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Friday, May 30, 2008

Not Much to say...

..but watching radar for the end of May.
The Storm Prediction Center has a slight risk of severe storms for us Saturday Afternoon. A brief surge of warm, humid air with clash with an approaching short wave and cold front. There is a lee trough ahead of the front. It was responsible for our winds turning SE Friday afternoon- and will help feed the instability. Combine a decent low level jet and timing early to mid afternoon and may tap into the prime heat of the day. This is a little faster than my earlier forecast, but still on target for clearing on Sunday.

We have one more shot at the record for wettest May in Baltimore. You can watch the radar on my TV Weather Graphics Page or Storm Page tabs (on main web site.
Recent Highlights

  • The holiday weekend brought only the second completely dry weekend in nearly 3 months.
  • Thursday morning's low temperature of 45F was 4 degrees away from the record for the date.
  • Only 5 Days (up through Friday) reaching 80F this month.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Permafrost: Earth vs. Mars

Sure it's chilly around here- as we once again had a night in the 40s- roughly 10 degrees below normal. We could be close to a record low- set 11 years ago. It was 41F at BWI in 1997. We will turn the corner today, and warm up back into the 80s for the weekend.
But if you want to talk real chill- Here is an interesting comparison I saw on Envirocast.

This pair of images shows the similarities between the surface of Mars where Phoenix landed (top) and permafrost on northeastern Spitsbergen, Svalbard (bottom) (Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of mainland Europe, about midway between Norway and the North Pole.). The polygon patterns form in permafrost when the upper parts of the ground thaw and refreeze from season to season. The ground contracts in the winter cold, creating small spaces that fill with melt water in the summer. When winter returns and the water freezes, it acts like a wedge, enlarging the cracks. (Although the Earth photo shows a large amount of surface water, the process could presumably occur beneath the surface with far less water.)

Soooo..... is there water on Mars. That is the purpose for the mission. It's all about the weather- wherever it is. That is why I have included the Mars weather report here and on the sidebar at the right. Day 1 shows a low of -112F and a High of -22F Brrrrrrrrrr

For more go to the Phoenix Mars Mission Page.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cold Air Continues.

So it felt like summer for a chance. After reaching 83F yesterday, showers and a thunderstorm with the passing cold front brought on the return of the chill. We have only had 4 days this month with temperatures in the 80s. This morning- widespread Frost and Freeze Warnings were in effect. Forget spring- what happened to Global Warming Al? Sorry I could not resist.
It's this type of cold air that is partially responsible for the severe weather outbreaks this month. Delay the late winter chill and add in typical May heat and humidity- and yes tornadoes will result at the borders of these air masses. I suspect another round of severe weather will erupt Friday and into this weekend as the heat and another synoptic storm develops.
In the meantime: Will will remain below normal on the thermometer through Friday, along with a lot of sun. It's all about the source of this air, and it's coming straight from the Canadian Prairies. Here is the latest NOAA image of snow and ice.
The extent of the winter snow pack polar ice is holding is ground around Hudson Bay. Notice the snow extent in the Rockies of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah as well.

Our Turn for Storms. Slight Chance of Severe Weather

While trying to adjust to the night shift (for the next 2 weeks), some of these posts might be slim. Here is the morning surface map, showing the cold front to our north west. It's a race between that large High Pressure in Western Canada and the wave of Low Pressure in northern Texas. The passing front will time out with this afternoon heating to bring the slight risk of severe storms around I-95 and south. That means wind gusts over 58mph, hail, frequent lightning- and perhaps a tornado. Since this front was in a much weakened form yesterday- our only chance for severe weather will be a surface wind from the southeast to help destabilize things. Please check out my Storm Page- and my updated TV Graphics Page (on full website above) for more up to date info.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Look... at the beach!

Here is Ocean City looking south from 14th Street. More Below.
Here is a Live view from our Beach Cam in Rehobeth, DE. This will give you a good idea of what to expect along the Delmarva coastline. Dry Weather! If you get wet, it won't be good. Water temperatures are running between 52F and 55F. Mighty chilly.
With this in mind, it will have an influence on the air temperatures. Even with sunshine, it will be tough to break 70F. Add in typical wind at the beach, and just suck it up. It will look much better than it might feel. Memorial Weekend a week early will feel every bit of it.
My weekend forecast is below. If you want more, you can check out my old Beach Page. The water temperature map is at the bottom. It shows the influence of our cold North Atlantic Block from may dragging down the Labrador Current. The Gulf Stream warm water gets pushed out to see from North Carolina. The difference is about 20 degrees. Again the camera at Ocean City might not be active, but the other data should be. Enjoy!- I'll be on the night shift for the next two weeks, so my posts may be a little later in the day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rainbow! A little science. A little change in fortune.

