Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quick Break From Blog

Hey everyone! I am traveling from Sunday-Wednesday and will most likely not have computer access.

IF I do, I will try and make time to blog at least once.

Meanwhile, the long range outlooks (8-14 days) keep hinting at wetter than normal for much of the country with below normal temps in the west.

Could we be getting into an active weather pattern?

It will be interesting to see the updates as we head into the next week.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow To Water Ratios

WxWatcher asked a great question about snow water ratios the other day.

The standard that most people learn in a science class is 10 to 1, written was 10:1.

This means every ten inches of snow typically melts to about an inch of water. It is ok to use that standard for classroom purposes, and I think in real life more times than not that comes out to be true for many.

BUT -- location, time of the year, temperature, the source of water and the upper air connection to that source of water -- all these factors play a big role in what the ratio will actually be.

OSNW3, your link to the chart was great. Click here for the chart. I have never seen a chart like that but it certainly gives a guideline.

And as we all know, there are ALWAYS exceptions to every rule when it comes to weather because there are just so many variables to consider.

Ricker, you are right --- temperature plays a large role in the ratio. It also varies by location and the time of the year.

Here in Colorado, the early and late season snows are closer to the 10:1 range, while the mid-winter snows are 15:1 or more. The high mountains can see 20:1 or 25:1, meaning 25" of snow for just 1 inch of water. Now that is what you call powder!!

In March 2003, Colorado had a very wet snow that ended a drought and broke numerous records. In my part of southeast metro Denver, I recorded over 40" of snow but it never piled up more than 28" on the ground because it was so full of water and so heavy, it just kept compacting.

It also had a blue tint to it and the weight of the snow literally "squeezed" the water out of the snow below it. The ratio was something like 6 to 8 inches of snow for every 1 inch of water. Just crazy -- particularly for this part of the country!

One might not be shocked to see that ratio near a coast, but we are 1,000 miles away from the nearest major source of water -- an ocean. That pipeline of moisture slammed into here as if it were coming straight out of a fire hose that stretched all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

So the larger your ratio, meaning 15, 20 or 25 inches to every inch of water, the colder it likely was during the snow. And the opposite it true --- heavy, wet snowfalls usually come with more mild temps, holding in the lower to mid 30s.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Soaker For Some, Stuck In Ice For Others

Wow did you see the maps today, esp. in the Ohio River Valley?

There were several 2-4 inch rainfall reports from north-central Tennessee in particular, in the Nashville vicinity.

The CoCoRaHS network is in place across Kentucky and Missouri -- but there is a big gap in data over southeast Missouri and southwest Kentucky today -- likely due to power outages from the ice storm and in some counties a lack of stations.

It will be nice when Arkansas comes online later this spring -- that is a HUGE gap currently on the maps and I know from growing up there that the precipitation patterns are quite interesting.

Based off reading through some of your comments, in particular from Tennessee once again, sounds like some of you experienced rain to sleet and snow.

Just a reminder to have your gauge ready to switch over to winter precip mode in those types of weather situations. (i.e. take the inner tube and funnel lid off and just let the overflow can sit outside and catch all the precip)

A severe ice storm has struck from eastern Oklahoma, across northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, and into portions of western Tennessee and Kentucky.

In northern Arkansas, entire cities and towns are shut down and essentially stuck with widespread damage from downed trees, limbs and power lines.

If you have never been in an ice storm where 1 or more inches of ice accumulate, it is probably one of the most miserable feelings ever. At least with snow you can try and get around, but with freezing rain -- in that quantity -- you become a prisoner to Mother Nature.

And when the power goes out and you are left with nothing but the sound of tree limbs and branches snapping, it's brings an unsettled feeling, especially at night.

Hopefully that part of the world will warm up and melt soon and life can get back to normal -- although it could be several days to restore power, esp. in the rural areas of the Ozarks.


Someone left me a comment asking one more time for clarification.

Precipitation caused by fog, be it freezing fog or not, DOES count as precipitation.

If possible, leave a comment describing what you observed.

When you have clear skies (keyword clear) and wake up to either frost or dew, this is NOT precipitation.

But it is still worth making a note in your comments if you are so inclined because some CoCoRaHS data users may either have a use for this info or find it interesting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter's Grip & Spring's Tease

Winter is gripping the eastern 2/3 of the nation today.

Wow, there are a slew of watches, warnings and advisories for snow, sleet and freezing rain today -- stretching all the way from the hills around San Antonio, TX through Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Cincinatti and right up into New York and Boston. Check out the map below!

Many schools are closed today along the southern end of the wintry weather, as you can imagine, since they aren't used to the wintry weather.

And much of the southern extend is getting ice which when accumulations reach a half inch to inch, it all but shuts down life as we know it until things thaw and melt. Growing up in Arkansas, I've been through many ice storms.

The polls have closed on my last question -- Are we seeing more extreme weather? More than half of the 92 votes said no.

  • No, I recall crazy weather as a kid -- 34%
  • No, it's just unpredictable Mother Nature -- 31%
  • Yes, definitely in my area -- 22%
  • Yes, but not where I live -- 10%

    I have posted a new web poll so check it out.

    NOAA has released their 2008 temperature summary for the United States. Overall, the year was near average but December was below average.

    Click here to read more.

    Meanwhile, spring is teasing the southwest US this week with highs in the 70s to lower 80s expected around Los Angeles and Phoenix by the end of the week.

    And a few days ago someone had posted a link to temperatures for the Northwest USA, asking what all the acronyms meant and which one CoCoRaHS fell under?

    RAWS means remote automated weather station. SNOTEL are automated weather stations in the mountainous regions of the west. DOT are department of transportation weather stations. Just to name a few...

    I would assume CoCoRaHS falls under MISC (if they are using our data that is)
  • Monday, January 26, 2009

    Winter Gripping Many, Stormy Weather Hits Europe

    It's c-c-c-cold for most of the country along and east of the Rocky Mountains.

    Wintry precipitation is impacting travel from Denver to Little Rock and eventually it will spread into the northeast.

    Portions of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri may be trapped by this time tomorrow as over an inch of freezing rain is possible.

    If that happens, there will be a lot of damage from fallen trees and power lines.

    Looking for warm and dry weather? Head to Arizona and southern California.

