Saturday, February 17, 2024

Plenty of Sunshine, Cold Mornings and Cool Afternoons, Some Rain Late Thursday

FORECAST:

Sunday (High 50, Low 22): Sunny but cold. Breezy in the early morning. 

Washington's Birthday (High 56, Low 24): Sunny. Staying pretty cold. 

Tuesday (High 61, Low 29): Mostly sunny. Seasonably cold.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Wednesday (High 67, Low 36): Mostly sunny.

Thursday (High 69, Low 48): Partly to mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers/thunderstorms.

Friday (High 58, Low 47): Partly to mostly sunny. 

Saturday (High 57, Low 30): Sunny.

READING TEA LEAVES:

Sunday February 25 (High 62, Low 31): Sunny.

Monday February 26 (High 66, Low 35): Mostly sunny.

Tuesday February 27 (High 70, Low 47): Partly to mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers/thunderstorms. 

PRONÓSTICO:

Domingo (Máxima 50, Mínima 22): Soleado pero frío. Ventoso temprano en la mañana.

Cumpleaños de Washington (Máxima 56, Mínima 24): Soleado. Mantenerse bastante frío.

Martes (Máxima 61, Mínima 29): Mayormente soleado. Estacionalmente frío.

PERSPECTIVA EXTENDIDA:

Miércoles (Máxima 67, Mínima 36): Mayormente soleado.

Jueves (Máxima 69, Mínima 48): Parcialmente a mayormente nublado con un 30% de probabilidad de lluvias/tormentas eléctricas.

Viernes (Máxima 58, Mínima 47): Parcialmente a mayormente soleado.

Sábado (Máxima 57, Mínima 30): Soleado.

LEYENDO LAS HOJAS DE TÉ:

Domingo 25 de febrero (Máxima 62, Mínima 31): Soleado.

Lunes 26 de febrero (Máxima 66, Mínima 35): Mayormente soleado.

Martes 27 de febrero (Máxima 70, Mínima 47): Parcialmente a mayormente nublado con un 30 % de probabilidad de lluvias/tormentas eléctricas.

NOTES:

Our drought is just about over, read all about it here

The National Weather Service in Birmingham has started scheduling SKYWARN classes, mainly online ones, ahead of our primary severe weather season in the Spring. 

And it looks like my Spanish editions of forecasts are going to be like 10-Day Outlooks. It's sort of like Eugene Burger struggled with whether or not to keep including tricks with sponge balls in his magic shows, don't think he ever did completely give them up. I personally loved the way he did that trick, even though it's been in probably every magic kit for the last 50 years or more. He thought it wasn't as dignified as his other magic. 

DISCUSSION:

It has been a cold and breezy day in the Tennessee Valley, even though the clouds started to break up and let the sunshine back through in the afternoon. Winds have been out of the North with gusts up to 20 miles per hour or so. The High in Cullman was 41 with a Low of 30 so far. We are currently at 36 degrees as of 4:30 PM. It's one of those days when the temperatures can go the wrong way. That "High" of 41 occurred just after Midnight, way early this morning. The Low of 30 did occur about when you'd expect, between about 7-9 AM, so not long after daybreak. Since all the other sites are kind of funky like that, I'm just going to give current temperatures for the other places around the area. Jasper has sunny skies and 41 degrees this evening, winds from the North at 10 mph. Haleyville is sunny and 38, North winds at 8. 

Fort Payne is sunny and 37. Decatur is sunny and 39. Huntsville is overcast and 38. Winchester is sunny and 34. Fayetteville is sunny and 34 also, the winds there gusting all the way to 21 miles per hour, from the North. North winds gusting up to 17 mph in Savannah, on the Western side of Southern Middle Tennessee, nice to see their observations back online, they have sunny skies and 37 degrees. Muscle Shoals has fair skies and 41. Tupelo also has fair skies and 41 degrees, and note the wind there is sustained at 15 mph from the North, not gusts, but sustained. The wind chill there is 33 degrees. And most of us today have felt even colder than we really were technically because of the breeze behind this front. It is mostly cloudy and 37 in Memphis, North winds at 13 mph. And it is partly cloudy and 36 in Nashville, North winds at 12 miles per hour. 




Here is that four-dimensional view of the weather that Chuck Doswell talked about in "The Operational Meteorology of Convective Weather." By radar, satellite, upper-air map (500 millibars here), and surface analysis, you can see what's going on. The cold front has cleared the area and is down in the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Peninsula now. It did indeed bring us only light rain, mainly last night. Behind it, we have high pressure moving this way from out in the Great Plains, centered along the Kansas/Oklahoma state line. By the way, when I said I was only reading one meteorology textbook at a time, that's no longer true. I've got bookmarks in three, although two are digital. And I am getting through them slowly. Only one is a real book, other two are e-books. And they are on the back burner of books I've got bookmarks in. I hope I'm learning something that will improve the quality of forecasts here. I keep coming back to this weather forecasting stuff like many people do to an abusive spouse, or like a drunk to the next bottle of liquor. And when I put it that way, I realize that there are worse things to be sort of addicted to. 

