Sunday, December 30, 2012

12/30 - 8pm - Anyone Up for a Third Round of Wintry Weather?

With two winter weather events within a week's time in the books for Kentuckiana, it's apparently time for a third! Unfortunately the timing for this one is pretty bad. Just as folks are going home from New Year's parties in the early hours of Tuesday morning we could have snow, sleet, or even freezing rain falling in the region. The good news here is that regardless of what falls from the sky, there won't be much of it. Precipitation amounts will remain light since heavy rain and storms in the South will be stealing our moisture here up north in Kentucky and Indiana during the time of the event. As far as timing goes, a few snow showers will move through tomorrow afternoon as this system begins to move toward us. Going into the evening is when things get tricky.

As a weak area of low pressure continues to approach we'll see some warming aloft out ahead of it. This warming has the potential to turn our falling snow into sleet or even freezing rain. The GFS is leading the charge at the moment on the potential for freezing rain in Louisville as it has a layer above freezing from 4,000 to 7,000 feet at 4am on Tuesday morning that would support freezing rain. The NAM model keeps us all snow with the entire atmosphere being below freezing. Given that the models have overestimated temperatures aloft with the past two snowstorms we've seen lately, I'm inclined to think that Louisville will stay mostly or all snow. Another thing to focus on will be surface temperatures. Should they be just below freezing this snow, sleet, or freezing rain will stick to the roads and make for tricky travel on late Monday night. If they're just above freezing then only expect to see accumulation on the grass and elevated surfaces. We do have a bit of snowcover in Louisville now, so that might lean us more in the direction of below freezing instead of above for this event overnight Monday into Tuesday. We're going to be awfully close to freezing for much of the night regardless. Areas north of the city will likely stay all snow and below freezing while those areas to the south will see a wintry mix and temperatures just above freezing until the early morning hours. National Weather Service offices across the Plains have issued Winter Weather Advisories due to this system, in purple on the image to the left, but uncertainty about precipitation type and amounts in the Ohio Valley has NWS Louisville waiting for more agreement before they issue any advisories.

Like I said before, accumulations are going to be light for this event. The NAM (right) has up to an inch of snow in many areas and the GFS model has been a little more optimistic at times today with 1-3" across the area. Like the last two snow events, I'm thinking that the amount of precipitation being put out on the models will adjust upward a bit as we get closer to time (tonight and tomorrow morning). Given the trends I'm seeing right now I think we'll see 1-2" of snow in portions of Louisville and points northward with up to an inch of snow and mixed precipitation to the south. Once again... grumble grumble grumble... Louisville is right on the line between feast and famine with the snow. Southern Indiana has been the big winner with snow over the past week while folks south of the Ohio River are raising their hands in favor of more. That is, if you're a snow lover of course. So, we'll be looking to see over the next few hours how the models handle the amount of precipitation forecast, and temperatures both aloft and at the surface. Shifts in these could mean some significant changes to the forecast for many areas!

Friday, December 28, 2012

12/28 - 1:30am EST - Kentuckiana Winter Storm Number 2

Wednesday's winter storm didn't give much snow to folks in the Louisville area and instead confined heavy snow to areas of Southern Indiana. While differences in the models did exist over whether Louisville would get any accumulating snow or not, the overall situation was handled pretty well from a forecast standpoint. The highest snow report in NWS Louisville's coverage area was 7.2 inches in Washington County, IN while Louisville received a trace to a half inch.

The next storm on the heels of the last one is less than 24 hours away as a system arrives from the southwest and stays to our southeast as it moves through the region. This will start as some rain for the Louisville area but as colder air filters in we'll switch over to snow during the later evening hours. This exact time for switchover depends on how warm we get during the day tomorrow (lower 40's versus upper 30's makes a difference!) and how fast the cold air comes in. The 0z NAM that came in earlier tonight has about 3" for the city and after comparing this with other models I'm thinking this may be a number we'll see most commonly reported by Saturday morning in Louisville. Higher totals will be possible just a bit further north from Louisville.

