Monday, December 22, 2008

Welcome To Winter, A Little Dew Point Talk & Well Wishes To Flt. 1404

Welcome to winter? Some of you are probably saying have you checked the weather reports lately.

Old man winter has slammed much of the country with wicked weather, in particular, the northern half of the country.

Although winter storms have been impacting us for quite some time, winter officially just arrived yesterday, along with the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight.

So there is a silver lining to this for all those ready for spring --- it's an uphill climb from this point forward.

Days will slowly but surely grow longer and before you know it, spring will be here.

Winter continues to chill the Pacific Northwest, with more snow for Seattle and Portland.

Snow is also flying around the Great Lakes and in the northeast as the latest weekend storm pulls away.

In between, it is just plum cold for millions!

Single digit temps can be found all the way into northern Arkansas, with teens nearly to the Gulf of Mexico.

Locations on the immediate Gulf Coast are hovering in the upper 20s to middle 30s for the most part.

Over the weekend Bill from Missouri left a blog comment asking about his weather station's recording of a negative dew point temperature.

And WxWatcher from Missouri did a great job answering.

Indeed you can have a negative dew point temperature, just like we sometimes get negative air temperatures.

All a negative dew point means is that the air mass overhead is very dry.

When looking at a dew point, just consider it a guide as to what the air temperature would have to cool down to for the atmosphere to be completely saturated.

Meteorologists often use the dew point for helping predict the overnight low temperature, esp. this time of the year.

You see, the air temperature cannot drop lower than the dew point. And in the winter, it's often a good indicator of how low the temps may go overnight.

So it is was 4 pm, clear skies, 10 degrees above zero with a nice, fresh and somewhat deep snow pack, and a dew point of negative 10, as a forecaster, I would first figure out what the winds were going to be doing overnight.

If they are expected to be light to calm, I'd go for an overnight in the -5 to -10 degree range, using that current dew point of -10 as a guideline for the lowest possible overnight low.

The problem is things change.

Two hours later, that dew point could have risen to -5 if moisture advected into the region, or dropped to -19 if drier air had moved into the area.

Regardless, it is still a great weather parameter to monitor when trying to figure out how low the temps will go.

And finally, I know most of you heard about the crash of Continental Airlines flight 1404 here in Denver over the weekend.

All I can say is THANK GOD all 100+ passengers/crew survived.

I cannot even begin to imagine what they have been through, nor do I ever want to experience it.

I read a very well written story this morning online as one passenger accounts his experience.

Click here to read it.

So if anyone from the flight reads this blog,I am so glad you are alive, and I wish you a speedy recovery.

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