Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cool Temperatures

Here at the station we experienced a low temperature of 53!
We haven't seen temperatures this low since May 17th, but I know we can all handle the cool mornings as we finish the first week of Fall.

One reason we are experiencing the cool low temperatures is due to the Low pressure system over the Carolinas. This Low is swinging NE'sterly wind down the App. Mountain Range, which really dries out our air. The dry air and clear skies allow plenty of longwave radiation, which can remove plenty of energy from the surface.

We could see Dewpoint Temps in the upper 40s, which is certainly a major change from our normal in the 60s.

Enjoy the nice weather!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Forecast = Sunshine

After a long and rainy day yesterday, we have plenty of sunshine in our forecast. Sunday evening there at still some showers lingering along the MS coast line, but the whole Pine Belt region is watching a beautiful sunset. Only a few very scattered clouds claim residency in the sky above, but these clouds will soon be on their way out. A major trough is moving across the NW U.S. and a major High pressure is building in the NE U.S. The trough will not influence our forecast, yet the High in the NE is expected become strong. Both the NAM and GFS models show a 1034mb High by Tuesday morning, which is about 21mb higher than the normal pressure value of 1013mb. Remember, a high pressure system relates to clear and sunny weather. We will see this High influencing our weather through atleast the midweek point. On Friday we might start to see clouds forming across our area from the East.

This high located to our NE will allow us to have mainly an east wind, but not until Thursday night could we see our driest conditions. Even though we will have clear skies, which helps remove longwave radiation (solar radiation) from the ground, we will still have dewpoint temps in the lower 60s. Dewpoints in the lower 60s will help keep our Low around 63 Monday night, but by Thursday Dewpoint temps could easily be in the 50s. Ironically, as soon as we see our driest conditions we could start to see more moisture from the baroclinic low forming over the carolinas. This low can do several things, but the GFS shows us a westward movement over AL/GA by Friday. This low will be a challenge because I will also be studying the relation of a new tropical wave (possible Tropical Storm Kyle) by late this week. This tropical wave is expected to move North from it's current position over Puerto Rico.

We will talk more about the late week forecast tomorrow and Tuesday.

Enjoy Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A weekend rain forecast

We don't have tropical activity but this is definitely a challenging forecast. Many times scattered showers are the most difficult to forecast because it is hard to determine the timing and location of the rain. Here in the Pine Belt we find ourselves in the midst of a huge atmosphere with an infinite amount of particles, and now forecasteres attempt to make a forecast for your city and your neighborhood. Many days I am amazed how our technology can allow us to forecast a few days in advance with improving data and research.

In this forecast it would be a foolish thing to say it will rain at your football stadium tonight. Although I can tell you there is a 50% chance someone in the Pine Belt will see rain this afternoon and night. Moisture is a major part of my decision in our forecast. This morning will still have a lot of dry air in the mid-levels, which will actually evaporate any moisture before touching the ground. This dry air is also inhibiting the creation of more showers across our region. I actually watched a "dryish" line run into a "moist-ish" line this morning, which allowed light showers to build into Jefferson Davis County and Covington County (for a lack of better words). Now the small line has formed a little more southerly into Louisiana.

I do expect some moisture from our SW and the Gulf to filter into our region throughout the day today. In fact, most of the day we will be under the reign of a cloud deck. This will also keep our temps down to below the 80 degree mark, but some of us in the southern counties might spot 80 or 81. The majority of us will be below 80. The cool temps will also continue into the weekend with cloud cover and capping a high temperature below average. Upper 70s is my forecast through Sunday, but Sunday's high could change a little as we see what is going to playout tonight and Saturday. MOS and many models aren't agreeing on their precip forecast, but models are agreeing on the Low Level Jet entering our region.

A shortwave will be sticking around us for the weekend, but the first day of Fall will bring us the entrance of another High pressure system. I expect clearer skies to start off the first full week of Fall.

Have a good Friday!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Glimpse of Fall...

Here at our station the temperature is already 67°! We are well on our way to a really cool night.

Late today we finally experienced the effects of the cool and dry air mass behind the front. I know many parents and fans are having a great time watching football games throughout our region tonight. During my dinner break I was able to see the local football field in Petal turning the lights on for a game under the lights. Of course, these next few nights are a great time to enjoy outdoor activities with friends and family. For our weather, this is a great pattern change after multiple tropical events.
Most models have us controlled by a high pressure system through Wednesday. By Thursday, the High begins to move out of reach as we might begin to see a chance of showers throughout the weekend.
I am expecting many of us to see a low temperature in the 50s at some point during this week. Although our southern counties might struggle to drop below the 60 degree mark.

During this time of beautiful weather please feel free to email me your pictures, thoughts, and questions. If qualified, I know I will show the best "beautiful weather" picture on-air by this weekend. I will be out of the office through Wednesday, but I will definitely be checking my email. As for now, I will see you bright and early Thursday and Friday while I fill-in for Mr. Rex Thompson.