    Long-term forecast models show a reverse in the trend we have been seeing of late, with the potential for warmer and drier weather to take over the eastern part of the nation as we head into February with cooler, wet weather for the west coast.

    If that happened, I think we'd all be okay with it as the east would like to warm up and in some cases dry out -- and the west coast would like to see a little bit of their winter precipitation. (I am talking places like northern and central California, not the coasts of Oregon and Washington which were drenched in recent weeks)

    Take all this information with a grain of salt. About the only thing in the long-term forecast that I really bite off on is the models show another round of bitterly cold air taking over Alaska -- similar to the air mass that was in place late December and early February.

    Now that I believe.

    It has been very stormy in Europe over the past few days. Flooding rains have hit parts of the United Kingdom, and high winds across northern Spain and southern France have caused severe damage, cut power to over a million households and claimed over a dozen lives.

    Click here to read more.

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    CoCoRaHS Affords Opportunity To Teach US Climate Like Never Before

    It continues to be cool for much of the country with a few pockets of unsettled weather -- the cold is the main story, however, this weekend.

    Let me take a minute here and get caught up on all your comments.

    Fanghopper asked if the clippers have been more frequent than normal this year?

    For those not in the Great Lakes, upper midwest or northeast -- clipper systems are weak cold fronts that move out of Canada and "clip" this region of the US.

    They typically bring a reinforcing shot of cold air and squeeze out any available moisture in the form of a light, fluffy snow.

    It does seem like there have been TONS of clippers this year but I just don't know enough about the climatology for your part of the country to know if this is above normal or not.

    I'd venture to say it may be since the weather pattern this winter has been very persistent. (i.e. here in Denver we've been high and dry just about as long as you have been being hit with clipper after clipper)

    John I sent a note up to CoCoRaHS central about your suggestion for expanding the training info.

    I know there has been a lot of comments and debate over fog/freezing fog and if it is precipitation or not.

    I misreported in a previous entry but for CoCoRaHS purposes, we ARE counting anything measured in your gauge from fog and freezing fog as precipitation. If possible, also make a comment about the fog just so users of the data know where the precipitation came from -- fog instead of passing showers for example.

    I think now that CoCoRaHS is growing so large and is in so many states, with more than 5,000 pair of eyes making daily reports and comments each day about what is happening -- we are going to see more and more questions like this come up.

    We are logging more data than any doppler radar scanning the skies could ever hope to record.

    If you think about it, and if you look at a national plot of "first order" or "main" weather stations, talking about the main anchor locations for your state, there aren't that many for a country the size of the US.

    It is a great representation BUT there are also many many gaps.

    And when you add in all the secondary locations, such as on mountain passes or in smaller, remote towns -- which try to fill in these gaps -- there still aren't near as many as we would like to really study and learn the weather patterns of our country.

    And here we have over 5,000 humans going out and making daily weather notes about the climate, observing things in some areas that quite possibly may have never been previously recorded -- certainly not to this extent.

    I want to take this freezing fog issue for example -- it is not a new weather phenomena by any means.

    But in the past, it was probably only observed at one or two locations during a widespread event across northeast Washington -- let's say both Spokane and Colville reported freezing fog and each station picked up 0.05" of moisture a day over a 5 day period -- they are 70 miles apart.

    Big deal -- no one probably ever really thought that much about it before. It's fog and two places received a minimal amount of moisture. A total of a quarter-inch over a 5-day window.

    Freezing fog is a very important issue for the transportation industry, but do we think of it as a valuable source of water?

    Probably not.

    Now with CoCoRaHS -- through the detailed reports filed by you the observer -- just pretend we saw a stagnant weather pattern set up with 5 days of freezing fog over a 100 square mile region of northeast Washington.

    And pretend that in that 100 square mile region we have at least a dozen observers, but ideally many more.

    When before, precipitation from fog in that same area was picked up only by just the 2 main reporting stations mentioned above, Spokane and Colville -- now we see at least a dozen reports over a several county area due to you.

    It may spark all kinds of new studies and interest for someone like a graduate student to look at the question, can and does fog bring beneficial moisture to a region when it is widespread and persists over several days?

    A quarter inch of moisture from a 5-day fog over a 100 square mile area would be HUGE if you look at it in terms of how many gallons of water it actually measured out to be!

    Kind of a corney example and far-fetched possibly, but I did that intentionally just to show one of hundreds of examples of how 5,000 people taking simple precipitation data with a few comments makes a difference, and brings a meaning and a purpose you may not have thought about.

    By the way, if that 100 square mile area did ever see a fairly uniform quarter-inch of moisture from freezing fog over a 5-day window, that would be equivalent to over 400 million gallons of water for the landscape to absorb.

    A water company would LOVE to know that kind of data -- and I think it's pretty interesting to pretend that a prolonged fog event could deposit that much moisture if my pretend scenario actually did ever take place.

    Here is a cool link that will help you see how I calculated the above water statistic.

    My dream (and I am sure Nolan and Henry too) is to have enough money so we could support deeper employment with CoCoRaHS.

    I'd love to sit down each day, read the comments and reports, and put together recaps, graphs, etc --- a climate "atlas" if you will -- of what we are seeing, observing, and learning about the climate of the United States.

    Unfortunately I have too much debt like the rest of you and work 2 jobs to survive -- I do good to write this blog some days -- but I think one day we'll get there.

    In the meantime, keep making your daily reports because every last bit of it is being archived and will be used down the road to learn more and more about the weather that impacts our daily lives.

    And thank you for voting in the blog poll this week -- nearly 100 votes cast so far!!!

    P.S. If there is something you are observing for your region that is of interest to you and you are one that would be inclined to study and analyze -- feel free to do so. I will be happy to help guide you as I am sure Nolan would be too.

    It may be a section of your area that always seems to be wetter or drier. Maybe it's the precipitation from fog! Maybe something that needs a long period of data, perhaps up to 2 or 3 years?

    The more we learn and document weather and weather patterns that become apparent thanks to CoCoRaHS and our growing network, the better we can demonstrate the value of our organization to potential sponsors.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    Correction On Fog & Precipitation

    I talked with Nolan today and I stand corrected on the freezing fog comment in my last blog.

    Freezing fog -- or any moisture deposition from fog -- DOES COUNT as precipitation since it is deposition from cloud water.

    It just happens to be a cloud at or near ground level instead of thousands of feet in the air.

