Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Too Early for Baseball

Why are curveballs being thrown in December? It isn't supposed to happen in late innings like this!

The 0z runs of the NAM and the GFS are in tonight. They are "interesting" to say the least.

For days the models have been locked in on a track taking the storm up the western side of Missouri keeping southeast Missouri (and eastward) all rain. Tonight's runs have the track further east. So much further east it brings the low over the top of southeast Missouri Thursday night.

If the new solutions are to be believed, southeast Missouri would still be mainly rain, BUT there could be some brief snow early Saturday morning (12am-6am). Straight from the models tonight, there could be an accumulating snow over the Ozarks of southeast Missouri. Or basically locations on a slightly higher elevation.

I have not totally bought in to this idea yet. This is just one run, although multiple models have come to the same solution on the same run. The last 12-15 runs of the models have taken the western solution. However, as the storm is finally developing over the western Plains, the models are finally getting a chance to sample "real" data.

I would like to see the eastern track in another run and not just the 6z (12am) run. It would need to be tomorrow morning's run that ingests upper-air data.

I am now passing the buck, I mean torch, on to Brian and Laura. They will handle the rest of your flight on board the "Christmas Even Storm '09" ride.

Merry Christmas to all...

Tuesday Night Forecast

Here is my forecast from Tuesday night's 10pm news.



Handy Travel Information

The mid-week storm that is moving through the central United States will affect millions of travelers over the next 3 days.

Take a look at the number of states under warnings, watches, or advisories from the storm.


Seventeen states are under Winter Storm warnings, watches, or advisories this morning. An additional six states are under Flood Watches or Wind Advisories.

For travelers the web is an awesome place. You can get just about anything in a matter of seconds. Unless of course you are on dial-up. :)

Here is a link to a great resource for you from KFVS12. You can get road condition phone numbers/websites, flight information, direct links to airlines' websites, and more.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

11:00pm Tuesday Weather Update

New data is just in from the 0z NAM forecast model. Below is a graphical look at the forecast over the next 84 hours for a few select locations across the Midwest. (Green bars indicate rain. Blue bars indicate snow. Red bars indicate freezing rain. Red line indicates surface air temperature.)

Cape Girardeau, Missouri:


The model is putting out 3.3" of rain through the period.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa:


The model is putting out 0.05" of freezing rain (ice) for Wednesday. It then changes back over to all rain Thursday. Two inches of rain possible. Then 4" of snow Friday in to the weekend.


Indianapolis, Indiana:


It should be mainly rain for the folks in Indianapolis. The model is not putting out as much rain as it has in earlier runs. Total rainfall through the period is 0.83".

A few other locations not shown above:
  • Chicago, Illinois: 0.4" of freezing rain/ice possible Wednesday. It then changes back over to 1" of rain. Roads could be slick if you are heading to extreme northern Illinois (near the Wisconsin line) Wednesday.
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: All rain. The model is putting out 4.5" of rain. According to the Storm Prediction Center a "Slight Risk" of severe weather exists over the western part of the state Wednesday.

12:00am Weather Update 12/21

The new 0z (6pm CT) runs of the computer models are in. Just taking a quick look at the data before heading home from work.

Still all rain for southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and central/southern Indiana for Wednesday-Thursday.

It appears that rain will start to move in to southeast Missouri overnight Tuesday in to Wednesday. We will see a couple waves of rain move through. The GFS models is putting out 2.5" of rain for Cape Girardeau between 1am Wednesday and 1am Thursday. The GFS is putting out 1.8" of rain for Cape Girardeau between 6am Thursday and 8pm Thursday.