Thanks to Jim Schuyler, here are some great pics of a rainbow that developed yesterday at Towson University. This is the result of the proper conditions that are more likely late in the day. A shower passing east still dropping rain, but sun, low in the sky to the west. The sunlight breaks up in the falling drops like millions of prisms. The lower the sun angle- the better the chance of a second rainbow forming. One thing you will always see:
The colors are always in order with the red on the outside and the violet on the inside. This has to do with the wavelength of light with these colors. Remember ROY G BIV. The way we were taught Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Well let's think outside the rainbow for a moment....
Infared is the wavelength just beyond the red. It is the part of sunlight (just outside of the visible range) that is responsible for heat. That is why heat lamps at cafeterias, or rest stop food joints are often red. It is also why you feel warm when the sun shines on you. This wavelength is somewhat long and doesn't penetrate the skin, but just at the surface results in molecules speeding up and producing heat.
Ultraviolet is just beyond the violet. Also something we can't see, UV is responsible for tanning and burning of our skin. It has a smaller wavelength that can penetrate the skin and cause our bodies to react with melanin... etc, etc, etc.
So all of the colors have their place, and since red has a longer wavelength, it does not refract or bend much. Violet has a much shorter wavelength, so it bends the most and ends up on the inside of the arch with the sharpest curve. The result: Red will always be on top, with Violet on the bottom.... for a primary rainbow.
Not all rainbows are the same...Jim was able to capture this rare double rainbow. The conditions have to be nearly perfect for this. While we can often see a rainbow based on sun angle usually after 4pm or so, a double rainbow usually occurs within the last hour of sunlight. A shorter window of opportunity. You also need to have a wide open view that is not blocked by trees, hills, or buildings.
The secondary rainbow is much fainter- almost hard to see, but will act like a reflection of the first. So the colors will be in reverse order- with red on the inside and violet on the outside. Now I am tempted to go get a box of lucky charms. If I could only find $2.50 gas at then end of these I would be happy.
Well we have the weather to bring us happiness now. One last disturbance will bring us clouds and some showers on the north side today- but then we turn the corner. The pattern will flip for the nation. Cooler weather out west, while we get a ridge of High Pressure to build back in. more sun and an eventual shift to a southerly wind still promises a sunny, dry weekend. Here are the Sunday maps from the GFS. The surface maps show High Pressure overhead, which means sinking air. That translates to sunshine, and light wind- which will shift to the southwest by Monday. The color map shows the 850mb temperatures. The yellow/orange shows temperatures at 5,000Ft around 15C. That will translate to surface temperatures back into the upper 70s. I see us back to the low 80s by Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's The Bigger Story?

Note: BWI had .67" of rain yesterday. We are 1.19" away from the record for wettest May.

Yesterday's high temperature in Phoenix was 108F, setting a record. Baltimore's official high was 57F. That was not a record, but farther away from normal. Looking at the map, I've highlighted that Phoenix was 12 degrees above normal, but Baltimore was 18 degrees below normal. Considering today's media climate, the record high gets the headlines. I think our cool temperatures deserve it.

What do you think?

Oh, there were damaging storms from Atlanta to Charlotte, but it is severe weather season after all- that's par for the course.
a total of 329 severe weather reports yesterday. Most wind and hail, but there were 4 tornadoes.

Today will be a little more tame, but a chilly north west wind gusting to 25 mph, and the lingering chance of showers may not seem that much better.

As we approach Memorial Day, the patter looks like it's about to change. The transition to from trough to ridge is already underway- but it will be a slow process. As Canadian High Pressure builds in with that shower threat today- and perhaps tomorrow just to our north- it will get better. All it will take is a little sun to get us back to near normal. That normal is 75F. When you consider the average of cool wet days like yesterday, and pre-summer heat like the 80s and 90s like last year at this time... well 75F is where we end up. Getting a day of full sun, should actually boost us above normal, and that is what I expect this weekend.
Here is the GFS map for Sunday morning. Dry weather will return this weekend, but Sunday's shift is the wind from a northerly to west or southerly flow will be our turn of the corner. That should get us back to the low 80s, and by a chilly pool on Memorial Monday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Record Snow in Binghamton, NY. Rain record getting close for Baltimore.

