Monday, December 31, 2007

First Week of 2008

Well it's the last day of 2007 -- wow -- time sure does fly.

It looks like 2008 will arrive on the chilly side for much of the nation. It will be snowy from the Great Lakes into New England.

With the exception of a new storm moving onshore in the west, most of us should be sunny and dry this week.

It will be windy at times, especially from the Rocky Mountains into the center of the country. (Texas up to Minnesota)

The weather will turn a bit more active heading into the first full weekend of 2008.

Portions of the south are finally seeing some decent rainfall. Some sections of Alabama recorded over 3 inches of rain this past weekend.

About a half dozen stations have seen 4 to 5 inches of rain since Christmas.

Did you know you can pull a precipitation summary for your state, and even your county?

From the CoCoRaHS website, click on View Data at the top of the page. Once that loads, scroll down to "Total Precipitation Summary" -- which is under the Summary Reports section.

Then, click it and select your state. If you want, you can zoom down to your county.

As a test, pick Alabama and then Dale County (DL). Choose the date range of December 1 through December 31.

There are 4 stations in that county and all have seen some really generous moisture from Mother Nature.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rain, Snow Moves East

If you can't reach your dear friends in Alabama today, don't worry -- they are probably out dancing in the rain.

Yes, bama saw some of the best rain in months over the past 24 hours. A few CoCoRaHS stations in east-central Alabama recorded over an inch.

I would venture a guess that was the first time those gauges have had an overflow in quite some time -- maybe since joining the network!

Portions of central Tennesee also saw rainfall. That rain will shift east along with the cold front today.

Hail and strong to severe thnuderstorms were also reported over the past 24 hours in the deep south. Stations near Muscle Shoals and Tuscumbia (Ala.) reported hail around 4 am Friday morning.

Here in the Denver area we have sunny skies and PLENTY of snow to shovel around. It is a whopping 1 degree in Southeast Aurora as I blog with 14 inches of powder on the ground. That has fallen since Christmas morning.

BRRRR --- off to make some hot tea!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Winter Storm Moving In

Well after 8 inches of fresh snow on Christmas, we are bracing for another round today along the Front Range of the Rockies.

It is cold too -- just 10 degrees as I blog and watch the snow pile up on my freshly shoveled drive.

Hey, I will hush -- this time last year we couldn't find enough places to shovel the snow after back-to-back storms dropped up to 4 feet on Denver.

If you are traveling home anywhere across the center of the nation over the next day or so, the weather will be a factor.

Our Colorado storm will pull east with plenty of rain, snow, wind and fog.

Some good news! The storm system should tap the Gulf of Mexico and bring moisture back into the southeast states -- EXCELLENT news for the drought.

And looking ahead, arctic air currently building over Canada will break loose and move into the northern plains as we head into the first few days of January.

Just how cold and how much real estate it will cover remains to be seen. But some places may only see highs in the single digits near the US/Canadian border next week.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm Back, And Caught Up On My Reports

Hello fellow CoCoRaHS'ians --

Well another Christmas season in retail has come and gone, it nearly killed me this year. (Just Joking)

Although now it is gift card season, and stores will be busy for the next 2 weeks with bargain hunters wanting to spend that Christmas money.

It was hard to keep up with CoCoRaHS -- in fact I just sat down and did a little catch-up data entry.

I entered all the data for my station since December 5.

I want you to know if you get into a jam and life becomes hectic, it is OK to make notes of your data somewhere and do the data-entry when you have time.

I have to be honest, I forced myself to sit down and catch up today because I knew if I didn't I would eventually lose the paper with my data on it.

So what has been happening of late? TONS of winter storms have moved across the nation. I don't think the winter has been this active across so much real estate for quite some time.

We had a lovely snow in the Denver area yesterday, to the tune of 4 to 8 inches around most of the metro. More is on the way tomorrow.

And parts of the parched southeast FINALLY saw a decent, widespread rainfall. Though not nearly enough to put a dent in the drought, it is a start.

Don't forget to leave your questions or comments if you have any -- I enjoy reading them and often they spark my brain to come up with my next blog entry.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More Winter To Come

A new series of storm systems will make their way across the country over the next 5 to 7 days.

One is looking like it could be a decent storm developing over the middle of the nation by this weekend.

For us here in the Front Range of Colorado, it is bitter sweet. We need the moisture, but it was about this time last year when we got hit with the first of twin holiday blizzards that shut down the region.

Winter officially arrives around 1 am eastern time on Dec. 22 this year.