Travel Outlook:

Wednesday:
  • Arkansas: Mainly rain. Watch out for some thunderstorms.
  • Illinois: Traveling to northern or central Illinois you should just encounter rain.
  • Indiana: Rain begins to move in to the southwest part of the state. Rain will be on the move towards the north.
  • Kentucky: Eastern half of the state will be dry. Western half of state will have scattered showers.
  • Missouri: Mainly rain will fall across Missouri. If you get up towards St. Joseph you might start to encounter a mix of rain/snow.
Thursday:
  • Arkansas: Heavy rain possible all day. Wave of rain should be moving to the east/northeast.
  • Illinois: Looking at rain for the entire state. Heavy rain possible, especially by afternoon/evening. Winds will be gusty out of the south/southeast. The wind will have more of a southeast component for the northern half of the state.
  • Indiana: Rain will be confined to the Indiana/Illinois state line for most of the day. By evening the rain should begin to push east. Perhaps as far east as I-65 by 7pm ET. Wind should be out of the southeast.
  • Kentucky: Rain will be confined to the extreme western part of the state for the first half of day. The rain will slowly make its way east. Perhaps as far east as Lexington by 7pm ET. Winds will be out of the south. If you are driving east along the Kentucky Parkway, you'll have a "nice" right to left crosswind.
  • Missouri: It will be mainly rain for the state for most of the day. By evening, there could be some heavy snow setting up just west of Kansas City just to the north I-70 in northeastern Kansas and southeastern Nebraska. There could be a mix of rain or snow later in the evening for Kansas City.
This is just a quick breakdown of what tonight's computer run is showing. I'm trying to break it down as much as possible so you have an idea of what is coming if you are planning on traveling either day.

Keep in mind, if the model(s) are off on the track of the storm the rain/snow areas could drastically move to the east, west, or north.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Check Your Windshield Wipers

You'll need your windshield wipers if you plan on traveling through the Midwest Wednesday or Thursday. Computer models seem to have locked on to a track for the mid-week storm that will bring rain to much of the Midwest. Some of the rain could be heavy.

Below is a look at th18z (12pm CT) run of NOAA's global forecast model (GFS). Reminder... Time reads from right to left. Green indicates rain. Blue indicates snow. Orange indicates sleet. Red indicates freezing rain. The red line is the air temperature.

Cape Girardeau:


Cedar Rapids, Iowa:


Peoria, Illinois:


Today's update includes a few cities that you don't normally see me cover. This is a a personal service/shout-out to my aunt and uncle who will be traveling through Cedar Rapids and Peoria Thursday. My uncle says he might have heard a different forecast on weather.com. *Shudders*

I should also mention something about the weather south of southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky...

I mentioned yesterday and Sunday that I was keeping an eye on the possibility of some strong thunderstorms. The Storm Prediction Center is now looking that way too.


The Storm Prediction Center has indicated that there is a "Slight Risk" for severe thunderstorms Wednesday/Thursday from Arkansas down to the gulf coast.

What a Waste

I've been busy this morning picking up my finals Christmas gifts and wrapping them. I haven't had a chance to update the blog this morning previous to this post.

Unfortunately it is looking like a pretty safe bet we will be seeing a lot of rain (heavy on Thursday) and wind out of the mid-week storm. What a waste of a perfectly good, strong, winter storm...

I am in for Bob Reeves this week so I will have more this evening on Heartland News at 5, 6, and 10.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Don't Wash Your Car

For eight straight computer model runs the GFS (and now the European ECMWF) seems to be locked in on one solution for the mid-week storm. Southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, central/southern Indiana will stay on the warm side of the storm.

My attention has moved from a winter storm to more of a rain/thunderstorm threat. In fact, it is starting to look like we could have a heavy rain threat from this storm.

As earlier mentioned, the jet stream will be acting as a conveyor belt to help draw moisture up out of the Gulf of Mexico. If the models are to be believed, it is going to be very wet through the mid-Mississippi River Valley and the lower Ohio Valley.

The 18z (12pm CT) GFS puts down some impressive rainfall totals for Cape Girardeau. Below is a look at the data from this afternoon's run.


It pumps out over 2.5" of rain Wednesday through early Friday morning. I have seem some hints at even more than 3.5" of rain.

It is still early and we still have a couple of days for the models to get a better handle on what is going to happen. Things could change pretty easily in the forecast. If you plan on doing any traveling through the central part of the country for Christmas, you should keep an eye on the forecast.