Take Care!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A rainy night...

Well, how about a nice rain shower for the Pine Belt on this Sunday evening? A rain-only event rolled through our region tonight, and most of the rain totals weren't as high as expected. The whole line of rain actually lost intensity as it moved through Jefferson Davis County and Marion County. The rain totals reflect this...

Pike County McComb: 1.30"
Jackson, MS: 0.58"
Bobby Chain Airport: 0.24"
Meridian-Key Field: 0.49"
**WDAM-TV: 0.01"

The Pine Belt Regional Airport wasn't reporting any rain, and I think our rain gauge here at the station needs to be checked. I know we received more than 0.01" here.

Now the scenario outside reflects a warm, cloudy, fall night. The cold front is laced across the Pine Belt region right now, but things will slowly change as we move throughout the day tomorrow. But some models are still holding onto some light showers tomorrow afternoon. With precip, the raw NAM has shown me great production with this event, and the same model also shows no rain for Monday. So I really want to lean to a lack of rain for tomorrow, and the abundance of clouds for most of the day will maintain stability. I am not expecting a lot of sunshine tomorrow, but I might look for some showers if we receive some sun rays through the exiting Stratus cloud deck.

My question for you...When will these lovebugs leave? I must apologize because I have never experienced these bugs in such abundance. My car isn't a fan of these guys.

I am hoping to see a few bugs leave town when our winds shift in a post-frontal event.

9/14 Front pushing through

I am currently watching a front move through our region. My Grubbs Ford Alfaskycam in Columbia, MS, already indicated a NW turn in the winds, but the data is still waving between West to North. You can see all of the current camera views on our weather page ( John E Lewis Field has already experienced 1.07" in about a 2 hour window as the line of storms has pushed through McComb, MS, in Pike County.
After looking at the radar loop, I am watching the line of showers break down a tad. In fact, the system is sitting down a bit. I mean the whole line is starting to become less intense but broadening. Although...I do expect most of the precip to be out of the Pine Belt between 10p-Midnight.

I'll come back with another update later....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

9/13 Forecast Thoughts...

The big story for us in the Pine Belt is the approaching front on Sunday, and Ike is becoming extratropical by losing tropical characteristics and still maintaining strong winds. Both the front and the remanents of Ike will join together to form a very long line of showers. One interesting forecasting note...Usually the Eta model over forecast total rain, but the Eta is rather dry for Sunday night. Now the GFS has turned a model run into a very wet event for Sunday night. The GFS is 2.16" compared to Eta's 0.15". The European is along the same lines with the GFS, but the WRF seems to cut both models down the middle at around an inch.

I'm tempted to raise my POPs (probability of precipitation) for Sunday, but I am feeling rather comfortable with 40%. My concern for avoiding a high probability is related to the warm and drier air aloft. This air has helped us see less convection across the region today and I believe we will still have some leftover pieces tomorrow night.

My big weather story starts on Tuesday. Everyone and anything is agreeing on dry air and North wind starting on Monday afternoon/night. After the front moves through our region Monday morning we will quickly begin to feel the wind shift to the North. This North wind will remove us from the moist influence of the Gulf and open our airways to dry continental air. I expect this pattern to last throughout the remainder of the week. For me, this is a difficult choice to keep this pattern through the week, but I feel this is the pattern we must be experiencing as we roll into the transition from Summer to Fall. I am not saying we won't see another warm spell again, but I do believe we will maintain our below average temperatures for the next few weeks. (At least it is definitely a possibility)

Thanks to all of you! I hope you have a great weekend! Please feel free to email...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike Update - Friday

A major life threatening storm will hit the Texas coast early tomorrow morning.  The 1pm NHC update:
Ike: Category 2
Max Sustained Winds: 105mph
Minimum Pressure: 957mb
Velocity: WNW 12mph
Location: 165 miles SE of Galveston and 270 miles E of Corpus Christi

Ike has already proven to be larger than Gustav.  Gustav produced hurricane force winds of about 70 miles from the center and tropical storm winds only 220 from the center.  Ike is a very large tropical cyclone with hurricane force winds 120 miles out-from-center and tropical storm force winds extend about 275 miles away.  
Ike's huge size has also created an incredible storm surge.  While Ike has moved through the Gulf, the storm surge has continued to increase under the wide-stretching arms of the outer bands.  Even though Ike is only a Category 2, the size of the whole tropical storm will cause major damage along the Upper Texas coast.  I have also noticed the water along the MS Coast rising about 6ft, so I would expect the SW coastline of Louisiana to also see incredible rise in Gulf coast water.  

