Thursday, August 28, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Forecast

FORECAST:

Friday: Partly cloudy. Slight chance of a brief shower or thunderstorm in the evening and/or overnight. High 93, Low 65

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with periods of rain and thunderstorms likely. Rain may be heavy in some spots, and rain chances should continue into the overnight hours. High 88, Low 70

Sunday: Partly to mostly cloudy with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms across the area. Locally heavy rains are still a possibility, where showers/storms do form. High 89, Low 72

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Labor Day: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 90, Low 71

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of a passing thunderstorm. High 92, Low 70

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 91, Low 71

Thursday: Partly cloudy with minimal rain chances. High 93, Low 72

BEACH FORECAST:

Friday: Thunderstorms likely. High 90, Low 78

Saturday: Thunderstorms likely. High 86, Low 80

Sunday: Partly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. High 88, Low 80

NOTES:

So tonight/tomorrow marks the 9-year-anniversary of when the remnants of Hurricane Katrina moved across the Tennessee Valley. I remember it well, because I used to sleep on a couch on our porch with my cat . . . and one of my brothers, who always thought this eccentric, read me the riot act: "For God's sakes man, you can't camp out here tonight - there's a . . . hurricane coming!"

If you'd like to keep up with the tropics yourself (though they are pretty quiet at the moment), your best source is probably the National Hurricane Center. I feel it is important to point people there once in a while, since so much misinformation/scary hype gets out over social media from time to time.

DISCUSSION:


All right, so we saw a mostly sunny day in Cullman with light winds mostly from the south. Our High was 91, and our Low was 62. Those cool nights sure have been a treat, if you've happened to venture out or crack a window. In Huntsville we saw a High of 93 and a Low of 70. I'm forecasting for Cullman these days though. Blame it on Sara Evans. I went to one of those concerts she had around these parts, in response to the storms, and she won me over. It wasn't her sultry side that persuaded me in this direction . . . eh, it was her iron logic . . . I promise . . . ;)






Had some showers and thunderstorms in Tennessee today, but I believe they stayed mostly north of I-40, not a lot going on in the counties that border Alabama, which are the ones I tend to keep more of an eye on. We do have some moisture slowly spreading northeast from that tropical disturbance that has moved into Texas and Mexico. Temperatures have mostly cooled into the 80's this evening. We do have a frontal system draped cross the Midwest/Plains and also through the Ohio Valley and even stretching to parts of the East Coast. It looks like this front will not affect us not that much after all, but the overall upper pattern will change. Our upper-level ridge of high pressure seen above will start to shift off to the east, and a series of shortwave troughs will impact our weather. If you want the simple version, our rain chances max out Saturday and Saturday night but linger through Sunday and gradually taper off as another ridge sets up mid-late next week. If you want more details, see the forecast above or read on.


Tomorrow the ridge is already breaking down, but I think we will stay dry. Probably a High in the low-to-mid-90's. I may trend a little lower. Temperatures lately have tended not to be as hot as expected, in this pattern. At least around Cullman. Huntsville has gotten some pretty decent heat. Will include a small chance of a shower or thunderstorm sneaking in here in the evening or night hours - and that's just hit-or-miss. Probably someone in the Tennessee Valley region will get one. Can't say where it'll pop up though.


Going into Saturday, you can see the shortwave trough and the good southwesterly flow, ripe for thunderstorms. And the GFS has us with pretty likely rain chances here. Maybe not everybody in the area gets wet, and the rain may not last all day, but it would probably come in "waves" and we'd see a lot more clouds than sunlight. I know football season is starting, and I really don't keep up with the games, but just saying, you'll want to plan accordingly if you're doing anything outdoors actually, there is a pretty decent chance of rain and thunderstorms Saturday during the day. Some of it may last into the night as well. In fact, I think that is our greatest chance of rain, Saturday and Saturday night. This above is the GFS model look.

Interestingly, the NAM, which is sometimes better for short-term forecasts, shows us with rain chances, but not nearly as much. The showers/thunderstorms would be more scattered, if this is correct. Usually we end up taking a blend of two differing models, unless one just doesn't make sense for some reason. However, an interesting point: The GFS is factoring in the moisture from Louisiana, which had its source with that tropical disturbance that moved into south Texas today. And the NAM isn't seeing it having that much of an impact. Now, just my personal opinion, I've noticed lately that we've had a few more clouds than I expected. And just more Gulf moisture has gotten further north than I would have expected, lately. So I'm going to trend more toward the GFS. Maybe that's not the scientific method at its finest, but that's what I'm going to do.


