Saturday, November 26, 2011

Extended Forecast

First off I hope everyone is enjoying there Thanksgiving weekend.  A very nice Saturday is shaping up across Southern New England.  High pressure is just off of the North Carolina coast and is responsible for the unseasonably warm November weather.  The run of above average weather will continue until the North Atlantic Oscillation reverts to its negative phase.  The University of Columbia has made some nice graphics illustrating the effects of the NAO.
NAO Positive Phase
When the NAO is positive, the pressure gradient between Greenland and the Azores Islands is greater so storms are stronger; the Pressure Gradient Force is on of the most important forces in Atmospheric Science.
NAO Negative Phase
In the Negative Phase Greenland warms up while the East Coast is prone to more snowy outbreaks.  These graphics are slightly outdated and slightly incorrect, but it captures the general idea of the NAO.

Check out Columbia's webpage here.

For virtually all of November the NAO has been positive and it looks like it will continue into early December.  The models are not great at pattern recognition; they often break down patterns too quickly.  They have been hinting at a flip to the negative phase, but this has yet to happen.  The longer the NAO is positive the warmer our weather will be.  Here is the Climate Prediction Center forecast through December 1 and beyond.  Given that the models wanted to change this pattern for several weeks now, I think winter is coming fast.

So with the big picture out of the way, time for the forecast.    Today's temperatures will soar into the lower 60's.  Tonight a backdoor cold front drops in from the Gulf of Maine and will increase the chances for fog in the area overnight.  The front will stall, then lift north as a warm front letting temperatures soar in the mid 60's tomorrow as well.  We may approach record values today and/or tomorrow.

Increasing cloud cover will allow for overnight lows to be in the upper 40's tomorrow evening.  Monday looks to be a decent day, there is a slight chance of a shower late in the day but it will be a mostly cloudy afternoon with highs near 60.  By Tuesday a system is going to lift out of the Southeast and head north.  It will pass to our west so there is no chance for snow but rain will approach by early evening.  The Northbridge-Nipmuc game looks to be ok, but the later playoff games may be impacted by rain.  A shift in the timing by 3 hours throws a wrench in this forecast so stay tuned.  Wednesday will start off as wet before drying and cooling down later in the afternoon.

The end of next week and the start of December looks to be average, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 40's.  For the longer range here is my look for December...

These are from NOAA's Physical Science Division US Climate Division data maps.  While average temperatures across the analog years were in the 20-30 degree F range, that indicates to me a battle ground for rain and snow in the month.  Precipitation looks likely for December so it is going to be a battle to see if cold or warm wins out, especially in the Blackstone Valley.  Areas north of Worcester should be mainly snow.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Forecast & Discussion

A nice weekend is shaping up for everyone.  High pressure will keep conditions calm and dry into Tuesday.  Tuesday night is when things get interesting as a storm system will lift out of the Midwest and develop a surface low pressure system off the coast.  There are two different model camps right now.  The American GFS, SREF, and GEFS favor a west to east track and the system would be gone by Wednesday evening, albeit dropping heavy rain for the majority of the overnight and morning hours.  The EURO and the NAM are both slower and they result in a phasing of the north and south Jet Streams, giving the storm a north Southwest-Northeast track.  This would be later and I feel a greater chance of snow on the backside with this scenario. Its too early to make a call but there is a near certainty for heavy rain.  A track closer to the coast is expect because the North Atlantic Oscillation is in its positive phase, meaning low pressure is semi-stationary between Greenland and Iceland.  As a result the storm is blocked from taking the classic big snowstorm track.

Highs today will crawl into the low 50's, while tomorrow will feature partly cloudy skies and a high near 60.  Overnight tonight the temperature will fall to around 40 degrees and it will drop to about 36 degrees tomorrow night.   Monday is a typical November day as highs will only reach the upper 40's.  Monday Night Football will be chilly, with temperatures dropping into the mid 30's.  Fans will be protected by some cloud cover which will prevent radiation cooling.  Tuesday looks to be mostly cloudy with highs in the mid 40's.  More on the Thanksgiving Eve event as more data comes in.

Thanksgiving looks cold, but sunny.  At 10 am the temperatures will be in the upper 30's.  Stay hydrated!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snow Showers this afternoon

Yesterday's rains are departing as the cold front and low pressure system that brought it exits the coast.  However a secondary area of low pressure will develop this afternoon and coat the ground with a few hours of snow, just in time for the evening commute.  Most models are in agreement that between 0.20-0.30 of liquid will fall so some areas may see an inch.  Most places the roads will be fine, but be aware that the snow will be falling.

Friday will be chilly, highs only in the mid 40's with a blustery west wind.  The weekend is sunny with highs in the 50's.  More detailed post on weekend and next week later today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

National Grid Blames Weather forecast for Power Delays

National Grid has been publicly criticized for its slow response in returning power to the nearly 500,000 people who lost it during the Nor'Easter two weeks ago.  I was defending the company; October storms like that are rarely seen.  I think the state is wasting money, time, and resources investigating what happened.  They will probably find that the crews worked as hard and as fast as they could to restore power but the damage was too extensive for everyone to have their power back right away.  That's okay, we are an impatient society that wants everything done for us RIGHT NOW!  What's not okay is blaming the weather forecast for the slow response.  Here is the story from WBZ.

