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"?


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] 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.

Worried About This Afternoon

Please see my forecast valid from now until 4:30pm. I'll post an additional forecast pertaining to later in the day.

Today's Tornado Outlook

What a busy day! Please see postings about the eclipse and meteorologist etiquette below.

I recommend keeping up on the latest weather information in the areas outlined below. The AccuWeather app has already correctly gone off for me once this morning. 

There is a significant tornado risk today over parts of Kansas and Missouri, including the Greater Kansas City area. Since this is out of season, please make sure your friends/family are aware.
The brown, 5%, is the area of significant risk.

Accompanying the tornado risk is a risk of giant hail in the hatched area.
The map shows the probability of hail 1" or larger in diameter. Yellow, 15%, is significant on this chart. The red is 30%, which is an enhanced risk. The hatching is where the hail is forecast to be 2" or larger.

I recommend putting away anything that could be damaged by hail, especially your car.

From the Eclipse Files II

How to make a pinhole projector. Click here.

From the Eclipse Files...

Via Twitter...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dave Barry on the Eclipse

On Aug. 21, the United States, having won a bidding war against Qatar for the rights, will host a total solar eclipse...

Read more here:

That is how Dave Barry begins a wonderful column on Monday's eclipse. Enjoy!!

He does bring up the critical policy question: What if the Russians hack the eclipse?

More Good News: Lightning Deaths Decreasing

An interesting story about the multiple reasons -- including improved education -- for decreasing lightning deaths.

Note the empty stands. Great American Ballpark had been warned of
lightning by AccuWeather.
My quibble with the story is it does not include lightning warnings from AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions and others as a source of fewer lightning deaths. A stadium warned of lightning, and then evacuated, is much less likely to produce lightning deaths.

Who Deserved the Nobel Prize?

A terrific commentary by Joe Bastardi.

Hailstorm "Marks Its Territory"

Thursday, August 10, a massive hailstorm occurred in northwest Kansas. With stones of more than four inches in diameter, it did tremendous damage to homes, cars, trees and just about everything in its path.

Below is a screen grab of the radar while the storm was still in progress along with the dual-polarization radar's near real-time estimate of hail size trailing behind.
A supercell is a type of thunderstorm that causes the largest hail and strongest tornadoes. The supercell responsible for the giant hail was, at the time of the screen grab, just south of Great Bend, Kansas, nearly dead center in the state. Behind its path (i.e., to the northwest of the storm) are colored lines signifying the size. Near the town of WaKeeney the estimate is more than 4 inches.

Thanks to Michael Armstrong of KOCO TV in Oklahoma City, and to Twitter, the high resolution
satellite data shows a severe gash in the vegetation caused by the hailstorm.

Hailstorms of that nature are not soon forgotten.

Monday, August 14, 2017

You MUST Have Proper Eye Protection to View the Eclipse

Until totality occurs -- even at the "diamond ring" stage -- you can suffer serious, lifetime eye injuries by viewing Monday's eclipse without proper eye protection.

Here is a story, from Oregon, about a man who viewed an eclipse without the proper protection and has suffered the rest of his life as a result.

What Happen If It Rains During the Eclipse?

With one week to go before the big event, what happens if it rains during the solar eclipse?

I can tell you exactly. I know from painful personal experience.

When America West Airlines, which was trying to quickly raise cash, dropped round-trip air-fares from Wichita to Honolulu to $199 (with children’s discounts), I decided we should vacation in Hawaii to see the 1991 eclipse. Unfortunately, in order to get into the path of longest totality, and be in area with a statistically low chance of clouds (I had checked), the best place to be was the channel between Maui and the Island of Hawaii.

Our trip to Hawaii went fine. Two days later the big day came. We all got up at 4am and headed for the docks to board the ship that was going to take us to the path of totality. Unfortunately, the morning clouds – which are common in that part of Hawaii – were not breaking as forecast. 

The boat was great. As advertised, they had a band and specially equipped telescopes.  The pastries were tasty.