And now the GFS has come more into line with what the NAM has been advertising (which I'll show below), of the rain actually tapering of a little bit Sunday. So I'm going to be careful with probabilities of precipitation here. I think it may peak on Saturday/Saturday night and just very gradually taper off after that. I think I'll still mention at least a 50% chance of thunderstorms Saturday. For Sunday, maybe 40%. I may not use that in the official forecast above; I dislike using percentages in the short-term forecast. In the extended, they make sense, since certainty is always lower then. All right, let's look at the NAM:

And it actually has us already dry by Sunday. I do not buy this. The NAM is notoriously unreliable when you get out to 72 hours and beyond anyway (in my opinion), but I think maybe it's just going to an extreme when the general idea is right, which you see from the GFS, the showers and storms decreasing in coverage across the area. It's just trying to do it too fast. Taking that trend with what the GFS is showing us, I think I will trim back rain chances just a little bit on Sunday. Just by the way, if you know anyone in the Midwest, they do appear to have a risk for some severe thunderstorms on Sunday. Iowa looks like it might be the "hot spot", at the moment.


By Monday the upper-level pattern really flattens out for much of the country. Will keep at least 30% chances of thunderstorms/showers in there. Temperatures should start to rebound to more normal levels. Might get knocked down by the rain on Saturday/Sunday, briefly into the upper-80's.


Here we are on Tuesday. A ridge is starting to build over the area, actually a large part of the country by this time. I think I'll keep up the trend of diminishing rain chances. Everybody who has lived here a while knows you can have a shower or thunderstorm randomly just about any summer day. But some of these days, the chances may be too low to actually put into an extended forecast, like 20% or less.


The ridge starts to build in pretty well by Wednesday, and this really looks like just typical summer weather. Probably enough Gulf moisture for isolated to scattered thunderstorms, hit or miss, across the area. Mostly just hot and humid though. Debating on whether to actually put rain chances in the forecast . . . might do it. Probabilities would be about 20-30%. And I hate to mention it when it's as low as 20%. Just a personal quirk. It drives me batty when I see a forecast that mentions a 10% chance of rain. I'm strange.


By next Thursday, it really looks like it'll be hot around here. Maybe not really hot . . . too soon to tell, but definitely some summer heat. Probably little relief in the form of rain. The GFS is showing less rain chances here, less moisture making it up here from the Gulf. I'll do the best I can with the extended forecast, but just understand that an isolated shower or thunderstorm is possible for all of the extended period. That's just summer around here.

Hurricane Cristobal poses no threat to land. That tropical wave has moved inland into Texas/Mexico without major incident. Watching a disorganized disturbance in the East-Central Caribbean Sea and also one moving off the West Coast of Africa - which if they hang together, might eventually develop into tropical cyclones. At the moment, it's very dubious whether they will even hold together. Just something to watch, business as usual this time of the year.


And we'll probably see an inch or so of rainfall, on average, for this forecast period. I don't think the rain Saturday through Sunday will be "uniform" though, even if it's widespread and locally heavy in certain spots. Some places could see two inches of rain or more. The probability for that is highest in Northwest Alabama, espeically the Shoals. But really, everybody isn't going to get the same amount of rain. And isolated spots even on the eastern side of the area may get really slammed with a heavy shower or thunderstorm and get totals as high as two inches or greater, before this holiday weekend is over. And actually, I wouldn't doubt that a few spots actually escape any significant rain. It's one of those deals. For Saturday though, I personally would play it safe and prepare for some rain/thunder wherever you're going or whatever your plans. That can be a nuisance at ball games and other outdoor events, obviously. Decent chances Sunday too, but Saturday is the day I'd definitely pack an umbrella or rain jacket or whatever.

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Thanks for reading. This next week or two, I may take off, got more important things to take care of. Or more likely I'll just post sporadic forecasts like I've been doing lately, when I feel up to it. Tried to be a little more in-depth this time, but nothing in the weather around here seems critical at the moment. I guess there is a low risk of localized flash flooding over this weekend, but that's simple to handle . . . just don't drive into water that covers the road. I hope to power up this site a little bit in another week or two. For night now, I'm just knocking some rust off. Really do appreciate anyone who's reading. See you in the funny papers.