So much can change with the forecast so we'll have to see how this evolves.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ice Storm Leaves Tremendous Damage

Our CoCoRaHS friends in the center of the nation are starting to thaw out -- what an ice storm!

I have to tell you, growing up in Arkansas and living through many ice storms, well -- it really stinks. You are literally trapped. Life stops.

It can also be downright creepy once you lose power. There are so many sounds -- trees creaking, limbs snapping, power lines popping and transformers blowing -- it makes it hard to sleep.

I was home for Christmas about 5 or 6 years ago when an ice storm hit. A pine tree fell on our house and we had to evacuate to another relative's home. It took over an hour to drive less than 3 miles on country roads.

I hope you are all safe and as life gets back to normal and you can file a CoCoRaHS report again -- when you do so, feel free to leave a detailed comment in your first report about your experience during the storm, damage in your area, etc..

The information will be great to archive for your station.

In a recent comment, an observer from Kansas asked about reporting a trace or zero when you have dew.

Dew is not precipitation because it forms at the surface and does not fall from the sky. It is a completely different process than precipitation.

Therefore you would report zero when you have dew in the morning. If you like, you can definitely note that there was dew in your comments.

A simple comment like "heavy dew this morning" tells a meteorologist something about the weather at your location. I would conclude it was moist, the temperature and dewpoint were very close together if not equal -- and perhaps something was on the weather map in your location such as a warm front.

Hope that helps -- keep the comments coming. I do my very best to read each and every one, and try to answer them too. I remain very busy with work right now so bare with me on my response time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter Blasts Center of Nation For Second Time

It was a cold and wintry weekend for many of the central states, with several inches of snow in Denver to over an inch of ice in southwest Missouri. Wintry precipitation also fell across portions of New England. This was all due to a huge cold front that draped across the country.

The town of Lamar, Missouri was completely without power Monday morning.

Meanwhile, portions of the south are wondering what happened to the date -- as it feels like September or early October. Highs from Texas to North Carolina and Georgia have been well into the 70s with a few 80s.

Round 2 of the wintry weather is coming tonight into Tuesday and Wednesday. It promises more snow for Denver and ice from Oklahoma and Kansas into Missouri and Illinois.

The freezing rain makes for tough measurements in a CoCoRaHS world. You should have the inner cylinder and funnel removed from your gauge anytime you are expecting wintry precipitation.

At your observation time, bring the cylinder in and let the contents melt.

It really helps to have 2 gauges because you can simply take the gauge off and replace it with the new one at your observation time.

I do that here in Colorado when I am pressed for time in the morning -- I bring the gauge with the frozen precipitation inside and put the funnel on it as a lid, and let the contents melt during the day. When I get home from work I will measure and report the precip.

It is OK to make it easy on yourself. You can always go back and do the data entry for your location if the morning is rushed and you are pressed for time.

The most important thing is to just make the observation, especially if it is precipitating at your time of observation.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blizzard Warning In Hawaii

Yes, that is right -- you read this headline correctly.

Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea above 8,000 feet have been under a blizzard warning for the past several hours with temperatures in the 20s and moderate to heavy snow from passing squalls.

Down at the lower elevations, heavy rain has been falling on the big island of Hawaii -- prompting flash flood warnings.

A new storm is about to sweep into southern California with some much needed rain. As the storm moves east it will draw down some cold air and produce winter precipitation in the middle of the nation this weekend.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Reporting a Trace

Someone left a comment recently asking about a TRACE. See question below.

QUESTION: "Would you please clarify the use of "T" for trace. My reporting time is 7:00 AM, however if I know that a trace occured 4 hours prior to my reporting time do I still enter "T" under the precipatation block, then clarify the actual time of the trace in the Obervation Notes section?"

ANSWER: If your reporting time is 7 am, you are reporting anything that happened at your station up until the observation time. So if a trace happened overnight, or even at 6:59 am, you will report a T for trace.

Another way to think of it is that you are reporting anything during the past 24 hours, or since your last observation was made at 7 am yesterday.

If you would like to leave more information (such as the time it happened) you can certainly do so in the notes.

Thanks for reading the blog and asking such great questions!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Weather Folklore

Today I was driving down the road and we had a little shower/freezing drizzle in the Denver area -- and at the same time the sun was shining. It made for a beautiful rainbow.

Growing up in the south, we would say that if it rains and the sun shines at the same time, it will rain the same time again tomorrow.

There is no meteorological truth to that, and most likely that is said because you tend to get afternoon showers and thunderstorms during the warm season in the southeast states just about the same time each afternoon when a humid, hot airmass is in place.

But nonetheless, it is interesting.

Do you know any weather folklore? If so, share it with us.