This forecast looks like one of the easier ones in a while. 



Tomorrow as high pressure moves in from out West, we will have sunny skies and just a cold day, starting at about 22-23 degrees and only warming to about 49-50 in the afternoon. Winds tonight should still be breezy, and even if we are in the lower 20's overnight and in the early morning tomorrow, the winds could make the wind chill factor down in the 10's. So that's a heads-up to anyone heading out to the early church service or to work tomorrow morning. Throughout most of the day tomorrow though, the winds should calm down to only about 5 mph or calm. Staying out of the North or Northwest in this weather pattern. 



Then for Monday, which is George Washington's Birthday, we'll have sunny conditions again, the High climbing into the upper 50's, about 56-57, after a morning Low in the mid-20's, about 25-24.



On Tuesday, we have good Northwest wind flow at 500 millibars, about 18,000 feet, and at the surface, winds will generally be out of the North/Northeast. Looks like light winds though, so not worried about wind chill as opposed to regular temperatures, not like today has been or tonight will be. We'll be sunny again with a High near 60, Low near 30. Very good radiational cooling for the next three nights. 



Basically the same for Wednesday, might see a few clouds in the sky, but not much, mostly abundant sunshine, and the temperatures will climb back into the mid-or-upper-60's, Low in about the mid-30's. By this time we might see winds turning back more to the West at the surface. 

And maybe that's what I should have put for Tuesday. Yes, I made a mistake there, should have said winds more from the Northwest instead of Northeast. I got my directions mixed up and surface versus upper-level winds. I could explain how, but it would waste both our time. It's not like this is high-impact weather. 



On Thursday another cold front approaches. 


Which the maps from the WPC show more effectively than the raw GFS model graphics. So there you go. 

It is looking like during the day, any rain should stay widely scattered, so about a 30% probability of rain at most, a High in the upper 60's and Low in the upper 40's, could get as high as 50, but probably upper-40's. 


Like with this last system, most of the rain looks like it will come overnight. Showers are likely Thursday night. I didn't really show it here, but the ECMWF is in agreement with this scenario and made rain chances look slim to none during the day Thursday. So rain chance of only 20-30% during the day Thursday, which means isolated showers possible, but most the rain holding off until night. 



Friday we will be at least on the way to becoming mostly sunny, this system being a quick-hitter. Might be a breezy day sort of like today, but should see more sunshine sooner, expecting a High in the upper 50's behind this front, a Low in the mid, maybe upper 40's. 



Then Saturday looks sunny with the Low to start the day back down around 30, warming to mid/upper 50's for the afternoon High. 

And if you want to peek beyond that, both the GFS and the ECMWF keep the high pressure system over our region through Sunday and Monday before another front approaches on Tuesday, which would be February 27. As usual, the ECMWF shows a slightly slower timing. Highs should be near 60 for Sunday, in the 60's Monday, and then perhaps approaching 70 for Tuesday depending on how quickly the pattern changes, warmest air is usually just ahead of a cold frontal boundary. Lows would rebound through the 30's and then be in the 40's or near 50 by Tuesday morning, just as a casual estimate. I may actually try a 10-Day-Forecast this time. Since confidence is good in the first 7 Days. It might actually be halfway close to reliable in this situation. There needs to be a day to let people know at what point the outlook gets dicey though. For now I'm borrowing the phrase "reading tea leaves" from a lawyer I've sometimes followed on YouTube, for a crazy-extended period of time, if I do speculate on it. 


But the WPC, who have better sense than to issue 10-Day forecasts, predict only about an average of up to a tenth of an inch of rainfall for this forecast period, meaning over the next week. Might be more like a quarter-inch for Southern Middle Tennessee, then as you get closer to the Kentucky border, you get more of a chance of seeing a half-inch or greater. In other words, this next rain event Thursday night is expected to be light rain, a lot like this round was. 

We'll see about the following Tuesday, but my gut feeling is that the precipitation from that system will end up getting here more either Tuesday night or Wednesday. When you're looking that far out, the best anyone can give is an educated guess. But based on what the GFS and ECMWF are showing, typical difference in their timing, and my experience with weather patterns this time of year, it may be that Wednesday before we see any of the rain, Tuesday could end up being a get-ready day where it's just sort of warming and clouding up, maybe wind picking up some. I'll do a 10-Day Forecast this time and see how it goes. A lot of times when I tried those, even in summer time, when I went back 7-10 days later and checked forecasts attempting that range, it was almost complete junk. Which is why I don't try it all that often. Still I saw some TV stations doing it at times, and it feels like a fun challenge, to see how much you can get right at that time range, at least when the weather is pretty benign, like right now, or in the summer, when it can get truly boring. This last summer wasn't a boring pattern though, it got pretty crazy. 