Reminder: My new Enhanced Radar and watch/warnings map on Storm Page tab above (full website)
Yesterday's instability showers were due to a combination of cold air aloft, an atmospheric trough, and winds off of the Great Lakes. Much like late winter, in May. We had some showers pop up in the morning locally, as weather watcher Ralph in Westminster reported grouple (partially melted snowflakes). My old stomping grounds of Binghamton, NY (WBNG-TV '95-'97) had a trace of snow- which tied a record from 2002. It's only a 4 hour drive north on I-81, but it is unique. Checking their record books, they have reported snow quite often in May, and their latest snow date on record: July 14, 1954. But I digress. It's another story for another time.

Today: Rain moved in right on schedule around 5am. It has been moderate and dropping around 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch in the first 2 hours. The model guidance is about 1/2 of an inch- but that can vary quite a bit depending on where individual cells develop and pass. This is important for BWI which is 1.86" away from the record for May. A dent, but not the record today.The north wind will likely hold many spots down 15 degrees below normal. So while I went 61F for BWI, it could stay in the 50s north of the beltway.
An improvement is on the way, just in time for the holiday weekend. Anything different at this point would be an improvement, but I see four days or more without rain along with temperatures near or above normal. That means sun and close to 80F might actually make if possible to go to the pool. Tomorrow I will give my Holiday weekend forecast.

It's Getting Old. More Rain, More Cold!

Sorry I did not post this weekend, the radar maps are fixed and I am back on track this Monday morning- with a fresh box of Kleenex. Just wait, while the trees and flowers are working already, one of these days it will warm up and fully kick into overdrive. But thankfully (while the allergies are bad enough) it is cool. For the month, we are below normal, and it looks like all of this week will stay there. In fact we will be averaging 10F-15F below normal for a few days, and winds will be gusting up to 30mph helping to spread that pollen around.

I did notice something interesting in the almanac...

Today's record low of 39F was set just 5 years ago- 2003. No big whoop, right? Take a look at the almanac yourself, you'll see that 10 record lows for May were set since 1996. Considering that the records go back to 1880, that is a statistical anomaly. Does this argue against Global Warming? Well, it's tough to use just Baltimore stats for that (although I often do). No, I would lean more along the lines of the shift in patterns. How often have you heard that we jump right from winter to summer? The reason is something I described a few weeks ago.

The blocking pattern in the North Atlantic (-NAO) is something we would look for in the winter to bring us snow, but have we had much snow- No!. It's a pattern that routinely develops in the spring- or this year in mid March as seen in the graph at the right.. The result is holding our temperatures down- seemingly delaying the warm up we would expect. As soon as the pattern relaxes, getting back to normal or slightly above will feel like a burst of heat. That is likely to be our June story. But for now- here is our upper level pattern. I've highlighted the jet stream in yellow. The upper level trough in the east is in part due to the Icelandic Low (upper right). It's a semi permanent position that can linger for months. So our weather can change daily from storm to storm, the track or path persists. While this pattern continues to keep the storm track over the mid Atlantic, it is also allowing the west to bake under a ridge (High Pressure). The haves and have nots- all balance out the extremes. While we will stay 10-15F below normal, Arizona will be 10-15F above normal That means places like Phoenix expect a high of 106F-108F. Not, that's not a record. That is 113F set back in 1984.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away. April's Numbers in 'Twisted'

After a busy morning, I have run out of time to post. Remember you can track along on my Storm Page or TV Weather Graphics links above (on the full site). I will try to get back and post later. There is a cold front that could bring us showers Saturday night into Sunday- and yet another storm next week.
The official April Climate data is in as well. Who do you want to listen to, and what do you want to believe?