Some highlights...
National Grid executives now say the forecast was “fundamentally missed by meteorologists”, who “really underestimated the moisture” and “missed on the weight of the snow.”

Now I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but here is my forecast from the Thursday before the storm.  Here is my forecast the day before the storm.  I had been telling others about this event two weeks in advance (ask my Dad if you know him/see him).  National Grid MUST have a company meteorologist who does long range forecasting for them.  If they do not, then shame on them (I'm looking for a job).  But that is besides the point, look at what the National Weather Service in Taunton said 36 hours before the storm...


A bigger question is why we need to blame everyone for everything.  Sometimes s&@! happens.  As meteorologists we get things wrong sometimes everyone knows that and everyone loves to point that out.  However, this was not one of those times.  We were on the ball with this forecast from start to finish.  National Grid would have had more sympathy with the public if they had simply said "Sorry, it was a historic storm."  Now they look like fools.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunshine tomorrow, Rain Thursday

Surface Weather Map
I hope you all enjoyed our Indian Summer afternoon.  Indian Summer is defined as a day with temperatures above 70 degrees after the first freeze.  How about 70 degrees after our first snowstorm?  We have received zero precipitation since the Snow-tober Nor'Easter.  That run will continue into tomorrow before breaking on Thursday.  A warm front moved northward and helped steer high pressure offshore, bringing a southwesterly flow to Southern New England.  This is the easy part of the forecast because a combination of Tropical Storm Sean and an approaching cold front will spawn a low pressure system that will track through Southern New England.  Model Guidance is not in agreement in regards to Sean as the system is forecast to stall.  The official National Hurricane Center track curves the storm around Bermuda.  The short range North American Model (NAM) sends the storm into Nova Scotia, spawning a heavy Predecessor Rain Event (PRE) Thursday afternoon.   A PRE occurs because of the warm tropical air being pulled north over a colder air mass.  This rain is supported by mid level energy.  This will happen either way, but if the NAM is right the rain will be much heavier.  
NAM 18z 51 hr run 500 mb Vorticity, NCEP
The long range GFS and the GEFS (which has many members and averages the solutions together) develop a secondary low south of Long Island, turning Sean out to sea.  This would led to less rain here in Southern New England.  The SREF (another multi-member model) likes between 0.25-0.50 inches of rain.  This is a good compromise and its what I expect from this storm right now.  Tomorrow I will outline amounts as hopefully some agreement occurs between the NAM and the rest of the model suite.  The weekend will be dry as high pressure builds in.  Another cold front will approach next week but temperatures will be above average for November, with the exception of Friday/Saturday.  

15z SREF 6 hr precip Monday 5 PM 

So tomorrow is nice, temperatures will again climb into the mid 60's.  Some showers may break out overnight Wednesday.  The heaviest moisture will occur Thursday afternoon.  Highs will be in the low 60's on Thursday.  Windy but dry conditions move in behind the system and temperatures will be in the upper 40's/low 50's on both Friday and Saturday.  The air mass will warm for Sunday and Monday before we may see a cold front next Tuesday.

Tropics Discussion
Tropical Storm Sean is the 18th classified system of the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  The season will wrap up on November 30th, but things can form and persist in December.  2011 becomes the 7th season with at least 18 named storms.  The others are 1887, 1933, 1969, 1995, 2005,  and 2010.  This has been an above average season so far, no doubt.  I will have a complete analysis after the season of how 2011 stacks up.  However despite the gaudy classified storm total, 2011 actually doesn't belong in the same sentence as those first six seasons.  Take a look at these charts I created using data I've collected from the National Hurricane Center.

ACE is a measure of the energy released by a named tropical system.  As you can see, 2011 has a significant less amount of hurricanes and major hurricanes and a much lower ACE.  According to Dr. Ryan Maue of Policlimate, global tropical cyclone activity is down.  With the Pacific Ocean out of its warm phase, perhaps we are signalling a slowdown of this current active Atlantic cycle.  The larger question is why have so many weak tropical systems formed?  So far 12 of the 18 classified systems (likely a 19th when post season review is completed) have failed to reach Hurricane strength.  The answer, I believe, lies with better detection.  I believe several named systems in 2011 would have been unclassified before 2000. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Great Weather Ahead

In the short term, the good weather will continue and even warm up next week.  Although some big changes are coming down the line (more on this later), we will have to enjoy the short sleeve weather when we get it.  So what we have is an area of high pressure dominating the weather across the eastern half of the United States. The weather will be great for the Game of the Century tonight (LSU 24 Alabama 20).  Here is the surface map...
Click to enlarge
Because air flows in a clockwise manner around a high pressure system, our "air" is currently coming from Canada, therefore it is cool and dry.  However that high pressure area, currently centered near Toronto, will slide southeast, flipping the north wind to a southwesterly wind.  That will allow for temperatures to moderate.  As long as the sky cover is mainly clear, I see most places getting into the upper 60's and MAYBE low 70's on Tuesday and Wednesday.   We are currently experiencing a positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which generally means warmer and wetter conditions in the Eastern United States.  What happens is low pressure forms near Greenland/Iceland and becomes stationary, therefore "blocking" storms from travelling off the east coast.  Instead, they cut up along the Appalachian Mountains and we see warm temperatures.
The top forecast is the one to look at; red is forecast, black is the past- from NOAA
The next system looks like its going to moving in by Thursday evening; this timing will probably change.  A wet event is forecast, due to the mild temperatures and overall pattern.  Behind this system things become interesting.  As seen above, the NAO is forecast to return to its negative phase.  The models also agree, pumping some deep cold into the United States.  Looking at the long range GEFS model, one can see deep cold in the Arctic regions.  However, models are famous for breaking down patterns too quickly.  While we will return to a cold pattern by the end of the month, exactly when this occurs is not settled.  I'm going to say that the models have the right idea, they are just a bit quick with the pattern.  That means I expect a cold Thanksgiving in the east.