I also realize you might be wondering about Ike's intensification.  Ike's characteristics in the last 48 hours is a prime example of the difficult in forecasting intensity.  Even in today's huge technology gains we still have major wrinkles to iron out in determining the formation of the intensity and eye wall.   Also, the latest Wator Vapor loop tells me some dry air is hindering the flow of moisture in the storm.  Tropical storms hate dry air, and with a continued influence of dry air I would be a little surprised to see Ike become a Cat 3 at landfall.  Although at this point who cares about the exact category of Ike?  We have already established Ike is a major threat to the TX coastline, and the storm surge will not diminish now.  Now the only object that will stop Ike's storm surge is the upper-coast of Texas.  

Sometimes I am not a stats guy when it comes to minor differences in projected tropical categories.  My main concern is always the threat to human life, and Ike definitely posses a threat to human lives.  If you have relatives in the Galveston/Houston area, please encourage your relatives to evacuate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ike Update

Ike is slowly increasing in intensification. With sea surface temperatures well above 80°F and wind shear of only 5-10kts, Ike could become a Cat 3 overnight and even a Cat 4 by tomorrow night. Ike is also under good upper-level diffluence, which allows the whole hurricane to maintain strength with a steady lift from the sfc to the top of the cloud deck. The last 24 hours has also shown us an infrared satellite image of very cold cloud tops in the center of rotation. In fact, I have seen temps colder than -75°C , which is near the top of most IR temperature scales. One thing is for sure, Ike is liable to be a very dangerous storm for the TX coast line, but most of the Gulf coast will see an influence of Ike.
Here in the Pine Belt we have a slight chance of seeing some isolated showers on Thursday and Friday afternoon, but the best shot of rain should come in to play along the southern portion in Pearl River, Stone, and George County.

The image at the top shows the latest model runs still leaning to a Corpus Christi. I feel like I must address the lonely model (in orange) tracking the storm North through Mobile. This is the CLPS model, which is only based on statistics. So from past statistics Tropical Activity usually travels northward. Since hurricanes never follow their "normal" path, this model is very rarely correct.

For intensity: Most models show a landfall between a Cat 3 and low end Cat 4. This could easily happen as many variables are in line for Ike to be a very strong storm.

In the wake of a strong hurricane hitting Texas, I have been able to review some of the past strong hurricanes in Texas history. A few to talk about...
Ike has a very simliar journey as a hurricane in 1919. This storm hit just south of Corpus Christi and killed nearly 1000 people including about 700 in sea vessels. In 1961 Hurricane Carla hit Texas with max winds of 150mph and a pressure of 931mb. Only 46 lives were lost because of the early preparations. Also, Hurricane Allen hit Brownsville, Texas, in 1980 after reaching an extremely low pressure of 899mb.
Many of Texas' most powerful hurricanes made landfall within the first two weeks of September, which just happens to be the similar time period of Ike.

Landfall is expected very early Saturday morning. This could very well be the time when we are all hoping Texas residents are safe and sound.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

River Update

Leaf River Forecast: McLain, MS

Some people have asked about river flooding within the last few days. I believe all of the rivers in our region are back below flooding stage except for the Leaf River near McLain. I'm sure some of us did see some river flooding after Gustav's major rain, but we should all be back to normal.
The Leaf River in McLain should be below flood stage by tomorrow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

9/08 Ike Update

As we have discussed this past weekend, Ike's track has slowly moved westward. The NHC has released a track tonight with a landfall around Corpus Christi, TX, on Saturday evening. I am not surprised with their new track b/c most of the models have moved through Texas all day. One interesting note, several models have Ike taking a NNW track into the Eastern Gulf before taking a hard left westward towards Texas. The strong turn to the west is a rare output from most models, but it is amazing to see solid agreement between the GFS, GFDL, and HWRF.

This new track for Ike is a relief to many here in MS, but we certainly do not wish Ike on anybody. Ike can easily drop to a tropical storm by tomorrow, but the Gulf will provide ample strengthening to see a strong Hurricane make landfall by the weekend. Of course, Dolly disturbed South Texas earlier in the season as a Cat 2 before landfall.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

9/07 Forecast Discussion

Our forecast for the next few days looks warm and beautiful. A good chance of sunshine with a mix of clouds will be our forecast into Wednesday/Thursday, but the slight chance of afternoon showers will allow me to keep a a spot of showers in the forecast. Expect highs in the low 90s through at least Wednesday, but Thursday we could see temps lower a bit due to the influence of Ike's cloud cover. Also the chance of rain will increase later in the week as we slower enter in the outer bands of Ike.