    Frost and Dew, however, formed on clear nights, does NOT count as precipitation.

    See -- all your comments and blog interaction has taught me something new today!!

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    Florida Chill & Some Freezing Fog

    Now this is a map you don't see everyday.

    Outside of the Keys, every location in Florida was between 25 and 49 degrees this morning.

    Freezing temperatures were reported as far south as the northwest suburbs of Miami.

    Naples, Fort Meyers and Punta Gorda were all sitting in the mid-30s at last check.

    It had warmed to 49 degrees in Miami after an official low at the airport of 43.

    West Palm Beach set a new record low afternoon high on Wednesday -- the daytime temperature only reached 56 degrees. It was the coldest afternoon high on that date since 1978.

    Meanwhile, Denver set a new record high of 71 degrees on Wednesday!

    What a flip-flop, we had Florida's weather and they had ours!

    I was in south Florida a few years ago during January for a work meeting when they had a few days with morning lows in the 30s and 40s.

    As you can imagine, it was a top news story and all the reporters were bundled up like you see during a snowstorm here in the snowy climates.

    It was really funny to me -- but to that area, that IS the equivalent of us getting a steak of weather in the single digits and teens or lower.

    For those of us in the west -- we've been enjoying a lengthy stretch of mild, dry weather thanks to a huge ridge of high pressure.

    Well that ridge is flattening out, or in weather jargon is breaking down, and fronts will start moving into the region this weekend, bringing cooler and wetter weather.

    Bob in Washington state wrote and said he had been getting freezing fog and it leaves a little accumulation on his snow board and gauge.

    Is this a trace?

    No -- we often get the same question with the formation of dew in the warmer southern climates.

    Both fog and dew are "formed" from ground based physical processes and do not "fall" from cloud based processes in the sky.

    It is still great to note both dew and fog in your comments, however, because it's documentation of the weather pattern over your area.

    Good news for you Bob -- this high pressure that has kept the northwestern air so stagnant for several days will finally move on so hopefully these cold fronts will clear things up a bit.

    Along with more cold and snow for eastern Washington.

    After several days at 30 to 45 below around the first of the year, and then a stretch at 20 to 40 above zero recently, the temps in Fairbanks, Alaska are falling back to more seasonal levels as a new bubble of arctic air builds in the region.

    It's something to keep an eye on because if it grows and gets really cold like it did around the first of the year -- it could be the next cold snap for the lower 48 states during the month of February.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    What Happens When Snow Doesn't Accumulate?

    Great comments on the blog and I love that you are interacting, trying to help answer each other's questions.

    So Greg in Tennessee wrote and said it flurried almost all day, but never accumulated in his rain gauge -- why?

    Well my best guess is exactly what John wrote and said in his comment.

  • Either sublimation took place, meaning conditions were just so that the solid snow flurries turned instantly into a gas (water vapor) without ever melting and becoming a liquid

  • Or the wind took the snow flurries away from the gauge

    My best guess, since we are talking about Tennessee -- would be the wind scenario.

    Usually for sublimation to take place you need very cold and very dry air. I doubt it was that dry in Tennessee, but I could be wrong.

    Click here for a link with more info on sublimation.

    Regardless of what happened, if you witnessed snow flurries that never accumulated, either in the gauge or on the ground, you still would report a TRACE of snow, and I would also report a TRACE of precipitation.

    Snow doesn't have to end up in the gauge to be recorded. If you saw it fall, it's a TRACE.

    And then in the comments, record that it flurried all day but never accumulated. If you can, also comment on the general weather, mentioning things like the wind.

    20 years down the road, if someone was doing a paper and ran across your data, it'd help them tell the story.

    And it never hurts to document snow flurries in places that don't see too much of the white stuff!

    WXwatcher from Missouri has been checking out snow conditions in his area at the web site for the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.

    He was asking if much of the country is below normal for snow?

    And without pulling any official data, and just going off what I have observed this season, I would venture to say yes -- with the exception of the northern edges. (i.e. Washington, North Dakota, and the Great Lakes states)

    I know Spokane, Bismarck, Marquette and Chicago have all had snowier than normal winters so far.

    Where places south of there, such as Denver, are well below normal.

    But there are still a few snowy months to go so we'll see how it all shakes out.

    The current poll is really getting an interesting response -- when I looked just now it was a 3-way tie!

    And in just one day we've had half the number of votes that the last poll got in an entire week!
  • Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Zonal Flow Ahead Of Next Trough, Snow In The Piedmont

    New Poll Added Today

    Former poll was do you think the 2009 hurricane season will be bad? 39 votes came in and the results were as follows...

  • Yes, bad as 2005 -- 33%
  • Yes, but not quite as bad as 2005 -- 12%
  • No, but there will be a few big ones -- 48%
  • No, it will be a quiet year -- 5%

    Have you ever heard one of your television weather forecasters talk about zonal flow and wondered what?

    Recall over the past few days we've had a large ridge of high pressure over the western US, and a deep trough of low pressure over the eastern half of the nation.

    As the ridge of high pressure breaks down, or flattens out, so does the trough of low pressure.

    This transition usually results in a zonal flow.

    Think of a roller coaster ride -- with a ridge and trough back to back, upper level winds riding the roller coaster ride along the jet stream (up and over the ridge of high pressure in the west, then down a steep hill to round out the bottom of the trough of low pressure in the east).

    In a zonal flow, the winds pretty much go west to east in a straight line.

    The best illustration of zonal flow is to look at a contoured temperature map, such as the one below.

    With a few exception, you can look from the west coast to the east coast on this map following a straight line, and most all locations along that line are in a similar temperature band.

    It gets a little less defined around the US/Canada border but if you look close you can still draw the line with a slight curve to it in the middle.

    And on this map, that is already done for you with each temperature zone (i.e. 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, etc.) having a different color.

    The next trough of low pressure (or kink in the zonal flow) will begin the influence the western and northern US early next week as cold air moves down from Canada with a chance of snow.

    Most impacted will be places like Denver, where we are currently in a streak of daytime highs topping out in the 60s and even some lower 70s!

    Early next week we'll be lucky to get above freezing each afternoon here in the Mile High City.


    Snow is falling across much of North and South Carolina, and flakes are expected before sunset in the Virginia Beach vicinity.

    As of this blog posting, up to 4 inches has fallen around the Raleigh/Durham area.