So today temperatures will struggle to get to 50.  Tomorrow will be warmer, but sunny.  Dress warm and stay hydrated if you are going to the Patriots game. By Monday temperatures are beginning to creep back towards 60.  Tuesday will be mild for November, temperatures in the mid 60's.  I like Wednesday or Thursday to approach 70 before the rain system moves in.

Overnight lows will be moderating over the next few days.  Tonight will be in the upper 20's, tomorrow night upper 30's, before settling in the mid 40's for the next few days.  Enjoy the nice November weather, it's not going to last too long!

November-December Forecast
I expect a cold later third of November and December for much of the United States.  The projected negative NAO, a ramp of extra-tropical Pacific systems, and a La Nina will cause headaches for many as they try to get ready for the holidays.  The most recent analog to December 2011 is December 2008, which is infamous for the Ice Storm (people out of power for 3 weeks) and a pair of systems around December 20th that combined to snow for 46 out of 48 hours in Northbridge.  Here are analogs from 1950, 1955, and 2008.

These are from the Physical Science Research Division of NOAA.  I used the 1950-95 long term average, but the cooling becomes much more pronounced when you look at averages from recent years, (ie 1993-2007 etc; try it yourself here).    The real interesting question is whether or not El Nino will return in 2012.  A neutral state seems likely given a cold PDO; however one can't be ruled out as this La Nina may recharge enough heat that it can be released over the next 8-14 months.  How much heat is released or absorbed in the Pacific plays a critical role in climate, whether you want to believe it or not.

While its nearly impossible to predict what the NAO will do, I think after it switches to negative it will lock in for a rough early winter.  My goal for this blog is to be out in front of things, to have people aware of the general weather pattern.  Go Bruins tonight, Pats tomorrow.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mid-Day Nor'Easter Update

Surface Map Notice the Low Pressure off the EC
The storm is beginning to come together off the North Carolina coast.  Snowfall amounts are verifying above 6 inches for many places in the Mid-Atlantic.  Over 44,000 customers have already lost power in these regions.  This is what is heading our way.  The current temperature in Worcester is 35 degrees.  It may not even begin as rain in many areas.  Timing has sped up so precipitation will begin to fall between 1-3 PM.  The latest guidance has trended every slightly to the east, which will lock in a mainly snow event west I-95.  However inside 95 there will be heavy rain and damaging winds, especially across the Cape and Islands.  These winds may be in excess of Hurricane force (74 mph +).

IR rainbow imagery for GOES

This storm is unprecedented.  I'm starting to think that over a foot of snow is possible in Worcester County.  A nice temperature gradient exists just to our east; cold air is already in place.  The intensity of the system will also supply cold air.  Therefore, a changeover is expect by dusk, but it may occur much sooner.  New York City has also turned over to snow much sooner than expected.  This storm is occurring during a "transition"  season (Fall).  The last major storm to occur during a transition season was the April Fools Blizzard of 1997.  Do I expect 3 ft? No I do not but in that storm amounts started off at 4-8 inches, then went up to 8-12, then 12-18 etc.  Given the real time data from the storm, I think my totals are underdone.  Lets call for 8-14 in Worcester County, 14-20 in the Berkshires, 4-8 for areas north of Bridgewater except for the immediate coast.  A low level wind will pick up the warmth of the Atlantic Ocean and keep the immediate coast mainly rain.  However inland our wind has much more of a northerly component, so I expect very little rain.
2 m temperatures
10 m winds
Tree damage is expected to be widespread and so will power outages.  You might need a battery operated radio to hear the Bruins game tonight.  

As always click to enlarge images and leave a comment if you have any questions or want a specific forecast for a given location.  Or leave a message on facebook.  Be safe in the storm

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Major Nor'Easter is on the Way

NAM forecast for 00z/8 PM tomorrow (18z/2 PM model run)
Energy moving across the southeast, ample tropical moisture, and cold air draining into New England are setting the stage for a major October Nor'Easter.  Heavy snow and high winds will create near whiteout conditions tomorrow night.  We are experience and well seasoned in snowstorms around here, but this is an obvious but critical difference; its October.  That means that the leaves are still on the trees which will lead to widespread tree and power line damage across Southern New England.  The combination of the leaves, the saturated ground from recent wet weather, high winds, and weakened trees from Irene will cause numerous power outages tomorrow night.  We can deal with snow; its going to be difficult dealing with snow with downed trees and power lines.
NWS Taunton snowfall forecast

