Warm & Windy Friday; Spotty PM Thunder Chance
- Blog Post by: Paul Douglas
- October 10, 2013 - 9:39 PM
Change the channel
By Paul Douglas
"Paul, if I want to change the weather I just change the channel." A friend of mine, Jay Hyre, came up with that memorable nugget. He works in the construction industry, so the forecast can be more than a convenience. Persistently cold, wet weather can cost him time & money.
How can the forecast be so different on all 4 TV channels? The same reason 4 different financial planners will come up with 4 different portfolios - or 4 economists will have wildly different forecasts for economic growth. Everyone works off the same data, but in the end it depends on which models you believe. It all comes down to interpretation. Because the future is rarely black or white - it's usually some (nebulous) shade of gray.
Showers are likely by afternoon; a weekend clearing trend with highs close to normal. You remember normal, don't you?
Fall color is peaking over the northern half of Minnesota. This will be the weekend to do some leaf-ogling. My kids used to describe it as "an explosion at a crayon factory", which pretty well sums up the dazzling colors, still a week away from peak color in the metro.
Steadier rain arrives next Tuesday; the atmosphere cold enough for flurries in 8 days.
FRIDAY: Breezy and mild. PM Showers, a clap of thunder? S 15-30+ High: 75
FRIDAY NIGHT: Slight chance of a shower or storm early, then clearing. Low: 52
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, breezy and cooler. High: 61
SUNDAY: Plenty of sun. Pleasant. Wake-up: 38. High: 60
MONDAY: Clouds thicken, late PM rain. Wake-up: 40. High: 57
TUESDAY: Steadier, heavier rain expected. Wake-up: 46. High: 52
WEDNESDAY: Rain tapers, still raw. Wake-up: 42. High: 59.
THURSDAY: Feels like fall, few showers. Wake-up: 40. High: 51.
Thursday, October 10th, 2013
I think it's safe to say that Fall has officially become my favorite time of year. Cool, crisp temperatures, comfort foods, football and fall colors have captured my interest. Don't get me wrong, I like the other seasons, but Fall is my favorite!
Fall Color Update
I wish I had better news (weather-wise) for folks that want to head out this weekend to do some fall color peeping, but it won't be quite as nice as it was this week. Temperatures will be quite a bit cooler with some lingering shower potential up north on Saturday.
Here's the latest fall color update for Wisconsin too!
Remnants of Karen Continue
It's a coastal low... an offspring of Karen, which was a tropical storm last week in the Gulf of Mexico. Karen didn't amount to much, but has helped in the production of this stubborn low off the Eastern Seaboard.
Take a look at the picture below from Kill Devil Hills, NC from earlier this week. Note the wild waves battering the shoreline. There were reports earlier this week of winds gusts nearing 60mph.
Not only were the winds and waves and issue, but the heavy rainfall helped with coastal flooding from spots along the Carolina coast to near Long Island. The tallies below are some of the heavier reports I could find thru midday Thursday.
When Will It End?
Unfortunately, the stubborn low pressure system will stay with us in some fashion or another through the weekend/early next week. It's a decaying storm system, so the rainfall tallies will continue to dwindle, but there still could be some heavy tallies, especially along the coastal communities in New Jersey. The image below from NOAA's HPC, suggests the predicted rainfall potential from AM Thursday to AM Tuesday.
High Amplitude Weather Pattern
No doubt weather maps have been quite a bit more active than they were just a few weeks ago. Storm systems have been rolling across the country with greater frequency and this is the 3rd consecutive week that we've had snow across the mountainous regions in the western half of the country. Take a look at the upper level wind map from midday Thursday and note how the jet stream buckles in the Southwest. That's our latest storm system, which we'll highlight more in just a bit, but strong winds and warming in the central part of the country have resulted due to it's formation.
The map below is a look at the surface winds across the nation and note how strong the winds were across the Plains midday Thursday due to the tight pressure gradient/temperature gradient between the low pressure in the west and the high pressure in the east.
