Monday, October 26, 2015

MikJournal Monday10/26/15

Don't put the rain gear away just yet. After a dry Sunday and mostly dry Monday, rain moves back into the region along with gusty winds, thanks in part to the leftover remnants of Patricia.

Right now, forecast amounts from the WPC include a general 1.50 - 3.00", mainly along and west of Interstate 65. However, everyone will see the rain, but the heavier amounts for the western part of the state will really put a dent in the drought department.

The map above shows an extended area of moderate drought status that is affecting western Kentucky. No doubt the rainfall will be very welcome.

However, over the weekend, some places along the Gulf Coast and in parts of Texas got more than a drought buster. They got closed roads due to high water issues and rising rivers. Here are some numbers updated early this morning for the past 48 hours...

In Harris County, representing the Houston area...

10.71" at US 59 and Jefferson
9.12" Reliant Park

In Brazoria County, just south of Houston including Pearland and Lake Jackson...

8.94" near Needville

In Matagorda County, southwest along coast from Houston...

9.47" near Markham
7.67" Bay City

Along with the heavy rain came a lot of wind with common reports of 30-50 mph.

On this day in 2011 and 1976 in the Denver area, snowfall amounts of 8.5" and 7.2" respectively were reported at Stapleton airport. Almost 20" fell in the front range and foothills near Jamestown in 2011 along with an 8.5" report coming in from Louisville...between Denver and Boulder (map of Louisville)

Later this week, our eyes will turn toward the west as a cut-off low is expected to wreak havoc on computer forecast models for this weekend's activities. Right now, I do not expect rain chances to increase here until some time late on Sunday into Sunday night at the earliest. I make this assumption based on reports from NWS offices coming out of Arizona and New Mexico.

Have a good week.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mexico's Jalisco and Colima Not a Stranger to Natural Disasters

Along the west coast of Mexico are two of its states, Jalisco and Colima, both who have experienced historical natural disasters in the past.

The 1932 earthquake measured 8.1 and generated a tsunami along with an aftershock that produced an even more damaging tsunami several days later. Hundreds of deaths were attributed to the month long series of devastating tremors.

The 1959 hurricane packed winds of 160 mph as it slammed ashore, yes, a Category 5 hurricane, closing in on the same general areas that Patricia will be impacting. Over 1,800 deaths made this event the deadliest eastern Pacific tropical cyclone on record. Ironically, landfall occurred in late October, eerily similar to Patricia's eventual predicted landfall.


More El Nino Hints

A rather interesting reveal occurred recently. Lately, we have been talking about the El Nino phenomena and its potential effects on North American winter weather, you know, warmer than average for much of the northern States. But, we have not had a major El Nino during the recent age of Arctic sea ice minimums, which 2015 just reached its 4th lowest minimum during September.

However, for the last two years, we have been locked in a persistent pattern thanks in part to what has been going on in the Arctic region. Warmer than average readings in the Chukchi and East Siberian seas has been strongly correlated to the winter cold outbreaks of the past two years along the eastern part of the U.S. These readings are still demonstrating above average tendencies despite some earlier than expected icing ongoing in parts of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, locations along and east of the Bering sea that separates Russia from Alaska.

According to climatologists and other atmospheric experts, though, they do not seem too concerned with the effects of this 'small' issue going forward into the winter months. After all, El Nino is a global player, and Arctic sea ice minimum is just a piece of the complex and often chaotic processes that may or may not affect our upcoming winter. Yet, El Nino must be an easily explainable event, as I have seen numerous forecasts suggesting the same 'leftovers' from previous El Nino events regarding the associated temperature/precipitation graphics.

I say do not be surprised if El Nino's influence enhances the Arctic's effects on our region, causing wide swings in the Polar Jet or the northern branch of the jet stream. It is already forecast that the southern subtropical jet will be quite active this late fall and winter. And if these two get together, watch out.

More hints later...