The timing of the storm is terrible.  Tomorrow night is a big party night and many people planned to be on the roads.  If you must travel (and I would advise against travel) you must take precaution.  Bring gloves, a shovel, blankets, and food and water.  Snowfall will be coming down at nearly 1-2 inches per hour at the height of the storm.  These may last for several hours.  Thus, I am forecasting 6-10 inches of snow for the Blackstone Valley, 8-12 as you head further north and west.   Folks down in the Providence to Boston corridor can expect 3-6 inches.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect
The whole event starts as rain.  Clouds increase from South to North throughout the day and rain begins to fall between 2-4 PM.  The changeover to snow occurs as the sun sets or whenever the precip begins to become heavy, whichever occurs first.  Conditions will deteriorate quickly once the changeover occurs.  I advise for people to be off the roads by 6 PM.  The storms clears out by mid morning Sunday.  High winds will rush in behind the storm, so if power is out crews will not get to work until Sunday evening at the earliest.

Finally, I leave you with the National Weather Service in Tauton's final words about the storm...



Any questions, contact me on Facebook or leave a comment.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog is Back, So is Snow!

Welcome back to the weather blog!  I'm bringing winter with me.  Sorry to all of you who dislike the S word, but SNOW is on the way.  There are two parts to this story so lets dig in with the current set up.
Surface Weather Map
A series of low pressure systems is riding along a stalled boundary just south of New England.  The first system brought the clouds and light rain yesterday.  Today's system is stronger and is ushering in cold air from Canada.  This is setting the stage for tonight's snowfall  (from another shortwave) and Saturday night's snowfall.  Here is the North American Model (short range) from 8 am this morning for 2 PM.  Notice the 0 degree line is north of Worcester.  This is a decent indicator of the rain/snow line and Northern Worcester County has begun to change over.
Here is the 5 PM forecast

The 0 degree line has fallen to the MA/CT/RI border.  So the changeover will be occurring.  The storm is out of here by about 2 or 3 am so the morning commute shouldn't be too bad.  Watch out for some slick spots due to left over slush on the roadways.  So now the question is how much snow will fall?  North of Worcester I expect a good slug of 2-5 inches of snow.  South of Worcester anywhere from 1 to 3 inches.  The snow will be heavy at times.  The ground is still warm, so its going to take a heavy burst for the snow to accumulate.  This same model is indicating that will happen.  

Tomorrow will feature lots of sunshine, but its only a tease.  Temperatures will peak in the mid 40's just like today.  This cold air mass will still be in place for Saturday.  In fact overnight Friday into Saturday morning will feature low temperatures in the upper 20's for most areas.  Saturday morning and early afternoon will be dry, but clouds will increase as an ocean storm approaches.  The energy from this storm is current moving through Texas.  This energy is partially responsible for the early season Colorado snow as well.  The energy will move across the Southeast and a new center will form off the coast of North Carolina.  The developing Nor'Easter will increase in strength as it approaches Southern New England.  The exact track and ultimate intensity are still to be determined.  However, a plowable snow for Southern New England appears to be on its way.  The event will begin as rain and then transition to snow.  Here is the "Dominant Precipitation type" forecast for Sunday Morning at 8 am..
 The final threat from this weekend's system will be the winds.  Strong North Easterly winds, aided by the heavy wet snow, will bring down trees and power lines.  It was no fun being without power after Hurricane Irene and next week looks to be unseasonably cool.  Therefore, get some supplies just in case your power goes out.  Batteries, water, blankets, food, and flashlights are a good start.  If you don't lose power don't worry about it, its only October 27.  We've had blizzards on April 1st.  We're in it for the long haul....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Weekly Weather Take

Rather than a washout, its been a sticky weekend.  Dewpoints have been in the mid to upper 60's.   The last two Sunday's have been fall like but today will be a summer like day.  Temperatures will climb into the upper 70's and dewpoints will remain in the mid 60's.  The question most people want to know is when will the humidity break?  Unfortunately the uncomfortable conditions will remain in the region until Friday.  By the weekend temperatures will be in the lower 60's so relief is on the way.  So what is causing this summer like pattern?
500 mb Vorticity (mid level of atmosphere)
A upper level low pressure area has dropped out of the pattern.  In a low pressure area winds blow counter clockwise.  That means that our wind direction is from the south and with a southerly wind comes moist tropical air.   A stalled frontal boundary remains just offshore.  Originally it looked like that boundary would be onshore and that's why the forecasts for this weekend turned out to be incorrect.  Its going to take awhile for this disturbance to move.  It's called a "cut off" low pressure center because it has become "cut off" from the rest of the pattern.  The atmosphere behaves (is) as a fluid and moves in wave like patterns.  These waves are not able to push this system out.  Eventually (Friday) this will get kicked out but the forecast is tricky in regard to timing.

Here is the rainfall forecast for the next 3 days, courtesy of the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC)
This is good news for us, but not so much for New York and Pennsylvania who are still recovering from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  

Tomorrow is going to be a nice summer like day.  There is a slight chance of showers early.  Fog will be an issue for the commute but after it burns off temperatures will soar to the low 80's.  Tuesday morning will also be foggy.  Tuesday will be mostly cloudy but the sun will peak out and some area's will have a decent afternoon.  By Wednesday rain will approach the region as the upper level low begins to move east.  Timing is up in the air as the models are not in agreement.  In the long range forecast some early season cold weather is likely 10-14 days out or so.

