Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Weather Continues Headache for Local Sports Teams

One of the great things about living in Southern New England is there are four distinct seasons.  Summers usually lasts June to early September and we get everything in moderation.  There is some severe weather, some tropical threats, some heat and some humidity. We can also get 80 with a dew point of 55 which is perfect.  Fall is the best.  Temperatures in the 50-60s, football, Thanksgiving, the foliage, football and the occasional nor'easter.  Winter is winter.  We are known for it and we embrace it.  I like all of these seasons.  I don't really like spring.  It is transitional from the depths of winter straight into summer.  We can get rain for 10 days straight and not see the sun for weeks.  April gets a bad rap but May is the brutal month in my opinion.  Its so close to summer but can seem so far away.

Early May 2016 fits in nicely with some of its brutal counterparts.  The one that sticks out in my mind is 2006.  The SWCL East was brutally competitive in baseball that season with 5 teams battling for the crown.  We (Northbridge) went on a hot streak in early May before the rains brought the season to crashing halt.  We were suppose to play Millbury but the game was postponed 4 times.  We finally made the game up on Memorial Day weekend and by that time the outright league title was on the line.  Thanks to Dave Wallen's 400 ft (guesstimate) blast to RF in the 1st inning we cruised to a 11-4 win and the crown.  We were able to win because of pitching.  The last two weeks of the season we played something like 8 games in 11 days.
NOAA ESRL Physical Science Division May 2006 precipitation anomaly vs 1981-2010 avg
I pulled the reanalysis from May 16, 2006 at 8 AM and its not surprising what I found.
May 16, 2006 NOAA NWS NCEP reanalysis 8 AM
Notice the top right panel.  This is the 500 mb heights (about 18000 up in atmosphere).  I love using 500 mb to pick out flow, shortwaves etc.  Well you see areas of low pressure on each coast and a ridge of high pressure in the center of the country.  Look at the 500 mb forecast for Friday at 2 PM.  Same general omega shape
18z GFS 500 mb vort 72 hour valid Friday 2 PM (image NCEP)
 I don't foresee May 2006 because that ridge was a bit further west and so was the trough.  That enabled the eastern trough to really tap Gulf of Mexico moisture and stream it up the coast.  Springtime can become "blocky" in the atmosphere so system tend to prolong themselves.  Last May we were caught in drought conditions!  It was warm and dry so spring does not always suck like this.  I feel for athletic directors and pitching coaches who have to figure out fields and rotations given all these cancellations.  I had a lot of the good junior pitchers on the BVT staff as freshman so I didn't worry about rain outs because I had 4 arms I could go to.  It gets a lot more tricky at the varsity level.  Plus game have to finish before Memorial Day to be counted for district playoffs.

As for tomorrow the AM looks alright.  Here is the simulated radar as of 9 AM
20z 24 hr HRRRX  ERSL Simulated radar valid 9 AM Friday (image Weatherbell)
Plenty of moisture available and it will find its way into Southeastern New England tomorrow afternoon.  Here is the 3 PM radar
18z NAM hires simulated radar 3 PM Wed (image Weatherbell)
As of now I think games can be played Thursday but not tomorrow unless its lacrosse on turf.  There will still be showers on Thursday but at the moment it looks a lot better than Friday.  These spring upper lows can be a headache to forecast because I know there is going to be steady rain somewhere but sometimes it ends up 50 miles from where I think a few days out.  That upper air pattern isn't favorable so my advice is try and play Thursday because you probably cannot go tomorrow or Friday.  Doubleheaders anyone?  To top it off temperatures are in the 50s
Northeast NWS forecast high temperatures Wednesday (image Weatherbell)
Are you a coach, athletic director or connected to high school sports and want more information?  Reach out to me on twitter @zgreenwx or find me on facebook or email me zgreenwx@gmail.com

-Zack Green

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