Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meteorologists: "You Wouldn't Dare!"

From Richard Crowson, editorial cartoonist for the Wichita Eagle who has been following the weather forecasts for the eclipse. It isn't quite that bad. Scroll down.

I just looked at the latest computer models and I would not change the forecast below. However, it is important to note the forecasts -- in this case -- have low to moderate confidence. 

I will update again at mid-evening. 

9:30am Cloud Forecast for Eclipse

Based on the computer model that I believe will be best for this purpose, here is the cloud forecast for 1pm CDT tomorrow (Monday). Again, the two red lines delineate the zone of totality. The oval is the are where totality will be occurring at 1pm.
This forecast is less unfavorable that some of the others, especially as regards the Atchison, Kansas across the border to Kansas City.

This tendency is evident on an average of the last four forecasts (below).

According to the model, there is a lightning hazard showing up: Thunderstorms along several segments of the path.

The national NWS's cloud cover forecast looks like this, which is slightly more favorable in Nebraska.

I will update this forecast. I also urge you to follow me on Twitter @usweatherexpert to get my storm coverage. 

Sunday Fun: Amazing Eclipse Video

Weather Risks In the Eclipse Zone: Now Until 3pm Monday

Let's talk about the entire weather situation near and along the path of the eclipse tomorrow. 

Path of the eclipse pertinent to these forecasts.
There are going to be multiple hazards and given the reports of impromptu camping, etc., all of this becomes pertinent.

Severe Thunderstorms

Keep in mind that a "severe thunderstorm" is one with 1" or larger hail and/or wind gusts of 50 knots (which is 58 mph) or higher. The Storm Prediction Center uses a 5-level system for conveying these risks. 

For this afternoon and tonight, there is marginal chance (a 1 on the scale of 5) of severe thunderstorms in the dark green area.

Tomorrow -- the day of the eclipse -- the risk of severe thunderstorms increases. 
The yellow is a 2 on the scale of 5 with the darker green area still a 1. 

So, even though clouds are a problem, there is a safety issue with lightning, high winds and hail while caught in rural areas where there are few buildings for shelter. A car is adequate protection from lightning, high winds and hail (although the latter can ruin your windshield). If intense lightning is in the area, I recommend not touching the car's interior. 

And, there is yet another hazard. The NWS is forecasting a "slight" (level 2 on a 4 level scale) risk of flash flooding in the yellow area Monday.

Since so many people will be driving in unfamiliar areas, I highly recommend the AccuWeather app for your smartphone. When you install it, "allow" it to use location services. That way, it will follow you and provide storm warnings wherever you happen to be (provided there is a cell signal). 

I'll have a separate cloud forecast later this morning. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Central Eclipse Zone Forecast

Because I have seen forecasts for other parts of the path of totality, here is the best forecast I have at this time for the Nebraska-western Missouri portion of the path of totality.
The above is the NWS's 3km model valid at 1pm CDT Monday. The path of totality is bordered by the red lines and the black oval is the area of totality at 1pm.

Most all of the computer models (there are multiple versions that cover this period of time) show quite a few clouds across the region. They are consistent that conditions will be better from Scottsbluff to the west. Otherwise, there will be leftover cirrus and cirrostratus clouds left over from thunderstorms in Colorado the night before. In Missouri, there will likely be some leftover clouds from thunderstorms in Kansas.

I would not make any relatively minor changes in plans because of this (e.g., Liberty, MO versus Excelsior Springs) because the model is not that good. This forecast will be updated in the morning.

The Really Important Eclipse News

From Krispie Kreme.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Eclipse: Like "Hotel California"?

Already?

From Twitter:

Note only do I suggest a full tank of gas before arriving in the zone of totality, I suggest protein bars, water bottles, bug spray, hat, and lots and lots of patience.

Also, do not bring a white light flashlight unless you are literally in the middle of nowhere. It will interfere with people trying to photograph the eclipse. If you need a flashlight, bring one that emits red light.

The Hail Gash is Still Visible

Tuesday, I posted about a rare hail gash in northwest Kansas. It is still there as of 20 minutes ago and it has become more apparent as surrounding vegetation has continued to grow.
NOAA. Click to enlarge.
That was one heck of a hail storm!!

Thank You, Global Warming

The worldwide record food production continues!!

Sharknado Live!! Coming to Las Vegas

Yes, really. Details here.

A Bad Day to Fly in the Northeast

With thunderstorms stretching from Bridgeport, CT to Delaware at 8:30am, the NYC-area airports are already a mess with delays of up to two hours.

More thunderstorms are likely to develop from DC to near Boston this afternoon. Flying across the country is going to become a mess today as the planes cannot get out of NYC so the effects will ripple across the system.

Pro Tip: If you can get an earlier flight, take it!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Practical Progress in Weather Science

Earlier this afternoon, I tweeted ( @usweatherexpert ) the item immediately below.

We now have objective methods of determining rotation and how that rotation might translate to
damaging thunderstorm winds. You see the risk area concentrated, shortly after my tweet, around Andover, Kansas.

The tweet below is from Brandon Ivey. There is a lot of similar tree and fence damage in Andover and
the surrounding area, which occurred about 3:45pm.

The same thunderstorm moved into the Eureka, Kansas, area where it caused damage that was more severe.

Meanwhile, the area marked "H" on the tweet did not cause significant wind damage, at least to my knowledge.

None of this is to praise me. It is to praise all of the meteorologists who have worked so hard to learn these things about the atmosphere and then apply them to the benefit of society. I especially want to single out my AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions colleagues this afternoon for some great storm warnings.

On Behalf of 100% of the Men and Women Who Worked So Hard to Get That Degree....

[Bumped, original posting immediately below]

...it is insulting to call a meteorologist a "weatherman" or "weather girl." Please, please don't, especially to women meteorologists.

-------
Also on behalf of 100% of meteorologists...

I was in a business lunch today and a split second after the waitress put our plates on the table, a 'gentleman' maneuvered between the waitress, the serving cart and a support pole to get within 6" of our table. "I have a question about radar!," he said as he leaned over us. And, for the next five (literally) minutes (while my food was getting cold) complained about The Weather Channel's radar (they are a competitor, I don't know anything about them) and couldn't understand why thunderstorms can move in different directions rather than always moving in the same direction (higher thunderstorms are steered by different winds than less tall thunderstorms).

Just about every meteorologist I know who is in the public eye has similar, sometimes frequent, stories of this nature.

Yes, meteorologists attempt to be public-spirited and, yes, want to help when we can. But, barging into someone's lunch is just rude and continuing to ask multiple questions when people are waiting to eat and resume a conversation is extremely rude. Please don't.

Giant Hail and Damaging Winds Possible

Here is the longer-term forecast I promised:
This watch, which includes Wichita, Kansas City, Enid and Butler, MO represents, in my opinion, a bit more serious threat than most. I would not surprise me to see instances of hailstones ≥ 3" in diameter driven by high winds -- a situation that can cause a great deal of damage and pose a safety threat.

There is also a risk of a tornado or two, especially in south central and parts of southeast Kansas.

Please keep up on the latest weather information if you live in the blue area above.