But even as I say this there's a small fly in the ointment. The 3z RPM model is in and it has the possibility of 4-6" of snow just due east of the city and a few very small totals like this scattered throughout areas near the Ohio River. This suggests that totals closer to 4" might be more widespread than previously thought. You can click the RPM output on the left for a larger view. We've seen the trend of increasing snow totals today on the models and this run of the RPM just continues this. We'll need to watch for this trend tomorrow morning to see if other models catch on. Right now this isn't really a factor in my forecast since it's just one model. Below is my snow forecast map for the region. Realize that, like the last storm, a small shift in track or more/less cold air will change things for some folks drastically.

Also worth noting is that the Hyrdrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) has us in a Slight Risk of a 4" snowfall (think of this like the Slight, Moderate, and High severe weather risks) while areas closer to Cincinnati are in a Moderate Risk. Expect to see Winter Weather Advisories being issued tomorrow for portions of Kentuckiana. There may also be a few Winter Storm Watches issued as well depending on if forecast amounts of 4" or more look to be more widespread. You can keep up with the latest on this storm tomorrow by following me on Twitter and Facebook. Good luck, snow lovers!

Friday, December 21, 2012

12/21 - 2pm - I'm Dreaming of a White (Day After) Christmas

How about that snow last night around Kentuckiana? Most places saw a dusting but areas in Southern Indiana near Orange County picked up about 3 inches since a snow band set up there for a few hours during the overnight. Here at my house in Southeast Louisville we picked up a dusting of snow that blew around a bit in the wind. Temperatures today aren't going to make it out of the mid 30's in Louisville today thanks to the cold air behind the front that passed through yesterday. Seems appropriate given that it's the first day of winter!

Temperatures will moderate for the weekend with southerly flow returning but an area of low pressure moving through will bring rain and even warmer temperatures for Christmas Eve. Booooo! Luckily Christmas Day isn't looking like a washout with just a few clouds and highs in the lower 40's. That's a different story further South in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia where rain will be setting up.

Now... onto the fun part. Over the past couple of days the forecast models have been jumping onto the idea of an area of low pressure moving from the Gulf states to the western side of the Appalachian Mountains the day after Christmas. This is concerning because this track favors a snow event for Kentuckiana and even some of West Tennessee. You need to be on the north and west side of these low pressure systems if you want to see some snow since that's where the cold air is confined to. The past few systems we've been on the south and east sides of the lows moving though so that has meant thunderstorms and warm weather lately.

The latest 3 runs of the GFS for this particular post-Christmas storm have been fairly consistent with the low track, which is good! The problem has been that there's been trouble determining how much cold air there will be to work with and how strong/large the low moving through will be. These issues have affected how much snow the Louisville area gets. The graphic on the left is a comparison of the last 3 runs of the GFS for December 26th. For entertainment purposes only, the 0z run had just shy of 8" of snow for Louisville, the 6z had about 3", and the 12z had around 2.5". It is still way, way too far out for specific totals and to worry about the cold air issues yet since things will change likely on the models between now and then. I will say though that the 6 and 12z runs seemed to have difficulty keeping the low as a single, compact system once it matured and instead wanted to go with an elongated large low that tries to interact with another low that develops east of the Appalachians. I've seen this kind of thing happen on the GFS earlier this year with the Nor'easters that we had. Eventually, based on what happened with these Nor'easters, these elongated lows should give way to more concentrated, compact lows on the GFS as we get closer to the actual event. This should help to clear up some of the murkiness with the cold air issues too.

The Euro has been fairly consistent with the track of the low as the GFS has been, but has also experienced a few issues of its own like the GFS. Yesterday's 12z run of the Euro had a blockbuster snow event in the Louisville area while the 0z last night backed off on that prospect thanks to, you guessed it, a more elongated low and trouble with cold air. I can't post the precipitation output from the Euro model since it's behind a paywall and copyrighted, but I can at least show you what the 0z run did with the low after it moved through. Lots and lots of cold air will be behind this system if you couldn't tell by the deep blues and purples on the map!

UPDATE 2:20pm - Today's 12z Euro model run is in and it has a blockbuster storm track for snow for us here in Kentuckiana and West Tennessee. That is quite a strong low in East Tennessee on the left-hand map compared to previous runs. Sheesh.