Tropics Discussion
Two Tropical Storms are currently active in the Atlantic Ocean Basin.  These are the 15th and 16th Tropical cyclones.  However, there have been only 3 Hurricanes.  One of these two (Philippe) may become the 4th Hurricane but both systems ultimately will head out to sea.  I expect an active October so the Hurricane numbers will pick up.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rain on the way for a few days

An upper level low pressure area has fallen out of the pattern and has become "cut-off" from the overall flow.  That means fetches of tropical moisture will be streaming into New England for the next 5 days.  Here is a look at the surface
The system will slowly creep towards the Atlantic coast.  The humidity is rough with this because of the tropical moisture it contains.  So for details...a constant threat of showers and thunderstorms for the next 72-96 hours.  Weather tomorrow will be the worst as over 2 inches of rain could fall.  Temperatures will creep into the mid 70's, but you will still need an umbrella or a rain coat.  Here is the rainfall forecast for the next 5 days.
Unfortunately this fits the climatology of years like this and it appears we will be in for a wet fall. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Fall Preview

I started a new job this week so I took some time off from the blog to get adjusted and settled on a schedule.  After some early week humidity fall came rushing in yesterday.  At Worcester Airport (elevation roughly 1000 ft) high temperatures did not make it out of the 50's yesterday, stalling at 59.  Here in the Blackstone Valley temperatures were able to climb to the mid 60's.  Today will be more of the same, lots of sun but the north wind will only allow temperatures to creep into the mid 60's.  Tonight mainly clear skies will allow temperatures to again drop into the mid 40's.  Some high clouds may develop to keep temperatures a little higher than last night.  This morning's low at Worcester airport was 44.  By comparison Smithfield, RI dropped to 41 this morning.  This is unseasonably cold weather this early in the season.  Technically, we are still in summer.  In the world of meteorology however, fall begins September 1st.  In our little world winter begins on December 1, spring on March 1, and summer on June 1.

Tomorrow will continue the trend of temperatures in the 60's.  Highs will be in the mid to upper 60s's.  The skies will be sunny so no weather problems for the Pats home opener.  The weather will be great for fans to get "all lubed up" as Brady suggested during the week.  Lows for Sunday night will again be in the mid 40's.  Monday is a repeat of Sunday.  By Monday night, a system moving offshore may bring some showers to the area.  If this misses we're looking at the dry spell continuing until Thursday/Friday range.  Temperatures return to the 70's for Tuesday through Thursday because High pressure will build in.  The Northeast does not need any heavy rain events so we will take any dry spell we can get.

Tropics Discussion
Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southeast Newfoundland coast yesterday afternoon.  The storm was moving 54 mph with winds of 75 mph.  Hopefully the Christmas trees all survived or that will be another expense this winter.  As of night now there is only one area to watch in the Atlantic and that is off the African coast.  The National Hurricane Center gives this disturbance a 30% chance of developing within the next 48 hours.  Most models are developing the system slowly, taking it west north west generally towards to the islands.  I will say this however, most storms that form as far east as this system usually go out to sea.  The exception is Hurricane Donna of 1960 which brought Hurricane conditions to every state on the east coast.  That's a record that is unmatched in recorded history.  I think this system develops and becomes Ophelia.

Here is a look at October...

I'm using the same analogs as I used for Hurricane season because they helped correctly predict an East Coast Hurricane landfall this year, specifically North Carolina.  These maps are courtesy of NOAA's Physical Science Division of the Earth System Research Lab.  To me it looks like the Jet Stream is going to set up a ridge over the West and a trough in the east.  This keeps the east coast in play for October tropical cyclone weather.  If this continues into winter...well that's a post for another day.

Outdoor Football Forecast
Oakland @ Buffalo 1 PM
Sunny, High 70 winds east 5-8 mph
I've got Oakland, 17-16.  The Raiders defensive front is much more formidable than the Kansas City Chiefs.  Seymour and co. make it difficult on Fitzpatrick in the red area and Oakland ekes out an impressive road victory.

Green Bay @ Carolina 1 PM
Mostly Cloudy, 73 winds northeast 9-11 mph
Packers 38-17.  Aaron Rodgers will have his way with the Panthers secondary, while Newton faces the defending champion defense instead of an NFC West one.

Baltimore @ Tennessee 1 PM
Slight chance of Thunderstorms, 80 south wind 5-10 mph
Baltimore 34-20.  If Baltimore is as good as I think they are, they avoid the letdown against the Titans.

Jacksonville @ New York Jets 1 PM
Partly cloudy, high 70 winds 9-13 mph
Jets 27-6. Even though Tony Romo threw for over 300 on Rex's defense, this is Luke McCown starting on the road.  Jets D will be impressive and  Sanchez will be sharp against the Jags defense.

Arizona @ Washington 1 PM
Mostly Cloudy, high 71 winds 9-13 mph
Washington 31-21.  Rex Grossman should have a good day against an Arizona team coming to the east coast for a 1 PM game.  The Cardinals gave up 422 yards to Cam Newton in his first career start after the lockout.  Kolb will be okay, but the Skins D appears improved.