Those strong winds listed above are the transport mechanism for the surge of warm air across the central part of the country. Take a look at the High Temps from Normal map below, which suggests that Friday will be quite mild too!
Pacific Storm Brings Southwest Rain/Snow
For the first time in a long time, we had precipitation in parts of the Southwest this week. In fact, Los Angeles saw their first measurable precipitation since late July! Granted it wasn't much 'officially' in Los Angeles, but some nearby locations had quite a bit...
Much Needed Precipitation
I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come in the near future as we could use quite a bit more precipitation in the west. The U.S. Drought Monitor released their newest update on Thursday, which suggests quite a bit of improvement around the Four Corners Regions since this summer. However, parts of California have seen worsening conditions due to the lack of moisture.
Weather Summary: Heavy precipitation hammered the northern and (to a lesser extent) eastern tiers of the large dry area in the central and western United States. A broad region from southern Montana and the northern half of Wyoming eastward across western and central South Dakota, southern North Dakota, and parts of the western Great Lakes region received at least 2 inches of precipitation, as did portions of the central Great Plains and lower Mississippi Valley. Amounts of 3.5 to locally 7.0 inches were widespread across west-central parts of the Dakotas, most of which fell as snow. The resulting blizzard set several snowfall records in the region, including areas of western South Dakota that had been affected by dryness and drought. Rapid City, SD measured 23.1 inches October 4-5, 2013, breaking their old 2-day record of 20.4 inches set in April 2001. By October 6, Rapid City had already set a new October monthly snowfall record (23.1 inches), which was 150 percent of the old record observed in 1919. Snowfall amounts reached 58 inches near Beulah, SD, and a wind gust of 71 mph was recorded at Ellsworth AFB. In addition, blizzard or near-blizzard conditions also covered areas westward through much of Wyoming, eastward through the central Dakotas, and southward into northwestern Nebraska, at least briefly.
Skiers and Snowboarders Rejoice!!!
I think I can hear thousands of winter lovers out there cheering on Old Man Winter... Take a look what took place earlier this week across parts of California. Sure, we are far from having enough pow to shred, but the season is nearing!!
The National Weather Service continues winter weather headlines across the Mountains of Colorado through Friday as snow tallies could approach 12" in spots around 9,000ft.!
Snow Spreads East
Here's a look at the RPM solution for snowfall over the next few days across the Inter-mountain West and beyond. Note the little blob of snow over the Black Hills of South Dakota once again! It certainly won't be as much as what we had last week, but the threat for additional snow in the higher elevations will certainly be possible!
Rapid Snow Melt in Rapid City, SD
It was only a week ago that we were talking about a significant winter storm bearing down on western South Dakota and now look at it... only a few piles left! By the way, Rapid City, SD had nearly 3ft.
Rapid Snow Melt Continued
Take a look at the estimated snow depth maps below from October 5th to October 10th. Pretty crazy to see how much snow has melted in a few short days.
This next storm through the end of the week/weekend ahead will be responsible for another round of potentially significant moisture. Some of the latest forecasts suggests another 1" to 3"+ thru the weekend. With the ground saturated due to the recent heavy snow melt and the incoming moisture, there will be a chance that flash flooding could occur.
RPM's precipitation potential thru AM Sunday suggests 1" to 2"+ of precipitation possible.
Active Mid October
Weather maps look very active through the middle of October with at least two storm systems developing through next week. This is pretty typical of fall weather as the temperature gradient from north to south increases. Increasingly longer nights in the northern hemisphere is helping to build a colder air mass across the North Pole. Bouts of these colder air masses tend to clash with the retreating summery weather across the nation, thus the more frequent storm systems.
This storm continues through this weekend across the Midwest.
This storm looks to develop next week across the middle part of the country.
Thanks for checking in and have a great weekend ahead.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV
© 2015 Star Tribune