The CMC and the JMA, which are the Canadian and Japanese models, aren't worth showing here right now. The CMC has the storm running off the east coast and the JMA has a nice low track for some snow in Louisville. It's worth noting that this system might disappear all together on the models or make a radical change. It's still too far out for much certainty.

Also, West Tennessee may see snow from this storm should it take the track that we're seeing. It wouldn't be much snow but certainly more than an inch or so isn't out of the realm of possibility, especially in Northwest Tennessee. Once we get closer to time this will become a bit more clear.

The NAO, which is the North Atlantic Oscillation, frankly isn't agreeing that there will be support for this storm. A negative NAO means blocking near Greenland allows for cold air to flow into the Eastern US and stay locked in place. The current forecast is for a positive NAO during this time, but it has been flipping between negative and positive over the past couple of days. This storm doesn't have to have a negative NAO to happen, but it would help to have it for cold air support and for a storm track that rolls up to the northeast. This will, like the aforementioned models, sort itself out over the next few days.


Finally, NWS Louisville has been on board with this storm since yesterday. They're being cautious like they should be but mentioning at length the potential for this at 5 days out is something that they don't do very often. Here's their latest statement:

A much more significant weather system will arrive on the 26th. Both the 00z GFS/ECM and ensembles track a strong low pressure system just to the west of the Appalachian spine which may set us up for our first significant snow. If the low pressure system takes its current forecast track, precipitation would enter the area Wed morning with the bulk of precip occurring Wed during the day and then exiting late Wed night or Thurs morning.

Although there is still much uncertainty in the track of this weather system 6 days out, the possibility is there for significant snow based on the low track and anticipated thermal profiles. BUFKIT GFS showed 8 inches at SDF with a little more than 0.5 inch of qpf. The soundings denote a classic heavy snow sounding with subzero and deep isothermal layer super saturated. The synoptic features of interest are a 110 kt jet max entering a the base of a deepening trough.

For now will have 60% pops on the 26th with rain in the morning and then snow in the afternoon and Wed night. Bing Crosby`s I`m dreaming of a White Christmas may happen, just 24 hours later.

Stay tuned for upcoming forecast updates as this weather system may put a kink in holiday travel plans.


This will be a fun system to watch over the weekend. Hopefully there's some snow in our future!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12/11 - 10:30pm - Be Careful When Wishing for Snow... You Might Get it!

With all the warmth much of the eastern portion of the nation has been experiencing lately some folks are beginning to get antsy over whether we'll be able to fall into a more winter-like pattern in time for the holidays. The cold front that rolled through earlier this week has helped to assuage some of those fears as it brought much cooler temperatures and even some light snow/sleet to parts of Kentucky and Indiana.

So... What's next? First up is a system that will move through the region this weekend as a warm one. A low will travel from the Plains to Lake Michigan and keep the eastern half of the nation warm as it spreads rain from the Great Lakes to the South. This makes sense because the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will be going neutral during this time, which generally means that cold air won't be able to spill down into the Eastern US from Canada. The Arctic Oscillation will be negative to support cold air coming out of the north, but that doesn't matter too much for us when the NAO isn't negative as well.

The system behind this weekend's is the one that is drawing some concern. A low will be moving across the South during the day on Tuesday and potentially spread some snow to areas that are north of it. At this point anywhere from West Tennessee to the Louisville area is in a potential corridor for snow. This all depends on the exact track of the low and how much cold air it will be able to bring down from the north. This scenario is supported by the NAO and AO both going negative during this time. The GFS model takes the storm along the southern border of Tennessee right to the Carolinas. The ECMWF (European) model starts out with the low a little further south along the Mississippi River but has it exit off the coast in about the same location as the GFS. The low would then become a storm that would ride up to the Northeast just off the coast. With the previous system pulling up toward the Chicago area, this low will likely stay suppressed to the south. So... the broad, general nature of this low's track isn't in too much question. My preliminary (read: subject to change!) thinking is that this will be a rain to light snow situation for portions of Tennessee and Kentucky since cold air would plunge in as the system is exiting to the east. Accumulations would be very light to none.

