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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pushing towards winter...

Winter is approaching quickly and while we have some general ideas about how it will play out, October has some key data that needs to e considered before my winte outlook (Yes, the snow cover in Eurasia).

Update for Keith Allen who does a DC centered outlook, but I extrapolate what he does locally and he's had some good sucess in the past but he has some very off years too(Like we do)

This is a direct snip from a friend of his that knows his outlook. A DC radio station use to do a big deal when he released his outlook...

Temperatures:Above Average
Rainfall:Above Average

Seasonal Temps:+1.3 to +1.7
Monthly: Dec:0 to +1
Snowfall DCA:15"

Analog years:1974(5),1984(5), 1992(3)1997(8),2001(2)

Believes there will be a major ice storm around 1/15/15

Some friends in the met world think he does well the conditions are neutral- this year the El Nino is close to low end but the issues I see is that he has a STRONG El NINO, strongest on record and some La Nina too.

Other factors:

The El Nino has not gotten up to low end level yet, but it should peak between .5 and 1 over the winter but it may not be a huge driver of the winter pattern.

The PDO (Warm and cold water pools in the pacific outside the El Nino region) looks to be positive for the winter. This is a good signal if you like colder weather.

Eurasian snow cover is the last factor and we need October to grow. Much of the data circulates around how much snow cover grows in Siberia region. So far, so good-- but we need to let the data fill out. The growth has been good and growth has a strong correlation to - AO. This is usually a sign of cooler winter in our region of the world.

So, my thoughts are leaning colder than normal winter, but not as cold as last winter. Snowfall we didn't really get above normal until that last snow on March 25, so as of now, near normal is a fair call-- which is 17 in LYH and about 20 in ROA (Give or take) As in any winter, a fluke big event could skew that strongly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

El Nino Watch 2014--

When I rank my "weather" favorites:

1. Winter and snow
2. Hurricanes
3. Severe weather. 

So, clearly my blog is super heavy for local winter events, with Hurricanes being second. The "immediate" need for forecasting on severe weather makes a blog format less effective because we can't pinpoint an outbreak as in "your house" while weather is fascinating for many, the pressing need for "exact details exist in severe weather and I can't update for every storm that could be severe in Altavista while we just see a cloud top from Lynchburg. 

Winter events are different because seeing them "sooner" and have what I call a good format to convey ideas is a good thing. 

With the El Nino--

Remember that for us, a moderate west based el nino is our best shot at a cold/snow winter. (or at least GOOD snows of over 10 inches) There are other factors but one biggies that west based falls with a theme "convection (aka thunderstorms) near the international date line. 

Some of the model data really showed this type el nino developing and they've really moved away from that. We actually "lost steam" on the el nino on the summer and some of the comparable years would be 94-95 and 06-07 for El Nino's. Neither of those years were memorable winters down here, if anything WELL below normal in snowfall. 

Summary: Some still hold onto hope that an El Nino develops and if it does it can become a main driver in our winter outlooks. However, if we don't get one of enough strength, we will have to look to other players when it comes to winter outlooks. So, on Facebook you may see some winter outlooks, and even if they end up being correct in your sensible weather, gambling on an el nino that has not behaved as advertised isn't the smartest idea. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Here's the weekend outlook I put together for  Great weekend-- literally no shot of rain as of now, maybe a bit cool (High temps are actually around 75 night now, so it's actually seasonal. 

Timing could NOT be better as a cold front clears the area today leaving Friday through Monday sunny and beautiful. Winds will be light all weekend out of the northwest at 5-10 MPH. 

Breaking down the details:

Morning lows all weekend should be within a few degrees of 50.
On Friday and Saturday High Temps will be in the 70-75 range.
Sunday- High temps of 75-80 
Lastly, Monday will have  high temps of 80-85 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Weekend Update.

