The Week Ahead: 5/9/10 – 5/15/10

We have a forecast scheduled for every day of this coming week, I hope you come prepared.

Sunday – Port St. Lucie, Florida; Road Trip: Omaha, Nebraska – Port St. Lucie
Monday – San Diego, California
Tuesday – Muncie, Indiana
Wednesday – Little Rock, Arkansas
Thursday – Providence, Rhode Island
Friday – Hickory, North Carolina; Road Trip: Providence to Hickory
Saturday – Lexington, Kentucky

Corvallis, Oregon to Danville, Virginia

This is going to be a full blooded journey, I tell you what. It’s going to push into it’s 6 days, covering 2815 miles. That’s a long ways. We’ll be able to move along at 64.8mph on average, which means each of those first 5 days we’ll cover 518 miles, leaving the rest of the drive for day 6, which isn’t until Friday. Yeesh.


A system is charging going to slowly develop over the southwest, as all the best systems do. As this western trough digs over Arizona, an inverted trough will angle it’s way back northwest into Oregon, the site of most of our driving on day one. We will likely avoid any and all rain in central Oregon, but the best chance will be from Bend to Burns. Expect cloudy skies to fill in as we pass through Boise on our way into Bliss, Idaho, which is between Mountain Home and Twin Falls.

I’m hard pressed to say that day two will be particularly rainy or snowy, but something will certainly happen, particularly after we’ve entered Wyoming. Expect some isolated showers and thunderstorms, but more prevalently, expect snow in the high mountain passes on our Mother’s Day. Just when you expect snow. Our day will end in the awesomely named Fort Steele, just east of Rawlins in Wyoming.

The low will get better organized overnight, and rain will pick up as we stay in Fort Steele. We will in some murky weather as we head east into Nebraska, though temperatures will be on the increase. Fortunately for our purposes we will trail the actual cold front and will endure cloudy skies and light, post frontal rain instead of a squall line, which will be about 200 miles to our east. We will end the day in Henderson, Nebraska, which is west of York.

Wow, Day Four. You don’t see that much, and there is still more to come! We’re going to continue the same luck as we saw on Monday, trailing the front through the Plains. Expect some good clearing for us behind the front, with cool crisp weather in the wake of said clearing. We may encounter some cloudy skies and drizzle very late in the day as we approach O’Fallon, Illinois, which is in the Saint Louis metro. Other than that, good times for the drive on Tuesday.

The front will stall through Kentucky along an east-west angle, and will put down a LOT of rain over central Kentucky. Of course, our route takes us through southern Indiana, north of the. There is a decent chance we will stay out of the rain until we reach Lexington, after which we will dodge some hit or miss showers right on through to our Day Five destination, Pax, West Virginia, in the hill country of that particular state.

The last few hours in the car from Pax to Danville are more than likely going to be dry, but there is still a chance that we could see some light showers out ahead of the next rapidly moving system in the Ohio Valley. That said, I don’t expect problems upon our arrival in Danville, but just know, we may see a shower or two.

Steamy days

Chattanooga was forecast to see some hot weather, especially when compared to what they should be at in early May. Temperatures fluttered around in the high 80s for the past couple of days, which. if nothing else will help the state dry out after their torrential rains. The Weather Channel and Accuweather tied atop the leader board.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 87, Low 57
Thursday – High 88, Low 60

Grade: A

Clearing out for spring

The middle of the week wasn’t too bad in Evansville. They saw some very early morning showers on Tuesday, but it recovered and was around 80 the next couple of days. Everyone who didn’t forecast an enormous warmup for Wednesday was able to claim a good forecast, with Weatherbug having the top spot, narrowly edging V-W and the Weather Service.
Actuals: Tuesday – .07 inches of rain/thunderstorms, High 78, Low 52
Wednesday – High 83, low 56

Grade: A

Snowballs?… Snowballs?!!?

May is the time most people start to think of warm weather, sunshine, and the fun summer activities ahead. However, Mother Nature likes to sometime put a monkey wrench into our cheery outlooks. An area of low pressure is developing today over the Central Rockies and will push into the Central Plains by later this evening. A slew of moisture is streaming up from the Gulf ahead of it and will get wrapped around on the north side of it, and will result in some snowfall over the Northern Plains. In addition, as the low shifts eastward through Friday evening, another swath of snow looks to fall over northern MN and WI, with a couple inches possible. We’ve had a ludicrously warm spring we’ve had here in the Twin Cities, we haven’t had snow since February 23rd which led to our first ever snowless March and April on record, so this possible snowfall isn’t going to make people in Central MN and WI very pleased. Snowfall isn’t uncommon over the northern tier of states in early May, but after the warm spring this part of the country has had so far, it’s certainly not a welcome visitor.