But here's an issue. The snow cover over the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest has expanded tremendously over the past week as a storm pummeled those areas with quite a bit of snow. We're now at 31.4% snow cover over the United States. Air moving from the north over that snow won't warm as quickly as it would over bare land and the computer models generally have a difficult time resolving that. With this snow cover, the air in place over us and the air coming down from the north may be a little cooler than the computer models think it will be at the moment. That could mean more snow from this system. We're still a week away from this event so while details are sketchy, it's now obvious that this is a system to watch. This likely won't be the only storm we'll have to contend with between now and the new year since a pattern is setting up that will allow cold air to sit close by to the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys while lows track through and just to the south of the region. There's hope for a white Christmas in the region but it will depend on whether we can get enough cold air and a storm to move through just before the 25th. It'll be fun to watch!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

12/2 - 4:15pm - A Needed Shot of Rain on the Way

A few brief showers scraped across northern portions of West Tennessee this morning as expected. The disturbance causing those morning showers has left behind some cloud cover across the region with peeks of sun here and there. More of the incredibly warm weather that we've seen for the past few days arrives tomorrow just in time for the Jackson Christmas Parade at 6:45pm. 75 still looks like a good bet for a high temperature during the afternoon as we start the workweek on Monday.

Much of the area is experiencing moderate drought conditions right now. Even though the growing season is pretty much over it is still important for rainfall to keep up so that we don't have an already-in-place drought come spring. The good news here is that we have a chance for a good soaking rain on Tuesday with over a half inch possible in most places. The front causing this rain will leave behind only slightly cooler temperatures in the 60's, which is still warmer than average for this time of year. The next round of rain on Friday and Saturday is the one to watch as it could bring much, much cooler weather to the area next weekend behind it.

Check out the video below from yesterday night's newscast on WBBJ for your full forecast!

Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26 - 2:15pm - Rainy Start to the Week, Severe to the Southwest

Had enough of the rain in Starkville this morning and afternoon? Just wait, there's more! An area of moist air ahead of a cold front that will move through tonight is inspiring the development of numerous showers and those will eventually lead to some thunderstorms late tonight. Some of the storms to our southwest could be severe but it's looking more and more like we won't have quite enough moisture and instability to get that kind of storm activity closer to the Golden Triangle. A Slight Risk of severe weather has been issued for areas west of I-55 due to the possibility for severe storms toward Jackson and Vicksburg. Once the cold front sweeps through tonight it'll leave us with cloudy skies for a good chunk of the day tomorrow before things clear out for Wednesday and Thursday.

The weekend will feature some clouds and possibly a shower here and there but overall we'll be seeing one warm end to the month of November as temperatures get close to and surge past 70 degrees! Check out the video below for your detailed CampusConnect forecast.

Monday, November 12, 2012

11/12 - 2pm - A Frigid Fall Return in Progress!

The clouds are clearing earlier than expected across Mississippi, which is good news for those looking for a more picturesque day outside. Unfortunately this will not save us from an incredible drop in temperature this evening across the Golden Triangle. The cold front that came through earlier this morning is allowing northwesterly winds to bring in an arctic air mass that will help plunge us to around the freezing mark by early tomorrow morning. If you're looking for something a little warmer than that, just wait. Temperatures will break into the 60's again by Wednesday as sunny skies continue to stick around through most of the week. Your full forecast with all the details is available in the video below!

Monday, November 5, 2012

11/5 - 2:15pm - Quick Shot of Rain on the Way in Mississippi

Showers and a few storms are moving eastward through the I-55 corridor of Central Mississippi right now. The eastern extent of these showers and storms are just about to enter Oktibbeha County and we'll keep them around until we get to midnight or so this evening. Temperatures overnight will get only into the mid 40's thanks to the rain and cloud cover, but get ready for cooler temperatures for election day tomorrow with highs near 60.

An interesting aspect of tonight's rain is that the area of low pressure associated with it will be the same one that will exit off the east coast of Florida and blow up to be a significant Nor'easter by Wednesday. This comes on the heels of Hurricane Sandy causing devastation in the Northeast so folks up there are not looking forward to the one-two punch. This Nor'easter will certainly hamper clean-up efforts but the good news is that it will not be as strong or as long-lived as Sandy.

