Hi all! It’s been awhile. I really only have time to keep this blog updated when significant weather is on the way. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your viewpoint) things have been quite peaceful over the last several weeks.

There are two distinct threats for severe weather in the next 60 hours. The first shows up tomorrow afternoon through early evening. The atmosphere will be primed for severe weather, with plenty of wind shear through the lowest several thousand feet, plenty of moisture, and loads of instability. This along with a weak impulse in the atmosphere will combine to form scattered supercell thunderstorms from around 2:00-9:00 P.M on Friday. These storms will only cover 30-40% of the area, but those areas can expect a high threat for severe weather. The most likely locations will be west and north of Alexandria, though the possibility for severe weather will be areawide.

The more widespread threat will come after 4:00 A.M Saturday morning. From around 4:00 A.M until 1:00 P.M a large squall line will form and march across the area. Unfortunately there will be the threat for isolated supercells ahead of this line. This is when our tornado threat will be greatest. The squall line will contain all modes of severe weather, from hail, to high wind, to isolated tornadoes.

This is a potentially high end severe event. You’ll want to keep the tube on and keep yourself posted as this event unfolds. Some areas could see several different severe storms over a 24 hour period. Crazy stuff! I’ll be in Shreveport tomorrow and early Saturday. Should conditions really ripen up, I may find myself roaming east Texas or northern Louisiana in search of some good storms to photograph. I’ll post pics if that ends up happening! Stay safe!

Nick

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Here I Am!

March 11, 2010

Nobody told me that running my own business would be……… well, busy! Sorry for the hiatus, but there is some potential for severe weather tonight, so here I am. I think the worst of this one will hold north of us. However, between 9:00 and 3:00 AM we could hear some big storms roll through the area. I think that large hail and gusty wind will be most likely with these, though an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out.

I’ll be updating things as the weather gets busy, and we’re heading for that time of year. I’ll also keep you posted when I finally hit the high plains to do a little storm chasing! I won’t be the idiot in the tornado. I’ll be the idiot who’s near the tornado!

Nick

Winter Storm Warning

February 23, 2010

Another set of model runs, and I’m still unimpressed. The latest runs were a bit drier, though I still think they are too dry with the kind of set up we’ll have. The fact remains that the lower levels of the atmosphere will be too warm to support snow initially, and by the time we cool off enough, the deepest moisture should be on the way out. If I were forecasting for the area, I’d likely call for an inch or less of snow in most areas, with some isolated spots up to 2 inches from northern Vernon paris into Sabine, and parts of western Natchitoches parish. Please remember that the National Weather Service is calling for 1-2 1/2 inches of snow with this storm for us. They are also saying that roads could become quite treacherous by late tonight. I really respect that team of meteorologists. I just disagree a bit on this storm. I sure will be excited if I’m wrong! I missed seeing what my house looked like under 2-3 inches of snow, and would love to bust out the camera. I’ll update things this afternoon!

Winter Storm Watch III

February 23, 2010

This is our third winter storm watch of the year!  I don’t think they keep records for that sort of thing, but if they did, I’d have to guess this either ties or breaks a record for us.  This watch is borderline at best.  I’m just not sold on this snow!  Temperatures still look marginal at best in the lower levels.  I really don’t have much new to inject until the evening model runs hit.  Right now, I’d say less than an inch on grassy and elevated surfaces near Alexandria, with a possibility of up to 2 inches from Many to Natchitoches.  The real oomph of this storm should miss us to the west by 200-300 miles.  If you are a hardcore snow chaser, I’d head somewhere between Waxahachie and Waco Texas, and wait about 15-18 hours.  Those areas could end up with 4-6 inches of snow. 

Bottom line for us……  look for rain to kick up around 12:00 – 3:00 P.M tomorrow.  It should mix with and eventually change to snow in Alexandria around 6:00-7:00 P.M.  Everything should wrap up around midnight, or maybe a couple hours later.  There are some small caveats here, but at best/worst, this storm would bring Alexandria 1 1/2 to 2 inches.  That’s if all the stars line up, the chips fall where they may, the fat lady sings, and everyone up north takes one deep breath and exhales sub freezing air toward the south. 

In other news, there are two other storm systems that could at least threaten the area, or areas nearby with some form of frozen precip by Friday and then again Sunday.  I’d typically say that these wouldn’t pan out, but in this age of snow here in palm tree village, I won’t hold my breath.  The nice thing about tomorrow’s potential snow is the time frame.  We’re talking middle of the week, after school, melts when it hits the road snow.  Build a fire, pop on some tunes, have a frosty one if thats your thing, and just enjoy the view.  If you’re looking for a music suggestion, and you’ve spent your life locked to the radio, download Son Volt/Trace, and just let it roll.  It’s good look at the window and enjoy the snow music.  If nothing else, download the song Windfall.  Wow, I’m rambly today.  More later…….. or tomorrow, depending on my sleep situation.

