Saturday, August 29, 2009

Danny's A Dud

Well this is good news...Danny is no longer a tropical storm. It's converted over to being extra-tropical, or essentially a large area of low pressure.

It will still skirt up the coastline of the eastern US with wind, rain and higher than normal surf. And even though it has lost tropical characteristics, that doesn't mean we can't see a little bit of minor damage in the way of flooding or powerlines down.

There is an area of disturbed weather east of the islands in the Carribean but right now it isn't looking too healthy.

And the quiet hurricane season continues...I know that is a big sigh of relief for the coastal residents.

Although at this point, we need a tropical system to make landfall in Texas and bring a lot of rain. Much of the state is in a pretty bad drought.

There is still time for that...September is when we see the peak of tropical activity.

And actually, I just checked the Climate Prediction Center's website and they are showing a forecast for drought conditions to improve across Texas.

So perhaps they are counting on a tropical system or two?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tropical Storm Danny Hangs On

Well that little Danny just won't give up -- it is a very disorganized tropical system but nonetheless is maintaining enough storm characteristics to stay on the maps.

That also means it will remain a threat to most of the US eastern seaboard this weekend, from North Carolina to Maine.

Rain and wind will be the main impacts from the storm, along with pounding surf.

Elsewhere around the country, it is feeling downright fall-like, such as here in Colorado.

We already seem to be in the dry stretch of weather typically experienced by mid-September.

The leaves on my aspen trees are already getting a hint of yellow on them and so is my grass.

It seems like things are about 3 weeks too early. Personally, I still think this is going to be an interesting fall season.

I have posted a new poll on the blog. Based off the last poll, well over half of those who participated own a NOAA Weather Radio.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Danny Update, Wind Tower Story, And Viewer Feedback

Let's start with the breaking weather news...Danny! It looks like those along the east coast need to keep an eye to the sky over the next few days, especially from the Outer Banks to Cape Cod.

Danny is forecasted to become either a strong tropical storm, or a weak hurricane over the next 2 days.

The storm will brush by the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic, then make a close sweep past Long Island and Cape Cod this coming weekend. A landfall is even possible somewhere in New England during the day on Saturday.

The good news is Danny will be a storm on the move and won't linger. The bad news is the weather will be stormy Thursday through early Sunday along the east coast.

Stay tuned to your local media for the latest if you live in the areas mentioned above.

Have you ever seen a large wind farm? Did you know they can fool the weatherman? Click here to read more.

And someone left a comment on the blog asking how accurate weather models are for predicting hurricanes/tropical storms?

There are several different forecast models out there, and the output can vary due to a couple of reasons.

1. Models are just complex mathematical equations basically, and each model is written with a different set of start parameters -- so the outcomes will vary. Some may focus on track, some may focus on strength.

2. Models are only as good as the data that feeds it.

Because there are so many different models with different outputs, forecasters often use an ensembal -- which shows all the possible outputs from all the chosen models on one display.

If 10 out of 12 models agree, that is likely going to be the consensus used at the time -- but things change -- so that is why many models run more than once a day. Some run every 6 hours, some can even run every hour as new data feeds into it.

Click here to learn more about tropical cyclone prediction models.

So I guess the answer is they are pretty darn accurate, but things can change from run to run depending on the amount of data and the quality of the data feeding the model.

There aren't many, if any, land-based methods to collect data in the oceans. There are some floating bouys but mostly within a few hundred miles of the coast. In some cases there are islands with weather equipment.

But for the most part, data collected in the open ocean is mostly all from satellites or passing ships.

So the quality and quantity can vary from hour to hour depending on a number of variables.

This is why it is important to stay tuned for each update to see if there are any significant changes or developments with the forecast.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Maybe Sometime Today

The area of unsettled weather north of Puerto Rico is still looking like it will organize into something.

The hurricane hunters are checking it out this morning.

And forecast models still point to unsettled weather in the Carolinas this weekend as it moves northwest toward the coastline.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tropical Trouble A Brewin, Models Show Close Call For East Coast

It looks like we could have Tropical Storm Danny on ours hands before too long as a large area of disturbed weather organizes about 300 miles northeast of Puerto Rico.

I was just looking at some of the medium to long range forecast models and they show the disturbed weather forming into a tropical system then moving on a northwest track toward the outer banks of North Carolina.

However, there are a few other weather players that will impact the eventual track of the system if it does indeed develop.