    The CoCoRaHS snow report map will be a sight to see on Wednesday morning, that's for sure!

    We may get some 6 to 12 inch totals in a few spots before all is said and done.

    You can bet it's a heavy, wet snow --- great for making snowmen and having snowball fights!

    The kids (both young and old) are probably having a blast today.

    Blog reader fanghopper left a comment about the blowing of bubbles in sub-zero air over the weekend.

    Dubbed as "hours of entertainment" -- fanghopper says the soap bubbles freeze into a plastic-like consistency, and rather than popping with a burst and a splatter, they sort of collapse on themselves. They also get pretty frost formations on them as they freeze -- the feathery pattern like you see on windows -- that's if you can stay close enough to one to watch it, or capture on on your bubble-maker without popping it.

    And in the comments section of my blog titled "Wild Temperature Swings" -- John has provided some more insight on the throwing hot water into very cold air and watching it vaporize.

    And thanks to BettyAnne for her comments about freezing fog!
  • Friday, January 16, 2009

    Wild Temperature Swings

    It has been really amazing to see the crazy temperature extremes this week.

    Let's start in Alaska.

    On Thursday, Jan. 15 they recorded a new record high of 44 degrees in Fairbanks. (ABOVE ZERO) It was not even a week ago (Jan. 11th) that it was 44 degrees below zero there! And 47 degrees below zero on Jan. 8th!

    Three locations broke all-time record January highs, climbing as high as 54 degrees ABOVE zero, after spending 2 weeks between 40 and 60 below zero.

    Much of central interior Alaska just experienced a 90 to 100 degree temperature swing in just a few days.

    On Monday, Jan. 12 the low in the town of Central, Alaska was 52 degrees BELOW zero. Their high on Thursday, Jan. 15 was 45 degrees ABOVE zero. (that is a 97 degree swing)

    The cause of the extreme warmth was a southerly flow of winds aloft that originated near Hawaii.

    It isn't common for that type of warmth in central Alaska this time of year, but, it has happened before. Back in 1981 for instance.

    Here in the lower 48 states, Bismarck, North Dakota set a new record low of 44 degrees BELOW zero on Thursday, Jan. 15.

    So far today, they have hit 24 degrees ABOVE zero -- so that is a temperature swing of 68 degrees in 1 day.

    Back to the tossing a hot cup of water into the cold air and watching it evaporate -- I was asked why boiling water and not just hot water from a tap?

    I will be honest and tell you that in the course of my meteorology degree, I barely passed physics 1 and 2 -- not my strong suit. I was also working 2 jobs and doing an internship and honestly didn't put my heart and soul in it.

    Having said that, I can only guess the boiling water temperature vs. the cold air is larger than the hot tap water temperature and the cold air.

    So the greater temperature difference yields a more dramatic display of turning into water vapor.

    Also, there will obviously be a temperature loss from the water in the glass as you walk from the tap in your kitchen and go get into launch position outside.

    So boiling water poured from a tea kettle into the glass right before you launch it upward gives you the warmest water possible.

    My OSNW3 friend from Wisconsin actually video taped himself doing this little experiment and you can watch it online. He posted a link in the comments section of my blog titled "Your Comments Are Great".

    And someone noted how crunchy the snow is on his video. For those in snowy climates, you probably have noticed the colder it is outside the crunchier the snow.

    (esp. seems to get crunchy once the air temperature nears or drops below zero)

    Susan from SE Michigan said her husband left for work with clear blue skies Friday morning and when he approached the Detroit River downtown, about 10 miles from their home where skies were clear, it was foggy.

    When the water is warmer than the air temperature it will let off steam essentially as the water cools down.

    But in this case, the Detroit River is frozen! So I don't think that is the case here.

    My guess is some kind of temperature inversion in the atmosphere, or possibly a factory sending off steam and it made a cloud bank of fog --- and perhaps a temperature inversion kept that cloud bank or fog trapped in and along the river valley.

    There could be a number of theories. But whatever was causing it, I would suspect it had to do with the temperature profile of the atmosphere and the terrain of the river valley.

    Here is an example of how river valleys can have a local impact on the weather.

    In Colorado, we have the South Platte River that flows from the mountains southwest of Denver, northeastward up to the Platte River in Nebraska.

    There is a town in northeast Colorado called Greeley that sits in the river valley.

    When we see arctic air masses hit eastern Colorado, and everyone drops into the 10 to 20 below range, it may take 3 or 4 days to recover back to normal temperature readings for most locations, but it can take Greeley several days to even a few weeks!

    So while we all climb back above zero and into the teens and 20s, they may struggle to reach zero degrees for days.


    Cold air is heavy and sinks. And often in the winter, you have a temperature inversion where the air actually warms up above ground level.

    So when we get a cold arctic air mass in here, the air sinks down into that river valley and gets trapped.

    Until a good wind maker or some kind of weather system potent enough to stir the lower few thousand feet of the atmosphere comes along, that cold air just sits and sits until it slowly moderates with time.

    A similar situation happens in the town of Gunnison, Colorado -- and in Alamosa, Colorado. Both places sit in a valley surrounded by 12,000-14,000 foot mountains. Almost like a bowl.

    The cold air settles into these valleys and stays for days or weeks until a weather make comes along and scours out the cold air that is trapped in the valley.

    And fanghopper in New York said they have heard of taking bubbles (like kids play with) and blow them up in the air when it is bitterly cold and they will freeze before hitting the ground.

    Just do it over the grass so they don't land on pavement and make things more slippery than it already might be from ice and snow!

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Your Comments Are Great

    The 16-day forecast blog got a pretty uniform response -- no deal!

    I agree with you.

    I have a meteorology degree and I still don't think we'll ever be able to predict accurately that far out, no matter how far technology advances.

    There is just too much to account for and so much we don't even full understand about weather and the atmosphere.

    Remember this is a brand new science when compared to a time scale since this country was first settled.

    It's only been since the 1950s and 60s when radar, satellites and computers really took off to a point that allowed us to learn what we know today.

    So when we put it into that time perspective, we've came a long way.

    But when you look at the current time we live in, a world full of instant gratification with demands that technology should be able to deliver what we want when we want it and even how we want it -- the job of weather forecasting can be a huge disappointment.

    I am glad to see none of you are of that mindset -- you are realistic and can appreciate the 16-day but also know to take it with a grain of salt.