  • From the National Climatic Data Center- For the contiguous United States, the average temperature for April was 51.0°F (10.6°C), which was 1.0°F (0.6°C) below the 20th century mean and ranked as the 29th coolest April on record, based on preliminary data.
  • NOAA had this Headline: NOAA: U.S. Has Cool April, Global Temperature Ranked 13th Warmest on Record
  • This is from Quark Soup- a blog my wife found: NASA GISS is out with their NASA GISS April '08 global land+ocean temperatures were +0.41°C above the long-term average. It has something for everyone: on the one hand, it's the coldest April in seven years. On the other hand, it's the 11th warmest April in GISS's recorded history (1990-2008).
I am glad I am not the only one not brainwashed by their skew. By the way, how long have we been tracking sea surface temperatures? I love that when it's cool- it's preliminary numbers. when it's about the heat- stop the press. I wonder what the carbon footprint is for using bold face font?
Just keep in mind, here in Baltimore we are running below normal in temperatures this month- including Monday's 50F high which was the coolest afternoon on record for the date. Including today's rain- we have about 2 inches left for the all time wettest May. We have a shot with 15 more days and a few more storms in the pipeline. I'll get into that this weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's Time To Complain- We're Going To Have More Rain

We already had 3 individual record rainfall days in the past week. Here is an updated map of the rainfall from the past two storms. I do not like to sensationalize the weather. Sure I love a good snow, almost look for it all winter... but I know the harm that is done when it is hyped too much. You as the public get frustrated and angry when the weather does not reach your expectations. That has been my philosophy with the Climate Debate, my forecasting on TV, and this blog. But here we go with more rain on the way.

This active storm track continues to reinforce itself. Call it atmospheric memory. We get locked into a pattern, and that is what we are in now. A pattern thanks to outside forces such as La Nina and the North Atlantic Oscillation (explained in previous posts). That is one of the reasons that Mother's Day forecast worked out as I tracked it from 6 days out. So here again is the Canadian Model outlook for Friday morning. I do suspect that this is a little fast, and the heavy rain will be in the afternoon. The gist is the Low and the position. Again just to our south in Virginia. That keeps us on the colder northern fringe, and more severe weather possible from VA Beach into the Carolinas.
For us- it's the potential for over 1 inch of rain that will build on the already swollen streams and saturated soil. Tomorrow I will post the record rain to see if we will be close, but it will make a dent in the monthly total. We have a good shot at that all time wettest May with half of the month and less than 3 inches to go. Another storm on this track is possible by Tuesday or Wednesday. If it's going to do it- we might as well have something to show for it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taking a break, just today.

All of the fun weather has shifted west. Denver area snow and Flaggstaff, AZ picking up 5 inches of snow yesterday, San Fransisco and the west coast will have off shore winds helping them climb into the 90s. Considering the heavy posting over the past few days, I need this easy weather day to catch up on some other stuff. You can see my forecast on the TV Graphics Page (tab above). We will have a return of showers tomorrow and more rain still scheduled for Friday- perhaps even a shower at Preakness. So I will be back with more tomorrow.
There are Two things I did want to mention:

  1. China's Earthquake: I have often said that I am a numbers guy. This is just a little freaky. While the official earthquake was 7.9 on Monday... the number 8 has true significance. The Olympics are to be held on August 8, 2008. Or 8/8/08 opening at 8:08pm local time. This earthquake was 88 days before the date. More on China's obsession


The word for "eight" in Chinese (Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means "prosper" or "wealth" ( - short for "发财", Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for "eight" and "fortune" are also similar, eg Cantonese "baat" and "faat".

There is also a resemblance between two digits, "88", and the shuang xi ('double joy'), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (xi, 'joy', 'happiness').

The telephone number 8888-8888 was sold for USD$270,723 in Chengdu, China.

2. Another Tropical Cyclone for Myanmar? The UN Weather Center is saying that is is likely. This is out of my rehlm, but here is the Satellite whic could prove at least more rain in that ravaged nation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Record For Records. It's All In The Pattern

Yesterday's expectation proved true. Flooding rain and the bulls eye southern in AA County. Here is the NWS snapshot of rainfall just up through 8AM Monday- over 5 inches south of Annapolis. We hit the record for rainfall at 2.20". In fact, we hit the record 3 out of the last 4 days (Friday, Sunday and Monday). Another 2.63"and we will have the wettest May on record. More on that below. But as for the records, I did a little snooping, and discovered that there are quite a few times when two days in the same month and year hold the record rainfall. It reinforces the fact that extreme weather patterns can build on themselves. So potent storms can pair up and hold the test of time in the record books. While some records may have been eclipsed by later dates, here is a sample of the 'multiple' rainfall records currently on the books:
1939 29th and 30th
1998 15th and 23rd

1890 8th and 14th
1924 5th and 10th
1939 3rd and 28th
1998 4th and 23rd
2003 16th and 22nd
Wettest Jan and Feb in 1979
1910 17th and 24th
1924 6th and 18th