One influence is the Bermuda High over the Atlantic Ocean...and the other is a cold front that will eventually sweep across the eastern portion of the country.

So the storm could approach the coast and then make a last minute turn out to sea. If this happens it would be sometime between Friday and Sunday.

Now keep in mind this was just one model run with a possible outcome...there could be a completely new picture painted by this time tomorrow.

But I think it is important to at least have an initial heads up, and then monitor the situation with each new report.

If I had to take a guess based off this one model run, I would say the most probably scenario at this time is to approach the outer banks and then begin a north turn about 100 miles off shore...with a pretty quick turn to the north-northeast....almost paralelling the New England coastline about 100 to 200 miles offshore.

It will be a path like Bill, only it may be closer to US soil than Bill's path was this past weekend.

But that is just an initial guess. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rounding Out August

Well Denver had the two warmest days of the year over the weekend with 96 on Saturday and 98 on Sunday. The 98 degrees was a new record.

You know what was so funny is it really didn't feel that hot outside. I actually was shocked when I watched the news and saw it was a record high.

Monsoonal moisture has invaded the state today along with a cold front moving down from Wyoming.

It is very cloudy this morning, much more humid and cooler.

Hurricane Bill, now a tropical storm, is racing off across the North Atlantic today. It will become extra-tropical and bring windy, wet weather to northern Europe over the next few days.

A new area of disturbed weather is drifting west toward the islands of the Carribbean, but at this point, forecasters are only giving it about a 30% chance of forming into something.

The slow moving cold front has finally pushed off the east coast of the US after bringing a very unsettled weekend. Some really soaking rains were recorded by CoCoRaHS observers from North Carolina to Maine.

Most of the action this week will be in the middle of the nation as a series of cold fronts move across the Rockies.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Active Weather Maps

I was just looking at the national maps for the last week and there have been a number of locations that have seen 3 or more inches of rain, such as across Kansas, northern Missouri, central Arkansas and the Florida panhandle.

I drove from Dallas, Texas to Denver, Colorado yesterday -- took me a little under 12 hours. I went from temperatures in the 90s to near 100 degrees in Texas to temps in the upper 50s by the time I got home.

There were some severe storms along my route in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, and across eastern Colorado. About 100 miles of my drive up the eastern plains was in rain.

There was a rare mountain tornado in Colorado on Tuesday. It touched down in South Park at an elevation just over 9,000 feet.

Click here to read about it.

Recall a few weeks ago we talked about environmental signs of what the upcoming fall and winter may hold in store?

Several of you mentioned either an increased in bear sightings or odd behavior.

Here in Colorado, there have been several bear incidents this year. The most recent was a bear broke into a motorcycle for a food and one broke into a woman's home in Aspen and injured her.

I personally still think this will be a fun winter. No data to support this statement, just a gut feeling.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Alert: Alabama, Florida CoCoRaHS Volunteers

Wow, it is like someone turned on the switch and the tropics are boiling over this morning.

Not only are we tracking Ana and Bill way out in the Atlantic, but now we have a new depression just off the west coast of Florida and it may soon be named Claudette.

CoCoRaHS volunteers all along the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines need to have the rain gauges ready to go in anticipation of what may happen to Bill and Ana over the next week.

But in the short-term, observers in northern and central Florida, as well as southern Alabama, need to have those gauges ready to catch potentially 2 to 4 inches or rain, maybe more in some localized areas.

It would be entirely possible for a spot or two to see 5 to 10 inches of rain.

Remember, if you get into one of these extremely intense rainfall patterns with a landfalling tropical system, your gauge will only hold 11 inches of rain.

So if you can safely monitor your rain gauge, it may be necessary during a landfalling tropical system to dump it and start over if you exceed 11 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period.

Safety first....don't go out in lightning and severe weather.

It looks like Ana will take a more southern route over the mountainous islands of the Carribbean over the next week.

If the current forecasted path pans out, the storm will emerge into the Gulf of Mexico as a weak area of low pressure sometime late next week.

Bill is currently forecasted to grow into the season's first hurricane and move into the southwest Atlantic over the next 5 days, so interests from east Florida to Virginia should keep an eye on this storm.

I am leaving my family in Arkansas today and heading to Dallas, Texas for a meeting with work. Then back to Denver by car on Tuesday.

If I can get online and blog I will, otherwise, see you Wednesday.

Keep in touch with all the latest information from the National Hurricane Center by clicking this link.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tropics Still Heating Up

The hurricane center is tracking 4 areas of disturbed weather today. Two are close to home, but the most active two areas are still way out in the open waters of the Atlantic.

