Big Cold? Winter Weather?

December 31, 2009

My opinion of long range forecasting has never been terribly favorable. Being on TV, I realized people didn’t want a bunch of maybes and what ifs. That’s another bonus to being off air, and just kind of having fun with the weather. Our long range forecast is interesting to say the least, especially in the 6-12 day range. Model guidance is very bullish on bringing intense cold air down over the snowpacked northern U.S. These models we use as guidance bring below zero temperatures all the way down to Dallas! This same model also brings us down to 9 degrees next Saturday morning! The good thing is, these models are often overblown in their long range solutions, though they are generally good at latching on to a pattern in that time frame.

Now for the semi-details. Some models are hinting at a potential winter weather event next Wednesday and Thursday. The overnight run of the GFS produced almost 7/10 of an inch of liquid equivalent through an airmass that will be near or below freezing for the duration of the event. My most reliable model is a good bit drier with this event, but the large scale pattern will at least leave this as a time of interest for the deep south.

Potential system number two would be sometime around next weekend or early the week after. No details there yet, but an interesting set up could unfold. Remember, we are taking the general pattern trends here, and not specifics from the model data. There will be lots of flip flopping in the coming days. Thankfully I’ll be back from St. Louis by the time all this potential fun begins! I’ll post a full update either late tomorrow or early Saturday.

Nick

Happy New Year!

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St. Louis Snow!

December 29, 2009

I enjoyed a nice 2 inches of fresh snow yesterday here in St. Louis! Very nice indeed! We had just enough to take the kids sledding. As I’m up here monitoring the possibilities for a couple more inches of snow, my eye keeps turning to the possible big cooldown for next week for areas east of the Rockies. I don’t want to get too detailed yet, but it looks like there will be at least a couple of opportunities for frozen precipitation in the far extended forecast. The first possibility will be early next week, followed by additional opportunities beyond that. No details yet, but certainly interesting! I have to get back to family fun time now!

Tornado Threat

December 24, 2009

There is a tornado watch until 1:00 P.M today. The threat will probably cut off before that here in Alexandria, but there is a significant threat of isolated tornadoes and damaging wind for the area through at least 10:00 A.M. Numerous tornado warnings have been posted this morning, with several confirmed tornadoes in Texas. I’ll be watching closely!

Nick

More Rain (Big Surprise)

December 22, 2009

We just can’t seem to dry out around here! Another significant rain maker will set up late tonight through about noon on Thursday. I think most of what we see from midnight tonight through midnight Wednesday night will be scattered, though it could produce some brief heavy rain. The main part of this large and powerful storm system will roll through early Thursday morning through early afternoon Thursday. That’s when we have our best chance of seeing some severe weather, and very heavy rain. Right now I’m still thinking 1-3 inches of rain will be had in most back yards over the next 2-3 days. Some of that will fall in short order Thursday morning. We could end up seeing some minor flooding problems in the favored high water areas Thursday morning, though it shouldn’t become a terribly widespread issue. I’ll be watching the severe weather threat carefully though it looks like the worst of that might hold just west of us. We shall see!

Heavy Rain and Severe Weather

December 21, 2009

A powerful upper level storm will slowly plod across the U.S bringing heavy rain and severe weather to the deep south. I think we have two more dry days before things start to go downhill here in Central Louisiana. We’re likely looking at scattered thunderstorms late Tuesday night. I’m thinking after midnight for most areas. This will kind of be the “teaser” before the main event. As this very powerful system swings out across Texas and Oklahoma we will find ourselves in the warm sector. The warm sector of a storm this strong almost always sees some severe weather. I think all modes of severe weather will be possible. Early on, it looks like hail will be more of a threat. As we work late into Wednesday night and early Thursday morning I think we’ll see more of a gusty wind and tornado threat. The tornados will remain isolated, but the gusty wind could become a widespread problem due to the strength of the upper and lower level wind fields.

There’s still plenty of time to watch this storm system develop as it hasn’t even fully moved inland over the Pacific Northwest. As details become clearer over the next couple of days, I’ll keep you posted. This could be a significant system with 1-3 inches of rain and numerous severe storms. The severe threat will be mitigated slightly by low instability values, though the shear strength of the upper level system should help overcome this. If you have Christmas travel plans on the 23rd or 24th you should really monitor the forecast for where you are, where you’re going, and all points in between. Any accumulating snow looks to stay well to our northwest from Oklahoma through Kansas, northern Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Still Soggy!

December 17, 2009

The posts have been limited lately due to an impromptu surprise drive to St. Louis for my mom’s 60th birthday party. It was lots of fun. She had no idea we were coming, and I was hidden under the cover of a Santa suit when I made my grand entrance to the party. The weather was largely boring and cooperative with our trip, so I don’t have cool pics of a winter wonderland………… unfortunately.

Our weather has been anything but boring, and it seems we just cannot shake the rain. This system that is raining on us today was “supposed” to pass safely to our south dumping all of its rain over the open water of the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, like all other systems lately, it made the turn to dump its full load of rain over central and southern Louisiana. Fortunately, the worst will miss us to the south on this one. I think most totals will be below an inch in Rapides parish, with a sharp rise in rain totals as you head south. There could be more flooding down there. This rain won’t help us for sure, but it could be much worse.

Beyond that, the long range forecast is tricky at best. Peeking toward Christmas reveals the possibility of much colder air. In this El Nino winter, we’ve already seen what can happen when cold air moves this far south for an extended period of time. El Nino years give us more storms here in the south, and when you combine moisture with cold air, all bets are off. I’m not sold on any frozen precipitation in the next ten days, but we’ll really have to watch from 12-24 through 12-28.

Tornado Watch

December 8, 2009

A tornado watch is in effect until 9:00 P.M. for Rapides and Avoyelles parishes. This doesn’t completely rule out the threat for severe weather in the rest of the area, though it looks like the highest threat will be from Alexandria and on to the northeast. We already have some heavy showers in the area and I expect that to increase as we head through the afternoon. Damaging wind and a couple of tornadoes are the main threat.

Nick

Tornado Watch Possible

December 8, 2009

The Storm Prediction Center is highly considering a tornado watch for our area in the next hour or two. This sun isn’t helping matters for us. It is now 76 degrees at the airport with a dewpoint near 70. Couple that with loads of wind energy, and it looks like it could be a busy afternoon. Speaking of busy, so am I. Gotta run……….

Severe Weather Potential

December 8, 2009

I figured this was worth a mention. Today is going to be a crazy weather day for most of the country. Some areas will see 50-60 mph wind and heavy snow, while others (us) will be dealing with the threat of severe weather. All parameters except strong instability are in place for a severe weather outbreak across the deep south. Sometimes with a storm as strong as this, you don’t need huge instability numbers to cause big problems. I’ll be watching the radars especially from around noon to 5:00 P.M. These storms will be fast movers, and will almost certainly contain strong wind. There is a threat for a few isolated tornadoes, and the Storm Prediction Center has us highlighted as an area of enhanced strong tornado threat. My gut says the worst of this will be just east of here, but it’s certainly close enough to bear watching. That’s just what I’ll do!

Nick

Well That Was Fun!

December 5, 2009

It looks like another hour or two of steady snow in Alexandria. Someone around the area could still top out around 2 or 3 inches, but most of us will see a coating to an inch. The warm ground was just too much to overcome, even with fairly high snow rates. That sure was fun to watch though! The kids had a blast. Here’s to another round sometime this winter!