The latest model runs continue to show a similar forecast to yesterday's output. In fact, if we look at the model runs within the last 48 hours, we can see the models have slowly shifted more west towards TX. Although earlier today the HWRF was still showing a MS Coast landfall, but the last update shows a very similar track as Gustav with a SW Louisiana track.
I previously talked about my concerns with the ridge breaking down earlier than the models anticipate, and I still have a slight concern with the models forecast of the future front. Although my concern is now looking at a track into the middle of the TX coast or SW Louisiana. The break down of the ridge seems to be lagging, which will allow Ike to move into the Western Gulf, but an early break down will allow a SW Louisiana landfall.
Even though I talk about a long westward track, I must still recognize the chance of Ike moving northward into the AL/FL coast. Many forecasters are still up in the air at this point.

Ike's strength:
Ike is losing strength as I type. The influence of Ike's movement over Cuba is diminshing the overall strength of the storm. In fact, Ike is expected by many to become a Cat 1 after moving past Cuba by mid-day Tuesday. Once entering the Gulf, models show intensification reaching a Cat 3 by Thursday and at landfall. The Shear and SST (Sea Surface Temperature) is prime for strengthening in the Gulf. Only 10 to 15kts wind shear is forecast for the Gulf.

Thanks for checking in! Hope you have a good week!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Issues with Ike

The latest model runs have moved. This tropical season is very unique.

Anyway, the models are now showing something interesting. If you remember me discussing earlier, a major player in directing Ike within the Eastern Gulf is the influence of the trough moving across the country by mid-week. Well now the major global models like GFS, GFDL, HWRF, and European show a western track simliar to the path of Edouard by skimming along the Gulf Coast line and heading into Texas. This new model run is very reflective to the timing of the front, trough, moving through the country. Models have now slowed the progression of the trough, which allow the Ridge, high, maintain longer control on Ike's westward movement. This is a huge note to make. The timing of the trough is a serious forecasting assesment for the future track of Ike. As long as the high pressure system is established over the Northeast US the movement of Ike will be westward, but the forecast front will quickly break down the High.

For instance, if the front moves through the Central Plains on Wednesday, then we should expect Ike to make landfall between the FL Panhandle and New Orleans. But if the front is slower in progression then we could see Ike follow a West track toward a Western Gulf landfall by late next weekend or around Sept. 15.

A big situation has arisen in forecasting offices throughout the Gulf. All news stations along the Gulf from TX to FL will be keeping a good eye on Ike.

On another note...
The forecast for tomorrow, Sunday, is beautiful. In fact, the next few days seem to be filled with a pleasant "summertime" flow. We will see a good chunk of sunshine, but we might also start seeing those popup afternoon thunderstorms by the middle of the week. The forecast of Ike definitely influences our late-week forecast.

Thanks for stopping in tonight! Have a good Sunday!


I want first apologize for my absence from the blog these past couple of days. I was able to take a little breather after our extensive Gustav coverage. My thanks goes out to all of you who emailed me with your questions about Gustav, and I was really proud of our whole news station during the Gustav event.

As for now, I'm sure you have already been told about our new friend "Ike". At the 4pm update he has now strengthened to 135 mph, which makes it a Category 4. This intensification is clearly connected to a low shear value of 20kts and, of course, the movement into warmer water. The next 24 hours could see even more intensification, but the biggest story will be the land interference of Cuba. Cuba, once again, has claimed prime real estate to diminish the intensity of Hurricane Ike, but the amount of loss Ike will lose from land interference is a little uncertain. The 2nd biggest story is the models continuation to push Ike westward into the center of the Gulf.

My thoughts:
I feel certain about a Gulf entry for Ike, but I am not completely sold on a similar location as Gustav. Gustav ran right through the middle of the Gulf in a NW fashion, but my early thoughts keep Ike on the Eastern side of the Gulf. I'm basing this thought on the models showing a trough pushing through the nation Tuesday through Thursday. This front will break down the ridge and allow Ike to make a Northern turn into a region of lower, or weaker, pressure. Without a strong push from a solid ridge I am not comfortable forecasting a "Center of the Gulf" forecast for Ike. Remember, hurricanes will always take the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance is always found away from a ridge, or high pressure. Ike's westward movement will be hard to continue without the influence of a ridge as forecast by mid-week. Fronts break down ridges. My early thoughts on landfall look at the Tallahassee through New Orleans coastline.

Although please remember many things can still mix up this forecast. Several factors are waiting to be nailed down after Ike makes landfall on Cuba. Ike is a threat to the Gulf Coast region, but Cuba will definitely have severe destruction.

I will update you more later.
Please feel free to email me your thoughts

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

9/02 Rain Totals

Gustav Rain Totals: (as of 7:30pm)

WDAM-TV: 4.64"
Laurel/Hatt Airport: 3.94"
Bobby Chain Airport (hattiesburg): 6.26"
Pascagoula: 4.99"
McComb: 7.33"
Jackson: 1.52"
Meridian: 0.87"

McComb topping 7" and Hattiesburg topping 6" is really incredible. Of course we will see some more rainfall for the Hattiesburg area and Jackson/McComb area.

Monday, September 1, 2008