My little sister just flew in from Tampa and went over the area of disturbed weather in the northeast Gulf of Mexico -- she said it was quite a bumpy ride from Tampa to Atlanta.

I am down here in Arkansas for a visit before heading to Dallas for a meeting with work on Monday.

I have been amazed at how nice it is for mid-August. Highs in the mid to upper 80s with relatively low humidity.

It has been nice.

I read a great article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society recently about enhanced upslope snowfall patterns in the southern Appalachians due to a northwest flow of winds aloft.

The article used over 500 data points for the study, and several of those were area CoCoRaHS observers.

So way to go for those observers in east Tennessee, western North Carolina and vicinity!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Atlantic Basin Comes To Life

We will probably see the first tropical storm of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season during the next 24 hours as an area of disturbed weather churns several thousand miles out in the open Atlantic.

We are approaching the busy time for tropical activity, typically from late August through much of September.

Two other area of disturbed weather are located closer to the islands but if we see any development it should be slow according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.

There are two new systems to watch in the eastern Pacific. Both are organizing and one may be named sometime today.

The good news is they will not threaten land.

And former major hurricane Felicia is crossing the Hawaiian islands today as a tropical depression.

It is a windy and rainy day across much of the island chain and it will remain unsettled for the next 36 hours or so.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tropics Talk

The 2009 Atlantic Hurricane season remains very quiet so far this year, but we are nearing the peak period for activity, which is late August through much of September.

So only time will tell.

However, it is getting a little busier in the east Pacific with several storms of late. The biggest so far has been Hurricane Felicia, which topped out at a category 4 storm yesterday.

Winds are back down to cat. 3 range this morning as it moves northwest and eventually making a due west turn.

That will bring it very close to the big island of Hawaii in a few days. It will be more of a remnant low pressure by then but will spread inclement weather over the island paradise as we head into next week.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Unusual Weather Patterns Benefit Dead Zone In Gulf

Here is an interesting article about the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists think the recent unusual weather patterns may have helped re-oxygenated the waters.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Your Comments On Environmental Signs, New Poll & More

I sure enjoyed seeing all your comments to my last blog entitled seeing anything unusual?

It has been a very different summer for many parts of the country. Some have been extremely hot and dry, others have been very cool and wet.

Is that so uncommon? No...not really. But what has been a little of out the "normal" in terms of climate values is just how persistent some of the recent weather patterns have been -- stretching on for not just days...but weeks.

As of last count there were 8 new comnments to the blog and many of you are seeing things in your areas that are different or atypical for this time of year concerning both vegetation and the behavior of animals.

I forgot to mention this in my blog, but here in Colorado, we have seen a lot of bear activity in recent days.

That was also mentioned by observers in Washington, Maine and Georgia.

Whatever the future has in store with regards to weather, I know it will be exciting, even if we aren't facing a long and cold winter ahead.

For those of you who like to read weather and climate related articles, I found this one today about climate change and the state of California. Click here to read.

Let's wrap up our Wisconsin weather chat series with snow.

I think many people associate the name Wisconsin with cold and snow, since we often see this on national television when the Packers play at home. I think that is most people's perception of Wisconsin during the winter months.

Annual average snowfall varies from a low of 30 inches in Beloit (south-central Wisconsin) to a high of over 100 inches along the western slope of the Gogebic Range of Iron County in northern Wisconsin.

In addition to the terrain influence, northern Wisconsin also can see a heavy influence off of the warmer waters of Lake Superior during the cold season.

Snow can be on the ground anywhere from 80 to 90 days of the year in southern Wisconsin to nearly 150 days up north.

The snow helps act as an insulator for grasses, alfalfa, autumn seeded grains and other vegetation.

Most all bodies of water (lakes, rivers and streams) freeze during the winter months. This process usually starts in late November and lasts through much of March. Sometimes even later during really cold winters.

Here are some fun snowfall extremes for the state of Wisconsin...

  • Greatest daily total 26.0 in. Neillsville, Clark County -- December 27, 1904
  • Greastest monthly total 103.5 in. Hurley, Iron County -- January 1997
  • Greatest seasonal total 277.0 in. Hurley, Iron County -- 1996-1997
  • Greatest single storm 31.0 in. Superior, Douglas County -- Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 1991
  • Greatest annual average 137.5 in. Gurney, Iron County -- 30 season average (1961-90)