Seattle @ Pittsburgh 1 PM
Mostly Sunny, High 72 winds 4-8 mph
Steelers 41-14.  A rematch of Super Bowl XL.  Another nightmare for the Seahawks.  Give the Steelers a week 1 mulligan.

Dallas @ San Francisco 4 PM
Mostly Sunny, High 70 winds 7-10 mph
49ers 21-17.  Panic time in big D and a premature crowning of Jim Harbaugh as the next great coach.  I don't really trust Tony Romo to respond until he proves otherwise.  The 49ers have good players and I do think Jim is a better coach than Singletary.  Dallas will be fine but it will wait until the home opener against the Skins next week.

Cincinnati @ Denver 415 PM
Sunny, High 77 calm winds
Denver 34-7.  I think Orton will respond.  The Browns had the Bengals outplayed last week, then the Bengals have to pull a trick play.  This week on the road in a tough place to play the Bengals will struggle to move the football against a decent Bronco's defense.

Houston @ Miami 415 PM
Chance Thunderstorms, High 88 high winds 11-17 mph, gusts over 20
Texans 33-21.  Houston won't be affected by the Heat and humidity in South Florida.  Houston just experienced one of their hottest summers on record.  After the exhaustion suffered by the Miami defense on Monday night, I think Houston will speed up the game and pull away in this one.  Henne will be good, but with Mario Williams coming at him he will have less time to throw.  Careful with kickers in this one, winds could create a problem.

San Diego @ New England 415 PM
See above
Patriots 35-28.  The Patriots offense is just to fast.  Tom Brady has entered the Pedro Martinez zone.  That's where you have to watch every game he starts because NFL history could happen.  Pedro was the same way.  San Diego will throw to keep up, inflating passing numbers.  The key will be 3rd down.

So besides Miami-Houston there doesn't appear to be any weather issues for tomorrow's games.  So set your fantasy lineups accordingly.


Sunday, September 11, 2011


Nothing to say today.  Enjoy football and never forget all of those we lost.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heavy Rain ends, Rivers rise and recede

The Blackstone River will come out of its banks in Northbridge this afternoon.  It will be nothing like the flooding going on in PA and NY thankfully.  Godspeed to those folks who are facing evacuations by foot.  Southern New England was protected by an area of high pressure that did not allow the axis of heavy tropical moisture to feed into New England.  Our good fortune is someone else's nightmare so all we can be is thankful. The combination of this weeks rain on top of Irene's rain is causing this flooding.  Here is the Blackstone River forecast
Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Center forecast 
The forecast calls for the river to rise almost to flood stage; I think it comes over its banks and crests around 10 feet, just like during Irene.  This is something to watch throughout the fall.  I wouldn't be surprised to see a top 5 flooding event in Northbridge during the fall.  Home and business owners along the Blackstone should be ready to evacuate; a flooding event like 2005 is not out of the question.

The good news is that most of the rain is over and tomorrow will be a nice day.  Hurricane Katia will be making its closest approach on Friday.  A high surf warning is in effect for south facing beaches.  Waves will be 4-10 feet, the highest on the Cape and Islands.  Dangerous rip currents will also make swimming a bad idea so lets stay out of the water.   Anyway tomorrow starts off with dense fog, burning off by 11 and leaving a nice day.  Temperatures will soar into the low 80's.  The high school football games should be fine, a nice opening night in which a light jacket is all you will need.  Mainly clear skies with temperatures in the mid 60's throughout the game.

On Saturday I expect morning rain to end by about 10 am and the rest of Saturday should be okay.  However the day may be gray and temperatures will struggle to get out of the low 70's.  Saturday night the fall chill will be in the air as temperatures drop into the lower 50's.  I would expect all the coolest locations to drop into the upper 40's.  You'll notice on Sunday because despite party sunny skies, temperatures will struggle to reach 70.  It will be a great start to the NFL season and weather just like the morning of 9/11.  I can't believe its been 10 years, that day feels like yesterday.
Tropics Discussion
Maria will pass by tomorrow.  Maria looks like its heading on a starting pass very similar to Irene.  Several factors should limit Maria if she survives the wind shear she is currently facing.  The official NHC forecast and track takes Maria to the threshold of hurricane strength.  Nate may actually bring some rain to Texas after all.  He is going to sit around, become a Hurricane and make up his mind.  
That's all for now, I wanted to focus on our weather today.  More later.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainy Days, more Tropical trouble brewing

I want to apologize to those expecting updates over the last few days.  My internet has been going on and off ever since Hurricane Irene so it has been difficult to post.  Hopefully that is all squared away; I missed a fantasy football draft last night because of it.  Anyway on to the weather...which has been dreary.  The remains of Tropical Storm Lee have combined with a frontal boundary and together the systems have been dropping heavy rain over areas that do not need it.  The heaviest rain has appeared to shut off for Southern New England.  That will not put us out of the woods; showers are still likely from now until Friday night.  The remnant circulation of Tropical Storm Lee will continue to push northeast and there will be another chance of heavy steady rain Friday night into Saturday morning from the interaction of Lee and Hurricane Katia passing well offshore of Nantucket.
Surface Map

Until Friday night there is a good chance the lulls in between rain will produce manageable weather.  I actually expect tomorrow to be a pretty decent day with very little rain. Tonight we may have to deal with isolated heavy rain bands from Hurricane Katia.  Remember Saturday afternoon before Irene?  Those were predecessor rain bands and some models are hinting at this happening with Katia as well.  The only other effects from Katia will be dangerous surf and rip currents.  Stay out of the water this weekend, it only puts other people at risk when they need to come save your life.  Unless you are an experienced surfer don't even bother going in.