Europeans on Board

In addition to the previous post, I wanted to show you what the European weather agency's model is indicating for Christmas eve.

It looks like the ECMWF is taking on the same tendency of the GFS. It is taking a warmer track. Actually, the track takes a hard turn to the north and plants the low up over Kansas City. This would keep most Missouri as rain for the 24th. It would also keep most of Illinois as rain on the front side of the storm.

Update: Christmas Eve Storm - New Morning Data

The 12z GFS model data is in. The GFS seems to be locking in on a solution for the track of the storm that could affect southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and central/southern Indiana.

For the fifth consecutive run, the GFS is taking a "warm" track. Meaning the surface low is tracking further north and bringing up warm air ahead of the storm. This would equate to rain for southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and central/southern Indiana.

Here is a look at the surface chart with precipitation for 6pm CT Thursday (Christmas Eve).


The surface low tracks right from central Arkansas northeast over southeast Missouri and then it turns almost due north. Usually you would expect for the low to keep tracking east/east-northeast but that doesn't seem to be the case. I am not 100% sure why the model is tracking the storm this direction although I have a sneaking suspicion it is taking in to account the Greenland blocking pattern I talked about last week.

The model is generating quite a bit of rain for southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and extreme southern Indiana. Take a look at the jet stream forecast for 12pm CT Thursday. Look at how the jet dives all the way down to the gulf and then turns sharply north. The jet will act as a conveyor belt to draw up the moisture.


Not all of the 12z rainfall totals are in just yet, but the 6z run puts down around 2.5" of rain for Cape Girardeau Wednesday-Thursday night.

I am also starting to turn down my "winter storm mode" and turn up the "severe weather mode". There will be plenty of warm air and moisture pumping up from the Gulf of Mexico. There will be a lot of wind as the low moves closer and through the area. There will also be spin in the atmosphere due to the closeness of the low. Energy in the upper level moves through the area around 6pm CT Thursday. Here is the 500mb vorticity chart.


There are a few things still missing for me to be really concerned for severe weather around the area. It would be good if we could get a dry slot to develop to allow the atmosphere to destabilize a bit.

The severe weather threat isn't anything to get worked up about yet. This storm is still 4-5 days away and a lot of things can (and probably will) change. The energy that will make all of this happen is just now coming onshore over northwest US.

Keep checking the forecast on KFVS12, kfvs12.com, and I will continue to post updates here on the blog and on Twitter.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Just for Fun - 18z Precipitation Totals

Finally getting a chance to look closer at the mid-afternoon's 18z or 12pm CT run of NOAA's global forecast model (GFS).

The mid-afternoon run appears to be keeping the storm north as it did with this morning's 12z or 6am CT run. This would mean that there would be more rain for places like St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Indianapolis, and Columbus (Indiana). If this holds true, there could be a lot of rain for these locations. For example, in Cape Girardeau the model is pumping out over 2.5" of rain.

It appears that the snow band would be setup up across the northern parts of Illinois.
  • Chicago: The model is putting down 8.5" of snow from Thursday afternoon through early Friday morning.
  • Moline, Illinois: The model is putting down 10" of snow early Thursday morning through early Friday morning.
I generally am not a fan of the 6z (12am CT) and the 18z (12pm CT) run of the computer models. They don't include any upper-air data in the initialization. However, this is the only new data we get to look at until the 0z/12z (6pm CT/6am CT) runs get processed.

Again, keep in mind that these are just computer projections from one model and one run. These are not the actual forecast rain/snow amounts. I put these numbers on here just so you can see the information I am looking at. It could be a couple of days until we get a better handle on the situation.

Travel Heads Up

I am continuing to watch a possible winter storm for midweek/Christmas Eve. There are still a lot of question marks as to where, what will fall, and how much. One thing is fairly certain (if the forecast models are to be believed), it looks like someone in the central U.S. is going to get whacked with a winter storm.

If you plan to travel midweek you should be keeping a close eye on the forecast.

