Monthly Archives: November 2014

Wet, windy night ahead

Sunday afternoon

Strong storm system heading up the Mississippi River will have some big affects for us tonight and tomorrow.  Highlights: (1) Heavy rain this evening should be strongest between 6P.M. and 10 P.M.  Rain should fade quickly after midnight.  (2) Very strong  winds late tonight and all day tomorrow.  Winds will be picking up after midnight and increase to 20-25 mph (steady winds) with gusts 35-40 mph through tomorrow with slow weakening Tuesday.  (3) Colder temperatures move in again.  We’ll stay in the 50’s tonight then fall during the day tomorrow into the 40’s and near 30 by Tuesday morning.

Thanksgiving Outlook

A weak Alberta Clipper will move across the area Wednesday with a good chance for some light rain and/or snow showers.  Colder air follows the Clipper and makes a windy cold Thanksgiving Day – temperatures in the 30’s with some flurries possible.

Warmer weekend

Friday afternoon

Quite a difference a week can make.  Last week we were looking at a cold weekend ending with snow.  Basically, the same weather patterns exist this Friday with one important exception – the air is much warmer.  So this time we talk rain, not snow.  A weak upper air disturbance will reach us late tonight into tomorrow morning.  The NAM basically ignores any rain potential with this system while the GFS has increased its forecast for rain, but it’s still only about 30%.  Best bet is still no rain, but if any does fall, it’ll be very light (less than .05″).  Rising temperatures tomorrow should push us to 50 or so.  The stronger storm will be late Sunday (both models have slowed this again).  So Sunday should be a warm, windy day with highs near 60.  Lots of clouds, but little rain threat until late afternoon with the heaviest rain likely Sunday night.

Once again, we’ll see colder air arrive Monday, but it looks like next week’s coldest air will arrive for Thanksgiving Day.  Periods of snow flurries/snow showers look like a good bet Wednesday night and Thanksgiving.

Warming into the weekend

Thursday Afternoon

Still pretty calm on the weather front.  We’ll see  a warming trend beginning tomorrow that will continue through Sunday.  Then we’ll begin a slow slide into colder weather beginning Monday.  Models remain very consistent.  Mostly sunny tomorrow, then cloudy Saturday with a small chance for rain near Louisville, but higher over Indiana.  Any rain that falls will be light.  For several days the models have been agreeing on a Sunday arrival of a strong storm from the southwest.  That will bring a chance for moderate to heavy rains and temperatures reaching as high as 60 or so.  The only difference since yesterday is a slight delay in the arrival of Sunday’s rain.  Favored time now seems to be Sunday afternoon and night.

Longer term:  Cold weather will be the rule for most of next week.  It’ll be generally dry after Monday, but we will see a chance for some light snow or flurries Wednesday night.

Winter Outlook

The National Weather Service today issued their winter outlook.  Meteorological winter is the months of December, January, and February.


This outlook has undergone some major changes (toward colder) in the past two months. The September edition had almost no area of the U.S. in “below normal” category.  Then, last month, they added Texas and a small area surrounding.  Today, that area has expanded to cover about three times more of the country.  That’s an amazing change, but I still don’t think they’ve gone nearly far enough to the cold side.  Now they have us with about a 35% chance for winter temperatures to be below normal.

I’ve checked a half dozen or so non-government sources for their winter forecasts and they generally run much colder than the “official” outlook.  I’ve mentioned before about a private group called Weather Bell Analytics.  For my money, I think they are the best around at seasonal forecasting.  Here’s their winter forecast.  I think it’ll be a lot closer to what actually happens than the NWS version.



Buffalo Snow

We’ve all been hearing about, and seeing pictures of the epic snows around Buffalo, New York.  Here are a few of the ones I like the best.

Buffalo-In-Snow-1024x682Just kidding

On the first two, you can see how narrow the bands of snow off the lake are.  Within 20 miles of the 5′-6′ snows you are likely to find areas with just a few inches of snow – it all depends on the wind direction!  The last photo gets my award for greatest ingenuity.






Colder again tomorrow and Friday

Wednesday Afternoon

As it turned out, it wasn’t too difficult to get temperatures above 40.  Unfortunately the milder weather won’t last long.  A moisture-starved upper air disturbance has been passing over the Ohio Valley this afternoon.  All it could do moisture-wise was the clouds this afternoon.  They will fade away tonight.  But this system is also bringing us another shot of unseasonably cold air.  It won’t be as bad as Monday and yesterday, but should hold highs to the mid 30’s tomorrow and near 40 Friday.