Historic Hurricane to Hit Western Mexican Coast

Perhaps the strongest hurricane to ever affect any mainland is poised to strike the western Mexican coast near Puerta Vallerta. At 880mb estimated pressure, Patricia could go down as the lowest barometric pressure for any storm, at least as it relates to the central, east, and north Pacific. 200 mph winds are the accurately-estimated surface wind observations from the hurricane hunters, no doubt gusts are exceeding these values.

You might ask what is the highest wind ever recorded on earth? Not counting tornadoes, at one time, the Mount Washington Observatory on top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire recorded a wind gust of 231 mph, making it a world record...until April 10, 1996 and the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Olivia that hit Barrow Island, Australia with a 253 mph gust.

It is possible that if there are instruments in place that are within acceptable standards for measuring the wind speed, gusts of over 225 mph and higher could be achieved.

A frontal system will tap into this tropical moisture and affect much real estate in the southern United States. Even our weather in Kentucky will be affected by this event.

Another potent tropical system that is curving away from Hawaii may channel moisture into the western United States later next week, one of the hints that I have been looking for related to El Nino. More updates on the hints in my next post.


Monday, October 19, 2015

MikJournal Monday 10/19/15

First, let me say that despite the cold, look out toward the eastern sky a little after 6:00 a.m., a beautiful view of Venus (the bright one) and Jupiter sharing the same part of the sky. Actually, Mars is right there also. I took my binoculars and was able to locate the unmistakable red dot just to the left and slightly down from Jupiter.

I love cold, crisp, calm, and starry mornings. Yesterday's 30 degrees at my house along with a current temperature at 6:00 this morning of 33 is almost ideal when it comes to mid-Fall, at least for the morning. Of course, winter's ideal cold is when the temperature is between 25 and 28, very light wind, and snow falling. It just seems warmer to me when snow is falling, perhaps because the dew point is closer to the air temperature.

Anyway, October and November are really excellent times to take in the night sky. If you like meteor showers, look for the Orionids peaking during the early morning hours and just before dawn this Thursday October 22. The Leonids in November are a pretty good show too, around the 17th or 18th of that month.

I provided a link of what to expect for this year's late night shows here.

A fairly tranquil week ahead with wonderful fall temperatures. I'm planning on a few hiking excursions to take in some of the fall foliage. I must say that this is my favorite time of the year.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Drought and Frost Update

No maps for this post. But, moderate drought has resurfaced, this time over western Kentucky. Paducah has only seen 2.99" since August 1. Louisville is no longer in any drought or pre-drought condition. I have seen 2.67" this month while Louisville International has had 1.41".

Both Euro and NAM are in agreement about Sunday morning temperatures so far. Louisville heat island may keep temperatures from bottoming out below 37 degrees. However, locations outside the airport will drop off quickly. At my house, I am predicting 31-32 degrees.

Locations in the bluegrass could see a damaging freeze even. Some typical cold areas like Cynthiana may tumble into the mid and upper 20's. Frankfort 31 degrees. Don't be surprised if Lexington Mesonet site is at least 2-3 degrees warmer than the bluegrass airport like say 34 or 35 degrees. It's time to calibrate something on that equipment.


Monday, October 12, 2015

MikJournal Monday 10/12/15

Wow. It feels great out there this morning. A little breezy, though. Enjoy the warmest day of the week, because cooler air invades the region later today and camp out for the rest of the week along with a couple more shots of reinforcing, fresh Canadian air. Frost on the pumpkin is a good possibility for several locations later this week and weekend.

Topic for today is El Nino. Well, everyone else is talking about it. I have expressed my views on this blog and others that I expect a drier and milder winter compared to the two previous winters. Now, let me be clear about something here. I have said nothing about less snowfall than previous winters...yet. Remember, snow does not hold much moisture. You can melt a 10" fairly wet snowfall into about 1" of liquid precipitation. So, theoretically, we can have 40" of snow during the winter months of December through February and still be below average in terms of precipitation.