Unfortunately, right now it is too early and too difficult to know exactly what is going to happen. The computer models we use to forecast the storms are all over the place. There hasn't been much consistency yet with their output. So we are in a "wait and see" mode.

The National Weather Service office in St. Louis seems to be thinking the same thing. Forecasters from that office issued a Special Weather Statement this afternoon warning travelers to pay attention to the forecast over the next couple of days.

Below is the text of the statement from the NWS.


SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ST LOUIS MO
410 PM CST SAT DEC 19 2009


...WINTER STORM TAKING AIM ON THE CENTRAL U.S. TUESDAY NIGHT
THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT...

A WINTER STORM APPEARS LIKELY TO BE IMPACTING PARTS OF THE CENTRAL
U.S. HEADING INTO THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. THE TIMING OF THE STORM
IS SUCH THAT IT MAY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON HOLIDAY
TRAVELERS...THEREFORE IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THOSE PLANNING TRAVEL
THROUGHOUT THE CENTRAL U.S. TO CAREFULLY MONITOR FORECASTS OVER
THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

FOR THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS...WEATHER DATA HAS SUGGESTED THAT A
STRONG STORM SYSTEM WILL BE PUSHING INTO THE CENTRAL U.S. WITH MANY
FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR A WINTER STORM COMING TOGETHER IN THE
TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY TIME FRAME. ADVERSE WINTER WEATHER NOW
APPEARS LIKELY SOMEWHERE ACROSS THE NATIONS MIDSECTION.

THE INITIAL STAGES OF THE STORM ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN IMPACTING THE
PLAINS ON TUESDAY...THEN SPREAD INTO THE MID MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
TUESDAY NIGHT. THE STORM WILL CONTINUE ITS INFLUENCE OVER THE AREA
WEDNESDAY AND INTO THURSDAY...BEFORE EXITING THE CENTRAL U.S.
ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

HOWEVER...IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT THAT IT IS STILL
MUCH TOO EARLY TO TELL EXACTLY WHEN OR WHERE THE MOST DANGEROUS
WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL OCCUR. WHILE THE FORECAST DATA HAS
CONSISTENTLY POINTED TO STORM DEVELOPMENT...THE EXACT TRACK AND
TEMPERATURE PROFILE OF THE STORM HAS BEEN VARYING A GREAT DEAL.
THESE ARE KEY UNKNOWNS...SINCE A SMALL CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE OR
STORM MOVEMENT OFTEN HAS A TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON THE AMOUNT OF
WINTER WEATHER A GIVEN LOCATION RECEIVES.

IT IS ALSO QUITE POSSIBLE THAT SOME LOCATIONS WILL HAVE CHANGING
PRECIPITATION TYPES...WITH SNOW CHANGING TO RAIN...AND THEN BACK TO
SNOW. EVEN SOME FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET ARE NOT ENTIRELY OUT OF
THE QUESTION.

WE EXPECT NUMERICAL WEATHER DATA TO BEGIN TO CONVERGE ON A PREFERRED
SOLUTION OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS...SO AGAIN...HOLIDAY TRAVELERS
ARE URGED TO CAREFULLY MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS ON THIS STORM.

$$

TRUETT/TES

11:00am Christmas Eve Storm Update

New data has come in from the morning's computer model runs of NOAA's global forecast model. It has taken the storm a little further north meaning more rain for southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and south/central Indiana.

Here is the GFS forecast panel for 12pm CT Thursday, December 24 from the 12z 12/19 run:


Here is a look at a visual representation of accumulated snowfall over a period from this morning through 7pm ET Saturday. (Click on the graphic to see a larger view.) The graph is called a meteogram. The dark blue line indicates the 1am CT run of the model. The brighter blue line indicates this morning's 6am CT run of the model.

Cape Girardeau, Missouri:


Indianapolis, Indiana:


Snowfall amounts are obviously not as impressive as they were with last night's run. For Cape Girardeau it is showing very little snow. Instead it is showing rain. The heaviest snow is depicted across northern Illinois. In fact, the model is putting down 11" of snow for Chicago.