Nick

What’s the deal with this winter?  We’ve had two measurable snows, one day with off and on snow showers, and we’re staring at another potential snow for late Tuesday/Tuesday night.  I will say this from the get go.  With the December storm, I was 90-95% certain we’d see snow 24 hours out.  With the February storm, I was 75-80% we’d see snow 24 hours out.  With this “storm”, I am 40-50% confident we will see snow, and we are 24-30 hours from the onset of precipitation. 

The main difference with this storm is marginal temperatures in the low levels.  Instead of being 31-34 degrees with cold upper levels, we will be around 42-45 at the onset of precipitation, and will fall into the 34-37 degree range as precipitation falls.  We will saturate, and cool from the top down.  That means snow will be generated aloft.  As it falls through a sub-freezing layer, it will stay snow until about 2000-3000 feet up.  At that point we slowly rise above freezing.  Without getting too technical, this “top down cooling” effect will cool the lowest layers of the atmosphere.  We are basically introducing ice crystals at lower and lower levels in the atmosphere.  As precipitation rates increase, snowflakes will get together aloft, and fall at a faster rate.  If rates are high enough, that will force the snow levels down in the atmosphere.  If we were sitting at 2000 feet above ground level tomorrow, I’d be forecast 1-4 inches of snow.  Since we aren’t atop the Sears Tower, I will be much more conservative.  Right now, I’d say around an inch is possible in patches around the area.  However, Sabine, Natchitoches, and Winn parish stand a chance to see 1-3 inches of snow.  This could change slightly with the evening model runs.  I’ll post then when I have more time.  This would be big news any other year, but at this point I think this will be our 3rd biggest snow storm of the year……..  in Louisiana…… crazy.

Nick

Let It Snow!

February 11, 2010

I made it to Shreveport! I-49 was wet the whole way, but there was no ice to be found. We snuck into Shreveport in between snow systems. The first system, the one that has been giving us rain and sleet in Alexandria, will slowly give way to the more significant system that is tied to the upper air feature which is driving this whole mess. Judging by our updated model data, it will still be very close in Alexandria with respect to snow. The warm layer could stick around until 9:00-11:00 P.M. I kind of think we’ll keep our mix of precipitation types until then. As the upper air feature draws near, colder air aloft will move in and switch us to snow. I think that even with the incredible amount of moisture available, we’ll probably end up seeing 1-4 inches of snow in Alexandria.

There certainly is the chance for totals as high as 8 inches in isolated spots, though I think that will be just a hair north of town. A few miles will make a big difference with this storm, so we could end up seeing those high totals, I just think the chances of more modest totals is a bit higher. If you are south of a DeRidder to Oakdale to Simmesport line, I really think accumulations will be tough to come by, though someone could end up with a slushy inch if everything lines up right.

Here in Shreveport it is almost completely below freezing through the atmosphere. The only exception is a small layer just above freezing near the surface. It’s been all snow and should stay that way. If you are anywhere from Natchitoches to Shreveport to Monroe to Jena, expect 4-7 inches, with an outside chance of someone getting near 10 inches of snow!

Everything will wind down from west to east. The snow will end in Leesville and Shreveport around 3:00 – 5:00 this morning. It will end in Alexandria around 6:00 – 7:00 A.M, and in Natchez by around 10:00 A.M. Drive safe if you have to go out tonight. Things will get much worse the later it gets tonight.

Big Snow Possibilities

February 11, 2010

We are officially underway!  It is sleeting at my house.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  It looks like the northern half of Louisiana will get hammered by as much as 8 inches of snow!  Don’t be let down if you don’t end up with that much snow.  I think everyone north of a DeRidder to Forest Hill to Simmesport line will at least have some snow to play in.  My thinking is pretty much the same as yesterday.  The colder models are winning out, but it’s still a very close call.  My range for snow amounts in Alexandria is a very wide 1-6 inches.  This is owing to the fact that one extra degree gives us much more rain and sleet, and a slight cool down of the airmass could mean mostly snow. 

The heaviest snow will still likely fall in that Many to Natchitoches to Jena corridor.  In that area 3-8 inches of snow is likely.  I wouldn’t be absolutely stunned to see 10 inches of snow measured somewhere in this system.  The start time for this event is now, but the real meat of the storm won’t arrive until after 3:00 P.M today.  It did speed up a bit since yesterday.  I think 6:00 P.M until 3:00 A.M is when the heaviest snow will fall.  Roads could become impassable due to the volume of snow.  While the ground is relatively warm, and temperatures will only fall to near freezing, it is entirely possible that several inches of snow will accumulate on roadways if we change completely to snow. 

