Thursday, January 17, 2008

Winter Hits The Southeast

Some folks are waking up to snow and/or ice this morning in Georgia, the Carolinas, east Tennessee and the Virginias.

Hey -- it doesn't matter what form the precipitation comes in across these parts of the country -- they need every last drop.

Unfortunately it will mean tough travel for many who aren't used to winter driving. My best advice is stay home unless you really have to go out.

I saw one headline where a family was killed in Georgia after skidding off icy roads and into a lake.

That work on your desk will be there tomorrow or the next day so stay home and enjoy your family if at all possible.

Some major airport hubs are located in Atlanta and Charlotte, so flights on Delta and USAirways may be tough today nationwide due to the ice and snow.

Speaking of flying, I am off to south Florida for a work meeting. I will not be on a computer until I get back to Denver early next week -- that means no blogging I am afraid.

I could take my laptop, but you know -- with working two jobs 5 days a week, I am going to enjoy the non-meeting hours of this trip and lay around on the beach listening to the ocean.

By the way, I often hear from several of our CoCoRaHS observers who read the blog. I know some days my entries are rushed and dry, and then there are times I get inspired and produce a mini-meteorology lesson.

By all means if you have a question about CoCoRaHS, weather, etc. let me know. It really is great to hear from you... and your thoughts and questions inspire my blogging.

Speaking of that, here is a thought. My co-worker in the San Francisco Bay area called me today and said where she was located it was windy as all get out. And just a few dozen miles down the road where her husband was located it was completely calm and sunny.

She wondered why.

Tough question -- I first told her that wind is produced by a difference in air pressure -- and that if they both had a barometer handy, I am sure there would be different readings from the two locations.

I then asked about the terrain -- is one location closer to mountains, the ocean, in a canyon, etc.

Weather is so cool -- it can be like night and day just a few miles apart, esp. in the western part of the country.

Back east it is a little more uniform because there isn't quite the diversity in landforms and elevation as in the west.

Where I live in the southeast Denver metro, on nights when it has been warm and dry, we get incredible wind gusts between about 9pm and midnight -- this happens almost every night in the warm season.

These winds are called drainage winds -- and they blow off the Palmer Divide toward the lower terrain in Denver.

In the daytime the sun keeps the atmosphere mixed -- but at night, the radiational cooling of the surface takes over -- and as the air becomes heavy and dense, it flows downhill.

These winds are cool and dry.


  1. These drainage winds you speak of are intriguing. I will be researching further.

    Even though I know it is impossible... I often hope for such winds after a hot/humid day here in Wisconsin. Those days are, however, months away and for now, I am looking forward to the cold snap.

    Have fun in Florida!

  2. Micro climates around sports stadiums.

    There was a study done once concerning the above - any clue what it was? It was mostly studying the climate around stadiums in Arizona.

    I would love to see a study done Sunday at Lambeau Field.

    I wonder what the temp/hum INSIDE is compared to the same outside the stadium.

  3. grinder, I'll bring a thermometer and take readings. I know for a fact, where we tailgate, on the northwest side of the stadium (in the Aux lot across Ridge this season) it's always windy, no matter what. I sit in sect 106, row 2, seat 15 and it's usually never windy down there.

    I'll post my data here.

  4. Nolan,

    I enjoy reading the blog and always find it interesting. One question I've been wanting to ask is: During the cold weather months, particularly in the northern parts of the country, the temperature will change about 2 degrees(usually on the minus side) just as the sun makes it's appearence, then return to the earlier reading of the morning?

    Howard P. Howard

  5. hph, I also find that with my temperature at observation time. Just as the sun rises and the light takes over the dark my temperature usually drops a degree or two.

    I am curious as well, nice work on bringing that up...