The flip-flopping going on with the model is to be expected. In fact, this happens with almost every winter storm we have.
I wanted to show you what we, meteorologists/forecasters, have to deal with every storm. This is why it is sometimes difficult to tell you 4-5 days in advance how much snow we are going to get. We continually get conflicting information.

Here is the storm we are going to be watching. It is currently over the eastern Pacific Ocean.


The models should start to get a better consensus once the surface and upper-air portion of the storm makes its way onshore Sunday/Monday. Once onshore, the models can have a better sampling of more weather elements in the storm at the surface and 30,000 feet up.

If this storm should track further south than this morning 12z run, then we could be talking about higher snowfall amounts. If the storm tracks further north, we are talking more rain. For a big snow in southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky we would need the surface low to track over southern Arkansas to Memphis, TN to Nashville, TN.

For people in central/southern Indiana it would need to track north of the previously mentioned track for higher snowfall amounts.

I will be continuing to update the blog with new information as we get closer to the storm. I will also be sending out updates via Twitter. Follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/johndissauer.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just for Fun - Snowfall Amounts

I wasn't going to talk about snowfall amounts for the possible Christmas Eve storm, but what the heck, lets have some fun.

Here is a look at the GFS model from NOAA. This is from the 12pm CT computer model run. I am generally not a big fan of this run of the model due to the lack of upper air dynamics in the initial data set.


The green bars indicate rain and the blue bars indicate snow.
  • This specific model is suggesting 5"-6" of snow for the Cape Girardeau, Missouri area.
  • It is suggesting just over 7" of snow for St. Louis, Missouri with the snow starting around 12am CT Thursday.
  • It is putting out 12" of snow for Indianapolis, Indiana starting Wednesday evening and lasting through late Thursday night.
HAHA Ok, again this isn't the forecast. This is just what one computer model run is showing. I would not put too much in to the amounts listed above. Again, this is just for fun.

Christmas Eve Storm

A quick update regarding a possible Christmas Eve Storm...

Computer models are showing a chance of a storm moving through the central US Wednesday, December 23 and Thursday, December 24. The storm has yet to make its way onshore in the US. Once the storm moves onshore, the models should get a better handle on the storm. The storm is forecast to move in to the northwest coast Sunday.

Here is a look at NOAA's global forecast model 4-panel chart for 6pm CT Thursday, December 24.


Initial thought is that we will start out as rain Wednesday. Temperatures will start out way too warm for snow. However, as the storm passes, colder air will get wrapped in behind the storm. This would be a scenerio of rain changing to snow. Some snow accumulation is possible Christmas Eve in to Christmas Day.

Noteworthy: The models seem to be bringing in a lot of moisture from the south with the storm. The jet stream will be going all the way down to the gulf and tapping in to the Gulf of Mexico moisture. Think of the jet stream as a train just bringing the moisture up.

Due to the abundance in moisture, people planning on traveling north to St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis on Christmas Eve will want to pay close attention to the forecast this week. I am sure the forecast will be fluctuating a bit day-to-day as more data becomes available.

And before you ask, it is way too early to be talking about snowfall amounts. ;)

Side note: I should probably bet on the fact we will end up with some kind of storm this week. Bob Reeves is taking the week off and the last couple years when he takes a week off we end up with some kind of a storm.
  • Remember last January's ice storm? He was off.
  • Remember the "Super Tuesday" tornado outbreak? He was off.
  • Remember December 22, 2004? Major snow storm with blizzard conditions. He was off.
We shall see...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Greenland Blocking Pattern

This weekend will be cold. High temperatures will be in the lower to middle 30's. This could be the coldest air of the season so far.

We will be tapping in to some of the cold air that has been rooted over southern/central Canada the last couple of days. Air temperatures have dropped to -50° in some spots shutting down airports that normally stay open all year in Canada.