This is a rare type of snowstorm for this area.  Accumulations will exceed what we saw in our December snow north of a Leesville to Woodworth to Simmesport line.  There could be power outages in some areas because of the weight of this very heavy wet snow.  A good bit of the snow will melt during the day Friday, and will be completely gone (for most) by Saturday afternoon.  Enjoy it as it falls, and please be careful on the roads today and tomorrow!

Nick

Snow Looking More Likely

February 10, 2010

First things first.  I still give this storm a 40% chance of breaking the hearts of all Alexandria snow lovers.  The morning models came in colder and wetter, which bodes well for our chances of snow.  This puts our warmer models in line with the colder ones, but still leaves plenty of room for a bust on this forecast. 

The quick and dirty of it, is that someone along and 30 miles north or south of a Many to Dry Prong to Jena to Natchez, MS line could see up to 6 inches of snow.  If our ground was frozen, I think someone could see up to ten inches!  Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your take) we don’t have frozen ground.  Still, six inches of snow would be as much as some areas have seen around here since the early 1960s! 

If you’d like to look at the model output from this morning, feast your eyes on this.  http://wxcaster.com/gis-snow-overlays.php3?STATIONID=SHV  You can follow the legend at the bottom to see that up to 8 inches of snow is forecast by this model from Natchitoches toward Natchez, MS.  I don’t think we’ll quite make it that high with respect to accumulations due to some melting from the bottom up.  That’s because of our warm ground.  The snow will literally be eaten from below.  However, there should be plenty to play in over at least a portion of Central Louisiana.

I’ll post more thoughts tonight, but right now, if I had to forecast for Alexandria, I’d go with 0-4 inches of snow from 6:00 P.M Thursday to 6:00 A.M Friday.  I’d leave zero in the range due to the inherent uncertanties of the models.  If this morning’s models verify, we could be much closer to the higher end.  It’s still too early to call, but should come into much better focus tonight.  Be ready for big snow, but don’t get the kiddos too excited yet.  There still is a significant bust factor here.  If the atmosphere ends up 1-2 degrees warmer, we get nothing.  If it ends up where it’s currently forecast or a couple degrees colder, we call Aunt Ethel in Pittsburgh and ask if she can overnight a snow shovel.  This will be a fun one to watch! 

One more thing, if you are south of Alexandria, your chances of seeing a lot of snow drop pretty quickly.  I’d say the farthest south the threat for accumulation is would be along a DeRidder to Oakdale to Simmesport line.

More later………

Nick

Glad I’m Not On T.V!

February 10, 2010

This is an amazingly tough snow/non-snow event to forecast. This is the kind of event that can reallllllllllly make a perfectly good meteorologist look like they don’t know what they are talking about. The temperature through the lowest ten thousand feet of the atmosphere will essentially be the same. This is called an “isothermal layer”. Iso means same, and thermal means temperature for our purposes here. This literally means that a few tenths of a degree could mean the difference between rain and snow! In this case, this could be the difference between an inch of rain, and 6 inches of snow for someone!

The models kind of switched camps today. My most reliable model has switched to the heavy snow camp, while the last couple runs of another fairly reliable model has pulled further south with the energy. This caused a slightly warmer thermal profile, meaning a mish mosh of precipitation types, and lighter amounts. If the snow models verify, someone will need a shovel in our area, and if the not so snow models verify, we’ll be looking at a mix of precipitation types, and not much accumulation. I’ll keep with my more reliable model for now as it has some support from other models. I won’t get terribly far into any details yet, as they just aren’t coming into complete focus. I could really look like a liar if I started spouting out definitive snow amounts right now. I will say that 4+ inches of snow is possible either in Alexandria, or near Alexandria. I think the home run zone for the highest possibilities of heavy snow is close by. I’ll have an update tomorrow as this storm is of personal interest to me. I’m flying out of Shreveport Friday morning! Could be a pretty long wait to get out if this storm moves a few miles further north!

Nick

Snow Possible

February 8, 2010

Typically February is our chosen month to get big snow in the deep south. That could be the case in a big way late Thursday through early Friday either here in Alexandria, or close by. It’s tough to pin down any details this far out. Let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat. I will say that there is a growing threat for accumulating snow north of a Natchitoches to Jena to Vicksburg MS line. Depending on the exact track of this system, someone could end up with more than four inches of snow around I-20 in Louisiana. That means anyone travelling toward Shreveport or Monroe Thursday or Friday will have to keep updated on this developing weather situation.

Here in Alexandria, the threat is much more borderline. There will be a relatively warm nose of air from about 4000 to 7000 feet up in the atmosphere. This may provide enough melting to keep us primarily rain. However, as we cool of Thursday night, there could be a changeover to snow. Right now, it’s way too early to call, but there could be some flakes in the air come Friday morning. I’ll give an update tomorrow as things come into better focus.

Nick