**The Big Story will be the rain, with EVERYONE getting over an inch and some places topping 4 inches. Thursday night will be a pretty lousy night to be out and about. Remainder of weekend looks great with below normal temps.**

Thursday will be showery with heavier stuff moving in late morning near Claytor Lake to Late Afternoon and evening in Lake Anna. Most places will easily top an inch and the bonus areas will see upwards of 4 inches. Rain clears out before sunrise Friday AM Claytor Lake, by rush hour near SML and by lunch at Lake Anna. The weekend will be very nice, but temps will reflect April norms, not middle of May.
Friday- Rain ends all areas by noon with sunny skies by mid afternoon. High temps 65-70.
Friday Night- Clear and chilly, lows 45-50
Saturday- Sunny, high 65-70 Light NW to W winds
Saturday night, clear and chilly, again- 45-50 for low temps.
Sunday- Sunny, highs 65-70.

Great weekend, just temps more in line with Mid April, than Mid May. Moving forward, we **Could** have a cooler type summer with a budding El Nino, first year summers often end up cooler and wetter than normal. We will monitor this week to week, but last El Nino summer (2009) was cool and damp.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I am now Semi Professional Forecaster

And have declared my self eligible for the 2014 Met draft..(this guy is actually paying me too)

All joking aside, I'm doing some weekend outlooks for The Bass Cast and will post them here as well. Knowing the weather for upcoming weekends is pretty useful in the summer time. As events get closer, I like to fine tune and we are working on improving the system here for that...

For those who don't know Claytor Lake is just SW of Blacksburg, we all should know where SML is and Lake Anna is just east of Charlottesville.

For the LU graduation, the BEST hope is the showers and Thunderstorm hold off till afternoon. As of now, I'd plan on bringing an umbrella and poncho and hope for the best. Timing is tenuous at best currently.

Weekend Weather Outlook for May 9-11 for Claytor Lake, Smith Mountain Lake and Lake Anna

The weekend is starting 2 days too late, with high temps above 90 POSSIBLE Thursday!

Friday- Skies should be mostly sunny with a slight chance of showers late, mainly over and near Clatory Lake. Highs should be 80-85 with winds under 10MPH, unless there is a Thunderstorm.
Friday Night- Chance of Showers SW areas near Claytor Lake, slight Chance near SML while Lak Anna should be dry. Temps will bottom out near 60 degrees all locations
Saturday-  Partly to Mostly Cloudy with increasing chances of Showers and Thunderstorms. Showers will first pop up near Claytor Lake and will spread North and east from there. A steady period of shows and storms is a 50/50 call for all locations, with some places getting over a half inch rain during the showers and storms. High Temps will be 70-75.
Saturday Evening- Showers and Storms taper off by late evening. Low temps 60-65
Sunday- Party Cloudy, chance of showers and Thunderstorms. Would gamble that it’s a bit drier than Saturday.  

As of now, Saturday looks like the day more likely to have rain issues on any of the local lakes. Sunday’s rain and showers looks much more scatters.  With a little luck those storms stay west most of the day, with some misfortune rain could come in early and be an issue off an on all day.

Forecaster Keith D. Huffman

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Ark and the El Nino..

Big Rains coming this week on the tune of 2-5 inches. Some lighter rain Monday afternoon into Tuesday and the heavier rains move in Tuesday Afternoon into Wednesday. Most places reach 2 inches, with up to 5 possible where banding/training shows up. Sometimes nature shows it hands with the places that get the heaviest rains early, continue to get them (Cold pool aloft is ONE cause of this on a multiple day period)

WPC prediction of this week..

The El Nino--
Looking at the data, It's fairly likely we some type of El Nino. The problem is-- what type of el Nino.

We have strengths-- weak, moderate and strong.  My thoughts are based on the PDO, we peak at stronger moderate based on three month average.

We have location-- East Based (Closer to South America Coast)  West Based ( West towards international date line) and Modoki where the warmth is in the middle with cold pools both in the fast east and west ranges of the El Nino regions.

Short term impacts-- Summer should be cooler then normal. Last budding El Nino was 09 and it was a marked cooler summer around here.

Hurricane Season- Once it reaches Moderate status, there is a documented drop in named storms. However, it takes ONE storm to make a season memorable so this can be misleading.

Next winter:
East pumps ridge off west coast and much of the winter ends up mild and rainly.

West based- Usually colder due to ridge ON west coast.

Modoki- in the research out there, colder then west based El Nino's.

If we hit moderate status in this El Nino, I expect next summer (2015) to be BLAZING hot. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lucy and the Football

Some thoughts about forecasting.. and the MANY busts we've had this month. We've come such a long way and at times the public hardly recognizes it.