But, when the captain navigated into the path of totality, a light rain began falling. Showers are common in Hawaii, but it was unusual for them in that location at that time of year (which is why I picked it). My concern was increasing.

The big moment approached (as I recall, totality was just after 8am), the growing daylight reversed itself. It slowly began to darken. The rain continued. And, continued. On the flat ocean, you could see a hint of daylight on the horizon in all directions but it got almost as dark as night as the rain continued soaking our clothes. We never saw the sun until we docked later in the morning, long after the moon had cleared the sun's path. 

Of course, the mood on the ship went from cautiously pessimistic to morose. The band stopped playing. The booze consumption among the passengers ramped up. The crew got a bit surly because they – correctly, because of their behavior – realized they huge tips they were expecting were gone with the eclipse. We docked early.

After all of that time planning, spending all of that money, and hearing a constant barrage of complaints from my children on the way back, I was sad at the lost opportunity. Then, Brandon (eight year-old middle child) turned to me just before we docked and said, “I had a good time, Dad!” I was so relieved – all the money and effort and at least one of them had a good time! And, then, after pausing a beat, he said, “Not!”

My advice? Pray for sun.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

This Week's Forecast Rainfall and Rainfall Analysis

Let's begin with the 7-day rainfall from the week just ended.
Briefly, yellows are two inches or more and reds are at least five inches. There were amounts of more than ten inches northeast of Dallas, with much of it falling last night.

One of the more important things is what you do not see: No substantial rain fell in the northern High Plains.
That is, by far, the area of the United States that needs substantial rainfall. Meanwhile, and not far away, drying is needed in southern Wisconsin, where more substantial rain, is forecast this week.

For the upcoming week, rainfall will be extremely widespread east of the Rockies.

Sunday Fun: Guess What You Would Have Gotten When You Opened the Can of Potato Chips?!

Answer here.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dumb Headline of the Week

More and more, the NYT is my go-to source for these.

Now That's An Accurate Forecast!

I can't take credit for this one. Yesterday, I posted the NWS's 7-day rainfall forecast rather than making one of my own because it was so close to what I was thinking.

Here is what was posted:
I did say that I might have scooted everything a bit to the northwest, but otherwise, it was exactly my thinking.

Well, the a look at this from about 7:30 this morning:
The 5.7" bullseye in the forecast is just east of the town of Liberal. With more rain in the forecast, the NWS made a superb forecast and I was glad I was able to bring it to you.

Unfortunately, more rain is on the way for some areas. I'll have more on that later this morning.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Extended Heavy Rain Threat in the Great Plains

Let's begin with how much rain has already fallen. Here is the 24-hour rainfall ending at 7am.
As much as four inches of rain fell in south central Kansas (southwest of Wichita). Unfortunately, that is just the beginning.

Here is the NWS's 7-day rainfall forecast for the region, which is pretty close to my thinking.
While I might scoot everything in this forecast about 30 miles to the northwest, it is close enough. The takeaway is there is the potential for significant flooding to develop over the next few days to one week.

I will keep blogging about this as the storms generate.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hurricane Franklin Bears Down on Mexico

The orange represent current tropical storm force winds and dark brown is hurricane force winds. Current maximum sustained winds are 85 mph with higher gusts. By the time of landfall, coast winds may gust to 100 mph. There will be a 2-5' storm surge.

In the inland higher terrain, serious flash flood is likely to develop.

Three-Day Heavy Rain Forecast for Great Plains

Between now and 6pm Saturday, heavy rain is possible in the central Great Plains, primarily in Kansas south of Interstate 70 and the northeast half of Oklahoma.

Note: I am not predicting that much rain over the entire area but rainfalls of more two inches will likely cover at least a third of the region.

Important note: Additional rains will be likely beyond Saturday evening. I will try to update on that topic later today.

How Did the Last Flash Flood Risk Forecast Work Out?

As you know, I try to go back and publicly validate my forecasts that are posted on my blog. On Friday, I published the flash flood risk forecast at right (below). At left is the amount of rain that actually fell.
please click to enlarge
On the map at left yellow equals 2.5 to 2.9 inches of rain which would be a reasonable threshold of flash flood risk. The red is 6 inches or more. East of Kansas City, nearly 9 inches fell.