    One of you said the 16-DAY is good as a guide for what may be coming down the pike.

    It is definitely good for that --- trends CAN be seen 16 days out, but the fine details typically cannot.

    And thanks dewdrop for the link to the website where the guy burned himself. I can tell you if you stick to the coffee cup, that shouldn't happen.

    The contents get high enough they instantly cool and evaporate.

    But the 3 or 5 gallon bucket is a little over the top, and it will probably have a painful ending.

    I don't think any human would be strong enough to safely hoist that amount of water into the air so that it all vaporizes.

    Water is VERY HEAVY when you deal with gallons!

    I hope that guy healed up and is better now.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    16 Day Forecast? And Some Bone Chilling Facts

    A 16-day forecast, c'mon you're kidding, right?

    Not at all.

    There is a company in Denver that provides weather information and products for a variety of industries and they also have a great, interactive web site.

    Click here to access it.

    Once there, you will see a box in the top right where you can enter your zip code.

    A page will come up showing the current 7-day forecast and there will be several links on the right. In that list it says 16-day forecast.

    This is somewhat experimental I guess you could say because the accuracy going out that far is very low.

    BUT -- it is great to see weather trends. It is also great to see how those trends either stay steady or completely change from day to day as the forecast models process data and forecast potential results.

    You can do a lot of other things from this web site, including look at forecast models.

    In the menu across the top of the page, under CURRENT, you can look at weather by state, highs and lows for the past 24 hours around your state and more.

    I think it is a fantastic web site and very user friendly.

    Thanks WXWATCHER for the info on St. Louis. It's been 10 years, the longest duration in their recorded weather history, since they have seen 0 and below temperatures.

    This is also the coldest winter in 8 years for Chicago. Many places in the midwest are 1 to 3 feet above normal for snowfall, including Chicago, Green Bay and Marquette.

    Several weeks ago I blogged about when it is well below zero outside, at least 6 or 7 below, but best when 12 or more below, you can take a cup of boiling hot water and hoist it into the air as hard, fast and high as you can, and it will become an instant cloud of vapor.

    If anyone can conduct this experiment and take a picture, I will share it with everyone.

    Back when I was the weather producer at Channel 7 here in Denver, I wrote a story about this and had some viewers send pictures. Here is a link to a slideshow and you can see how cool this little experiment really is to see.

    Click here to view. There are 3 pictures, and note that in the 3rd picture, you can really see the water drops still traveling and freezing near the top of the cloud.

    So far, 23 votes on the poll about the upcoming hurricane season!! It is almost a tie, with 1 vote seperating yes it will be as bad as 2005 from no, but there will be a few big ones!

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Bubble On The Move, Good News In The Northwest

    Check out Minnesota this morning, BRRRRR!!!

    The bubble of cold air that sat over Alaska for so long finally moved. For you regular blog followers, we've been talking about the possibility of this happening since January 2. You can click the above picture for a closer view.

    Is there still some bitterly cold air over Alaska? Of course -- it's Alaska after all!

    But the core of that large air mass has made it all the way to Minnesota and south-central Canada. Here is a list of some lows on Tuesday, January 13, including a new record at International Falls!

    BAUDETTE -36
    INTL FALLS -40
    WASKISH -35
    BIG FORK -38
    CRANE LAKE -36
    ORR -33
    ORR 3E -37
    COOK -36
    BABBITT -42
    NORTHOME -36

    Interested in a little snow climatology for your area? The National Climate Data Center has a great interactive section of their web site where you can get just that.
    Click here.

    And GOOD NEWS for our dear friends in Washington and Oregon! You will have the next 5 to 7 days to dry out. Check out this monster ridge of high pressure building over your area.

    This link, click here, is an animated forecast model for the next 180 hours.

    You are looking at the GFS (Global Forecast Systems model).

    I plotted the 500 mb winds, which is roughly the jet stream level, approx. 20,000 feet above sea level.

    The west has a nice, dry and fairly warm stretch of weather in store thanks to a high that will pretty much sit near Seattle and Portland through the weekend.

    The nice thing about a high is the great, quiet weather -- and they need to dry out something fierce after weeks of heavy rain and snow.

    But the bad thing about a high is you get sinking air below it, so it can be bad if an area is prone to air pollution because there is little movement of the air (wind) below a high pressure.

    Back to the forecast model -- in the very last few frame you can see that ridge of high pressure (look just above Washington) start to flatten out and buckle as the next period of unsettled weather moves into the region.

    The east will stay in the chiller, with off and on rain or snow showers, and just plain unsettled weather through the weekend due to the large trough of low pressure aloft at the jet stream level.

    And finally, a big Happy 21st birthday to my little sister today! She is currently on a plane that she has been flying as a passenger off and on for the past 48 hours!

    She works as a civilian for the US Army in Iraq and she is coming home for R&R. The flight left Kuwait for Germany, Germany for Atlanta, currently enroute to Dallas and sometime today she will finally get a catch a commercial flight into Little Rock.

    Their World Airways flight experienced a variety of mechanical delays on the journey from Kuwait -- making for a long trip and 3 days in the same clothing without a shower!

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Cold Air Moving In & Some New Blog Features

    The arctic cold air that has been bottled up over much of NW Canada and Alaska over the past few weeks is on the move today -- it will impact just about all the eastern two thirds of the US over the next few days.

    Of course it will moderate as it moves south, but will still be cold. The air mass is expected to sink all the way to central Florida by the weekend with freezing temps possible as far south as Tampa.

    And it's a HEAT WAVE in Fairbanks -- they are currently at only 14 below zero after days of seeing the temperature sit between 30 and 45 below zero.

    It's hard to believe that by Friday they will be within a few degrees of hitting 30 above zero -- you can bet they will be breaking out the shorts! That is 70 degrees warmer than it has been for quite some time.

    Along with the cold air comes a snow storm for portions of the midwest today. Travel is tough across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa.

    I have added two new features to the right side of this page.

  • A poll -- I will periodically update this with new questions.
  • Blog Followers -- you can now follow my blog and be alerted when new posts are added
  • Sunday, January 11, 2009

    Sunday Weather Questions & Answers

    Today starts the beginning of the American Meteorological Society convention in Phoenix. 4 days of weather fun that I am missing out on but I am sure Nolan will catch me up on all the happenings.