I must say that I totally enjoyed the 6 inches or so of snow that fell today. While I was a bit gun shy because of the last 2 busted events, I tried to convey "banding" and compare it to thunderstorms. There was also a sharp cut off where Farmville had NO snow just 50 miles east and Richmond was in the upper 40's early afternoon while we had heavy snow falling.

The computer models have gotten so much better, but just like you don't notice your children growing each day, you as the common person doesn't always notice or appreciate it.

We often use Jan 25, 2000 as a benchmark for busted storms. We had 7-12 from 5-6 miles west of LYH and DAN east that was 100% not forecasted in our region.  However, by 11pm, it was clear snow was coming and advisories were up for 2-4 inches. January 25, 2000 -- With that, the models were horrible and forecasters used now casting and radar to make a forecast. Everyone was watching radar with bated breath because the storm had taken on a classic "Negative tilt" look on radar. I had just gotten into reading models and local forecast office discussions and it was the NWS office out of State College who broke the silence around 8pm saying something big was up and talked about a foot or so. The model data had an incorrect Jet stream data and that was a 100 mile difference in the "track" of the storm. Not a dry slot, early change over-- track. I can't think of any storm "track" that was off by 100 miles in recent memory.

(For the record, I came home from work around 3pm that day and saw radar and told my roomates 6+ inches over night and at 5am we all had the front door open just amazed at 2-3 inch an hour snowfall on Jan 25, 2000)

With that, some amazing things the models did this month..

1. March 5 we were in the 70's and the models correctly showed within an hour or two we'd change to snow around 7 am Monday AM. I'm not sure even 10 years ago we'd of had a clue of that drastic drop in temps. The cold air actually hurt us because it blasted so far south, it pulled the forcing to our south and a band to our north leaving us in "sinking air" known as subsidence. Hence, a forecast of 5-8 inches ended up 1-2 inches.
2. March 17th- We were sitting at 48 degrees and drizzle when my kids and I walked out of lunch  and as modeled, by 4pm it was 35 and heavy snow. I doubt any model would have shown that accuracy 10 years ago.The models also showed the mix with sleet we had late evening and overnight. Had the stuff been heavier, we would have had more snow mixed in with the sleet and snow grains. So, a double whammy based on the "dry slot"

 Christmas Eve 2002, a surprise front running event to the Christmas Day storm (rain here, but snow to rain to snow in NOVA and a blizzard in upstate PA to NE) was very similar in that temps were WAY warm for snow but very dry air aided in the process. At that time, NO model showed snow south of the Mason Dixon line, but with dry air we had snow in NOVA, unforecasted on Christmas Eve.
3. March 25- The models did a very good job showing where this band would set up. Most data had it hugging the BR and LYH to CHO being close to the jack pot area, with ROA getting lesser amounts. Looking at the end results, you can see why it made sense.

BUT, NO forecaster followed that data because of the bast 2 busts, late season and the myriad of issues associate with that. (Warmth, rates, etc really matter in late season events, even when it's cold and below freezing)

Now, I feel like I conveyed well that "banding" would be an issue and somewhere would end up with more snow. Now, did I expect 6-7 inches-- NOT AT ALL, but did I think a surprise 4-5 inches was possibe? Yes! and I said that.  I'm a weather hobbyist with 300 readers. The NWS, WSET and everyone else who is a paid professional has to appeal to the "least common denominator" and on some levels that dumbs down forecast because they  have to. Some people just want to know how much, when and how will the roads be. Some what to a little more like how and potential and a crazy few like to know even more. So, a huge challenge is created because of these different needs.

So, my challenge to you as my readers is to NOT look at this as a month of Weathermen still getting paid to do their job despite the wrong forecasts, but look at the growth in the field. If you step back from the rough month, outlooks are getting better. Think of our "big" event from Feb 12-13-- we had a week lead time on that event and the window for start time was within 3-4 hours for about 3 days out. Despite some short term set backs, we are better off with Hurricane tracks, Tornadoes and severe weather and yes, even snowfall forecasts despite this challenging month. Forecasts are saving lives and making people aware of day to day conditions and we are getting better at doing it.