Full sunshine will return to Mississippi by Wednesday and temperatures will recover well into the 60's to 70 or better by the weekend. We'll be watching a storm system make its way through the middle of the country next weekend that has the potential to impact us on Monday of next week. It's not entirely clear how severe the storms we'll have will be but just keep in the back of your mind that we could be off to a stormy start next week. Check out the video below for your complete forecast for the Golden Triangle area.

Monday, October 29, 2012

10/29 - 3:30pm - Superstorm Sandy Coming in, Cool Week in Mississippi

Hurricane Sandy is a monster storm. That goes without saying. It's about two hours from landfall as of this writing but that won't matter much due to just how incredibly large the wind field is. Tropical storm winds extend for hundreds of miles from the center of the storm making this the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean at over 1,000 miles wide. This is big by area, not by wind speed. While the winds extend for an incredible area the winds in general are at Category 1 speeds near 90 mph. For areas in the tropics this may not sound so bad but for the Northeast this is a disaster since winds rarely get up to that strength with storms up there.

Something that also may be unprecedented here is the extreme snow threat from Sandy for the mountainous regions of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Snow totals could be 1 to 2 feet in places when this storm is said and done. The other thing to consider with the size and scope of this storm is the storm surge that continues to roll in. Places like New York City and along the Jersey shore could be dealing with storm surge totals in excess of 11 feet thanks to the pure mass of water that will be coming in with the storm. This will create coastal flooding whereas the high rain totals will contribute to inland flooding. You'll hear about this storm for years to come... 765,000 customers are without power across the Northeast already and this storm is just cranking up.

How is this storm affecting us here in North Mississippi? We're just seeing cooler weather thanks to the large trough of cold air that's in place. This trough is the same one that's ingesting Sandy making it a very unique storm and pulling it into the Northeast. This cooler air is going to be sticking around for the foreseeable future but with some moderation. Highs won't get out of the lower 60's tomorrow and we'll finally break into the upper 60's on Wednesday for Halloween. Overnight lows tonight will be of concern since they'll be getting close to freezing, which will create a chance for some frost. Your complete Starkville forecast with these details and more are available in the video below!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

10/27 - 5pm - Quiet in West Tennessee, Sandy Takes Aim

Ready for a REAL taste of fall? It's here.... and It's going to stick around for quite awhile. A large mass of cool air continues to work its way into West Tennessee this morning behind yesterday's cold front. That means temperatures today will be getting into the upper 50's across the region. By the time we get to late tonight and early tomorrow morning we'll be talking about mid to upper 30's for lows. Bundle up! High pressure will keep this cooler air locked in place through the week and sunshine will be plentiful as it has been in most places today. We'll need to watch for some frost in areas during the mornings starting on Monday as temperatures fall to near freezing overnight. High temperatures will slowly work their way to near 70 degrees by the end of the workweek.

Let's talk about Hurricane Sandy. It's a weak hurricane right now but the setup is more complicated than just that. As it moves toward the Northeast it will merge with a trough moving across the eastern half of the nation. This will transition the storm from a hurricane to what's called an extratropical storm. Basically this means that the storm won't feed off of warm water like a tropical system would. This will turn Sandy into the very, very large storm that its already beginning to become. Threats for wind damage, storm surge, and flooding will be possible for a broad swath of the Delmarva Peninsula through New England. New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC are included in this among many other locations. The storm surge issues will be amplified by the size of the storm, which moves more mass of water, and by the fact that this will be happening during a full moon, which maximizes tide. Check out the tropical storm force wind probabilities to the right... this is pretty significant when you consider there's a 60-70% of sustained tropical storm winds from Delaware to Long Island.

Another threat this storm poses is snow. West Virginia with its higher elevations will bear the brunt of the snow with 1 to 2 feet expected in areas. The latest run of the GFS model paints a very large area of 18"+ snowfall amounts through Tuesday evening. This could be crippling because there are still leaves on the trees that this heavy, wet snow will weigh down on snap limbs. Mass power outages are very likely whether you're in the wind/rain area in the Northeast or in the snow area in West Virginia.