    I am loving all the comments over the past few days. Everything from Meteor Wayne talking about the meteor sightings across the Great White North, all the way to the several questions you have asked me.

    So let's tackle a few...

    CA-TY-3 from near Douglas City, California -- for those who have never heard of this location, it is located in northwest California, just below Oregon.

    In the southern extent of the Cascades, it sounds like an amazing place to live. Click here to learn more about Trinity County.

    Much of California is currently experiencing some type of drought conditions, with the worst in the northern and central portion of the state.

    If you do not have the US Drought Monitor already bookmarked, here is a link for you. It is a great web site. Click here.

    The question of is La Nina causing this dry spell came up, and where can one go to find out if rain is on the way.

    You all know there is no such thing an an accurate long-term forecast. We can try and predict trends based off current happenings on a global level, but even trends may need updating every 10 days or so.

    The Climate Prediction Center is a great web site to bookmark if you want to monitor these trends.

    Click here and you will see that in the short-term, the west looks like it will remain dry. But looking in the 1 to 3 month window, there are equal chances for precipitation --- this means equal chances for below, above, or simply normal precipitation.

    Pretty vague, I know -- but that is just about all a forecaster can do when there is no strong data to sway the pendulum one way or another.

    La Nina conditions are currently developing in the equatorial Pacific. The Climate Prediction Center issues an update every Monday of the year on the current status of El Nino or La Nina conditions.

    These updates are somewhat technical but full of great color charts and graphs. Click here and you can check these updates out for yourself.

    The weather pattern we have been seeing over the past few weeks, where there is a large ridge of high pressure over the west and a trough of low pressure in the east is pretty typical during a La Nina weather pattern.

    Essentially, storms slam into the Pacific Northwest, cruise along the Canadian border and dive southeast into the Ohio River valley -- following the upper level wind pattern, or jet stream.

    A picture of common weather expected during the January to March time frame for both El Nino and La Nina is depicted below.

    Now this La Nina is just setting up, the future weather impacts on the lower 48 and even the globe will depend on how long it lasts and how strong it gets.

    So does the future look good for rain in northern California? Just a gut feeling, I would say it looks not so good, but I am basing that off the little bit of climatology I know for your part of the country.

    This is the rainy season and you aren't getting it --- so if nothing changes in the near future, it may be a dry year for you -- but again, that is just a thought -- I have no hard evidence to yes or no on the rain.

    BettyAnne wrote from Washington state asking for more western information.

    As many of you know from watching the news, Washington and Oregon have been hit with a series of storms for several weeks now.

    Not to mention, unusually cold air filtered into the region, bringing record to snow to places like Seattle, Spokane and Portland.

    There have been widespread power outages, avalanches, and road closures.

    Here in Colorado, once the cold weather settles in after Labor Day, the mountains go without rain for months. It's all snow.

    In Washington, that isn't always the case. For the most part this winter, much of the mountain precipitation has been snow, with snow levels often between 500 and 2,000 feet.

    This most recent storm had origins near Hawaii, and it brought a lot of warm, Pacific air with it.

    Snow levels rose to 8,000 feet in some cases -- and once a warm rain fell on all that snow, combined with all the saturated locations at lower levels from the stormy past few months, a huge flood event began.

    And Sandy99 -- I love your comment.

    1. Author of "Hot Lies" claies that most official US weather recording stations do not meet critieria and many are locate over pavement, heating units and BBQ grills. He postulates that this accounts for poor measurement of US temps and he implied this is why our temps are rising. Is this true?

    Absolutely NOT! Official weather stations are almost always at US Airports. Great care is taken as to where the station is placed, what surrounds it, etc.

    A statement like that to me is a "hot lie" and was written without much research or care about US weather station and where they are located.

    First order weather stations, your major ones, such as Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, etc. -- these weather stations are all on the property of the international airport.

    Why? Well most of them are funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

    In the event a weather station does need to be in a less than ideal place, such as on a rooftop --- which is and would be rare -- additional equipment is installed to ensure an accurate reading is taking place and a lot of quality control goes into making sure the station takes accurate data.

    The National Climate Data Center has a great web site where you can interactively search for the weather stations near you. Click here.

    Finally, when weather systems push across the United States, where do they go?

    Well, they follow the jet stream around the entire planet. Much of the weather that impacts the USA moves out over the Atlantic and slams into Europe.

    Now characteristics of the weather systems may change because there is a lot of space between here and there and a lot of ground (or shall I say ocean) to cover.

    Maybe this will be helpful --- maybe not. If your eyes cross a bit once you look at these maps, don't feel bad. Mine do too.

    Try and locate the United States and then Europe in the picture below. (it is hard, the lines aren't heavy).

    The US is kind of at the bottom center, just above the key.

    The warmer colors are warmer air and the cooler colors the cool air. Where the gradient is tight, or temperatures change rapidly over a short distance is essentially where the jet stream is currently located.

    So storms follow that track around the globe and bring unsettled weather to places it crosses.

    So you can see the big trough of high pressure (warm air) in the west and the large dip of cool air, showing the trough of low pressure, over the eastern part of the US.

    If you are feeling brave and want to look at computer models on the global scale, following this link.Click here.

    Friday, January 9, 2009

    Dewdrop asked if the cloud chart I linked to yesterday is available in poster size -- usually National Weather Service offices have them because they hand them out at public events, such as fairs.

    So it's worth giving them a call or email and hoping they have some in stock.

    And someone from NW Kentucky asked if it has been windier than normal lately.

    Without knowing the local climatology that well, I would venture out on a limb and say it probably has been due to the recent weather patterns.

    So you can take a look at the weather maps and find where all the high and low pressures are located -- and in places where they are close by, you can pretty much bet it will be windy.

    Winds are caused by pressure differences, and pressure is directly related to temperature. Winds blow from higher pressure toward lower pressure.

    So if you are in between a high and a low that are pretty close together, you can probably count on a windy day.

    With the recent storm track across the northern third of the lower 48 states, almost one every few days, it's brought a lot of wind I am sure, esp. to areas in the middle of the chill to the north and the warm to the south.

    Also going out on another limb here, but I would venture to guess many locations have more wind in the colder months than the warmer months simply due to the temperature contrast.