For the weekend, most of Saturday and all of Sunday look to be great here in New England.  The NFL kicks off this weekend, if you pick games (for fun of course) I'll be forecasting each game.  A special Green Bay forecast will be available later tonight and a full forecast for the other 15 games will be available Friday. The tropics discussion will follow below.

Tropics Discussion
Currently in the Atlantic Ocean basin there are two named storms and a third area that has a 60% of developing into a Tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.  First off is Hurricane Katia.  Hurricane Katia took a  textbook track north of the islands and in between Bermuda and the United States.  The winds are currently 85 mph and the central pressure is 976 mb.  While Hurricane Katia peaked with winds of 135 mph, a category 4 hurricane on the outdated Saffir-Simpson scale, Irene had a lower central pressure and thus is still considered the strongest storm of the season.  The track of Katia will send her racing through the graveyard of the North Atlantic towards the British Isles.  The extra tropical Katia will lash Northern Ireland and Scotland with powerful winds and rains in about 5 days.  Here is the Hurricane Center track.

Next up is newly formed Tropical Storm Maria.  Maria is another system that has developed from a wave off of Africa.  The official forecast for Maria calls for only gradual strengthening as she heads west towards the Northern Leeward Islands, a track very similar to Irene.  I buy the slow strengthening of the system because that fits what each system has done so far in 2011 and it fits the climatology of a warm AMO/double La Nina season.  In 2010 most systems rapidly strengthened as they moved off Africa and were controlled by large scale steering features that took the storms out to sea.  Development has been much closer to land in 2011.   I see Maria as a possible threat to the United States in 7-10 days.  I'm much more concerned for Maria than I ever was for Katia.  Here is the NHC track for Maria.

Finally, convection in the Bay of Campeche associated with an old frontal boundary has been firing consistently over very warm waters.  Currently the upper air pattern is not all the favorable for development as upper level shear as well as dry air is limiting the organization of the system.  None the less there is a high chance this system becomes a Tropical Depression and then Tropical Storm Nate.  Some of us may have to call it Tropical Storm Teeks (or Torch).  The bad news for this system is that the model spread is taking it into southern Mexico or the Northern Gulf Coast.  Not one is taking it into Texas where it needs to go.  I hope it heads that way, the fires and drought are terrible for those folks.  Its just like the 1950's, when a 10 year drought severely damaged the Texas region.  Another problem with the system is that if it does head towards the northern Gulf Coast, flooding is going to be a huge problem.  Lee dropped copious amounts of rain in the Southeast.  This is not what they need at all.

Finally the summer drought and rains were consistent with the 100 year average across the United States.  Some folks claimed it was unprecedented.  Well take a look at this chart courtesy of Dr. Roy Spencer (who has created quite a stir recently with a newly published paper calling BS on the global climate models).  He argues that observational evidence should be more important that what the computer is saying "should" happen.  Anyway...
Yes I realize this is only June and July, but data for August is still incomplete.  I am not arguing that we haven't seen extreme weather events in 2011.  We certainly have, but they aren't unprecedented.  The Earth's temperature dropped nearly a full degree in the mid layers from 2010 to 2011.  The lower troposphere also cooled.  That type of atmospheric cooling is going to allow for more water vapor and cloud formation due more mixing of warm and cool air masses.  The same thing happened in the 1950's.  I'm really sick of every weather event being blamed on "global warming".  What the hell caused all the awful storms before the Industrial Revolution?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Katia, Lee, and Labor Day

After 106 hours, power was restored to my neighborhood last night.  That is the longest I've ever been without power and it brought up an interesting question.  Would you rather face a Hurricane like Irene or a winter nor'easter?  Most people answered a Hurricane because there was nothing to shovel and the weather was warm so no one had to leave their home.  I actually cringe when I hear that response because Irene was nowhere near the strongest winds we could face in a hurricane.  Structural damage was limited to trees falling on homes.  In a category 1 or 2 hurricane there would be more damage to homes and businesses and people would be without power for longer.  

I see government officials are complaining about the long process of getting power restored.  Its a natural disaster that hit nearly the entire east coast.  Crews have been brought in from Michigan and Canada.  There were just too many trees down for a rapid response.  It does get old and frustrating sitting without power but the utility crews are working 16 hour shifts and working as fast as they can.

Scenes like these played out all over the commonwealth.  Now a lot of people want to know where Katia will go.  More on Katia and Lee in the tropics discussion below.

The weather for today and tomorrow is awesome for the start of Labor Day weekend.  Highs today will reach the lower 80's with mostly sunny skies.  Tonight is nice with temperatures dipping into only the lower 60's.  For September that's not bad at all.  Tomorrow will be nice, a transition day of sorts.  By late in the day some areas north and west will have a slight chance of a thunderstorm as a cold front approaches on Sunday. Highs remain in the low 80's.  Sunday  and Monday will feature a thunderstorm threat, but as of now it looks like scattered showers is most likely.  Some areas will see thunderstorms and some will not, the details on who gets what will be worked out later today and tomorrow.  