In the video below you'll get a full dose of information on Hurricane Sandy and your latest West Tennessee forecast.

Monday, October 1, 2012

10/1 - 2pm - Gloomy and Rainy for Now, but Sunny Days are Ahead!

Finally, a break from the relentless rain this weekend. We're still holding on to a few showers across the northern half of Mississippi and chances for those will stick around until tomorrow morning. After the low that brought us all the rain moves northward during the day tomorrow get ready for the sun to return and for temperatures to go up! A few more clouds will move in toward the weekend as another cold front moves in, but it appears at this time that the front will pass through with out giving us rain. Behind it will be some cooler temperatures so more fall weather will return after all the sunshine and 80's this week. Check out the video below for your complete CampusConnect forecast.

Monday, September 24, 2012

9/24 - 2pm - Ringing in Fall with Great Weather!

What a great day outside it is here at Mississippi State! We're still in the lower 70's at this hour and the dewpoint is staying low in the mid 40's too. This translates to a beautiful day with low humidity that's not terribly characteristic of September in Mississippi. Nevertheless, what great weather to ring in the first week of fall! Sunny skies will continue throughout most of the workweek but temperatures will rise through the 80's as we move forward. This change in temperature, and unfortunately an increase in humidity, will be due to a more southerly wind component coming into play that will bring us more moist air from the south. It's not looking like we'll hit 90 this week for a high at any point, but we could get close to it. A system pulling through by the weekend will increase our shower and storm chances a little bit by that point but it's not entirely clear when the best chances will be at this point. Check out my CampusConnect forecast below for all the details!

Monday, September 17, 2012

9/17 - 2pm - Tropical Rains Overtake Mississippi

Like heavy rain? Neither do I. That's what we have going on right now across most of Mississippi as an approaching cold front and a low moving onshore from the Gulf of Mexico are combining to give us a good soaking. The downpours and storms across the Golden Triangle area of Mississippi are definitely tropical in nature because moisture is streaming in right from the Gulf as the low pressure center out there continues to move our way. Storms will continue, and rain be at times heavier, this evening across the northeast quarter of Mississippi. Storms will remain likely tomorrow morning but thankfully the front will be moving through at that time and replace the rainy, tropical air with much more pleasant dry and cool air from the north. The middle of this week behind the front looks beautiful! Check out your full Mississippi State University CampusConnect forecast below for all the details on this week's forecast.

Like the new intro video and 5 Day Forecast background in the above forecast? I've been working on those graphics for the past few months and we're rolling them out today as we kick off the official start of our CampusConnect forecasts for the year here at MSU.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

9/16 - 2:40pm - Rainy Start to the Week in West Tennessee

As promised, a few light showers are moving across West Tennessee and they will become more numerous and heavier this afternoon. Not everyone will see rain but those that do can expect some gentle rains with not much accumulation and possibly a clap of thunder. Tomorrow is a different story though as a larger, more potent upper-level disturbance moves through and generates heavier rains and possibly some thunderstorms. This will be a day when most folks see rain with some areas, especially closer to the Mississippi border, seeing over an inch of rainfall accumulation. Tuesday morning will feature some showers but the cold front at the surface that will be moving through with the upper-level disturbance should be moving east of the area throughout the day. The rain and clouds will be on their way out with the front, so expect the second half of your Tuesday to be much nicer than the first. Cooler temperatures behind the front mean highs in the mid 70's and lows possibly into the 40's by Wednesday morning. That's some fall-like weather right there! Check out my full forecast from last night's 10pm show on WBBJ below.

If you watched the video you probably saw some changes from previous ones that I've posted. WBBJ debuted an all-new HD weather graphics system that has full 3D rendering capabilities. It's very slick, easy to use, and most of all, fun! The 3D zooms to Jackson's tonight and tomorrow forecast I built from scratch between shows yesterday and it was pretty amazing what the machine could do with so little time.

This is also my 2nd anniversary with WBBJ. A lot has changed since I started working there in September 2010 but one thing that hasn't changed is how much I enjoy doing shows there! Can't wait to keep going back there on select weekends during this school year.

Monday, September 10, 2012

9/10 - 4pm - Cooler Weather to Stick Around!