When I look at a surface map, I think of it like a topographical map. The high pressure is like a mountain, low pressure is like a valley. The closer the lines are (the isobars, lines of constant pressure) the greater the change in elevation on our topographical map. The air is like, say, water. It will always try to flow downhill, and will move faster in steeper elevation changes.
This is obviously an over simplification, especially since it doesn’t accurately describe the directionality of the winds. Due to forces like friction and the rotation of the earth, the wind blows roughly 90 degrees to the right of a straight high to low pressure line. Basically, if you stand with your back to the wind and lift your left arm, you are pointing to the lower pressure. That said, it does do a slightly better job describing the speed with which the wind will blow. A steeper pressure gradient does mean stronger winds, just like my mental topographical map would indicate.
This is, by the way, one of the most fundamental things a meteorologist knows. The first thing I remember learning about in my meteorology class was high and low pressure and the immediate effect on wind. I remember walking home from that class lifting my left arm, trying to figure out where the nearest low was. Memories…

Vatican City

The Holy See is the official name of the leadership body of the Catholic Church, and it’s reach is obviously global. The Holy See has been around for centuries, and for being such a small group of people, they are extremely powerful. That said, their territorial location, Vatican City, has only been around for about 90 years, and occupies only about 110 acres in the middle of Rome. Territorially, it is St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, the Sistine Chapel, the Papal offices and other administrative and religious landmarks. Their climate, therefore, is a lot easier to describe specifically. They have a Mediterranean climate, which of course means where the winter is the rainy season, and it is drier in the summer. It’s never cold, and it can get downright hot in the summer. The climate of the Vatican can be described so specifically, as we can even say that the paved St. Peter’s Square leads to slightly warmer temperatures on sunny days. The water from the numerous fountains (no joke) and position along the Tiber means the Vatican is anomalous compared to the rest of Rome in terms of available moisture, and can be more humid and misty as compared to the rest of the world. It’s an unusual nation, being so small, because you can look at such micro details and their impact on overall climate.
Lastly, the Vatican’s daily administrative details, like police and yes, weather advisories, are operated by Italy.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

In one sense, we couldn’t have asked for a better week to talk about the weather of Tennessee. Of course, the reason for that is devastating and melancholy. Perhaps we can bring some better news to Chattanooga.

At 953PM, ET, Chattanooga was reporting a temperature of 68 degrees with clear skies. They are presently between systems, and will enjoy a quiet night. The front that had dumped so much rain on Tennessee is now sitting along the Carolina coast, and the next system lies over the northern Plains, with a cold front tailing through Iowa.
This system is likely not to spread it’s influence as far south as Chattanooga, and is going to occlude rather rapidly thanks to a fairly east-west flowing jet. This will mean a warm up, uncomfortable perhaps to some, thanks to the flow associated with the system, and the cold front likely will not dip further south than the Great Lakes. A minor cool down is a possibility on Thursday with a change in wind direction to come more from the west-northwest, but it will not come with precipitation.
Tomorrow – Partly cloudy and hot, High 89, Low 59
Thursday – Continued hot, with a some clouds in the afternoon, High 90, Low 62

TWC: Tomorrow – Sunny skies. Warm High 87, Low 56
Thursday – More sun than clouds. High 89, Low 59

AW: Tomorrow – Very warm with sunshine High 88, Low 56
Thursday – Mostly sunny and very warm High 87, Low 60

NWS: Tomorrow – Sunny, High 87, Low 57
Thursday – Sunny High 87, Low 57

WB: Tomorrow – Sunny High 89, Low 59
Thursday – Sunny High 89, Low 59

And the NWS point forecast done broke again. That’s a shame. Here is the satellite, showing you where the recent front pulled off to.


A cold front has stalled itself along the Appalachians and Smokeys. The city of Nashville is underwater, if you haven’t heard, and the state of Tennessee is in the midst of a full blown catastrophe, with dozens dead due to the rising floodwaters. Kingsport, our forecast from Saturday, was spared that degree of unpleasantness, though the beginning of the week was not enjoyable to say the least. After a brief tease of some rain in the midst of near 90 degree heat on Sunday, they got over an inch of rain on Monday. As it turned out, Weatherbug tied us for the top spot on this one.
Actuals: Sunday – .07 inches of rain, High 89, Low 60
Monday – 1.08 inches of rain, High 79, Low 65

Grade B

Evansville, Indiana

Far southern Indiana, along the shores of the Ohio River for today’s forecast. What mysteries does Evansville provide?

At 954PM, CT, Evansville was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 71 degrees. A fairly inactive cold front lurked to the west over central Illinois, generating a temperature drop off of 10-15 degrees. At this time, however, Evansville was looking at another unseasonably warm day with sunny skies.
A frontal passage over the weekend brought dew points down to the more manageable 50s, and will allow temperatures to spike with the drier conditions. The warmer temperatures may generate enough energy for some showers and storms, particularly to the north later today and into early tomorrow morning.After those scattered showers and storms move out, likely around sunrise, Evansville will see a prolonged period of pleasant weather. A system moving along the US/Canadian border will bring a slight chance for inclement weather late on Wednesday, however the bulk of the forecast period will be dry and the system to the north will aid in southerly flow which will keep things quite warm.
Tomorrow – AM Showers and storms, High 79, Low 55
Wednesday – Increasing clouds late, High 83, Low 57

TWC: Tomorrow – Mainly sunny. (AM showers/storms) Warm. High 82, Low 55
Wednesday – Sunshine. High 87, Low 56

AW: Tomorrow – Partly sunny (AM Showers) High 82, Low 55
Wednesday – Very warm with sunshine high 85, Low 55

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy (AM Rain), High 79, Low 54
Wednesday – Sunny High 84, Low 57

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny (AM Showers). High 79, Low 54
Wednesday – Mostly sunny. High 84, Low 56

Not bad for hours that residents of Evansville are actually awake. A look at the satellite shows that front that swept through over the weekend, and some poofy clouds that may end up as thunderstorms tonight.

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