sierra Nevada. Very picturesque scenery is abound there, as I’ve driven past Visalia a few times in the past during trips between L.A. and Fresno. Will the rest of this weekend bring more nice weather?

In Visalia, CA at 11:55 A.M. PDT, the temperature was 72 degrees under sunny skies. Normally around this time of year we’re used to an upper ridge of high pressure spending most of it’s time out along the West Coast, kicking any frontal systems off towards the Pacific Northwest and further north, keeping CA pretty much bone dry. However, there’s currently an upper level trough sitting over the Western US and will slowly push its way eastward over the next few days. However, there aren’t many clouds, let alone precipitation, associated with this trough. The main upper low is found up in Washington and Oregon, keeping that portion of the West in shower and isolated thunderstorm activity. Down in Visalia, only a few high clouds were pushing through the area earlier, and should be a fairly pleasent day there today. The next couple of days look to be more of the same with the upper trough continuing its sloth-like pace towards the east. At least it’s keeping the temperatures from getting too terribly high!

Sunday: Sunny. High 86, Low 53.
Monday: Sunny. High 89, Low 56.

TWC: Sunday: Sunny. High 86, Low 53.
Monday: Sunny. High 91, Low 55.

AW: Sunday: Sunny. High 83, Low 53.
Monday: Sunny. High 87, Low 54.

NWS: Sunday: Sunny. High 84, Low 54.
Monday: Sunny. High 88, Low 56.

WB: Sunday: Sunny. High 87, Low 54.
Monday: Sunny. High 91, Low 57.

We see most of CA being nice and clear at this time, with clouds bringing showers up in Oregon and Idaho.

The official blog of Victoria-Weather