A pattern is setting up that will allow cold "Arctic Outbreaks" to plunge in to the lower 48 states over the next 1-2 weeks. This is due to a Greenland blocking pattern setting up. Yes, I am talking about the Greenland in the northern Atlantic.

Below is a graphic of where the jet stream will be located this weekend. The colors under the jet stream is a representation of temperatures at 850mb or approximately 5,000 feet for Saturday.


Follow the jet stream from the Pacific all the way to just east of Greenland. See how the jet stream rises up over Greenland? That is high pressure in place over Greenland. That is going to cause a traffic jam for weather systems. Due to the ridging taking place over Greenland the jet stream gets backed up and has to go over the country. As it does so, lobes of cold air will get stuck over the Midwest and eastern United States.

Side Note: We are still keeping an eye on the upper-low that could produce snow showers around the area Friday night/Saturday. Temperatures will definately be cold enough for snow. I am a little concerned with with lack of moisture.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wrinkle Update

Taking a look at some of the computer model data this morning. The wrinkle previously mentioned in an earlier post is still there, but a few more details are starting to emerge.

One model, NOAA's global forecast model, has taken out the wrinkle on last night's run. However, the European model still is hinting at the possibility of "something".

Perhaps I am doing a little bit of "wish-casting" because I love snow. Lets take a look at last night's European run.

Here is the chart for 6pm CT Friday. You are looking at surface pressure along with temperatures at 850mb (roughly 5,000 feet).

The surface is low well south in the Gulf of Mexico. Moisture will be streamed north from the low, but it won't be very much if any at all.

Look back to the west over Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. See the "dip" in the black lines? This is energy coming together at 500mb (approximately 18,000 feet). This is where I am watching to see if an upper-low develops.

Here is the chart for 6pm CT Saturday. This shows surface pressure and 850mb temperatures.

The surface low has moved across Florida and is now moving out to the Atlantic Ocean. This is taking the moisture with it. Cold air begins to stream in behind the low.

Now lets take a look up at 500mb for the 6pm CT Saturday time frame. We are looking at wind speeds.

I have cut out of hole in the image. This is where the upper level low continues to develop. It is rotating through southwest Missouri at this time. This will provide some energy in the upper levels.

Here is the 850mb temps/surface pressure chart for 6pm CT Sunday.

The surface low is moving up the east coast of the US. Cold air is implanted in the Midwest. Temperatures will probably be in the 30's around southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and northwest Tennessee.

Here is the 500mb chart for 6pm CT Sunday.

I cut a hole out in the chart to indicate where the upper-low is located. Right over the Midwest. There will be energy rotating around the upper-low Saturday and Sunday.

The big question now becomes, "Is there any moisture in the atmosphere?". If there is some moisture, the upper-low could kick out some snow showers. However, as we see above, the surface low is on the east coast. The surface low is what we need to kick moisture up our way to interact with the cold air.

With upper-low situations, we often do see snow flurries or light snow showers. However, these don't turn out to be big snow producers for this area.

Again, this is only one model's depiction of what could happen. As I said earlier, the other model that looks out at this range has taken the "wrinkle" out.

At this point, I wouldn't run to Las Vegas and put money on the fact we are getting an accumulating snow for the weekend.

Stay tuned...

The core of the cold air is building over southern Canada. Last night at 10pm CT, the air temperature in Edmonton, Canada was -33°. That was the air temperature, not the wind chill. BRRR! In the above 850mb charts, you can see the cold air spilling down in to the US. One thing is for sure, it is going to be colder this weekend.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What Can You Do?

I am driving home from filling in on the Weekend Breakfast Show this morning and all of a sudden I see it. No! I can't be. Blue skies! ARGH!!!!

Why am I upset about seeing blue skies? I have been forecasting cloudy/overcast skies for today since Saturday morning. When you forecast for cloudy skies and temperatures only rising 6-7 degrees over the course of the day, sunshine is a killer.

So what is a meteorologist supposed to do? Look at the satellite imagery and see what the heck is going on. This morning all satellite imagery was showing overcast skies all the way back to Kansas and western Oklahoma. Where did the clouds go? Well here you go. Take a look at this.