Tropics Discussion
Tropical Depression 13 is likely to become Tropical Storm Lee (or Maria) today.  It probably already should be named looking at the observations and considering some of the storms the NHC has named this season (many never would have been named in the past). Lee will slowly creep northeast towards Louisiana and may complete a loop and drop some serious flooding rains in Dixie.  Some areas may see 20 inches of rain.  Where TD13 goes after moving inland (eventually) is a concern.  The remains of the system may cause further flooding in the northeast.  Here is the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) rainfall forecast for the next 5 days.  Notice the rainfall in Vermont...not good

The question everyone wants answered right now is whether or not Hurricane Katia will hit us.  If you asked me yesterday I would have favored an out to sea track.  However, given the latest with Lee and the westward trend of Katia, this may be something interesting for the East Coast.  One must nail the forecast for Lee (Katia) to get the forecast right for Katia (Lee).  As you saw with Irene this is no small feat.  Katia is forecast to strengthen to a major Hurricane in 4-5 days.  I agree, as climatology favors a strengthening Hurricane.  Katia is on the verge of taking a track somewhat similar to Isabel of 2003 or Fran of 1996.  Both of those storms impacted North Carolina with devastating effects.  There is a chance Katia is more like Edouard of 1996 or Juan of 2003 as well.  Juan hit Halifax as a strong Category 2 hurricane and is considered among Canada's worst Hurricanes.  Edouard brought 90 mph wind gusts to Nantucket.  Its days away and will not impact land with the exception of high waves until it nears the east coast.  At this point everyone from Miami to Maine should keep an eye on Katia.  I'm in agreement with the National Hurricane Center on the track

Katia should ride along the ridge for the next 5 days.  With more model information we'll be able to narrow down the track and be more specific.  The storm will re-curve somewhere between Bermuda and the east coast, the question is where, when, and how strong.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Katia and Lee

Hurricane Katia is moving west north west towards the Leeward Islands.  The storm will likely move north of the islands and head northwest somewhere between Bermuda and the east coast.  Its looking like Katia will be pushed away from the east coast with the greatest threat for Atlantic Canada.  This could change, but the forecast is calling for a midwest trough to kick Katia away.  This would allow for the system that will become Lee to move northward into the Tennessee Valley.  This could potentially be bad news for the northeast as areas hit hard by Irene's flooding may see more heavy rain.  Lee will likely be a Hurricane before moving into Louisiana. 

Rain will return by Saturday night with a chance of showers.  Hopefully everyone's power will be back by then.  Utility crews are finally working on the trees and power lines in my neighborhood so I hope to be back online with pictures of the storm and updates on Katia and Lee. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene Wrap Up

Sorry for the lack updates during the height of the storm.  I've been without power since 9 am on Sunday.  I am over my brothers place now.  Many have said Irene was no big deal.  If you still have power, no tree damage on your property, and no serious flooding then yes I agree, Irene was no big deal to you.  However hundreds of thousands are still without power and floodwater's are only slowly starting to recede in VT.  It may a week before power returns in communities like Marlboro, Northboro, Southboro, Mendon, Upton, Uxbridge, Blackstone, Millville, and Northbridge.   Was Irene as bad as it could have been? No it wasn't because there was very little in the terms of structural damage.  Irene spread it effects out over a large area.  It will go down as a memorable storm, probably worse than Bob in Central and Western New England.  In all 35 people are dead.

The national media coverage has been criticized about how they handled the storm.  Many people who are criticizing have no damage on their property.  Was the coverage a bit over the top? Yes it was.  The Weather Channel did not have a meteorologist in New England.  Many focused on the potential destruction of NYC by storm surge flooding.  It was clear by Thursday night that Irene did not have the wind speeds to cause that type of destruction.  It was also clear that flooding was going to be a major issue west of the storm track.  I do not believe residents of VT and upstate New York were properly warned.

I also believe that residents let their guard down when Irene was downgraded to Tropical Storm.  For New England that meant absolutely nothing; the large wind field was still going to knock down trees and power lines.   I missed on the landfall wind speed of Irene and my track was off a few miles.  All in all I am satisfied with my forecast, but I learned some lessons from forecasting Irene as well.  This was the first time I made a public forecast for a Hurricane.  If there is a lesson to be learned from Irene it is that a storm with a large wind field will have large impacts.  Just imagine the damage if we took a direct Hurricane hit.

So whats next in the tropics?  Tropical Storm Katia has formed in the deep Atlantic.  The same general pattern is in place across the Atlantic.  Katia should track north of the islands and then re-curve in between the east coast and Bermuda.  Way to early to be sure where exactly she will go but I will leave you a few maps from past Hurricane seasons that are similar to 2011.

All of these seasons have multiple east coast tracks.  They also all have re-curving Hurricanes out to sea.  So Katia will be monitored.  Areas in Texas may get relief from tropical system this weekend.  This storm will be named Lee and it could be a Hurricane when it strikes Texas or Louisiana.  We are in the height of Hurricane season.   New England Weather is pleasant until at least Sunday.

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