It still looks like some rainy (and warmer) weather will arrive by the weekend.  A strong storm is taking shape over the southwestern U.S. and will provide us with at least 3 “waves” of energy before it exits our area.  First, the leading edge of this system will send a weak disturbance our way Saturday.  As often happens, the first surge of energy brings lots of moisture into the area but little, if any, precipitation.  This one looks the same way and if it does produce any rain it will be more likely over southern Indiana rather than Kentucky.  A lot more energy will be tied up in the second system, set to arrive Sunday.  This should bring lots of rain and temperatures rising to near 60 degrees.  Even a thunderstorm will be possible.  A third storm should arrive on Monday.  It’ll prevent any major temperature drop following system 2, but it should bring us some more rain.  Following that system, we’ll see temperatures dropping back to January levels (highs near 40) for a couple of days.

Polar Bear Stuff

Over the past few days, several world newspapers have been carrying stories about a “40% population decline in the past 10 years.”  Brings back Al Gore’s photoshopped picture  of a lonely polar sitting on a small chunk of sea ice with nothing but water anywhere to be seen.  It was the major talking point for his infamous declaration that polar bears would soon disappear because the Arctic would have ice-free summers by 2013 or 12014.  (This summer’s ice cover minimum was 4.9 million square kilometers  Current ice cover is 9.9 sq. km.)

Dr. Susan Crockford is a Canadian zoologist and professor who has been studying polar bears in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic for more than three decades.  She says the actual data is a whole lot different than the article claims.  Yes, there was a drop in bear population between 2004 and 2006.  Estimated drop was 25-30% of the population.  The time corresponded to a series of years with thicker than normal sea ice in the spring.  (Yes, a colder time.)  Then spring sea ice diminished though about 2012 .  What happened to the bears?  Their population grew back to pre-2004 levels and is thought to be still growing.

Yes, that’s just the opposite of what the so-called greens have been shouting to us for almost a decade.  Just goes to show you what happens when non-scientists start preaching about science!  We could have saved a lot of time and effort if we’d just believed the real experts – the Inuits.  Old saying among the Arctic dwellers- Warming weather brings more polar bears!

Slow warming

Tuesday Evening

The old wisdom comes through again!  One of oldest forecasting “rules” I remember from college states “Never forecast a weather record.”  Good advice, but ignored by most (maybe all) local forecasters yesterday.  Our morning low was 16, three degrees above the record while some were forecasting as low as 10.

Meanwhile, looking ahead our weather looks like a warming trend (although still below normal) through Friday.  High temperatures should have a hard time getting out of the 30’s and we’ll see a small chance  for flurries tomorrow night.  The cold northerly flow will relax by the weekend, however, as a weak disturbance from the southwest will provide a chance for some light rain Saturday.  A second, stronger, system moves into the area Sunday with rain likely and even a thunderstorm possible.  Colder weather should return Monday.

Record cold…maybe

Monday Evening

Pretty pictures from nature today as that wet, clinging snow held on tree limbs most of the day.  Forecast worked out pretty well although I would have liked to see the snowfall pattern drop about 20 miles south.  But nature does what it wants, not bothering with us humans and our models.  The official total from the airport came in at 2.9″.  I live about 15 miles northeast of the airport and measured 4.2″ on the ground.  So, a pretty wide variation over a short north/south distance.  Most of southern Indiana and Kentucky (north of I-64) finished in the 3″ to 5″ range while southern Jefferson Co. into Bullitt Co. were more like 1″-3″.

Now, it’s on to the cold.  Tomorrow’s record low is 13 degrees (1959).  With snow on the ground and expected clearing skies tonight, most forecasters are predicting a new record.  The only thing that could get in the way would be the clouds.  Flurries should hold for the next few hours, but it looks as though skies should clear for a least a few hours overnight.  That should be enough to get us to the new record.  But, if the clouds hold, it won’t happen.



Sunday Afternoon

Forecast models have changed little since yesterday – the NAM is still a little warmer than the GFS.  Short term models (RUC, NAM-hi res and others) fall in between, but tend to be closer to the GFS.  The big question remains – how soon will the rain change to snow?  Obviously for snow lovers, the sooner the change, the better.  I am expecting the change-over to occur in Louisville between 7 and 8P.M.  (earlier in southern IN; later south/east of town.  Snow should be wrapping up by 7 to 8 A.M. tomorrow.