I'm not going to show the Climate Prediction stuff, because here lately, I found it to be junk, at least the speculations people were making about it. They issue 8-14 day guidance for the country, and you can look at it on your own if you want. I don't put much more stock in it than I do what the groundhog says every year, even though at least it's based on science. It's one of my quirks, sort of like I hate the Weather Channel's naming winter storms now. I don't mind their "TorCon" index as much as some meteorologists do though, because I met Greg Forbes, and he admits it is only his subjective estimate of how likely tornadoes are for whatever day. I think people take it a little too seriously, but you know, the broadcast world can't avoid hype completely, not even the best meteorologists. And I always considered him to be a fine one. He came across to me as really laid-back and nice in person. He seemed to find it amusing that my kinfolks would want to see a picture since they thought of him as a celebrity. I didn't think of him that way at first, but then realized I was nervous when the time came to actually talk to him. And I used to laugh at how I'd read an old Garth Brooks interview where he said that he got too nervous to talk to George Jones the first time they met. That whole college thing feels like another lifetime ago. I don't know if keeping up this interest, especially posting about it online, is a good idea or not. But here we are. 


Usually I respect Salem's privacy, but today he has been such a little fink that you get a picture of him in one of his cutest sleeping poses. That cord goes to my cell phone, and I have to stop him from swatting and biting it, especially since he has tried to chew on it even when it's plugged up. So I guess he decided to be content to sleep with it nearby. He got Sheba wet food today, salmon flavor, both sides of the weird way they do their cans now. And still bit me and bounced off the walls wanting outside after he was finished with it. So like I say, he has been a fink. He is a strange mix of psychotic and sweet. Even his worst behavior is pretty forgivable, since it is very rarely mean-spirited. He's just a wild man. Last night I had a new book that had a bookmark built into it, and he took a flying leap into my lap and dug a claw into my hand briefly before I even realized he was after that bookmark, had seen it waving around. The last time I had to give him a time-out in the bathroom was when I was writing something I had to submit online, that I actually am getting paid for. And he kept jumping on the button to the power strip the modem was plugged into, turning it off. So I put him in time-out like some people do for their kids until I got that book review submitted. He and I hugged and made up as soon as I could let him out, and while he still jumped up in the window, he didn't jump down on the power button to the surge protector strip again. To expect him to always be calm and behaved would be like expecting Sofia Vergara not to flirt with any guys in a room. Or expecting Elton John to play a concert in an Alabama cap and overalls instead of the more flamboyant clothes he prefers to wear. And I refuse to be that ridiculous. I'm gonna' let my little buddy be himself; he just has to behave within reason. And he is actually one of the best-natured cats I've ever had. He always uses the litter box, and if I've forgotten to scoop it for a day or two, finds ways to protest and let me know, where a lot of cats I've had would just go right beside it or do their business somewhere else. He has his flaws, like we all do, but they tend to be on the foolish and very lovable side. Anyway, he got on my nerves today, so you get to see him in his slumber. 

This weather pattern looks benign. We could see a few thunderstorms Thursday night, but most places will probably just see light rain. And we haven't had another Arctic blast like we had in January. So what can I say . . . enjoy things being a little more peaceful?

As far as 10-Day Outlooks go, I liked the way James Spann and Taylor Sarallo used to do it, with Days 8-10 showing only approximate temperatures or a temperature range. I don't see any of the Huntsville stations doing it that way, and to their credit, I don't think WHNT-19 goes beyond 7 days at all. I think they did part of the time Dan Satterfield and Spencer Denton were there, but then dropped it at some point. There should be a way to communicate forecast uncertainty without doing verbal somersaults. For out to 10 days, you're always going to have uncertainty. The main 7-day stretch can be tricky. Sometimes you'll get an odd pattern where you're more confident in Days 4-7, or at least some part of them, than you are for Days 1-3. 

If I keep doing this, I think I'm going to work on the communication side of it. I don't really feel that the forecast I just wrote above before babbling more down here does a great job of communicating the weather forecast. It is just my best try at a fairly traditional format for now. 

A long time ago, I used to write a brief discussion up top and then put it into a forecast at the bottom. And it was one of my brothers who told me that I lost him way before he got to the bullet-points forecast part. Both of my brothers fancy themselves far more intelligent than me, but this one really has an overinflated view of his own intellect. So it surprised me when he said that I was using too much technical jargon and that he had no clue what a lot of it meant. And he helped me see what I couldn't on my own, that I was doing it upside down. Makes a lot more sense to give people the cliff's notes, and then let them read on and get the details if they care about them. 

And also since then, I've tried to explain what I mean whenever possible. I don't remember what my discussions were like then, but I know I've learned a lot since then. And when I comb through social media and follow links (where there are links . . . sometimes people just splatter it all right there on Twitter/X or whatever), a lot of what I read strikes me as a lot more technical than the discussions here. I try to keep it simple and cut out the fat, besides a little clowning around, but not sure how often that succeeds. 

And for anyone who missed the memo, Taylor is back to work in Birmingham, just up on Red Mountain instead of down in Riverchase. 

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