So, this would be rated a successful forecast.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hurricane Warning for State of Vera Cruz, Mexico

Franklin's center has moved off the Yucatan and the storm is now strengthening. The storm is now forecast to be a hurricane when it comes ashore during the pre-dawn hours Thursday.

Best Thing I Have Seen on Twitter in Quite a While

Barbara Cook, Rest in Peace

Two in one day. Glen Campbell and Barbara Cook.

I saw The Music Man for the first time (I think I was in eighth grade) with Bert Parks doing a great job as Professor Harold Hill. I instantly fell in love with the show.

Barbara Cook was the original "Marion the Librarian" in The Music Man on Broadway opposite Robert Preston, for which she won the Tony Award. I literally wore my copy of the cast album out. In 1969, I fulfilled my dream of playing Harold Hill at Luce Park Theatre Under the Stars in Kansas City.

Here is Barbara singing from that original cast album. Rest in peace, Barbara.

The "Wichita Lineman" Passes Away

TMZ is reporting that Glen Campbell has passed away at the age of 81.

Here is a recording of him performing Wichita Lineman in Sioux Falls in 2009. The second version, below, was Glen singing it in Wichita for the last time in April, 2012. The effects of his disease, unfortunately, were apparent.

Rest in peace, Glen.

First, Global Warming, then Climate Change, then Climate Weirding, now Weather Extremes

The global warming language police are at it again. Here is an article from The Guardian:
There have always been and there always will be extremes of weather. As usual, this is nonsense.

The correct, non-PC, term is "global warming."

Hurricane Watch For Mainland Mexico

The yellow indicates the extent of tropical storm (in this case ~ 45 mph winds). The storm is going to move over the Bay of Campeche an then into mainland Mexico. The pink is a hurricane watch while the yellow is a tropical storm watch. Once the storm is inland, flooding rains are possible.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Tropical Storm Franklin

No change to the forecast below (scroll down).

FEMA: Are They Finally Ready?

Friday, FEMA -- which has always had a highly effective public relations operation -- briefed President Trump on the hurricane season. Exactly why FEMA (rather than NOAA which is where the forecasters are) did this was not stated.

Here's the problem: FEMA always says it is ready. And then when an Andrew, a Katrina or a Sandy hits their performance is woeful.

Yes, everyone should be ready to take care of themselves for three days (food, water, sanitation, etc.). But, in some cases, it has taken FEMA weeks to provide meaningful assistance.

FEMA are you truly ready this time?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tropical Storm Frankin...

....has formed and is headed toward the Yucatan Peninsula. I
Franklin may become a hurricane before making landfall in the Yucatan and, again, in mainland Mexico. If you have friends or relatives in the area, please make sure they are aware.

Potential Tropical Storm or Hurricane Possible in Mexico

The latest forecast from AccuWeather is here.

A Very Rainy Week Ahead

This week will be very rainy over most of the nation. Three separate areas look to have at least five inches. More than seven inches is forecast in Colorado where more flooding may develop. Stay tuned.

Flash Flood Threat Continues

Here is the rainfall for the last 24 hours, ending at 7am Sunday. More than eight inches have fallen near the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Heavy rains continue as of 9:15am.

One of the Great Musical Theatre Companies in the Nation...

...takes you behind the scenes. You'll enjoy it.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Flash Flood Risk Forecast

Unchanged since yesterday (see below).

Flash flood warnings are out along the Missouri-Kansas border northwest of Joplin. The primary heavy rains are forecast tonight into Sunday with flooding possible into Monday.


Another silly global warming claim:
There is so much wrong with that story but I'll stop at two

  1. The hypothetical heatwave is weather, not climate. Period.
  2. When it comes to climate, people continue to flock to warmer climates. The New Republic can see the evidence by looking out its own window.
The fact is, since air conditioning was developed and affordable, very few move to colder climates. People prefer warm.