Sunshine Most of Today and Tomorrow/Thunderstorms Return This Weekend

FORECAST:

Today: Mostly sunny. Somewhat hot. High 94

Friday: Partly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible in the evening or overnight. High 93, Low 65

Saturday: Thunderstorms likely, probably lasting into the overnight hours. Heavy rainfall amounts are possible in spots. High 88, Low 70

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Sunday: Thunderstorms likely. High 87, Low 72

Labor Day: Partly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. High 89, Low 70

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 90, Low 69

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 92, Low 71

NOTES:

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

And here is a look at some hurricane research NOAA is conducting.

DISCUSSION:

So at the moment it is mostly cloudy in Cullman with a temperature of 63 degrees. Calm winds. Visibility of 10 miles. Pressure is 30.08 and rising. Dewpoint-temperature is 62, making the relative humidity 98%.

It's 70 degrees in Huntsville, 65 in Decatur, 67 in Muscle Shoals. Our Low in Cullman was 62. One degree ago.



So basically we're going to get a little Gulf moisture courtesy of the disturbance off the coast of Texas. And this weekend an upper-level trough will bring us some thunderstorms, which should gradually taper off Monday and Tuesday. I'm keeping the extended period beyond Tuesday dry for now, although isolated thunderstorms may still be possible. It's kind of a close call. Future forecasts may include rain chances, but it would be isolated to scattered. The idea that was on the board a few days ago of the actual cold front making it in here is gone. It does look like the Midwest will get some severe weather from it though by Sunday. The counties of Southern Middle Tennessee might get a little rain today/tomorrow, isolated showers and thunderstorms, being closer to the frontal system and not under as much high pressure as we are in Alabama.

Decided to keep this one kind of simple and brief rather than hashing out a lot of details. Confidence has certainly increased in thunderstorms this weekend though.

Quick look into the tropics. Cristobal is no threat to land. A couple of weak waves to watch, which may dissipate or may eventually develop into something. The one off the coast of Texas is not a worry and should move inland today, not even to "depression" strength. However, those bands of Gulf moisture can affect weather well away from the center of a tropical disturbance, and it may in some small way add to our rainfall totals this weekend.

And we could easily see 1-2 inches of rain through this holiday weekend, with locally heavier amounts possible.

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Thanks for reading. See you in the funny papers.

P.S. Changed my mind. Leaving scattered rain in for Wednesday and Thursday after all. Might as well, would probably end up doing it this evening anyway.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mostly Sunshine Next Day Or Two/Rain Chances Return For Labor Day Weekend

FORECAST:

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Pretty warm. High 93, Low 64

Friday: Partly cloudy. Minor chance of a passing shower/thunderstorm in the evening or night hours. High 93, Low 67

Saturday: Partly cloudy with scattered thunderstorms. Locally heavy rainfall is possible, including Saturday night, where storms develop. High 90, Low 70

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of thunderstorms. High 87, Low 71

Labor Day: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 88, Low 70

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 90, Low 69

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 91, Low 70

BEACH FORECAST:

Thu: Partly cloudy. High 89, Low 77

Fri: Partly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. High 87, Low 78

Sat: Thunderstorms likely. High 87, Low 79

NOTES:

Here is a nifty (and free) way to get weather alerts sent to your cell phone. This is not our severe season, but hey, that's the best time to prepare . . . when things are quiet.

And here are some further thoughts from Dr. Tim Coleman (of UAH fame) about humidity.

DISCUSSION:






So this evening we are at 88 degrees in Cullman, 91 in Huntsville, hot spot is Decatur with 93. Well, even though they're more in Central Alabama, we'll give an honorable mention to Jasper and Tuscaloosa for being at 95. We had a mostly sunny day in Cullman, with winds generally light and from the north and east. The High was 89, Our Low this morning was actually all the way down to 61. Pretty low humidity for summer around here. Can't speak for anyone else, but I'm lovin' it.


Tomorrow looks like another mostly sunny day, a little hot, but you know what time of year it is. Should see lower 90's, maybe edging into mid-90's in spots.


Friday as an upper-level trough gets closer to the area, we have a marginal shot at an isolated shower or thunderstorm. Even that would probably be in the evening/night hours.


Have to reintroduce serious rain chances for Saturday and Sunday. Probably tapering off Monday and Tuesday. Then Wednesday and beyond, we'll have to watch a cold front that will probably produce some severe thunderstorms in the Midwest by Sunday but should really take its time getting here. At the moment, there is no significant evidence to suggest a severe weather problem around here next week, and it's way out in the extended forecast anyway. For now I'm keeping Tuesday and Wednesday dry because it's unclear to me whether the actual cold front will end up affecting us at all . . . or when.