1909 21st and 27th
1921 4th and12th (broken 2008)
1976 1st and 29th
2008 9th, 11th, and 12th

As you can see, it's quite common and goes back over 100 years. Which is why I stopped at May, it would take a while... What is unique is the cluster and more so the 3 days in the same month/year we just had. It's all part of a pattern that is now taking the storm track over Maryland. I expect more in the next week or so. Here is why:

First the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). It is a blocking pattern that allows cold air to shift south from Canada into the Mid Atlantic and shift the storm track... In the winter it is promising for snow, but in the spring- just delayed a few months- it brings us frequent rain events, but shifts the severe weather threat from the central plains to the south east USA. When the index is negative, we have a block and the cool stormy pattern. here you can see that we made that shift in mid March- and have been there ever since. That was what I expected to give us a last snow, which did not happen. But my outlook was not entirely wrong. The red line at the end of the chart is the spaghetti plot or multiple model outlook for the end of May trending back to neutral or Zero. That follows a notion I mentioned recently... we can jump right into summer.
Before that happens, we have to consider what is left in this pattern. Here is the 500mb jet stream showing our current ridge, with clearing skies. The trough out west is the stormy pattern, along with a nearly closed Low moving through the desert southwest. This a cold pocket of unsettled air responsible for more snow in Arizona and Colorado today. The slant (up and right) indicates a progressive pattern, which means it is moving eastbound- but that block in the north Atlantic provides an atmospheric northerly flow, preventing that storm from passing to our west. Instead, it gets suppressed and travels almost due east. It should reach us by Thursday night and Friday. While not as impressive as the last storm, it should in it's own right bring a chilly wet Friday to us. Too early to say how much rain we could get, but any more at this point is too much. A guarantee though that more severe weather will develop in it's path in some of the same areas that were hit last weekend.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Expected and the Unexpected

Remember the Storm Page- Find the Tab or link to Full Web Site Above.
Mother's Day Forecast- Verified!

If this pattern was a few months ago- we would be digging out of historic snow. That's just a matter of timing. Sure the forecast was almost exact for 6 days leading up to Mother's Day- go back and check each post and you will see how the Canadian Model called this precipitation to move in. The rain began between 4pm and 6pm- and in just the last few hours of Sunday dumped a record 1.49" at BWI. That brings us to 2.66" for the month and all now surplus for the year. THE DROUGHT IS OVER! (As of 5am we had another 1.04" of rain)

That wind was something too: We average gusts over 40mph, but Ocean City wins with a gust to 66mph. Most of us had gusts between 35-50mph overnight. That is one mighty impressive Low (992mb), that had BWI's barometer down to 29.52" earlier today. Here is a live link to the Water Vapor Loop of the last 24hours. You can see the impressive circulation of what I see as a late winter like storm. Consider the snow drought and mild temperatures mid winter while much of the nation had record snow- that was the result of an active jet stream passing to our west and north. It is still quite active, and shifting east. In fact the whole jet stream is a bit south for May. Just a delay in the spring transition. In combination with May solar heating- the result has been deadly. Another round of tornadoes this weekend killed 22 (at last count). While it's been the most active tornado season in 50 years, again I see it as a rare jet stream, but the result of a moderate La Nina holding in the Pacific. Other's have been speculating- without surprise- that it something else... say Global Warming. I heard just that on ABC this weekend from an interview with two women called the Twister Sisters. I did a little background on these two, and you can find them at They have run a tornado chasing tour group. Are they just promoting their business? Somehow a cute name gets them a national interview, but they have little background if meteorology... They cited research guessing that Global Warming would allow more Gulf Of Mexico moisture to flow farther north and result in more tornadoes. That doesn't account for the low tornado years of 1999 and 2003. Jim Reed- photographer, was on GMA this morning also talking about trends. He has been tracking tornadoes for over 20 years. He believes there has been in increase in storm size and people getting caught out. That does lead credence to the mobility and spread of our population into places that were uncharted or sparse farmland just a decade ago...
Below are links to USA tornadoes since 1916. This brings up the debate of whether tornadoes have really increased dramatically or has our ability to track and confirm them improved. You'll notice the number of fatalities have dropped dramatically as well. Since 1995 with the completion of the current WSR-88D network, warning time has gone up from 5 to 20 minutes. But consider what else has changed.