Let me highlight Louisville International where the official NWS readings are observed. For the winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15, precipitation averaged out to 0.37" below normal. Yet, over 33" of snow fell during those meteorological winters of December 1 through the end of February. That's right, I did not include the extra 12" or so that fell in March of this year. We included that in the snow totals for the year that began July 1 of last year and ended June 30 of this year, which are the official start and end times for snowfall reporting, which does not always correspond to the meteorological winter of December through February.

If you want to count the extra snowfall outside the winter months of December through February, then Louisville accumulated some 50" over the past two years!

Next, the temperatures at what I call 'the heat island capital of the nation' averaged well below normal during the same time period, to the tune of 3 and 3.83 degrees below normal respectively, again for the December 1 through February 28 time frame.

I do not think it's a stretch to say that Louisville may very well end up being milder than the previous two winters. In fact I think it's likely. Therefore, if the average temperature for December 1 through February 29 comes out to be 2 degrees below normal, guess what? That will be a milder winter than the previous two winters' average, just like I said.

And if precipitation comes in at 0.4" above normal for December and February, yet 1.95" below normal for January, then that will be a drier winter than the previous two winters' average. Yet, one can still rack up a lot of snowfall despite below average precipitation.

We have been in a rather similar climatic pattern since 2013. Now, we have El Nino throwing its hat into the ring and should shake things up a bit. Prognosticators and forecasters alike are broadbrushing our region of Kentucky with a dry and mild winter, a climatically typical assumption for an El Nino winter event, covering the December 1 through February 29, 2016 time frame, in this instance. I do not do that. I don't like stereotyping anything. Although the analogs have not been very helpful since this El Nino may go down as the King of all El Nino events, I do like to look at individual observation sites or regions that were impacted by past events and see how each will be faring for this event.

You can check out some of these El Nino hints on the side of my blog. In the meantime, don't get hung up over terminology about dry and mild or whatever. This does not mean it will not snow at all. February of 1998 (following the strong El Nino of 1997/98) had a freak snow event that dumped more than two feet over a prolonged period of time for some locations. Yet, the rest of the winter for most of us was rather ho-hum in the snow collection department, except for some areas of western KY and southern, southeast KY where either an ice storm or a 4-6" heavy snow event occurred. But that single event in February will burn into our memories as the snow that happened during an El Nino event, making that winter rather memorable and  as some would say, going against the grain of typical El Nino events that called for a dry and mild winter, which it actually was milder but a bit more wet.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Introducing El Nino Hints

I will be revealing a few clues that I believe are worthy how strong the El Nino phenomena will influence the Polar and Subtropical Jet streams.

There is a heightened correlation between certain geographic areas and how they are impacted by El Nino events.

I will be publishing these clues as we progress toward the winter months. You can find them on the side of my blog too.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

What a Difference a Week Makes - Drought Update

Here in Kentucky, so much for that moderate drought status. We still have some 'abnormally dry' areas out there, but rain chances along with cooler temperatures and less evapotranspiration should not foment additional issues.

However, I am still forecasting a drier and milder winter overall, compared to our previous two winters. So, that may lead to a tougher spring for gardeners. But, let's get through fall and winter first.

Speaking of drought issues, check out the latest statistics coming out of South Carolina. Remember, now, the state was experiencing moderate to severe drought in many locations...

As far as percentages, over 42% of the state experienced moderate to severe drought one week ago. Now, it's at 1.72%. In fact a total of only 4% is experiencing abnormally dry conditions after last week's 73% coverage

Now, check out North Carolina...

The bottom picture did not run out of ink colors. It is correct. Last week, over 19% had either moderate or severe drought while some 64% experienced abnormally dry conditions.

What a difference a week makes.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rainfall Totals for the Carolinas

A very impressive amount of rainfall for the Carolinas. For nearly 4 days, rain pummeled the region. The highest 4-day total I could find was 26.88" near Mt Pleasant SC. Interestingly, other locations near Mt Pleasant 'only' saw 16" or so. It just goes to show how localized these heavy rain bands affected certain areas, some separated by just a few miles. The one below is from the Charleston SC NWS office.