The break in the heat across North Mississippi has made it hard to go back to work and school today but at least it's sticking around for awhile! 90 degrees is not in the forecast for Starkville and the Golden Triangle for the foreseeable future. What we do have in the forecast is sunny skies and temperatures only nudging into the upper 80's over the next couple of days. By the time we hit the weekend we'll increase shower chances a little bit since more moisture will be flowing in with more southerly winds, but it doesn't look like an all-day washout. A reinforcing shot of cool air could make it as far south as Starkville by the start of next week. Your latest detailed CampusConnect forecast is just a click away in the video below!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

9/5 - 11:35pm - Stormy Week, Cooler Weekend, and TV Tomorrow!

It's been a stormy day across West Tennessee and North Mississippi as a complex of storms moved through the region this evening generating multiple instances of severe wind. The storms that caused these are still moving southeastward through Northeast Mississippi but have lost their severe punch. Even though it appears these storms will miss Starkville and the Golden Triangle in Mississippi there is the possibility that an isolated storm or two will try to form off the western end of these tonight.

Storms will once again be a possibility tomorrow but they shouldn't be as potent or widespread. We'll have the moist, warm air in place to fuel storms but there won't be any real trigger besides a small upper-level disturbance or two that could try to form and move through. Friday night will be the best chance for storms in the near future though as a cold front sweeps through West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Since these storms will move through earlier in the evening across West Tennessee there is the possibility of a few of these going severe. The chance for severe weather decreases as you move southward into North Mississippi thanks to the later timing during Friday night that they'll be moving through. Will the rain be out of the picture in time for the Mississippi State/Auburn game on Saturday at 11am here in Starkville? It looks like that may be the case at this point but it's too far out to know for certain since the front will be exiting the region sometime during the morning. The big story instead of the storms will be the much cooler, much drier air behind the cold front. We're talking about highs in the upper 70's this weekend in West Tennessee and highs in the lower 80's across North Mississippi, both with low humidity. What a change! We just have to get through a Thursday and Friday full of the deplorable heat and humidity we've seen lately before the wonderful weekend weather arrives.

Looking for something to do tomorrow night? On the Travel Channel at 10 pm/9c tomorrow night a show called Extreme Tours will be airing and the first segment of the show will feature me and my pals at Storm Chasing Adventure Tours! A crew from the show came out to film and interview us as we chased this past spring in New Mexico and their footage along with clips from my library of tornado video will be airing. This program will showcase what we do as a tour group and how we make it happen. Quite a few of our tour guests and tour guides were interviewed for this and the camera crew that came rode along with us for a few hours. I did a sit-down interview with them along with an extensive round of showing off our vehicles and equipment. This should be a good show tomorrow and I'm certainly looking forward to my first appearance on a non-news national TV program! If you can't make it home in time to watch tomorrow be sure to set your DVR.

Monday, August 27, 2012

8/27 - 9:30pm - Update on Isaac's Expected Gulf Coast Landfall

Tropical Storm Isaac is teetering on the edge of becoming a hurricane this evening with winds of 70 mph as of this writing. The threshold for a Category 1 hurricane is 74 mph. The storm motion has slowed down over the past few hours, now moving northwest at only 10 mph. Issac continues to run into issues that prevent it from rapid intensification, which is certainly good news. The latest issue is a batch of dry air that is currently being pulled into the center of the storm. Without an uninhibited source of moist air the storm cannot form a defined eye or intensify very well. The dry air is why Isaac is lopsided right now with most of the intense winds on the south side.

How long will it be until this dry air is finished working through the storm? Probably a few more hours, possibly lasting into the early morning hours tomorrow if current model forecasts are correct. Speaking of models, the current track from the National Hurricane Center takes Isaac right into the Eastern Louisiana/Mississippi Coast areas late tomorrow night into early Wednesday morning as a weak Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds. With the lack of organization we're seeing right now it may only be a Category 1 at landfall. The latest computer model tracks, the spaghetti plots as you've probably heard about and seen over the past few days, have tightened up on a landfall location somewhere around New Orleans. It's worth noting that some of these models are now trending eastward after a massive amount of successive westward jogs in recent days. It doesn't appear that this landfall will take place further east than Biloxi, Mississippi given the current motion of the storm and model data, but the exact landfall location won't be the big story with this storm.