  • Personal Video Cameras
  • Cell Phones (With Cameras)
  • Internet Use and transfer of images
  • Suburban sprawl... people live in more places that would go unnoticed in the past.
Tornado Reports
Tornado Fatalities

So what do you think? Please see the poll at the right and click your choice:

This is the pattern that should have evolved at the end of the winter. It seems rather common of many past springs, the pattern turns cool and damp too late. This is a demonstration of why so many in Maryland say we go right from winter into summer. The spring runs below normal in April and May, and as the jet lifts to our north by June- it brings prime heat with it, right on schedule.
Today, much like Friday- the redevelopment off of the coast wraps in some very cold northerly winds- keeping us in the low 50s or 20 degrees below normal. I would not be surprised if it stays in the upper 40s north of the beltway.
Look at this radar image saved from 6:34 this morning. Yup, that's snow in Altoona, PA (by the clock). I have to give credit to Tony Pann for calling this on Friday. He called me and pointed out the 850mb temps and 540 thickness forecast on the GFS model. I thought it was overdoing it. Wow! Of course it's not our forecast area, but impressive to have snow even in the higher terrain this time of year. A sign of the cold air generated bu this storm and reinforcing my forecast for this afternoon staying in the 40s in most spots.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More Rain!

I just told my wife, "You not going to be happy for a few days". Oh, she's got a pretty good disposition, and it's Mother's Day Weekend. But she does miss the sun something fierce. There really is no way to sugar coat this. This morning's short wave and rain was a little surprise, one that could have bigger implications. The pattern may be a little faster than the models are crediting. That short wave should have passed this afternoon- the reason I added a chance of showers for this afternoon. The good thing is that it passed earlier, and we may still get some sun.
Here is the Canadian Model that I have been following all week. It has been fairly consistent with rain returning Sunday evening. The speed of this morning's system may indicate a faster arrival of Sunday's rain, which until now I had slotted for 'late' or 'by evening'. I know that is a little vague, but now I may have to start hinting to the time between noon and 4pm. That storm looks like a a cold one spinning off of the coast on Monday- a day we may stay in the 50s or cooler with a brisk north wind.
Well, I made a promise that I would not spend much time on the computer this weekend, and I off to do some shopping with the boy- so I'll be back Monday. Enjoy this afternoon, while you can!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Severe Weather Blows Through

How about that thunder between midnight and 1am. Here is a snapshot of the regional radar. Here were the remains of the severe weather in Virginia that may have produced a tornado. The official report will come out today. For us it was a split around Baltimore. Westminster had .45" of rain, while Annapolis had 2.69" as of 6am. Baltimore came in with around 1 inch- BWI had 1.47" bringing us very close back to normal for the year.
More is on the way, but the severe weather threat should stay just south of us this morning. For the map of Warnings and Enhanced Radar- please click on the Storm Page Tab- in Full Web Site above.

Most of the storm reports have come in close to midnight:
Stafford, Va (not posted yet)- potential tornado
Near Richmond, VA- Hail Near 1"
Greensboro, NC- Hail up to 1.75", tornado Reports.

Up to 21 tornado reports yesterday in the nation. May is typically the most active tornado month.
Check out the great video from ABC this morning.
Storm Chaser Jim Reed may have experience, but this is pushing the limit. His account was on Good Morning America this morning. Another surveillance camera in Huntsville, AL caught cars getting tossed with ease in a matter of seconds.

Today is going to be a tough one to broad brush. North of Baltimore temperatures have dipped into the low 50s, and may stay there. While mid 60s will linger south of the city and eastern shore- with heavy rain this morning.

Mother's Day
I am in a time crunch today- but the Canadian model is still on target with evening rain for Sunday- a consistent call since Tuesday morning. I will write more on that tomorrow, as the storm may turn us quite chilly on Monday.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rain Today- More on the Way

We are in a wet pattern, and looking down the road. The Storm Prediction Center has placed a slight risk for SE Virginia (same spot as last week's tornado). We could have some thunder if temps I see this storm reaching it's full force with us Friday. Another storm arrives Mother's Day afternoon into Monday. A third storm will follow by Wednesday or Thursday. This may be good to knock down the pollen, and feed the grass seed. However, coming out of a drought- we could start to talk about potential flooding. If you click on tab Storm Page (on my main web site above)- I have posted a Warning Map, Radar (with a brighter color table), and Lightning Tracker. Many other maps and graphics can be found in the tabs as well.