Tropics . . . Hurricane Cristobal poses no threat to land. We'll watch the two waves way out there, one which is just trying to form off the west coast of Africa and another that's struggling mid-stream. The one in the Gulf, off the Texas coast, probably will not amount to much of anything but might bring some showers to Texas and Louisiana, maybe a little tropical breeze. And actually, it might increase our rainfall totals this weekend by just a tad. But I doubt it even reaches "depression" strength before moving over land and raining itself out in the new few days. Air Force aircraft investigated it today and found it to be pretty disorganized. Hats off to those folks for all the hard work this season, although I'm pretty sure they enjoy it. ;)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunny Days For Now, Then A Wet Weekend

FORECAST:

Wednesday: Sunny. Low humidity. High 90, Low 65

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Low humidity. High 93, Low 64

Friday: Partly cloudy. A slight chance of a brief thunderstorm at some point. High 92, Low 67

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. High 89, Low 70

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of thunderstorms. High 87, Low 72

Labor Day: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers/thunderstorms. High 88, Low 70

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High 89, Low 69

BEACH FORECAST:

Wed: Partly cloudy. High 89, Low 77

Thu: Sunny. High 88, Low 77

Fri: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of thunderstorms. High 89, Low 79

NOTES:

Here is an interesting discussion of humidity from UAH's Dr. Tim Coleman.

And here is a nifty way to get (free) cell phone weather alerts; it is best to prepare before we're into severe weather season, quieter times like summer.

DISCUSSION:



We had mostly sunny skies in Cullman today with light easterly winds. The High was 87. The Low was 67. Huntsville we got up to 89. In Cullman we are down to 69 again at nearly 9 p.m. as I write this.



We're under some higher pressure again, but thankfully not the kind that produces sweltering heat. Not much in the way of humidity; that wedge front did us some favors the other day. You can see Hurricane Cristobal in the Atlantic, and that is where she will stay, curving northeast. Doesn't even look like Bermuda will be in much danger, if any, from this. And at the moment it's a minimal hurricane, winds of about 70-80 mph if my memory serves me correctly from glancing at it.

Now think back to all those alarmist forecasts a week or so ago, trying to suggest this would be a major Gulf hurricane that would plow through Alabama. See how ridiculous that was? That's why I said: That crap is irresponsible. Sometimes I think it's too dumb to bother refuting, but then, there's a chance that an average person might take it seriously, not knowing any better. I often forget how little the average person knows about the weather. One man I met complained to me that there were were no forecasts or warnings for April 27th, 2011's super-outbreak, that he only knew a violent tornado was coming when a bunch of trees came down. He said they'd only mentioned isolated severe weather. And he went on to say that this year's outbreak on April 28th was no big deal, just a few little thunderstorms. And while it wasn't nearly as bad as some outbreaks we've had, it was pretty significant. This guy thought that just because he didn't get hit, it wasn't worth taking seriously . . . even derided his wife and other relatives for getting nervous about it. And I had a hard time trying to convince him . . . sometimes the communications gap in meteorology is really a downer. Most people really don't have a clue, so the people who do know something about meteorology need to put reliable information out there and try to clear up some of the misunderstandings.


Anyway, we should stay under the general influence of high pressure for a couple more days anyway, very low chances, almost none, of any rain. Maybe slight chances in Southern Middle Tennessee.

Tomorrow should be a pretty sunny day, and temperatures will probably rebound a little faster than previously thought, to around 90 degrees. Still, with the lower humidity, shouldn't feel too bad.



Thursday is looking good too. Should see a High in the lower 90's with low humidity.


By Friday our next trough/cold front is starting to approach. But I think we mostly stay dry. There is a low risk of an isolated thunderstorm or two somewhere in the Tennessee Valley, might mention it in the forecast since some people have plans for football games and stuff. But it's really not worth the worry, just a typical very low-end summer threat for a popcorn thunderstorm somewhere across the area, pretty random. Most places should stay dry.

For the extended, the weekend still looks wet. Pretty decent rain/thunderstorm chances on Saturday and Sunday, and it looks like the front will wash out gradually on Monday and Tuesday without really a "passage".

Tropics, of course Cristobal is in the Atlantic, a Category One storm, with no threats to land. A minor disturbance in the Gulf, which probably won't amount to anything. Way out at sea, we've got another weak disturbance, and it's disorganized and should be slow to develop . . . but it may eventually turn into something as it slowly drifts west-northwest. Sometimes as we get into September, the tropical season really fires up. It's fun to watch and wonder what it'll do, anyway.

And between Friday and Monday we will probably see roughly an inch or so of rainfall totals.

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