Visible satellite image taken at 11:02pm CT.

Are you kidding me?!?!?!?! The ONLY hole of sunshine in the entire middle portion of the country sits right over the northern half of the viewing area. ACK!

Get Out The Ironing Board - There's a Wrinkle

For all of you snow lovers... The overnight computer models are throwing a wrinkle in the atmosphere for Friday night/Saturday morning.

A couple of the models, the European and NOAA's global forecast model, are developing a small storm in the Midwest that could bring a rain and/or snow mix to the region.

Here is what the models are showing:

First a look at the European weather forecast model. This is a snapshot of 6pm CT Saturday. It develops a surface low over northern Illinois and sucks down the cold air on the backside. This would tend to be more of a rain maker for the area.


Now a look at the GFS model. This is a look at the 850mb chart for 6pm CT Saturday. This model develops the surface low southeast of the area and develops the 850mb low over Memphis, TN. This could be more of an initial rain quickly changing over to snow setup.


It is very common to see storms develop at long range and then see them go away. However, it is interesting to note that two models hint at a developing storm at the same time period.

Is the wrinkle just a glitch in the model runs or are they on to something? Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A White Christmas?

The favorite questions to the weather department lately are:
  1. Is it going to snow?
  2. Are we going to have a white Christmas?
Answers:
1. Yes, it is going to snow... At some point this winter I think it is a safe bet. :) Oh, you are asking about the short term. I don't see any snow in our future over the next 7 days.

2. We are just now getting to the point where some of the longest long-range computer model forecasts are capturing the Christmas day time frame. As of this writing, the prospects for a white Christmas aren't looking very good. I am not seeing any significant winter storms in the forecast model December 22 through December 28.*

*Keep in mind this is a long range forecast model which doesn't have the ability to detect minute details that could evolve in to a winter storm.

Christmas weather factoids:

White Christmas:
  • According to the National Weather Service the historical frequency of a white Christmas is around 15% for southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky.
  • The frequency of a white Christmas for northwest Tennessee and northeast Arkansas is around 6%-7%.
  • The frequency of a white Christmas for central Indiana is around 20%-25%.
  • The last time the southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky area had a white Christmas was 2004. That is when a record snowstorm hit the region dropping 10" of snow and dropping temperatures as cool as -10° at the Cape Girardeau airport.
The average high/low temperature for Christmas:
  • Cape Girardeau, MO 42°/26°
  • Carbondale, IL 41°/23°
  • Paducah, KY 44°/25°

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Noon Weather Update

To steal the line from "Good Morning Vietnam" (with a twist)... Its cold! Its dang cold!

The arctic air has arrived on cue. We have been talking about it on-air for several days leading up to its arrival. (So don't say you didn't have a heads up. haha)

*Interesting statistic: Did you know that 53% of the country is sitting under snow today?

At 12pm CT, temperatures around the Midwest range from:
  • Cedar Rapids, IA 1°
  • Chicago, IL 4°
  • Indianapolis, IN 18°
  • Mt. Vernon, IL 21°
  • St. Louis, MO 23°
  • Carbondale, IL 25°
  • Farmington, MO 25°
  • Cape Girardeau, MO 25°
  • Paducah, KY 25°
  • Poplar Bluff, MO 27°
  • Blytheville, AR 28°
Those are actual air temperatures, not wind chills. Winds had been fairly calm this morning, but in the last 50 minutes the winds have begun to increase from Farmington, MO to Mt. Vernon, IL. Around southeast Missouri and southern Illinois wind chill numbers are down in to the single digits at times.

Now the big question, "When do we start to warm-up?". Take a look at what NOAA's Global Forecast Model is indicating. (see below)


The red line indicates air temperature. The green line indicates the dew point temperature. The green/blue vertical bars are precipitation. The grey blocks are clouds.