This is the third day in a row watching the Canadian Model with our next shot of rain on Sunday afternoon. This map shows the evening outlook for rainfall. This is not a snapshot, but a build up of the previous 12 hours. So the rain will likely develop during the mid afternoon hours. I am still holding out for dry 'brunch' time, but not the best of Mother's Days. Perhaps you can honor the moms on Saturday instead. At least that day looks dry.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

1 Volcano , Hurricane Prep, Weather Channel Sex Storm

Chaiten Volcano Erupts

After more than 9,000 years of silence, Chaitén Volcano in southern Chile erupted on May 2, 2008. The plume of ash and steam rose 10.7 to 16.8 kilometers (35,000 to 55,000 feet) into the atmosphere, reported the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program. According to news reports issued by the AFP news service, ash blanketed the town of Chaitén, 10 kilometers away, forcing the town’s 4,000 people to evacuate by boat.
On May 3, ash and steam continued to billow from the volcano. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this photo-like image of a long, cloud-like plume flowing southeast from the volcano’s summit on May 3 at 10:35 a.m. local time (14:35 UTC). The plume rises high over the Andes Mountains, drifts across Argentina, and dissipates over the Atlantic Ocean. Ash closed schools, roads, and an airport in Argentina, hundreds of kilometers away from the volcano, said AFP.

Hurricane Preparation
While the death toll of the Tropical Cyclone in Myanmar continues to develop, Baltimore County held a mock hurricane drill yesterday. They staged a Category 4 event to prepare for evacuation, shelters, emergency management, etc. While I applaud the effort, I have to ask who came up with Category 4? Maryland has had only one direct hit from a hurricane in over 100 years, and it was a category 1.

Mother's Day Outlook

Here is another look at the Canadian model which for the second day in a row is showing an approaching storm on Sunday. While there are a few more days to sort out the details, it looks like a return to an active pattern for us. So plan for rain on Mother's Day- at least moving in the afternoon. Right now I would hedge my bets on brunch- but any morning sun will quickly fade as this storm approaches.

Sex Storm at The Weather Channel
A woman I briefly knew at Cornell is in the middle of a battle with The Weather Channel. The Smkoing Gun has more...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mother's Day Dilema & Deadly Cyclone Nargis

Mother's Day Dilemma
Here is the Canadian model for Sunday. While yesterday looked dry, I mentioned on TV the chance of things changing since it was so far away. Now we look at a developing system approaching from the west and south, and may time out with a dry morning. The chance of rain will go up in the afternoon and evening- according to this model. There has been on overall shift towards a wet Mother's Day, but this is plenty of time to sort this out. Perhaps I just keep the chance of rain in, and if it turns out dry- we are all pleasantly surprised. Check back and I will follow this model all week.

Tropical Cyclone Nargis

First- Tropical Cyclones and Hurricanes are the same thing- just a different name in Cyclone Nargis has made headlines for the past few days, but information has been trickling out of the tight military controlled country. Estimates of 10,000 dead in just one town with hundreds of thousands homeless and without food and water.
While it may seem early in the year for a tropical system, June 1st is the beginning for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Here in the Indian Ocean, Tropical Cyclones can occur in just about any month of the year. Below is a chart of the probability of Tropical Cyclones in this region throughout the year. You'll notice the year 'round activity, but a peak in May as the high sun angle acts on the warm water. Another peak in October and November as the sun angle slides south.
Here is a general idea of the location, and you'll notice that it is in the same area that was affected by the tsunami in 2004.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Backdoor Front- Surprise clouds?

I was going to take the day off from blogging and try to replay the laughter of my son at Dutch Wonderland yesterday. He had such a good time that I almost forgot that I blew the forecast expecting the front to hang on with rain. You parents understand the feeling of watching your child's pure joy experiencing something for the first time. Ahhhh, I used to feel like that about the weather- and then another blooper this morning.
Well this morning started clear and all of the models looked that way, but a wind shift to the NE was from a back door front that was producing a marine layer. The moist flow from the Atlantic had a cluster of clouds associated with it that was hugging close to the surface. They were missed on the overnight infared images, so at sunrise it became clear- that it would not stay clear.
This is the 8:30am image, showing the cloud deck that was moving in... Ocean City went from a clear sunrise to a thick fog deck within 1 hour. Below are two images showing a clear sunrise, and then the fog deck that rolled in. I had to wait until 8:36am to capture an identifiable image, since the fog was too thick. It's this marine layer and shift in the winds that also brought us some clouds this morning... but not nearly as bad as the coast.