I also provided an additional link out of Wilmington here

Now, many residents will face major flooding along area rivers for the next few days still.


Monday, October 5, 2015

MikJournal Monday 10/05/15

October is a beautiful month...most times. Don't tell that to residents in South Carolina and parts of North Carolina this morning. Late last week, forecast amounts of 15 - 20" for some unfortunate areas placed the region under siege. Days later, they were under water, with a few locations breaching 24".

"A once in a thousand year event." Okay, put it to rest already. It's another one of those 'sensational' expressions that is designed to misinterpret what the actual expression really means. Kinda like Polar Vortex, oh don't get me going about that, but the media loves that word combination.

Scientifically, there is a 0.1% chance that, in this case, flooding rains of this magnitude happen in any given year. Of course, the decimal equivalent of 0.1% is 0.001 or one-thousandth or one in a thousand. The expression 'once in a thousand year event' does not literally mean such an event will not happen again until the year 3015. It's just all about probabilities.

A couple of years ago, Boulder CO also experienced a once in a thousand year flood event.

Check out the latest snow cover map...more white recently.

The map above does not show Alaska, but parts of the state saw  record snowfall ending the month of September.

But you know what? The weather for this week looks absolutely delightful. After an almost cold feel for the last few days, I think I can put winter off for a little bit longer.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Follow the East Coast Action

Wilmington NC over 3.3" for the month
Jacksonville NC at 2.29"
Morehead City at 2.4"

Wilmington 3.67" since October 1
Jacksonville NC 3.18"
Morehead City NC 2.63"
New Bern NC 3.11"
Norfolk VA 4.79" * since October 1

* estimated

Periods of heavy rain expected to affect areas especially around Wilmington; however, main pipeline expected to shift WEST so that South Carolina will be getting in on the action.

Landslide issues possible...
This is from Blacksburg VA NWS ...concerning its Flash Flood product. The All Caps feature is not mine by the way. Plus, I could not get the link to work. Sorry about the bad link and apologize to other sites where its readers could not view that link.


I am really hoping that providing this simple yet powerful demonstration of the dangers of landslides, mudslides, and so forth, that other NWS offices such as Jackson KY will take heed to at least mention these dangers in their Flash Flood products or Public Information statement products.


08:00 pm
Hard to believe but it still sounds like Notre Dame/Clemson game in South Carolina is still on for tomorrow

04:45am Saturday 10/03/15
Charleston SC storm total now close to 5.50" with heavy rains persisting.

05:05 am
Downtown Charleston is in line to receive the heaviest rainfall amounts...10-15" likely according to local NWS
Sunday 10/04/15
Major flooding in South Carolina...since yesterday, at least 14" has fallen at Mt Pleasant along the coast northeast of Charleston. Since October 1 around noon, over 22" has been tallied, if my math is correct.

I will be working on some locations to follow during the course of this historical rain event. I have already selected 3 locations that I am currently following but plan to add more as the storm really gets cranking.

Wilmington NC
Spartanburg SC
Anderson SC

I will update rain totals taken from many NWS offices of the affected areas. Expect double-digit rainfall amounts over the next few days. Hopefully I will be able to pinpoint where the most likely areas will be impacted by a pipeline of heavy rain that will continue for several consecutive hours. It will kind of remind me of the lake-effect snow bands that dump feet of snow on a few locations while a few miles away, the amounts drop off considerably. But, with this setup, everyone in the NC/SC/VA region stand to get socked. However, there will be a few of those 'unbelievable' precipitation amounts...16-22" in some of the targeted sweet spots for that fetch of precipitation.

Then later this weekend, we'll see how other locations farther north along the coast are faring.

Right now, Joaquin is expected to stay out to sea, but moisture will continue to wrap into the pesky upper low and drench parts of the southeast along with very gusty winds and high waves.

Check back as I will use this forum to keep you updated.


MikJournal Monday 02/25/2019...Drying Out

What a wet pattern we have been enduring. Will we finally dry out? Welcome to another installment of MikJournal Monday, the 25th of February...