A couple of things to note... First, at least for me, take a look at the dew points. They are low. That is what happens with arctic air masses. Cold air doesn't hold moisture very well. That is why we get a lot of "static days" in the winter. When the cold air comes down over the north pole and through Canada it is moisture starved. There is some good news if you have been using lots of hand lotion for dry skin, the humidity should start to increase Saturday evening through Monday.

Now for the temperatures... Follow the red line (right to left). Notice daytime temperatures start to increase as early as Friday. Winds turning out of the west will help us start a slow warm-up. If we had more northerly/northwesterly winds we would continue to stay frigid. The westerly winds will flow over non-snow land whereas northerly/northwesterly winds would flow over a heavy snow pack which would keep the air cold.

If this model is to be believed, we will be in the mid-40's by the weekend and perhaps the 50's by Monday.

Yes, there is some green on the model. The GFS is hinting at rain returning to the area by Saturday evening then another round Sunday night through Monday. When looking at how much the model is pumping out only 0.11" of liquid. That isn't very much.

Before you ask, yes, there is a blue bar on the model. That would indicate snow. However, look at temperatures, you can see there is a big fall off late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. This would be a cold front moving through the area and bringing in cold air on the back side. If there is any moisture left over we could see some snow showers. However, in these scenerios, this rarely works out.

(I should note that the above model depiction is for Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Other locations will vary slightly.)

As I like to say... Stay tuned.

Personally, I like the cold air. It is winter. It is supposed to be cold. I say, "Make it even colder!" I know I am in the minority. haha I would also like to see a couple of big snow storms move through this winter. Hmm... Maybe five 10" snow's would be awesome!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Storm

By now you have probably heard a lot of talk about the storm that is moving through the central United States. Yes, there will be a lot of snow and wind created by the storm, but we won't see the worst of it.

The storm continues (see surface map) to lift northeast through the US. The bulk of the energy is still back in eastern New Mexico. As the energy swings around the intensity of rain/snow will increase.


Winter Storm Warnings/Watches, Blizzard Warnings extend from Utah to Ohio/Michigan. The cold side of the storm will affect millions of people. After the storm passes, colder temperatures will start to move in. That should start to happen starting around mid-morning (5am'ish CT).


The closest snow will get to southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and northwest Tennessee will be north/northwest Missouri.

Ahead of the storm warm, moist air continues to lift north/northeast. Temperatures should rise as we go through the evening. This means we will stay all rain tonight.

The rain could be heavy at times this evening (6pm CT - 10pm CT). The latest computer model data is indicating that the rain could be out of the area by midnight tonight.

Wind Advisories are in effect from midnight through 3pm CT Wednesday for southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky.

Once we get on the back side of the surface low pressure center, winds will turn out of the north/northwest and the speed will start to increase. Latest data show winds of 40mph around 700 feet above the ground. That wind will keep lowering to the surface through Wednesday morning.

I think we will see sustained winds of 25-35 mph with gusts over 40 mph. Wind should be strongest from around 3am CT to 10am CT Wednesday.

Bottom line...
  1. Will we get any measurable snow? No
  2. Will we get more rain? Yes
  3. Will we get a lot of wind? Yes (but it could be worse)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Up, Up, and Away

In case you haven't heard yet, the US Navy Blue Angels announced they will perform at the 2010 Cape Girardeau Air Show.

The Blue Angels is the flight performance demonstration team for the US Navy. During their show, they fly six F/A-18 fighter jets.

The air show will be June 19-20, 2010. Mark your calendar and reserve your hotel room now. They will fill up FAST.

I have to give kudos to Mark Seesing and airport manager Bruce Loy for getting the "Blues" to return to the Cape Air Show for the first time since 1992. It isn't an easy task to get arguably the best flight demonstration in the world to come to your air show.

Two pilots from the Blue Angels visited Cape Girardeau's airport in November for a sight visit.

Here is video of the pilots leaving from the Cape Girardeau airport for their 40 minute flight back to Pensacola, Florida.






Full disclosure: I am a member of the Cape Girardeau Airport Advisory Board.

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