Based on the timing above here is my current forecast (5 P.M.)…Louisville metro area should see an accumulation of heavy wet snow between 3″ and 5″ (on grassy areas, less on the roads).  Southern Indiana should see an accumulation of 4″ to 6″ with KY counties and southern counties along and north of the Ohio River from Louisville toward Cincinnati could receive 6″+.  South of the Louisville area, accumulations should diminish rather quickly.  The E’town area should see 1″-2″ with very little at Bowling Green.  East of Louisville, snow totals should also be lower.  For example, Lexington should get around 1″ to 2″.

As mentioned the past few days, this will be a very wet snow as temperatures hovering a degree or two above/below 32 deg.F.  As the snow will be falling at night, it should have little trouble piling up on grassy areas.  However, the roads are still pretty warm.  That plus traffic should greatly reduce accumulations on the roadways.  The roads will probably only get half as much accumulation as the grassy areas.

snow1      snow2


There’s no such thing as bad weather…only varying degrees of good weather.

Rain, snow or both?

Saturday update

Both models are coming into better agreement over tomorrow night’s weather event.  Both agree that there’s going to be significant precipitation (.25-.50″).  The NAM still favors more rain than snow while the GFS remains colder favoring mostly snow.  If the NAM is correct it’ll be a disappointing wet snow of around an inch.  The GFS favors about 3″ to 5″ inches of snow.  The most recent afternoon run of the NAM is slightly cooler than it was this morning.  My current thinking still leans (somewhat strongly) toward the GFS, but the possibility of a longer stay with the warmer air is beginning to worry me.  We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow!

Snow situation keeps changing

Friday afternoon

Each day our two primary forecast models get a little closer together on the prediction for snow (or rain) Sunday night…and there’s still a lot that could change over the next 48 hours!

With today’s model runs, the NAM has joined the GFS with the primary precipitation event expected Sunday night into Monday morning.  In fact, the expected preliminary event Saturday night night now looks to be a bust…nothing more than a dusting appears to be the best case scenario now.

If nothing else, the Saturday night system should serve to moisten our very dry atmosphere so that Sunday night’s system should have no problem with moisture supply.  That said, what kind of moisture should we expect?  The NAM model has warmed since yesterday.  If it proves to be correct, the majority of the upcoming storm will probably be rain with a late night change to snow.  That would keep snow accumulations low – probably around an inch.  On the other hand, the GFS keeps us firmly in the colder air.  Possibly a little rain to start, but snow after that.  This, of course, favors a larger accumulation – it still looks as though we have the potential for a 2″ to 4″ snowfall!  Temperatures should be right around 32 degrees (plus or minus a degree or two) so it’ll be a sloppy wet snow (good for snowballs and snowmen).  Accumulations will be highest on grassy areas,  but (since it’ll be mostly at night) roadways will get their share too.

As to which model is going to be right (or, at least, the closest to right), I don’t know.  Years of experience of working with both models has given me this generalization – from 0 to 36 hours the NAM is usually equal to (or better than) the GFS.  Beyond 36 hours, the GFS is almost always better then the NAM.  So snow lovers, the situation looks good for Sunday night…but a lot can happen in 48 hours.  Stay Tuned!


Yesterday, I showed pictures of a full 180 degree rainbow (my first ever) taken near Vigo Spain.  That brought to mind a picture I had seem of a full 360 degree rainbow – you can see them from the air above.  Here’s one from Perth Australia.


Fun Fact:  Damascus Syria is the  believed to be the oldest permanently inhabited city on Earth.  Evidence dates back to a settlement as long ago as 8,000 to 10,000 years B.C.


Later Thursday afternoon

While on hiatus, my wife and I did some traveling.  We were in the Spanish coastal village near the city of Vigo one sunny morning (our tour guide had made fun of the local forecasters who had predicted some showers for the day).  We were exploring the grounds of an ancient fort that was now a luxury hotel.  While we were there, a few showers popped up (chalk one up for meteorologists) and produced, what to me, was the first end-to end complete rainbow I had ever seen.  It was too long to capture in one shot with my camera, but the pictures below show each end (you can fill in the rest mentally).  By the way, if you want to find that elusive “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow, you’ll need some scuba gear!



Fun fact:

The city of Vigo, Spain, is where Columbus landed in early 1493 on his return to Europe after historic trip of 1942 to the “New World.”