Storm surge exceedance probabilities
The big story here is how big and how slow this storm is. Sure, there will be some wind damage along the coast as the storm makes landfall, but the large area that Isaac covers means that quite an expansive area along the Gulf Coast will experience other effects from it. Storm surge at or above ten feet is possible in locations from New Orleans to Pascagoula, MS and rainfall amounts over a foot are forecast over much of Central and Southern Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana. Isaac will slow down even more than its current speed once it gets over land so heavy rain will be a good bet across much of the Gulf Coast states until we get into the weekend. Inland flooding will be a problem with the deluge that Isaac with unleash on the region as it crawls northward.

Rainfall through 7pm CDT Saturday
As far as local effects in North Mississippi and West Tennessee, Isaac will bring very heavy rain and winds with gusts in some cases near 40 mph. Starkville, MS may be looking at a six or more inch rainfall scenario through Saturday evening and areas in West Tennessee like Jackson will likely see more than three inches of rain. This highly depends on Isaac's exact track so some areas will see much more rain than others.

With just about any landfalling hurricane you can expect the threat of isolated tornadoes, and Isaac will be no different. The turning of winds with height in a hurricane or tropical storm create favorable wind shear for tornadoes to form in stronger parts of it. Due to this potential threat, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a Slight Risk for most of Mississippi and parts of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

So overall we're not looking at Isaac to be a major hurricane at landfall, but the effects from it will be widespread due to it's large size. It's a good thing that folks in a wide area are preparing for this storm since it could be a long haul given the slow motion that's expected from it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

8/23 - 5pm - Tropics, Drought, Storms... Anything Else?

Computer model forecast tracks for Isaac
The big shakeup in the world of weather right now is the presence of Tropical Storm Isaac south of Puerto Rico. Much uncertainty still exists with where the storm will go but certainty of it making some sort of US landfall is growing. Current forecast data from multiple computer models has this storm going anywhere from the eastern Florida Peninsula to the Central Gulf over the coming days. The trend has been for these forecast tracks to shift westward over the past couple days and that means that those with interests along the Gulf Coast need to watch this storm extremely carefully. The fact that this storm may miss most of Hispanola and it's rough terrain means that we could have a stronger storm than previously expected by the time it reaches the Gulf. Once we get some better data tonight from a NOAA Gulfstream IV aircraft that is being dispatched to take measurements of the storm the model data and forecasts should improve a bit.

The 5pm EDT National Hurricane Center update on Isaac has again taken a more westerly track than before thanks to the latest model data. Their forecast has Isaac remaining a tropical storm until it clears the north side of Cuba on Monday and becomes a hurricane. This all depends on where the storm tracks because the less of Cuba and Hispanola it goes over, the more time over warm water it will have. Should the storm remain weak like it is now for a longer period, a more westerly track can be expected.

How 'bout the drought? Not much has changed from last week's drought monitor product for West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Much of West Tennessee is still suffering from a severe to exceptional drought, especially in areas near the Mississippi River and Kentucky border. The area of exceptional drought, the highest level possible, has contracted a bit since last week. Areas south of Benton County and east of Bolivar aren't faring as badly as the rest of West Tennessee, but it's worth noting that rain may be hard to come by over the next week. The worst of North Mississippi's drought is still confined to areas near Tunica and areas south of West Point don't have drought conditions at this time.

Speaking of rain, we're looking at just a small chance for some isolated showers and storms on Saturday afternoon in North Mississippi as an upper-level system moves toward us from the west. This will increase our moisture and instability a touch since winds will be turning more southerly at the surface. West Tennessee will be too far north for this storm chance unfortunately. Small storm chances will be in the forecast again as we head into the early part of the workweek, but uncertainly skyrockets after that because our weather will depend on where Isaac, by then likely a hurricane, will go. A more westerly landfall along the Gulf Coast would mean quite a bit of rain for the region while a more easterly landfall in Florida wouldn't affect us too much. This again is something we'll need to watch.