    In the middle of the summer, it might be 75 in Minneapolis, 85 in St. Louis, 92 in Memphis and 90 in New Orleans. A difference of only 15 to 20 degrees over 1,000 miles.

    In the middle of winter, it might be -12 in Minneapolis, 25 in St. Louis, 40 in Memphis and 53 in New Orleans. A difference of 65 degrees over that same 1,000 miles.

    You can also look at the temperature gradients and kinda figure out where it might be windy. If southern Kentucky is in the 40s and 50s, but just north of you, say central Illinois/Indiana/Ohio it is in the teens -- there is a chance since you are located in between you might be getting more wind than normal, due to the tight temperature gradient and pressure differences over a relatively short distance.

    The atmosphere is always trying to achieve a perfect state of balance, meaning equal air pressure at all locations.

    The way it tries to accomplish this is through wind -- moving air around to fill in areas of lower air pressure.

    Although at times the atmosphere may get somewhat close to making it's goal of perfect balance, or equilibrium, it will never get 100%.

    This is a good thing or else we wouldn't have weather.

    Caleb -- you said you are moving to the city and still want to do CoCoRaHS ...but wondered if you can? OF COURSE!

    Although city settings do not provide for the "ideal" placement of a rain gauge (i.e. double the distance away from the nearest tallest object, while avoiding things like overhead powerlines, sheds, etc.) the data from a city is incredible because you typically do not get much weather data from downtown settings.

    Most official weather stations are located with the nearest major airports. Very few cities take weather data downtown.

    The only trouble you may have is figuring out where and how to install a gauge, but don't let that small detail stop you. There is ALWAYS a way.

    And Lenore dropped a note to say how much weather information she gets off of Weather Underground, linked here.

    Yes, that is a great weather site with TONS of stuff to browse.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009

    Cloud Charts & Omega Block Answers

    A comment was left on my Happy New Year blog entry asking for resources to identify clouds.

    Click here for the official National Weather Service/NASA cloud chart. It will open up in a PDF file and you can either save it to your desktop, or print a copy if you have a color printer.

    And yesterday's blog sparked a thought that I didn't completely answer in the blog entry itself, and that is how long does an omega block pattern last and what does it take to break it up.

    Good question -- and there is no answer.

    The length of an omega block pattern depends on the strength of the high and low pressure systems that are interacting.

    So let's say you have a block pattern made up of a trough of low pressure in the middle with a ridge of high pressure on each side.

    The ridge of high pressure to the east is typically what is "blocking" the flow of weather -- so the Omega Block pattern will potentially last until something gives -- meaning either that eastern ridge of high pressure just breaks down and weakens, OR -- if something in the upper air pattern comes along that is stronger and forces the pattern to shift or move out.

    I read several forecast discussions today from Pueblo, Colorado to Little Rock, Arkansas --- and Goodland, Kansas to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota --- everyone is now talking about the models becoming more consistent with an arctic outbreak next week.

    It looks like very cold air is on the way, but the big questions are the timing and exactly how long the air mass will stick around and how much territory will the air mass cover.

    Very exciting stuff -- can't wait to see what happens!

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009

    Watching The Hudson Bay Low, Potential For Major Arctic Blast

    Well a few blogs ago I talked about the bitterly cold air locked up over northwest Canada and much of Alaska.

    Some of the long-range forecast models show the Hudson Bay low pressure strengthening as we head into next week.

    Now keep in mind the circulation around a low pressure is counter-clockwise.

    So what this would do is as it strengthens, or grows in size, the circulation around the low pressure would pull down a pool of that bitterly cold air on the west side, putting locations along and east of the Rockies in the deep freeze.

    The heart of the coldest air would slide into the upper midwest, where we usually see it. (i.e. the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, etc.)

    There have been so many comments left on the blog over the past few days. I love it! Keep the chat going.

    One comment talked about the flooding rains in the southeast. Both Chattanooga and Huntsville set daily rainfall records on Tuesday.

    Several rivers and streams are out of their banks in the Tennessee River Valley.

    Flooding is also taking place in Washington and Oregon.

    After weeks of heavy rain and snow, and storm after storm, the Pacific Northwest is simply waterlogged.

    They are currently getting moisture via the Pineapple Express, which is visible on the satellite picture linked below.

    See the fetch of moisture?

    Because it flows from the tropics and the vicinity of Hawaii, meteorologists have nick named this pattern the "Pineapple Express".

    Wintry weather can be found in the northeast, where once again, an ice storm has cut power to several thousand residents of that region.

    Here in Colorado, along the Front Range and in the Denver metro area, we're holding onto our hats as a downslope windstorm impacts the region.

    In Boulder County, the winds have blown power lines down and started some large wildland fires, placing thousands of homes in danger.

    Here are some wind gusts clocked so far...

  • Mt. Audubon (Boulder County) -- 107 MPH
  • Berthoud Pass (Clear Creek County, near Winter Park) -- 101 MPH gust, sustained at 89 MPH
  • Northwest Boulder -- 87 MPH
  • Evergreen -- 85 MPH
  • Rocky Flats (between Golden, Boulder and Arvada) -- 81 MPH
  • South Ft. Collins -- 75 MPH
  • Aurora -- 47 MPH
  • Denver -- 41 MPH

    Back to the blog comments, another comment someone left was asking me to talk about the National Weather Service forecast discussions.

    If you have never read one, they often use alot of acronyms, weather jargon and are written with incomplete sentences.

    A forecast discussion is simply the forecaster(s) at your local weather office, documenting his/her mental forecast process, much like you might document minutes from a meeting at work.

    It usually has 3 parts -- the now, the short-term (meaning days 2-3) and the long-term (days 4-7).

    They come out twice a day (one in the morning, approx. 4 am local time) and again in the afternoon (approx. 4 pm local time).

    If there is breaking or rapidly changing weather, the office may issue updates at any time.

    I guess the best thing for me to do, as far as teaching you how to read one, is to have you send me examples and let me "decode" them for others.

    The following is a clip from the forecast discussion out of the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois) National Weather Service offices.


    Translation : Tuesday and Wednesday -- the forecaster is saying he has lowered the forecasted temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees and computer models show arctic air invades the region. The 850 millibar temperatures (5,000 feet above sea level) are forecasted to be in the -15 to -25°C range, possibly even 5 or more degrees lower. He or she is keeping the forecast dry at this time (ATTM= at this time) but copious flurries and even light snow is possible with northwest winds of 20-35 MPH, which combnined with the forecasted cold would make for a very cold period of arctic weather.

