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Monday, October 27, 2014

Some winter thoughts and a remembrance for a meteorologist friend who passed away..

I'll do a more detailed winter outlooks, but outside the NOAA outlook which was rather interesting, I think 2 out of 3 or greater of the private forecasters (aka, the ones who give more detail and stick their neck out) will end up going cold and snowy compared to normal. One KEY tell has been the snow increase in Eurasia. (Which I've mentioned for years now)

With that, Long range forecasting is hard and I mean, last year I went warm and snowless and while snowfall was slightly above normal-- cold or cold coming was the theme last year. Enjoyable winter from a tracking stand point where I had one event after another. While the kid in me still enjoys playing in the snow, the fun is really in the chase now-- getting the storm right.

With that, my inclination is that temps this winter run 1-3 degrees below normal. I think the coldest 30 day period relative to normal will be Mid Jan to Mid Feb and snowfall will be normal to 25% above normal. Lynchburg averages 17 inches a year (Comment about that in a moment) So range of 17-23 inches? More "breaks" in the action where the Arctic Oscillation will be our driver for cold, that often breaks down for 1-2 weeks stretches even in negative phase dominated winters. IF we get a more robust sub tropical jet, snowfall could be more. Snowfall at some levels is just an educated guess because timing short waves is not something we know. It's a linear guess on the facts at hand. If we get one 15 inch snowfall, the other 8 inches would be really easy to come by.

More details later in the week, but that's the jist of where I am.

Touching on LYH snowfall-- I've seen FAR too many graphs showing Lynchburg 30 year mean at 13 inches. It's wrong. Way wrong- Huge data gaps where they just averaged in 0 for years they didn't keep records. The NWS had a consolidation in the mid 90's and observations didn't get done. Sean Sublette over at WSET does them now, but we had some huge gaps that were counted as zeros in the average. I've pointed this out to several mets and even reached out to the CLIMO center and was told I was wrong, and or my data didnt' count. Well, first-- Hello, this is science. It matters. It matters a lot. Second, isn't some data based on an education guessed combined with local obs (we've always had temps, winds and rainfall because it's automated. We just need someone to stick the ruler in the ground) And lastly, I'm just right. I can't do this now, but when I was about 25, I could name about every snowfall at my house as a child from ages 5 till I moved away from college. I can still piece together most winters and tell you if it was good or bad, and any "signature" snow events--etc. I do have a freakish memory, but I get this is a bit much.  I did keep records of the snowfalls here and have it documented. If you remove the missing years OR add my data you get a 30 year average of 16.9 to 17 inches.

RIP Rich Hitchens

Wanted to give a quick word about a meteorologist friend who passed away. He spent his career at the NWS and worked the DC area for a long while, ending as their Hydrologist. One of the cool things to me was on the documentaries on SuperStorm 93, they did a reenactment of DC office and I think he was in the footage as the met in charge of that office at the time. He was a great guy, good friend and helped the people who launched the weather board where I hang out connect with more meteorologists.

BUT, I was honestly star struck when I met Rich because as a kid all I had for weather information was local news, cable tv station that scrolled the forecast, a weather radio and the local NWS number that was a recording from the mets at the old ILG office (Wilmington, DE) Anyways, once Rich disclosed that he worked there in the mid to late 80's and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Can't tell you how many times my Dad and I called that number for temperature updates, updated forecasts..etc. The short term forecast was 322-5151 and I've likely dialed that number thousands of time on an old rotary phone. They also had an extended forecast number which I believe was 322-7596 and it gave an extended outlook of 3-5 days and 2x a week it gave a 6-10 day outlook. If you called in business hours you could ask a met a question. My Dad and I use to call and fake like we were travelling to get more information (Like, knowing what happened down here in VA could impact our weather --etc) Rich told me he had no memories of "fake" calls but I always assumed it was transparent we were just idiots wanting to know if it was going to snow or not. Great memories with my Dad and likely Rich fielded a call or two. :)

So, just like as a kid I loved wrestling and would still think it's cool to meet my favorite wrestler -- Randy Macho Man Savage (Rip to that dude too), Meeting Rich was cool because of the connection to my childhood and I'm glad I got to know him because he was a good man. Tragic, Such a young guy at age 51..  322-5151 forever.

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. :)