    Here is another paragraph from the discussion:


    Translation: In days 8-14, computer models suggest we will be under an omega block pattern in the lower 48 states. I have an example of that below. This is a weather pattern where a deep trough of low pressure in the middle is surrounded by two ridges of high pressure, one on each side. The high pressures act as a block, and this pattern can temporarily clog up the upper air flow around the globe.

    What that means is those under the ridges get a prolonged period of mild, usually quiet weather, and those under the trough get a long, unsettled period of weather.

    It is called the Omega Block because the pattern looks like the symbol for the greek letter Omega.

    So if this block pattern sets up, those under the trough of low pressure will be in the deep freeze for several days potentially.


    Translation: the forecaster goes on to say he or she feels if all this comes together like models show, the upper midwest is in for a really tough time with bitter cold and snow. The approximate timing for all this is January 15-16.

    I said in my blog a few days ago I felt this could all take place between January 18-25, so it now looks like it may be just a little earlier, but could last into that time frame.

    So hopefully that gets you started on translating forecast discussions. If you come across specific things you have a question about, such as ATTM -- which means at this time -- let me know and I will do my best to help.

    This has turned into a pretty long blog so I will close for now. See what your feedback does to me?

    It get's my brain crankin' and I just can't stop writing!
  • Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    Southern Rains, Wintry Northeast

    Generous rains fell over parts of Dixie on Monday, heaviest in the Tennessee River Valley.

    Much of the state of Tennessee saw up to an inch of rain, with a band of 2-4 inch rain stretching from north-central Mississippi to northern Georgia.

    There has been some minor flooding reported due to the heavy rainfall.

    Looking at today's national CoCoRaHS map, Arkansas sure will be a nice addition since it is just a hole on the current data. I think they come online in a few months.

    Meanwhile the New England states are about to be hit with a new winter storm. There are several advisories posted for that region.

    And it remains wet across the Pacific Northwest.

    Thank you for all the feedback from yesterday's blog. It sounds like you all would like to explore climate state by state.

    Me too.

    Give me a little time to look around and find some resources with good data and we'll dive in!

    Monday, January 5, 2009

    Still Watching The Bubble of Bitter Cold

    Here is a great link to click around and see some of the temperatures and other weather conditions on the big scale.

    Click here.

    It's still bitterly cold over northwest Canada and much of Alaska, although in a few places it has warmed about 10 degrees -- so it's only like minus 35 instead of 45.

    Anchorage is going on day 7 I believe since they fell below zero and stayed there.

    Over the next few days, a few waves (or cold fronts) will push south into the lower 48 states.

    It will mostly impact locations along and east of the Rockies.

    There is a weak ridge in the jet stream pattern that should protect most of the intermountain west from any arctic intrusions.

    Later in the upcoming weekend that ridge may flatten out and even break down, according to some forecast models.

    There is quite a temperature contrast across North Dakota this morning. It is 12 above zero in the extreme southwest corner and 24 below zero in the extreme northeast corner.

    A new storm is set to slam into Washington and Oregon and unsettled weather can also be found in the southeast states.

    In my blog the other day I said my gut was feeling an arctic blast later this month assuming that cold air persists way up north.

    For now I will stay with my gut -- and let you know if anything changes.

    So it's the new year and an exciting time -- hope is renewed for anything you wanted to accomplish in 2008 but didn't or couldn't.

    With regards to the blog, I really don't know what direction I want to go with it.

    I was doing some daily weather lessons for a while and got some great feedback. But I missed talking about the current weather and then working a "daily lesson" into the content.

    I love when you guys leave feedback and ask questions. Often it sparks blog ideas.

    And now that we are in so many states, I have even thought about highlighting one state a week and just discussing it -- characterisitics, extremes, etc.

    What do you think?

    It'd be educational for all of us, including me.

    Friday, January 2, 2009

    Happy New Year!

    I am back, sorry for the quiet spell.

    Many of you know my full time job involves retail -- and well -- it completely takes over your life around the holidays.

    So Happy New Year -- I personally am very excited to see 2008 go and am very hopefuly for a positive 2009!

    OK -- so what will 2009 hold in store in terms of weather?

    One thing that was exciting about 2008 was the weather.

    Major hurricanes, incredible extremes -- such as snow in New Orleans and Las Vegas, record snows from Spokane to Bismarck to the Great Lakes.

    A few major tornadoes in the midwest, tremendous flooding as well.

    Once in a lifetime drought conditions over the southeast.

    I honestly don't recall too much heat in 2008. I know there were some hot spells in a few areas, but not that covered a large portion of the country for an extended period of time that I can recall.

    On to current events...

    We need to keep our eyes on Alaska and northwest Canada.

    Current temperatures up there are 30 to 50 below across a very large expanse of real estate. Some locations have a forecasted low in the 50 to 60 below zero range.

    That air will eventually move -- but will it break off and slide south and east?

    And if so, how much will it moderate.

    Typically those air masses come down the spine of the Rockies and put the eastern two thirds of the country in the deep freeze for a few days.

    However, there are some other weather parameters to watch and some questions that need to be answered.

    How long will the cold persist? What are the upper level winds doing? Are there any areas of low pressure forming that would drag that cold down? What is happening between here and there?

    Basically all of Canada, and most of the northern tier if US states have snow pack. So that helps create a large and cold air mass already.

    Given that, if the bitterly cold air does break off and slide southeast, it will not moderate much, since it will already traveling over fairly cold air.

    Most of southern Canada, and places like northeast Montana and North Dakota are in the single digits above and below zero.

    Here are some recent Friday morning temps from that the Great White North.

  • Bettles, AK (-44°)
  • Fairbanks, AK (-45°)
  • McGrath, AK (-49°)
  • Mayo, Canada (-54°)
  • Anchorage, AK (-14°)
  • Fort Yukon, AK (-54°)

    Current long-term forecast models are keeping this extreme cold in place through at least the end of next week.

    So if it persists that long, I think the chances of us seeing some impact from it are pretty high.

    This is just a hunch from past winter forecasting, but if this bubble of cold air decides to make a move south, it would impact us here in the lower 48 states in the January 18-25 time frame.

    I will watch it and try to post updates every few days.